Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Defending The Title: 1962: Those Who Did and Those Who Did Not Defend Their Title

 The legendary Gray Simons won his third NCAA title along with this fourth NAIA title, ending his career with 7 national titles.  Bob Johnson of Oklahoma State won his second NCAA title. 

1962 Champion 123
Masaaki Hatta of Oklahoma State 

Son of Ichiro Hatta, who is credited for the rise of wrestling's popularity in Japan, Hatta had a standout career for the Cowboys.  Finishing as the NCAA runner-up in 1960 & 1961, he would be crowned champion in his final tournament of 1962.  Along with these outstanding accomplishments, he was also a two time Midlands champion. His brother Tadaaki was also a standout wrestler in his own right. 

1962 Champion 130 
Mickey Martin of Oklahoma 

A state champion of Tulsa Central high school, Martin finished 3rd at the 1961 NCAA championships as a sophomore. He won his first of two NCAA titles in 1962, capturing a second in 1963.  Post college he coached at both the high school and collegiate level.  This included a stint at South Dakota State, then coaching various high school teams in Oklahoma where accumulatively his teams won three state titles and six runner-up finishes.  Individually he coached 31 state champions. Among those  he taught, are the Smith family, who credit him for teaching them riding and turning techniques from the top position. 

1962 Champion 137 
Bill Carter of Oklahoma

Carter was a senior when he captured the NCAA title for the Sooners. 

1962 Champion 147
Mike Natvig of Army 

A native of Osage, Iowa, add Natvig to your list of NCAA champions who never won a state title.  He finished twice runner-up at the Iowa high school state championships.  Competing for the Black Knights, Natvig won back to back NCAA titles in 1962 and 1963.  What may be most impressive in his 1962 title is in the fact that he had faced finals opponent Kirk Pendleton of Lehigh in the EIWA finals only weeks prior.  Pendleton handed him an 11-4 loss.  This time Natvig would be the winner, claiming a 5-4 victory.  Post his collegiate career, he ran a Wagoner Equipment in Colorado, selling Caterpillar skid loaders. 

1962 Champion 157
Jack Flasche of Northern Colorado 

A three time Rocky Mountain Conference champion, Flasche was a sophomore when he captured the NCAA title for the bears.  He'd return to the NCAA championships in 1964, where he made it to the quarter-finals. 

1962 Champion 167
Ronnie Clinton of Oklahoma State 

Clinton was a senior when he captured the NCAA title for the Cowboys.  He went on to coach at Eastern Illinois, where he lead the Panthers to two NCAA runner-up and two third place finishes at the NCAA Division II tournament.  He coached 45 All Americans and 6 NCAA DII champions. 

1962 Champion 191
Wayne Baughman of Oklahoma 

Folkstyle, Greco-Roman, Free-style, Sambo, with as successful as he was at wrestling winning titles at all levels in all styles, it's hard to believe that Baughman only went out for wrestling because he had to.  Truth was, Baughman's interest was football, that's where he wanted to shine.  Fortunately for the wrestling community, his football coach required that his players be out for a winter sport. Baughman chose wrestling over basketball.  After finishing third in the state championships, Baughman considered a collegiate football career at Baylor.  Only he thought he might want to wrestle too, and Baylor didn't have a wrestling program.  Therefore he went to Oklahoma to play football and once again found himself in a situation where he was wanted more on the mat than he was on the gridiron.  

Finishing as the NCAA runner-up as a sophomore in 1961, Baughman won the NCAA title as a junior in 1962. He finished as runner-up again in 1963 as a senior.  Post his own decorated career, he then turned to coaching where he took over the reigns at Air Force. There he coached his team to 183 dual victories, crowning 16 Western Athletic Champions and 6 Western Regional champions. 

1962 Champion UNL
Sherwyn Thorson 

Considering he wrestled at the 138 lbs weight class as a sophomore, it's hard to believe that two years later Sherwyn Thorson took second place honors at HWT for Fort Dodge at the Iowa high school state tournament.  Competing for the Hawkeyes, Thorson made the NCAA finals as a sophomore in 1960. He'd return to the NCAA championships in 1962, this time to claim the title.   Also an All American in football, Thorson went on to a career in the CFL where he played offensive guard and linebacker for Winnipeg. 


Simons and Johnson already mentioned

Flasche and Baughman did not repeat 

Martin and Natvig repeated

Hatta, Martin, Clinton and Thorson were all seniors 


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