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Midlands Championship: 6 Boilermakers advance to Round of 12

EVANSTON, Ill. — Of their original 11 entries, the Purdue wrestling team has six wrestlers still standing and one win away from climbing the podium at the 47th Annual Midlands Wrestling Championships, hosted by Northwestern University at Welsh Ryan Arena in Evanston, IL on Tuesday. The Boilermakers scored 40 points as a team and are 10th in the overall standings heading into Wednesday.

Akif Eren Purdue Wrestler

Purdue junior Akif Eren aims for his first Midlands Championship placing tomorrow in Evanston.

No. 12 ranked and seventh-seeded 197-pound junior Logan Brown was the only Boilermaker still in the championship round heading into Tuesday’s evening session, but he was unable to advance the tournament semifinals as he suffered a 12-4 loss to third-ranked and second-seeded Hudson Taylor of Maryland in the quarterfinals. Brown will face Illinois’ Patrick Bond tomorrow with guaranteed placing points on the line.

Fellow junior Luke Manuel, seeded third and ranked seventh in the country at 174 pounds, rebounded from his first session upset loss and rolled out wins over Jake Johnson of Stanford and Wisconsin’s Jimmy Duffy. He scored a 10-4 decision over Johnson in the consolation third round and closed out the day with a 10-1 major decision over Duffy. Manuel moves on to matchup with another Big Ten rival in ninth-ranked and fourth-seeded Jordan Blanton of Illinois.

Purdue 125-pound freshman Cashé Quiroga put on the most dominating performance of the day, rebounding from an opening round loss to seventh-ranked and second-seeded Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech to reel off three straight wins and a trio of major decisions. He posted a combined 52 points in the three bouts, topping Iowa State’s Dallas Collier, 20-6, Maryland’s James Knox, 20-7, and conference foe Drew Hammen of Wisconsin, 12-4. Quiroga takes his shot at placing in his first career Midlands tomorrow morning against 16th-ranked and sixth-seeded Ben Kjar of Utah Valley State.

Junior Akif Eren advances to the second day of the Midlands Championships for the first time in his career, and only 14th-ranked No. 5 seed Kyle Hutter of Old Dominion stands in his way of placing at 133 pounds. Eren scored a pair of wins in Tuesday’s evening session, taking down Chauncey Phillips of California Baptist by decision, 7-4, and forcing Stanford’s Justin Paulsen to injury default after taking a 4-1 lead on the Cardinal and avenging a loss from their dual match on Nov. 7. Fellow junior Colton Salazar bounced back after suffering a pigtail loss to start the day at 157 pounds, winning four in a row to move on to tomorrow. After edging out Illinois’ Conrad Polz, 7-5, to close the first session, he took down his second straight Illini wrestler in the consolation second round in a 6-2 win over Kyle Dooley. Salazar tacked on his first bonus points of the tournament in his last match of the day, racking up a 13-5 major decision over Andy Lamancusa of Mercyherst to reach the Round of 12. He’ll look to score his second win of the season over Northern Iowa’s Tyson Reiner in tomorrow’s placewinning bout as he pinned Reiner in 2:07 at the Northwestern Duals on Nov. 7.
Rounding out the list of Day 2 qualifiers is 12th-seeded junior Juan Archuleta, who needs just one win to mount the 141-pound championship podium. He notched bonus points in both of his evening victories, scoring a 10-2 major decision over Kyle West of UC Davis and posting a 16-3 major decision over Northern Iowa’s Alec Hoffman. Archuleta will go head-to-head with 11th-seeded and 19th-ranked Trevor Melde of Rutgers in tomorrow’s Round of 12 matchup.

Wednesday’s first session is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (EST), with the Round of 12 bouts first on the docket. Quiroga is slotted in the first bout of the day and all the Boilermakers’ action can be followed at the Purdue Wrestling Twitter Page.

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