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‘He’s got a target on him:’ Parkside wrestler hopes to end career with 3rd Division II national title

Nick Becker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Not one but six University of Wisconsin-Parkside wrestlers are headed to the NCAA championships this weekend, but one is looking to continue his reign and make history.

Nick Becker is hoping for a one-two-three-peat.

"I think the pressure is always gonna be there. I just try to embrace it and look at the good things -- just spending the last few weeks with my teammates here creating memories and creating more memories at the national tournament this weekend," said Becker.

University of Wisconsin-Parkside wrestlers

The already two-time defending national championship is hoping to end his wrestling career at Parkside with another Division II national title.

Corey VanGroll

"It's difficult. He's got a target on him. Everyone comes out there gunning for him, type of thing," said Corey VanGroll, Parkside wrestling head coach.

Becker was recently named the most dominant wrestler in Division II, and carries an impressive win streak into championship weekend, holding an 85-0 record.

"People talk to me about it all the time, which is fine, but I just have the same preparation for each and every match and I think that's what's made this streak work -- just doing the same thing week in and week out. It's seemed to pay off," said Becker.

University of Wisconsin-Parkside wrestlers

"He gets frustrated sometimes, in regards, because guys aren't opening up so it's hard for him to score as much as he wants. Guys aren't even trying to beat him anymore. They're just trying to keep it close and maybe snake him at the end of matches," said VanGroll.

Wrestling success seems to come easy for Becker, but his style may play a key role.

Nick Becker

"I pride myself on scoring a lot of points -- going out there and putting a show on out there for the fans. I don't wanna win a match by one or two points. I like to get tech falls or pins," said Becker.

"Funky I guess would be a word. He's un-traditional. He lets guys through his legs a lot. He's comfortable with guys on his legs. At the same time, he still scores a lot of points," said VanGroll.

If you're wondering where Becker's competitive spirit comes from --  he didn't have to go too far as the youngest in a family full of wrestlers, who've also had their fair share of success.

University of Wisconsin-Parkside wrestlers

"Growing up, we always competed against each other, no matter if it was a card game or a wrestling match in the living room. I think that's what's driven me to be successful," said Becker.

"Super hard work, but they're talented in other ways too. They're innovative, creative. If you give them enough time to practice, they're gonna be good at something. Super competitive too. That's another thing," said VanGroll.

While his older brothers have also won national titles, Becker is going for #3 -- something they haven't done, but he's not concerned with the bragging rights.

"I don't look at it like that. I just look at is as part of my NCAA championships is also theirs. My family has helped me a lot. I know I wouldn't be here in this position if I didn't have them," said Becker.

The NCAA wrestling championships begin Friday, March 9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.