After missing all of last season with an injury, Northern Illinois University’s Brad Dieckhaus was on the podium at the 2011 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships after winning the title match at 184 Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center.
Dieckhaus, the No. 2 seed, scored a 3-2 decision over top seeded Casey Newburg of Kent State to take home the championship at 184.
“My mindset was to be patient and mistake-free,” Dieckhaus said. “I wanted to be positive and have a great attitude. Winning at home seems surreal. I had a lot of emotions. It was a pretty good feeling.”
After wrestling a scoreless first period, Dieckhaus, chose bottom to start the second period. He escaped to take a 1-0 lead, but Newburg quickly gained a 2-1 advantage with a takedown. Dieckhaus was able to escape again to tie the match at 2-2. The junior and native of St. Charles, Mo., earned the riding time point to take the bout.
“Brad is extremely dedicated and hard-working,” NIU head coach Dave Grant said. “He put all of his passion out there and the result is a MAC Championship. I am extremely proud of him for what he brings to the mat and what he brings to the team. He’s a special kid, a great person and he gave a great performance to win.”
Bryan Deutsch (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City), who was competing for a MAC championship at 157, suffered a 10-9 decision to No. 1 seed Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo. Deutsch, who trailed 4-1 after the first period, stormed back in the second frame with a reversal and two-point near fall to take a 5-4 advantage.
The redshirt senior extended his lead to 7-4 with another two-point near fall to open the third period. However, Lewandowski kept it close with a reversal to cut the lead to one. A Deutsch reversal gave the NIU grappler a 9-6 advantage with under a minute left in the match. However, an escape and takedown by Lewandowski, plus the riding time point, gave the sophomore from Buffalo the 10-9.
Both Deutsch and Dieckhaus earned bids to compete in the 2011 NCAA Championships Mar. 17-19, in Philadelphia, Pa. Dieckhaus grabbed the only MAC bid to the NCAAs at 184, while Deutsch claimed one of three MAC bids at 157.
“Deutsch and Dieckhaus – the freshman look up to those guys,” Grant said. “They’ve got a lot of Huskie pride in ’em. I’m extremely proud of them. They are first-class individuals who give great effort.”
Four other Huskies were wrestling to place. Tristen DeShazer (Wichita, Kan./West), the No. 2 seed, was facing Seth Schaner of Eastern Michigan for third place at 141. The redshirt senior ended his Huskie career on a high note, scoring an 11-2 major decision victory to take third.
A newcomer and two freshmen also made incredible runs in the 2011 MAC Wrestling Championships. Mike Lukowski (East Dundee, Ill./Harper College), who did not win a conference match all season, won his third place match at 197, defeating Brian Sheehan, 3-1, scoring a reversal in overtime to beat the senior from Buffalo.
He then faced Erik Schuth of Ohio to determine a true second place. Lukowski’s tournament came to an end when he suffered an 8-0 loss to Schuth. He took third place at his first MAC Championships
Redshirt freshman Kevin Fanta (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) was wrestling for third place at 133, while true freshman Caleb Busson (Wadsworth, Ohio/Wadsworth) was competing for third at 174. While both wrestlers lost their respective matches to finish fourth, Grant was pleased with their efforts.
“The role our freshmen played was big,” he said. “Kevin Fanta was another key guy who had an outstanding performance at the championships. He was in the third place match.
“From upperclassmen to the freshmen, it was just an all-around tough performance by our guys. I am extremely proud of this team.”
The Huskies finished fifth in the team scoring with 39.5 points, while Central Michigan won it’s 10th straight conference title with 79 points. Kent State was second with 73.5 and Buffalo (69.5) took third. Ohio edged out NIU for fourth place with 41.5 points and Eastern Michigan finished in sixth with 14 points.