Throughout the off-season, we’re going to be getting to know returning NCAA Division I wrestlers from around the country. We sent questionnaires to every program in the country and will be sharing the results throughout the long trek to next fall. You can find them all whenever you like under the Getting to Know tag.
Name: Luke Welch
Class (for 2017-18): Redshirt Senior
Welch’s record has improved in each of his three seasons in the Purdue lineup. This past season he started 10-2, managed to post a winning record in Big 10 duals, and blanked Mitch McKee (Minnesota), 4-0, in a late January showdown. Still, Welch’s season ended on a sour note when he once again fell short of the NCAA tournament. After winning a University Nationals title this offseason, beating two past Division I All-Americans in the process, Welch will take one last shot at gaining entrance to the big dance. Keep an eye on him this season as his quest for Cleveland begins.
What are you working on this offseason?
This off-season I am working on doing all the small things right. It could be from getting multiple workouts in for one day, sharpening my technique or even dieting right, all the small things add up to big things. I am working on taking this offseason one day at a time and getting one percent better each day.
Do you plan to wrestle freestyle or Greco this offseason?
Yes, I am planning on wrestling freestyle at University Nationals. (Note: Welch defeated Sean Russell (Edinboro) and David Terao (formerly of American) to win University Nationals at 57 kg.)
What was the most interesting class you took this year?
English 264. It was titled “Bible as Literature”. I thought it was the most interesting class because I am a Christian and I am working to grow in my faith. Having a class that required me to do readings in the Bible helped me throughout the season.
What was your favorite match this season?
I would say my favorite match this season would be between winning the Roadrunner Open or the dual against Indiana because we were inside Mackey [Arena] with a big crowd!
(Note: Purdue wrestled Indiana in an event called Mackey Mayhem on Jan. 13, 2017. Mackey Arena is the facility used for Purdue men’s and women’s basketball. Home wrestling duals normally take place in Holloway Gymnasium. The Mackey Mayhem crowd was 2,146 and Welch beat Garrett Pepple 9-2.)
If you weren’t a wrestler, is there another sport or competitive activity you would have pursued?
For the longest time, I thought I was going to play baseball. However, I kept getting hurt at the end of wrestling season and that influenced my playing time in baseball. I slowly started to like wrestling more and more because of the competitive side to it. I also liked the fact that I did not have to rely on a team in wrestling. It is just you and another guy out there on the mat scrapping.
What is your major and what would you like to do with it when you graduate?
My major is social studies education with a minor in politics and history. I would like to teach high school students as well as coach a wrestling program in the future.