Wrestling

Purdue’s Chad Welch Moves in Midlands Semis

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EVANSTON, Ill. —Third-seeded Chad Welch powered his way into the 165-pound semifinals of the 53rd Ken Kraft Midlands Championships on Tuesday. Welch won four matches inside Welsh-Ryan Arena on his way to a Wednesday matchup with American’s Mitch Wightman in Session III starting at 1 p.m. ET. The session features semifinals, consolation and seventh-place matches. Action from all four mats during Session III can be seen via BTN2Go.

Wednesday at 9 p.m., championship bouts will be contested live on BTN, with third- and fifth-place matches carried on BTN2Go.

Welch picked up where he left off in Las Vegas and continued to blaze through competition. The redshirt senior opened by putting 18 points on the board in an 18-2 technical fall in 6:50 vs. Franklin & Marshall’s Robbie King. He followed with a 7-3 decision over Brendan Burnham of Maryland and made quick work of Princeton’s Judd Ziegler in the third round, pinning him in just 1:26.

His semifinal ticket was punched courtesy of a medical forfeit from sixth-seeded Clark Glass of Oklahoma.

“I have a lot of confidence with my wrestling,” Welch said. “It’s about being prepared to go out there, fight and do whatever it takes to come out on top. I’m putting what the coaches tell me into action; I’m giving it 100 percent and I know I can beat anyone that I go up against. I need to go out there and wrestle my match and perform to my capabilities every time.”

The 17-2 Boilermaker will square off against Wightman, who knocked off second-seeded Austin Wilson of Nebraska (6-2) and No. 10 Seth Thomas of Oregon State (8-4) in the quarterfinals.

Two other Boilermakers are battling their way through wrestlebacks. After dropping his opening match at 125 pounds, Ben Thornton responded with a pair of decisions. First it was a 4-0 against a familiar foe in Northern Illinois’ Alijah Jeffery. The redshirt freshman disposed of the Huskie 4-1 in his first match of the season at the Eastern Michigan Duals. Thornton then made easy work of 10th-seeded Ares Carpio of Arizona State in an 8-2 upset decision.

Thornton (12-5) is one win away from guaranteeing a spot on the podium. Standing in his way is Alex Madrigal, who hails from Old Dominion, but is wrestling unattached.

Like Thornton, Danny Sabatello is one win away from a guaranteed place finish at 141 pounds. Sabatello was impressive in his first two bouts. He pinned Oklahoma’s Noah Teaney in 4:21 for his fourth fall of the season and ninth of his career. The two-time NCAA qualifier then put on a show in a 15-4 major decision upset of Nebraska’s fifth-seeded Anthony Abidin. Sabatello nearly stuck the 17th-ranked Husker early in the first period, building a 10-2 lead after three minutes. He tacked on two more takedowns and 3:02 of riding time for the second major decision of his final campaign.

Sabatello was derailed in the quarterfinals, suffering a 4:08 fall from fourth-seeded Andrew Long of Grand View. Up next for the 11-6 redshirt senior is third-seeded Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers. In two consolation matches, Ashnault has outscored his competition 30-9.

Other notable bouts included Drake Stein and Jacob Morrissey. Stein inched closer to earning a spot on Purdue’s career falls list, registering No. 15 with a 3:53 stick of Buffalo’s James Benjamin in his first consolation match at 197 pounds. Morrissey neared the list as well, pinning unattached wrestler Tyler Harrington, the 10th opponent of his young career, in 3:31 to begin the tournament. It was the fourth fall of the season for the 9-7 redshirt sophomore. 

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