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K.J. Pilcher | The Cedar Rapids Gazette | March 21, 2016

Peters overcomes injury to earn All-America honors

UNI's Dylan Peters (left) battled back from a serious knee injury to finish sixth in the nation at 125 pounds.

NEW YORK -- The sting of the finish might have hurt more than the injury that caused it.

Northern Iowa's Dylan Peters will need some time before he appreciates what he accomplished this week.

After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee early in December, Peters was able to battle back, earning his second All-American finish before medical forfeiting his final match at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Peters, the ninth seed at 125 pounds, placed sixth. He was winless at last year's national tournament after getting sixth as a freshman. Peters' run came to a halt when he aggravated the injury in the final period of a 6-4 loss to American's David Terao.

"I was looking to wrestle back to third," Peters said. "I tweaked it. Now, I'm done. The season is over.

"Obviously, I feel better than last year. It sucks. You go and ride that wave and now it's just over."

Peters (18-5) also strained his lateral collateral ligament and tore his meniscus. UNI Coach Doug Schwab said sending him out for one more match made little sense, since he was at half strength before hurting it again.

"I've got to be extremely proud of the warrior that he is and competitor that he is to still get on the stand and be in the shape that he was," Schwab said. "He made his mind up in December after he found out."

Momentum was created by two first-period pins in the consolations, advancing him into the top six. He decked Oklahoma's No. 5 Ryan Millhof in 1:03 to secure an All-American finish. He originally hurt his knee in December against Millhof.

Before the "blood round" bouts, Peters said the crowd seemed louder and Schwab's usual pre-match smirk seemed a bit different Friday night.

"The look in his eye pumped me up," Peters said. "I felt good. Just ready to go."

Peters talked with Schwab the day he was hurt. They weighed their options. Schwab provided examples of wrestlers who overcame similar injuries and setbacks. The most impactful example was Oklahoma's John Kading, the 190-pound NCAA runner-up in 1997.

Peters gained confidence from the support and past examples. He gutted out the pain and made his mind up to withstand it.

"He proved a lot of people wrong," Schwab said, "and he proved a lot of people right.

"More for himself in the future, look what he can overcome. If he had any questions about how tough he was or what he can handle, he definitely proved himself what he is able to handle and accomplish."

Peters will have a consultation and surgery within the next two weeks and then expects five to six months of recovery.

"I'm ready for the road ahead," Peters said.

This article was written by K.J. Pilcher from The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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