NIU’s wrestling team will have the home mat advantage on its side as the Huskies play host to the 2011 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships this weekend at the NIU Convocation Center.
The championships open Saturday, March 5, with preliminary matches at 1 p.m. The semifinals begin at 3 p.m. and the consolation semifinals start at 5 p.m. Sunday’s action begins at 11 a.m. with the fifth and sixth place matches and the championship and consolation bouts starting at 12 p.m. All times listed are Central.
“We’ve accomplished a lot here and we’re proud of that,” said NIU head coach Dave Grant, who will be coaching in his final MAC Championships. “We’re excited about going out there, wrestling hard and being intense. We want to show our home fans what it’s all about.”
The Huskies (5-11, 1-4), who hosted the 2006 MAC Championships in the Convocation Center, are one of six teams vying for the right to be called MAC Champion and have several wrestlers capable of winning a MAC title.
Two veterans that look to make a run in their final MAC Championships are redshirt seniors Bryan Deutsch (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City) and Tristen DeShazer (Wichita, Kan./West). Deutsch comes into Saturday with a record of 19-9 and 3-2 in the MAC and is looking for his third-straight trip to Nationals. Deutsch won the MAC title at 157 in 2009 and qualified for an at large bid in 2010. He looks to finish his career win his best performance yet.
DeShazer has won five of his last six matches, and comes into Saturday with an overall record of 15-9 and 3-2 mark in MAC action. He has a team-high nine pins, two over MAC opponents.
“Bryan has been there before,” Grant said. “He’s had a great year. He’s been in the top 20 most of the year, a Midlands placer and has had some big wins.
“Tristen has done a great job. He’s coming off a lot of pins here at the end of the season. He’s got a lot of things going for him right now.”
Redshirt junior Brad Dieckhaus (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell Central) is in the midst of his hottest stretch of the season with expectations set high coming off four straight victories. He enters with a team best 4-1 record in the MAC and a 13-8 record overall.
Freshman Nick Smith (Ida, Mich./Ida) will be competing in his first MAC Championships in what looks to be a promising career. Smith enters with a 2-1 record in the MAC, missing two matches due to injury. However, he has posted a team best 22-7 overall record and carries a six match-winning streak into Saturday.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.