Dictus earns right to wrestle at nationals

Tim Ruberton

Lawrence senior wrestler Ben Dictus qualified for the NCAA Division III National Tournament for the third time in as many years after finishing second at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships in Eau Claire Saturday.
Dictus, wrestling in the 184-pound weight class, dropped a major decision, 10-1, against Jason Luloff of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the first-place bout, failing to defend his 2005 class title, but defeated Mike Schmidt of UW-Whitewater, 5-3, in the wrestle-back to grab second.
Aside from Dictus’s achievements, the tournament and the season had few bright spots for the Lawrence team; at the conference championships, no other Viking placed higher than fourth in his class: James Williamson (125), Tony Norton (141), and John Budi (174) all took fourth, while Joe Austin (165) and Scott Polewach (197) finished fifth.
As a whole, the Lawrence side finished last in the seven-team field with 58 points, with UW-La Crosse winning the overall championship with 159 points. La Crosse wrestlers won seven of the 10 weight classes.
Though a rather grim (1-10, 0-6 WIAC) season is over for most of the team, Dictus’s work will continue in the national tournament March 3-4 at the College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J. At the WIAC tournament, Dictus beat Brandon Conley of UW-Platteville handily (14-5) in the quarterfinal bout.
His next bout, the semifinal against UW-Stevens Point’s Craig Bollig was a tenser affair. Bollig’s evasive style was familiar to Dictus, who said the bout “was similar to the dual [meet against Stevens Point on January 31],” in which he beat Bollig 3-1. “He never steps in and is always moving backwards,” said Dictus.
In Saturday’s bout, Dictus was tied with Bollig 1-1 at the end of regulation and the bout went to overtime. Dictus scored a takedown with twelve seconds remaining in the extra period to win the bout 3-1 and advance to the finals against Luloff.
The final match, according to both Dictus and the 10-1 final score, “didn’t go well.” Upon moving into the wrestle-back bracket, Dictus faced Whitewater’s Schmidt for second-place honors – and the all-important at-large bid to the NCAA tournament – winning 5-3.
Schmidt scored a takedown in the second period, but the Lawrence wrestler was able to escape the ensuing par terre for 1 point, quickly turned the tables and earned a 2-point takedown of his own. Dictus controlled Schmidt long enough at the end of the match to score the bout’s single time-advantage point, clinching the victory.
Dictus recalled his final regular season at Lawrence with mixed emotions, saying of the team’s disappointing showing, “It was a long season and we went through a lot . [We] lost a few key players . so we were short on numbers, but I am proud to have wrestled with the guys that did stick it out.”
As for the rest of the season, Dictus has high hopes: “I plan on being an all-American,” he said.