Wrestlers dive right into challenge

NIU wrestling coach Ed Vatch believes in diving right in, head on.

The Huskies plunge into dual-meet competition in a big way tomorrow participating in the University of Wisconsin Duals. Action begins at 9 a.m. with NIU facing Ivy League foe Brown University. That’s followed by an 11 a.m. showdown with the meet host, Badgers, while a 3 p.m. afternoon matinee with the University of Wiconsin-Stevens Point concludes the day.

Included in last year’s 8-12 dual meet ledger was an 18-12 Huskie victory over UW-Stevens Point. Wisconsin beat NIU 26-13 in 1986. Brown is a first-time opponent for the Huskies.

“Without a doubt, this is a real tough test to start the year with,” Vatch said. “We hope to come back 2-1. We know Wisconsin is very tough and Stevens Point will be a real challenge as well. We don’t know anything about Brown, so that’s a challenge in itself.”

NIU’s first test is determining a lineup. While returnees like senior 142-pounder Jeff Chumbley, junior 150-pounder Jim Gussman, and sophomore 190-pounder Mel Heckman figure prominently, NIU will still be without NCAA national qualifier T.C. Dantzler, who has two football games remaining. Frosh James Spillman was named the Silver Division MVP at last week’s UWSP Open after winning the 150-pound bracket.