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This is the 40th straight season NIU has sent a wrestler to the NCAA Championships, a streak that dates back to 1972.
“It’s an exciting time,” NIU head coach Dave Grant said. “Once you get there, all things are possible. The guys that are ready to wrestle when they get to this tournament are the ones that end up being on the stand. You’ve got to be ready to wrestle.”
Deutsch, a senior from Columbia City, Ind., will face Corey Mock of North Carolina at 157 pounds in his first bout of the day. A three-time national qualifier, the NIU senior has amassed a 21-10 record with five pins and five major decisions. Deutsch is 1-4 overall at the National Championship meet as he defeated Andrew Jones of Michigan State in 2009.
This will be Dieckhaus’ first appearance at the NCAA Championships. The junior from St. Charles, Mo. earned the automatic bid after winning the Mid-American Conference title at 184. Dieckhaus has posted a 15-8 record with two pins on the season. He will begin his quest for a title Thursday versus No. 3 seed Steve Bosak of Cornell.
This is the first time since 2009, the year that Deutsch and Tristen DeShazer (Wichita, Kan./West) advanced to the NCAA Championships, that NIU is sending multiple wrestlers to the national tournament.
Grant feels it will benefit both of his wrestlers.
“I think it’s going to help Brad a lot,” Grant said. “He’s going with a very experienced guy. Bryan can ‘big brother’ him. You know that the older guy is going to mentor the younger one.
“Bryan went by himself last year, which is kind of a lonely road. It’s nice to have a teammate there. You’re both in the same situation.”