Brian Broderick knows how to deal with adversity.

Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12 didn't stop Broderick from becoming a four-time District 24 wrestling champ and state place-winner at Southern Regional High School.

Now a senior at The College of New Jersey, Broderick didn't let an early-season knee injury keep him from wrestling his way into the 184-pound NCAA Division III final Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"It certainly had its ups and downs," Broderick said. "But I knew it was my last year. I ended up in second place. It's not what I wanted, but it's not bad."

Broderick reached the 184-pound national final for the second straight season and finished his impressive collegiate career as a two-time All-American.

He lost a 3-1 overtime decision to Wabash's Riley Lefever in the final after winning three straight decisions to get there.

Lefever was the top seed in the weight class and finished his freshman season 38-0.

"It was a heartbreaker," Broderick said. "It was a killer, but I'm lucky to live another day. It's just wrestling. … I'm getting over it slowly."

Broderick won his 100th career match earlier this season and finished his career with 108 wins.

"You're always rooting for a guy with adversity," TCNJ coach Joe Galante said.

Galante was a 2002 Ocean City High School graduate.

"There are things that he overcame this year that most people wouldn't be able to handle," Galante said. "And to still be able to perform at the level he did at nationals was excellent."

Broderick wrestled on an elevated platform in front of a Division III record 8,787 fans Saturday in the finals.

"It really is pretty cool," Broderick said. "The lights were a lot brighter for the final session than they were before.

"Once you're up there you don't really notice those things but when you step back and look at a picture, it is pretty cool."

Broderick was TCNJ's first two-time finalist since the 1990s.

Teammate Zach Zotollo joined Broderick as a two-time All-American, taking sixth at 174. TCNJ finished 14th in the team standings for its third straight top-15 finish.

"These guys did it two years in a row, and they did it at an extremely high level," Galante said. "They are Lion strong. That's our brand, and they are truly Lion strong."

Contact John O'Kane:

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