April 24, 2012
DeKalb, Ill. – Senior Brad Dieckhaus was named the team’s most valuable wrestler at the Northern Illinois Wrestling banquet Sunday as the team officially closed the book on their 2011-12 season.
The most valuable wrestler was one of several honors given out for excellence on the mat and in the classroom.
Dieckhaus earned the Bruce Swierczewski Most Valuable Wrestler Award after qualifying for the NCAA Championships for the second-straight season, while also taking second at 184 in the Mid-American Conference Championships. The St. Charles, Mo. native also became the first NIU wrestler since 1964-65 to finish the regular season undefeated and earned All-MAC and Academic All-MAC honors.
Fellow senior Mike Lukowski was honored with the inaugural True Grit Award for his hard-nosed wrestling style. Lukowski finished the season with an 11-8 record, along with taking fourth at 197 pounds in the MAC Championships.
Sophomore Nick Smith earned the Will McDermott Most Dedicated Award after posting a 14-7 record at 125 pounds despite battling several upper-body injuries throughout the season.
Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Kevin Fanta took home the Most Improved Award for his 13-7 season and first-career NCAA Championships appearance.
For the Huskies who redshirted during the season, Ethan Davis was named the Outstanding Redshirt of the Year. The freshman from Monett, Mo. placed at every open tournament during the season – including first place showings at the Pointer Open and Harper Open – to finish the season with a 16-3 record.
Off the mat, Dieckhaus and Dan Burk shared the Upperclassmen Academic Award for their accomplishments in the classroom. Dieckhaus currently holds a 4.0 GPA in graduate school studying sport management, while Burk holds a 3.5 GPA while studying kinesiology.
Among freshmen, Matt Frisch took the Freshmen Academic Award with a 3.3 GPA in business administration.
Shawn Fayette garnered the Lifter of the Year Award after breaking several of his personal lift records over the preseason and during the year.
The banquet concluded with speeches from Dieckhaus and Lukowski before the team’s annual highlight video officially closed the banquet.