Sunday, July 11, 2021

Defending the Title: 1950: Those Who Did and Those Who Didn't Defend the Title

 1950 was a great year for former champions coming into the tournament and repeating as champion.   

Lowell Lange of Cornell (IA), Bill Nelson of Northern Iowa and Dick Hutton of Oklahoma State all captured their third NCAA titles to go down in the history books a three time NCAA champions. 

Bill Smith of Northern Iowa & Joe Scarpello of Iowa both capped off their illustrious careers as two time NCAA champions. 

Keith Young of Northern Iowa won his second of what would eventually be three titles. 

The two lowest weight classes crowned two new champions and after that it was all familiar faces. 

1950 Champion 121
Tony "Babe" Gizoni of Waynesburg 

A three time state champion out of Washington high school, Babe Gizoni was yet another grappler who proved to the wrestling community that you don't have to wrestle for a big school to achieve big things. Winning his first NCAA title here in 1950, he would repeat again in 1951.  He most likely would have been a three time NCAA champion, but he was ruled ineligible for the 1952 NCAA tournament due to competing in non-sanctioned tournaments during the season.  Having his career cut short, he finished his career at Waynesburg with a 52-0 record.  He later served in the military during the Korean War, earning a bronze star. 

1950 Champion 126
Joe Patacsil of Purdue 

One match short of an NCAA medal in 1949 as a junior, the two time BIG 10 champion would not be denied his senior season.  Ironically enough when he reached the NCAA finals, his opponent was Walter Romanowski of Cornell (IA) a former teammate of his at Tilden Tech high school in Illinois.  Post college, Patacsil coached at Logansport High School.  He'd later have two of his sons and two of his grandsons compete for Purdue.  One of which was Jake Patacsil who placed fifth for the Boilermakers at the 2009 NCAA championships. 

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