Wrestling

Durham’s Jacob Christensen lands at D-I Northern Illinois University

Durham’s Jacob Christensen lands at D-I Northern Illinois University

Jacob Christensen scanned the bleachers while sitting dead center inside the sweltering Durham High School gym.

The now-graduated senior from Durham High was stunned to see how many people — friends, family members and coaches — turned out for his signing ceremony.

“Everyone who came here took time out of their day in this heat to come out here. It’s really heartwarming to see,” Christensen said. “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect anything of this magnitude. It really just makes what I’ve done more special.”

Christensen, the 2019 CIF State Wrestling Championship runner-up, made his next destination official by signing to Division I Northern Illinois University on Friday.

“He wasn’t just a good wrestler in Durham or a good wrestler in northern California,” Durham wrestling coach Anthony Cardoza said. “He was one of the best wrestlers in the United States.”

Cardoza recalled the first time he met Christensen. Christensen was a third-grader and Cardoza immediately knew Christensen was destined to one day be a state champion for Durham.

Despite COVID-19 eliminating another chance for Christensen to pursue a state wrestling championship, he was able to still compete his senior year. Christensen traveled across the United States competing in several tournaments.

When the window opened up on June 1 for athletes to visit Division I programs, Christensen was drawn to Northern Illinois. He scheduled a visit shortly after and on June 13 he officially committed.

“Ultimately I liked what I saw at Northern Illinois. The facilities were amazing,” Christensen said. “The coaches they wanted me and they made it very known. They were patient with me. I liked the environment that they had there.”

Christensen will be competing in the Mid-American Conference under Huskies head coach Ryan Ludwig.

“I appreciate every moment and every opportunity Durham has given me. I tried to make the most out of my time here,” Christensen said. “I made a lot of memories and lifelong friendships here. I’m excited for the next chapter of my life.”

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