Helgerson was most recently a member of Wartburg College’s wrestling team, a perennial power in Division III, where he was a three-time All-American and national champion at heavyweight.
“I am pleased to announce the addition of John Helgerson to the NIU Wrestling family,” Ludwig said. “John brings with him the competitive fire that is essential to success. He will make an immediate impact in working directly with the upper weights. John has been well coached as an athlete and shares the vision and values of the NIU Wrestling program. It’s great to have him on board.”
Helgerson posted an impressive career at Wartburg with a 98-15 record over his last three seasons. During that three-year span, he placed third at the NCAA tournament as a sophomore and second as a junior before taking first place during his senior season in 2011. Helgerson also earned two fifth place finishes at the prestigious Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., doing so in 2010 and 2011.
Following his career at Wartburg, Helgerson competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, following a first place finish at the Olympic Freestyle Qualifier meet in Cedar Falls, Iowa, earlier in the year. At the Olympic Trials, Helgerson advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual third place finisher Steve Mocco. He would eventually bow out of the tournament in the consolation bracket after compiling a 2-2 record.
The West Union, Iowa, native was a two-time state place winner at North Fayette High School, placing sixth at the state tournament as a junior and second as a senior. He was also a two-time sectional and district champion for the Hawks.
“I am looking forward to working with the fine athletes of Northern Illinois to help them achieve their dreams on and off the mat,” Helgerson said. “I am excited for the opportunity to help the coaching staff and the University raise the goals and expectations of the student-athletes every day.”
The Huskies begin their 2012-13 season Friday, Oct. 26, with the annual Wrestle-Offs before starting the regular season Saturday, Nov. 3, at the EMU Open.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.