2019-20 Schedule / Always Aggressive Podcast
Preview 125-141 / Preview 149-165
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The final installation of the Purdue wrestling team’s season preview series features a run of successful, familiar faces, and a pair of top-10 preseason ranked wrestlers. The Boilermakers will see a lot of wins from this group and have their sight set on the podium at the NCAA Championships.
Senior Dylan Lydy aims to make his final season in West Lafayette one to remember, regarded as one of the top wrestlers in the nation at 174 pounds. He finished seconds shy of an All-America honor in 2019, and looks to correct that in Minneapolis in March. Ranked eighth in the NCAA by TheOpenMat.com and TrackWrestling, No. 9 by Win Magazine and No. 12 by FloWrestling, Lydy has 80 career victories at Purdue, 18 of which came over ranked opponents.
Lydy placed fifth at the 2019 Big Ten Championships and sixth at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational before advancing to the blood round at the NCAA Championships. He came back from a first-round loss in Pittsburgh to win three straight and meet Nebraska’s Mikey Labriola in the Round of 12. The pair wrestled a full 11 minutes, finishing tied at 3-3, but granted the nod to the Cornhusker on riding time after the second tiebreaker.
Lydy needs 20 wins in his final season to become just the 17th wrestler in Purdue history to hit the century mark, and the first since Luke Manuel and Logan Brown in 2011. Lydy is also 22 takedowns shy of a spot in Purdue’s all-time top-20, entering the season with 194 to his credit.
While previously mentioned at 165 pounds, sophomore Tanner Webster will offer support of Lydy at 174 as well.
The Boilermakers field another returning national qualifier at 184 in the form of junior Max Lyon. The Dyersville, Iowa native has racked up 43 victories over the last two seasons, including 24 in 2018-19, and is ranked in the top-20 of every preseason poll published to date. Lyon’s top marks came from FloWrestling and WIN Magazine, where he was tabbed the No. 15 wrestler in the country at his weight.
Lyon scored the most points of any Boilermaker on the roster last season, piling up 252 over 38 matches, and logged notable victories over American’s Tanner Webster at the NCAA Tournament, Michigan State’s Cameron Caffey and Michigan’s Jelani Embree at the Big Ten Tournament. He placed at both the Princeton Open, Journeymen Collegiate Classic and Big Ten Championships, in addition to a seventh-place showing at the 2019 U23 Freestyle World Team Trials.
Sophomore Jared Florell offers his skills up at 184 as well, posting a 10-4 mark last season with three tournament placewinning performances. He won the South Beach College Individual title at 184, was second at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic (C-Draw) and third at the Loras Open. In addition, junior Trevor Blue joins the Purdue roster after a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy as a Gunner’s Mate.
Purdue head coach Tony Ersland is not lacking options at 197, boasting a three-time returning NCAA Qualifier in addition to a rising star and 2019’s most outstanding freshman. Christian Brunner owns at 73-39 career record at 197 pounds, falling just shy of All-America honors in 2019 with a Round of 12 loss to Fresno State’s Josh Hokit. A second-round upset win over Iowa State’s Willie Miklus made Brunner Purdue’s first NCAA Quarterfinalist since 2010. Brunner has been in the Boilermakers’ starting lineup since he stepped on campus, leaving him eligible for a redshirt season. While he’s yet to announce his intentions, he remains near the top of the 197-pound national rankings, including No.8 marks from TrackWrestling and WIN Magazine and the No. 10 spot from TheOpenMat.com.
Anxious to start his collegiate career, freshman Thomas Penola is ready to go at 197 pounds after a redshirt season spent competing at 184. He won the Maryville Kaufman/Brand/Bayly Open and Indianapolis Greyhound Open, took fourth in the frosh/soph division at Michigan State and placed eight at the prestigious Midlands Championships. In addition, Penola finished sixth at the UWW Junior Freestyle National Championships in April, putting the final touches on an impressive rookie season.
Several individuals will get a shot at the starting heavyweight job for the Boilermakers, including a pair of newcomers and a rising sophomore moving up from 197 pounds to heavyweight. Sophomore David Eli takes his talents to heavyweight, owning the only match experience for the Boilermakers at the top weight. He wrestled 18 matches in 2018-19, placing at the Michigan State Open, Journeymen Collegiate Classic and the Greyhound Open.
Junior Jairus Perry and true freshman Jacob Somlai will throw their respective hats in the ring as well. Perry joins the Boilermaker roster after spending the past few years in the U.S. Army, while Somlai comes to Purdue from Brookfield, Wisconsin, where he won a state championship with an undefeated 52-0 record at 220 pounds.
Freshman Eli Pokorney had a decorated high school career at Chesterton High School in Indiana, winning the 2018 state title and being ranked as high as fourth in the country at heavyweight and No. 74 overall in the class of 2019. However, the Boilermaker rookie will sit out 2019-20 recovering from knee surgery and will be ready to go in 2020-21.