Thursday, August 19, 2021

Defending the Title: 1995: Those Who Did and Those Who Did Not Defend The Title

 North Carolina's T.J. Jaworsky ended his career with his 3rd NCAA title as Arizona State's Markus Mollica won title #2. 

1995 Champion 118 
Kelvin Jackson of Michigan State 

An Indiana state champion for Anderson high school, Jackson's only other trip to the NCAA DI championships was in 1994 where he went 0-1.  Winning 42 matches as a senior in 1995, he won the NCAA title. 

1995 Champion 126
Jeff McGinness of Iowa 

Going 172-0, McGinness won four state titles for Iowa City, City High while in High school. Competing for the Hawkeyes, he finished 5th in the nation as a true freshman in 1994. He then won the national title as a true sophomore in 1995.  Finishing one match shy of All American status as a junior in 1996, he redshirted in 1997, making a tremendous comeback to win his second NCAA title in 1998. He finished off his Hawkeye career with a record of 127-16.  A man of many hats, today McGinness owns various wine restaurants. 

1995 Champion 142
John Hughes of Penn State 

A four time state champion for Benton High school, Hughes was 7th in the nation as a sophomore in 1994, winning the national title as a junior in 1995. He would finish as the NCAA runner-up as a seniro in 1996.  Coaching various levels of wrestling post his collegiate career, he also won Pan-American gold. 

1995 Champion 150
Steve Marianetti of Illinois 

Accumulating 120 victories during his career at Illinois, Marianetti was 4th as a sophomore in 1993 and 5th as a junior in 1994 before capping off his career as the national champion 1995.  Post college he won Pan-American gold in 1997, along with Good Will Games Silver & World Cup Silver in 1998.  He has since been the long time coach at Elmhurst. 

1995 Champion 158
Ernest Benion of Illinois 

A graduate of Romeoville High, Benion won the NCAA title as a sophomore in 1995.  He would finish as the NCAA runner-up in 1996, ending his career with a 3rd place finish at the 1997 NCAA championships.  Having an outstanding singing voice, Benion sang the national anthem at multiple events over his life. Today Benion works as a Pastor of the Church of God in Ontario, California. His ministering has led him to multiple countries around the world. 

1995 Champion 177
Les Gutches of Oregon State 

A three time state champion from South Medford High school, Gutches had what is still considered today the best showing for an Oregon State Beaver.  Going 134-10 during his career, he was 5th in the nation as a sophomore in 1994, winning back to back NCAA titles in 1995 and 1996.  Post college he won three Pan-American Gold medals, a Good Will Games Gold Medal and both Gold and Bronze medals at the World Championships.  Having worked for USA wrestling, Gutches is also part owner of G3 Sports. His wife was a varsity basketball player for Oregon State. 

1995 Champion 190 
J.J. McGrew of Oklahoma State 

A state champion for Sperry high school, McGrew was recruited by the big names in collegiate wrestling but he wanted to make some noise at a non-wrestling school so he initially chose Notre Dame.  Finishing one match shy of All American honors in 1992 as a sophomore, McGrew was forced to find a new home because of the dishonest and underhanded decisions of Dick Rosenthal and the Notre Dame administration discontinuing wrestling.  Choosing Oklahoma State, McGrew was 7th in the nation in 1994, finishing off his career as the NCAA champion in 1995. 

1995 Champion HWT
Tolly Thompson of Nebraska 

A two time state-runner up for Janesville High School, add Thompson to your list of NCAA champs that never won a state title.  Competing for Nebraska, a three time BIG 12 champion, Thompson won his NCAA title as a sophomore in 1995.  He would then finish out his remaining two seasons with back to back 3rd place finishes. In his final NCAA tournament he was also a Gorriaran award winner.  157 victories, 54 were by fall. Post college, Thompson won World Bronze in 2005.  He's coached at Nebraska, Northern Iowa and West Virginia. 


Jaworsky and Mollica previously mentioned 

McGinness would not repeat in 1996, but after a redshirt in 1997 repeated in 1998 

Gutches repeated in 1996

Hughes, Benion and Thompson did not repeat

Jackson, Marianetti and McGrew were seniors 

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