Huskie wrestlers ready to face nation’s best

By Fred Konrath

While some people may think the talent is not there on a 2-11 wrestling squad, the NIU wrestlers are ready to show they have enough talent to compete with some of the nation’s best.

The Huskies travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, Saturday to take on Illinois State and Northern Iowa, which is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation.

NIU has at least four legitimate wrestlers fighting to earn a trip to Nationals this year: T.C. Dantzler, Bill Walsh, Courtney Pitter and Shannon Gregory.

Leading the way on the mat this year is T.C. Dantzler (10-1), who is looking for a return trip to Nationals and potential All-American honors. “He definitely has his wrestling legs back,” said head coach Ed Vatch. “We can always count on him and he always comes through for us.”

Also wrestling well is Bill “Duck” Walsh (15-7). “He is one tough competitor,” said Vatch. “He just gets in there on any situation and does what he has to do. If he can work on wrestling on his feet and combine that with his riding skills, he’ll be tough to beat.”

Courtney Pitter (12-8) is another top Huskie, but has a competitive regional to face. “Courtney’s wrestled with the best of them,” said Vatch. “We’ll know more about his competition after this weekend.”

Shannon Gregory (13-7), who has faced some off-the-mat adversity recently, is starting to get his wrestling mind back. “It just goes to show that anything can happen throughout the course of the season, whether it’s an injury or individual problems,” said Vatch. “We’re just glad to have made it this far.”