photo courtesy of Michael White; Purdue Exponent
A new feature that we have had on TOM is the “All-2000’s Team” for a respective school. We will go weight-by-weight to feature the best lineup that a team could put together comprised of wrestlers that were in action from the year 2000 to now. Their career could have started in the 1990’s; they just need to have one year of competition in the 2000’s. Each wrestler that is mentioned must have competed for one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they were most known for).
125 – Chris Fleeger (Trout Run, PA) 2001-06
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Three-time All-American (2006-2nd; 2003-2nd; 2002-3rd), 2003 Big Ten Champion
Chris Fleeger will go down as one of the all-time greats in Purdue’s wrestling history. He is the most recent NCAA finalist for the Boilermakers, having finished as a national runner-up in both 2003 and 2006. During the 2002-03 season, Chris came into the NCAA Championships as the undefeated top seed, before falling to Travis Lee. Fleeger only lost nine times in his career and owns the second-best winning percentage in school history .905.
Second Team: Jason Silverstein
133 – Cashe Quiroga (Indianapolis, IN) 2009-14
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2010 NCAA sixth-place finisher, 2014 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2014 Big Ten third-place finisher
As a true freshman during the 2009-10 season, Cashe Quiroga came into the NCAA Championships unseeded and knocked off seventh-ranked James Nicholson (Old Dominion) in the opening round and then proceeded to advanced all the way to the semifinals. After dropping a bout to the eventual champion Matt McDonough (Iowa) in the semi’s, Cashe fell to sixth place. Quiroga narrowly missed getting back onto the podium as a senior when he was eliminated in the Round of 12 by Joe Roth (Central Michigan) 5-3.
Second Team: Evan Robinson
141 – Danny Sabatello (Long Grove, IL) 2012-16
Three-time NCAA Qualifier
In each of his final three seasons at West Lafayette, Danny Sabatello qualified for the NCAA Championships. His high water mark came as a junior when he competed at 133 lbs and was named Purdue’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Sabatello earned the 11th seed at the 2015 NCAA Championships and won two matches at the event.
Second Team: Juan Archuleta
149 – Jake Patacsil (Sunrise, FL) 2005-09
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2009 NCAA fifth-place finisher, 2008 NCAA Round of 12 finisher
Grandson of national champion and Purdue Hall of Famer Joe Patacsil, Jake carved out quite the career of his own. Patacsil nearly earned All-American honor as a junior, while competing in the most stacked NCAA weight class of all-time. That season he fell in the Round of 12 to Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota) 4-1. A year later he would be victorious in the bloodround and worked his way up to fifth. Always regarded as one of the toughest wrestlers of his time from the top position, Jake amassed 803 near fall points, which is the best in school history and more than 400 points ahead of the second place total.
Second Team: Ivan Lopouchanski
157 – Colton Salazar (Midway, UT) 2004-11
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2010 Big Ten runner-up
Colton Salazar wrestled as a true freshman for Purdue before taking a two-year mission and another year to redshirt. Salazar was a Big Ten runner-up in 2009-10, and he remains the most recent Boilermaker wrestler to advance to a B10 final.
Second Team: Brad Harper
165 – Chad Welch (Newburgh, IN) 2012-16
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2016 NCAA Round of 12 finisher
During his senior season in 2015-16, Chad Welch became only the second Purdue wrestler to capture a Midlands Champion and the first since the 1963-64 season. He also became the school’s first finalist at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational since 2010. Welch finished the season a match away from AA’ing when he lost 4-2 to Steven Rodrigues (Illinois).
Second Team: Luke Manuel
174 – Ryan Lange (Northfield, OH) 2000-04
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2004-5th; 2003-8th), 2002 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Big Ten Champion
The most recent Purdue wrestler to win a Big Ten title is Ryan Lange, who also happens to be the school’s all-time wins leader with 136. After winning his second Big Ten crown in 2004, Ryan earned the fourth seed at nationals, for the second straight season. Lange is the only collegiate wrestler, not named Chris Pendleton, to have defeated Ben Askren (Missouri).
Second Team: Dylan Lydy
184 – Ben Wissel (Richmond, IN) 2002-06
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2006-7th; 2005-8th), Two-time Big Ten third-place finisher
In 2006, as a senior, Ben Wissel set the Purdue single-season takedown record with 188. That same season he also racked up 38 wins, which was good for fifth best in school history, at the time. Wissel and Fleeger led Purdue to a top-20 finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships, which is the highest placement for the school in the last fifteen years.
Second Team: AJ Kissel
197 – Logan Brown (Covington, OH) 2007-11
Four-time NCAA Qualifier
Logan Brown qualified for the NCAA Championships in each year that he competed for Purdue. As a senior, he earned the tenth seed at nationals and went 1-2. Brown’s 109 career wins are good enough to put him at number 11 on Purdue’s all-time win’s list.
Second Team: Braden Atwood
285 – Jake Vercelli (Wilmington, IL) 1999-02
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2002-4th; 2001-8th)
In 2000-01 when Jake Vercelli AA’ed for the first time, he became the first Purdue heavyweight ever to place top-eight at nationals. The next season when Jake earned All-American honors for the second time, he knocked off the third-seeded Leonce Crump (Oklahoma) at nationals and earned himself a spot in the NCAA semifinals.
Second Team: Israel Blevins