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Boilermakers Set for U23 and UWW Junior Nationals


Boilermakers Set for U23 and UWW Junior Nationals

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Members of the Purdue wrestling team will compete for the first time since the 2020 Big Ten Championships this weekend as head coach Tony Ersland will send 10 individuals to represent the Boilermaker Regional Training Center at the 2020 U23 and UWW Junior Nationals. The event will run Friday through Sunday, November 13-15, at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, as the Boilermakers will all compete in the freestyle divisions of the championships.
“To say that we’re excited to compete again would be an incredible understatement,” said Ersland. “Since the NCAA Championships were cancelled back in March, our guys have been finding ways to get better and looking for a chance to get back on the mat. I couldn’t be happier for the chance to watch some of our guys get back out there this weekend.”
Of the Boilermakers’ 10 entries this weekend, seven will compete at the U23 level, headlined by senior All-American Devin Schroder at 57 kg. The senior 125-pound standout for Purdue was a Big Ten Championship finalist and earned the No. 5 seed at the 2020 NCAA Championships before they were cancelled. While Schroder’s folkstyle mat prowess will not be on display in this weekend’s tournament, he sees it as a tremendous opportunity to get ready for the 2021 season.
“I’m not even sure it matters what style we’re wrestling at this point, we’re all just dying for a chance to put our foot on the line and wrestle,” said Schroder. “I can’t wait to be back out there with my teammates and have an opportunity to compete.”
Joining Schroder in the U23 division is sophomore Travis Ford-Melton (61 kg), juniors Parker Filius and Alec White (65 kg), senior Max Lyon (86 kg), sophomore Thomas Penola (92 kg) and graduate transfer Jamarcus Grant (125 kg). Filius, Lyon and Penola all qualified for the NCAA Championships as well in 2020, with Filius and Penola advancing to the national tournament for the first time in their careers. Ford-Melton held down the Boilermakers’ starting job at 133 pounds through the bulk of the season after removing his redshirt tag four events into 2019-20, while White is set to compete for the first time in 2020 after his season ended prematurely due to injury. Grant will compete for his first time since arriving at Purdue from Oregon State, where he competed at heavyweight the last two seasons.
In the Juniors division, redshirt freshman Hayden Lohrey and true freshmen Trey Kruse and Gerrit Nijenhuis will compete for a national freestyle title. Lohrey won the Maryville Kaufman/Brand/Bayly Open amateur division title at 165 pounds in his redshirt campaign last season and will compete at 74 kg this weekend, while Kruse and Nijenhuis will enter at 70 and 79 kg, respectively. Kruse was a Minnesota state champion last season at Stillwater High School, while Nijenhuis won a pair of Pennsylvania state crowns over the last two seasons at Canon-McMillan High School.
In addition to the Boilermakers’ current roster on display in Omaha, newly signed recruit Ben Vanadia is set to compete in the Juniors division at 92 kg. Already ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation at the high school level at 220 pounds, Vanadia aims to continue improving upon his national standing.
The first of four sessions of freestyle action begins Saturday at 9 a.m. CT, and can be viewed live with a subscription on FloWrestling.
Boilermaker Regional Training Center Entries
Devin Schroder, 57 kg
Travis Ford-Melton, 61 kg
Parker Filius, 65 kg
Alec White, 65 kg
Max Lyon, 86 kg
Thomas Penola, 97 kg
Jamarcus Grant, 125 kg
Trey Kruse, 70 kg
Hayden Lohrey, 74 kg
Gerrit Nijenhuis, 79 kg