Sunday, July 11, 2021

Defending the title: 1951: Those Who Did and Those Who Didn't Defend the Title

 Babe Gizoni of Waynesburg would pick up NCAA title #2 as a junior. Unfortunately due to competing in non-sanctioned tournaments, he was ruled ineligible & would not be allowed to go for title #3 in 1952. 

Keith Young of Northern Iowa won his third and final title. 

The exact opposite of 1950 where only two of the eight champions crowned won their first title, 1951 only saw two repeat champions as the other six won their first titles. 

1951 Champion 130 
Walter Romanowski of Cornell (IA) 

A graduate of Tilden Tech High School in Illinois where he made the state finals as a senior, he ironically faced and lost to high school teammate Joe Patacsil of Purdue in the NCAA finals in 1950.  A four time Midwest Conference champion, he came back in 1951 as a senior to win the NCAA title. 

1951 Champion 137 
George Layman of Oklahoma State 

Layman was a junior when he won his first NCAA title in 1951. He'd repeat as champion againin 1952. 

1951 Champion 157 
Phil Smith of Oklahoma 

A graduate of Tulsa Central high school, Smith was a senior when he won the NCAA title for the Sooners. 

1951 Champion 167
Gene Gibbons of Michigan State 

Gibbons was a senior when he won the NCAA title for the Spartans.  Post college he would coach at John Marshall High School in Cleveland where he lead thirteen wrestlers to individual state titles. While living in Cleveland he was a supporter of Cleveland State Viking wrestling. 

1951 Champion 177 
Grover Rains of Oklahoma State 

Uniquely enough, Grover Rains would serve our country both before and after his time at Oklahoma State. Before attending Oklahoma State he served in the Navy during World War II.  Then after winning the NCAA title for the Cowboys as a senior in 1951, he served in the Army during the Korean War.  He later coached wrestling in both Oklahoma and California. 

1951 Champion UNL
Brad Glass of Princeton 

Future Illinois senator (1973-1979) Brad Glass excelled on both the gridiron and the wrestling mat. An All American on the Tiger football team, Glass was a junior when he won the 1951 NCAA title. As a senior in 1952, he would take third place All American honors. 


Gizoni won title #2 and Young won title #3 

Layman a junior would repeat again in 1952 

Glass a junior would take third in 1952 

Romanowski, Smith, Gibbons and Rains were all seniors 


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