Friday, July 2, 2021

Defending The Title: 1935: Who Did and Who Didn't Defend Their Titles

 Both Rex Peery and Ross Flood of Oklahoma State won their third titles as Wayne Martin of Oklahoma won his second of what would eventually be three.  

1935 Champion 135
Vernon Sisney of Oklahoma 

Sisney was a senior the night he captured his NCAA title. Post college he spent a short time as a member of the highway patrol before getting a job as the head psychologist at the V.A. hospital in Oklahoma City.  He later opened up his own practice and taught psychology courses at Oklahoma. 

1935 Champion 155
Frank Lewis of Oklahoma State 

Originally from Texas, the wrestling world may have never known Lewis had it not been for a move to Cushing, Oklahoma during his youth.  A talented wrestler who placed at the state tournament every season, including winning a state title, he certainly had the credentials legendary coach Ed Gallagher looked for in a wrestler.  Only Lewis didn't plan on wrestling in college. He was more interested in focusing on his school work and getting a job to help pay for college expenses. 

For fun, he decided to enter an intramural wrestling tournament.  He got beat in the finals. It bothered him so much that he decided he was going to join the wrestling team after all.  Making the finals in 1934 as a junior, he won the NCAA title here in 1935 as a senior.  He'd continue his career post college, winning a gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games. 

1935 Champion 165
Howard Johnston of Penn State 

Johnston was a senior in 1935, who would later help to organize the first high school state championships in Pennsylvania as well as officiate at them. 

1935 Champion 175
Ralph "Ruffy" Silverstein of Illinois  

Silverstein was junior when he won the NCAA title.  A three time BIG 10 champion, he didn't attend the 1936 NCAA's as he instead tried out for and made the Olympic team. Unfortunately for Silverstein, the Jewish community boycotted the Olympic games and he was unable to attend.  Getting into professional wrestling, he soon found himself as a fan favorite in the American Wrestling Association.  

1935 Champion UNL 
Charley McDaniel of Indiana 

Also a member of the Hoosier football team, Charley McDaniel poses a bit of a mystery when you look at his history.  A sophomore here in 1935 winning his first NCAA title, he finished as the NCAA runner-up in 1936. No where to be found in the 1937 NCAA tournament, one would come to the conclusion that he didn't enter the tournament.  Yet a year later in 1938, there he is and he wins a second NCAA title.  He wasn't a freshman in 1935 because freshmen weren't eligible to compete at the NCAA's in 1935.  All I can figure is that he somehow got an extra year of eligibility in order to compete in 1938.  Either having took 1937 off or having gotten hurt and granted another year. To my knowledge medical hardships and extra years didn't exist in the 1930's.   

McDaniel would go on to coach the Hoosiers from 1945-1972.  This included fourteen top 25 finishes at the NCAA tournament. 


As mentioned previously Peery and Flood won their third titles as Wayne Martin won his second of what would eventually be three. 

Vernon Sisney of Oklahoma, Frank Lewis of Oklahoma State and Howard Johnston of Penn State were all seniors. 

Silverstein did not defend his title as instead he concentrated on making an Olympic team that he unfortunately didn't get to compete for. 

McDaniel settled for second place in 1936 but came back in 1938 to claim title #2. 

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