Wrestling junior opts to end athletic career

By Ed Rietveld

Even though the wrestling team has only one senior, there is another Huskie whose time on the mat at NIU is just about over. Redshirt junior Dan Burk will not utilize his extra year of eligibility next season and will instead graduate with a degree in kinesiology.

Burk finishes his career 18-32 with two career wins by pinfall. He finishes this season with a record of 8-17. He spent most of the season as the Huskies’ starter at 165 pounds.

Burk, a graduate of Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, said he thinks he has changed a lot wrestling-wise during his time at NIU.

“Well, coming in as a freshman…you’re just so used to more of the high school style of wrestling,” Burk said. “So, there’s no comparison to wrestling in college. So I just think it’s the mindset [it takes to wrestle in college], just going out there and sticking to your game plan and just being confident every time you step out on the mat.”

Head coach Ryan Ludwig said Burk has brought several things to the program.

“Well, I think one of the defining attributes of a Division I student athlete is accountability and consistency, and Dan Burk exhibits both of those qualities on a daily basis,” Ludwig said. “He’s…always been a leader by example and being vocal in the wrestling room and he gets fantastic grades and works his tail off daily, so…we couldn’t be happier with him in a leadership role at our program.”

Burk said he hopes to stay involved with the sport of wrestling in some way after his time at NIU is up.

“Yeah, I mean I’ve been wrestling for the past 12 years of my life, [that’s] more than half of it,” Burk said. “I don’t know, I just consider myself a wrestler, even though I may almost be done competing. [I’m always gonna be part of it,] whether that be with the NIU program or coaching after I graduate. I’m always gonna be with the sport, I am always gonna love the sport and I respect what it taught me and my coaches… So, yeah I’m always gonna be tied into sport somehow.”

Burk said he will always have good memories of the time he shared with his teammates during his Huskie career, especially during the team’s recent road trip to Cleveland State.

“Two weekends ago, or this past weekend, we were on the way back from Cleveland State for some duals,” Burk said. “And we were just watching some scary movies, and I remember one of my teammates scared the crap out of me during one of the scary movies we were watching. There’s just so many memories. It’s a great group of guys and coaches I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys for my four years here.”