Dantzler bows out

By Fred Konrath

T.C. Dantzler’s high hopes for his third-straight appearance at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships started out on the wrong foot, took a hopeful step and ended in heartbreaking fashion by the end of the night.

Dantzler did not get the luck of the draw in Thursday’s meet at Oklahoma City, Okla.

The NIU junior found himself opening up against the No. 1 seed in the 158-pound class and was dropped 25-9 by technical fall at the 6:05 mark by the defending national champion, Pat Smith of Oklahoma State.

However, Smith helped Dantzler’s cause with two more wins, allowing Dantzler to wrestle again in the wrestlebacks.

Dantzler hooked up with Lew Cerchio in the wrestlebacks and decisioned the Seton Hall Pirate, 10-4.

Dantzler, then, took on the University of Oregon’s Darren Gustafson—who also lost by technical fall to Smith—for his third match of the day.

Dantzler and Gustafson tangled for three intense periods

before Gustafson ended Dantzler’s season with a tight 3-2 decision.

In 1990’s Championships, Dantzler opened with a first-round triumph, but dropped his second-round battle with the No. 3 seed and continued to slip out of the tourney with a 9-8 wrestleback loss.

Last season, Dantzler began with a 9-4 loss to the No. 12 seed and didn’t get a chance to wrestle again because that winner lost in the second round.