Sunday, August 8, 2021

Defending The Title: 1981: Those Who Did and Those Who Did Not Defend The Title

 Mean Gene Mills of Syracuse returned off a redshirt to capture his second NCAA title as Ricky Stewart of Oklahoma State and Ed Banach of Iowa both captured their second titles as well. 

1981 Champion 126
Dan Cuestas of Cal State Bakersfield 

A two time State champion from Merced High School, Cuestas took over the starting spot after Azevedo graduated and in his last two years as a Roadrunner won two NCAA Division II titles and two NCAA Division I titles in 1981 and 1982. 

1981 Champion 134 
Jim Gibbons of Iowa State 

A three time state champion for Ames High School, Gibbons traveled less than a five minute drive away to compete for the Iowa State Cyclones in college.  Placing 7th at the 1980 NCAA championships as a sophomore, Gibbons was a junior when he captured the NCAA title.  He'd place 3rd as a senior in 1982.  Post college he coached at Iowa State, leading the Cyclones to a NCAA DI team title in 1987.  As of today, Gibbons is a play by play, color commentator for various wrestling events. 

1981 Champion 142
Andre Metzger of Oklahoma 

It is said that over the span of his entire wrestling career Andrew Metzger wrestled 2,000 matches and he won 1,870 of them.  Collegiately he finished 5th at the NCAA championships as a freshman, later that summer capturing Pan-American Gold and World Bronze.  An NCAA finalist in 1980 as a sophomore, he won back to back NCAA titles in 1981 and 1982.  Post college he World Silver in 1986 and World Bronze in 1987.  Coaching various positions, he heads the NCWA club team at North Texas. 

1981 Champion 150
Nate Carr of Iowa State

A Pennsylvania state champion out of Erie Tech, Carr was one match shy of All American status as a sophomore in 1980.  The next two seasons he would not know defeat at the NCAA championships, winning back to back titles in 1981 and 1982.  Post college, he won a World Cup Gold in 1986, an Olympic Bronze in 1988 and a Good Will Games Bronze in 1990.  Coaching at West Virginia both of Carr's sons have had stellar collegiate careers of their own.  Son Nate Jr won a NJCAA title for Iowa Central Community College and son David, who currently competes for Iowa State, won an NCAA title this past season. 

1981 Champion 167 
Mark Schultz of Oklahoma 

Can being a great wrestler run in the blood? Is it genetic? Can it be inherited? Plenty of arguments against such a notion, but I'd argue that in the case of Mark Schultz, indeed it can be.  Schultz, the younger brother of legend Dave, didn't even start officially wrestling until he was a junior in high school.  Even then, in his first year, he wasn't that good.  He got good.  Winning a state title for Palo Alto as a senior, he began his collegiate career at UCLA.  He soon transferred to Oklahoma where he won his first NCAA title as a sophomore in 1981.  He repeated in 1982 as a junior, winning World Cup Gold later that summer.  He won his final NCAA title as a senior in 1983.  Post college he had a stellar international showing, gaining Olympic Gold in 1984, World Gold in 1985, Pan-American Gold in 1987 and World Gold in 1987.   He coached at both Villanova and Brigham Young. 

1981 Champion 190
Tom Martucci of The College of New Jersey 

Their aren't many NCAA DIII champs who also won an NCAA DI title but The College of New Jersey's Tom Martucci is one of them.  Also an NCAA DIII champ in 1980, Martucci was a senior when he captured the NCAA DI title. He later coached at both Bloomsburg and North Carolina. 

1981 Champion UNL 
Lou Banach of Iowa 

Like his brother Ed, when you think of Lou Banach you think strength.  Mental, emotional, physical, strength is the best word to describe Lou Banach.  Winning the NCAA title for the Hawkeyes as a sophomore in 1981, he would finish 3rd in 1982, coming back as a senior to reclaim his throne in 1983.  He then won Olympic Gold beside Ed at the 1984 Games. 


Mills, Stewart and Ed Banach already mentioned 

Cuestas repeated as did Metzger, Carr and Schultz 

Lou Banach would not repeat in 1982, but did repeat in 1983 

Gibbons did not repeat 

Martucci was a senior 

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