Chriswell settles on Purdue

It didn’t take very long for Brent Chriswell to make up his mind. About 12 hours was enough.

Not even a full day into his recruiting trip to Purdue University last weekend, the South Kitsap wrestler gave coach Jesse Reyes his verbal commitment to attend the West Lafayette, Ind., school, putting an quick end to his month-long recruiting season.

“For some reason I was thinking before I even got there that Purdue is where I’m supposed to be at,” Chriswell said Monday. “When I got there is was like, ‘Yeah, this is where I’m supposed to be.’”

The senior, who won the Class 4A state title at 171 pounds last year, had taken recruiting trips to Oklahoma and Fresno State earlier in the month and said Purdue would be his last trip.

He made it official Saturday night.

“They’re all good schools,” Chriswell said. “But it was different when I went to Purdue. It was nice, and they have great academics and good wrestling. But when I went there I didn’t think about anything but Purdue. I felt like it was home.

“Other places felt nice,” Chriswell said, “and, yeah, I could have gone there and been comfortable, but Purdue just felt different.”

Chriswell has been courted by some of the better wrestling programs in the country over the past two months, including Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon, Oregon State, and Old Dominion, and he received a call on Monday from Virginia Tech.

The head coaches from Minnesota, Oklahoma and Purdue came to Port Orchard last month to visit, while the others kept in contact through e-mails and phone calls.

He said the recruiting process started out fun and that it was gratifying to see so many people interested in him. But as the phone calls from coaches began to come daily, the pressure of committing got to be stressful, Chriswell said.

His trip to Oklahoma earlier this month put the Sooners at the top of his list, but Purdue won out in the end.

Chriswell’s verbal commitment in non-binding and he can change his mind at any time before he actually signs a letter of intent, which he can’t do until the Nov. 15 signing period opens.

“I wasn’t surprised that he chose Purdue,” South wrestling coach Chad Nass said. “But I was a little surprised that he committed on the spot. But at the same time, we kept telling him you have to go with what your gut tells you.”

And it was his gut and only his gut that made the decision. Brent’s parents, Wade and Sharon Chriswell, stayed in the background and let him decide for himself.

“They’ve been making decisions for me my whole life, and I wanted this to be my decision,” Chriswell said. “They didn’t tell me who they liked best. They never said anything. They told me what the schools had to offer but they never gave their opinion. It was all up to me.

“When I told them, they said, ‘That’s where we wanted you to go,’” Chriswell said. “I guess I chose right.”

Nass said he thought Purdue was a good choice for Chriswell. He like the chemistry Reyes had with Brent and said the structure Reyes talked about would be a good fit for Brent.

Purdue finished in the top 20 last year and two of its wrestlers gained All-America status. The wrestling team also opened the doors to the new Blake Family Wrestling Training Center on Oct. 12.

Chriswell said he’s not quite sure what weight he might go it when he hits the mat at Purdue next wrestling season or if he will be redshirted or not. But he does have is goals in mind.

“I want to be an NCAA champ,” Chriswell said. “I think I can. That’s my goal — to be the best I can and just work hard.”

With the recruiting process out of the way, Chriswell said he can now focus on the upcoming high school season and his attempt to be the first South Kitsap wrestler to not only win two state titles but get them back to back.

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