Friday, September 3, 2021

Defending The Title: 1998: Those Who Did and Those Who Did Not Defend the Title

 Oklahoma State's Eric Guerrero won title #2 of 3

Iowa's Mark Ironside finished off his career as a two time champion as teammate Jeff McGinness a champion in 1995 returned to finish off his career with his second title as well.  Teammate Joe Williams finished off his career with title #3. 

1998 Champion 118
Teague Moore Oklahoma State 

Moore came to Oklahoma State from Pennsylvania where he was a state champion for North Allegheny high school.  Competing for the Cowboys, Moore's NCAA title came in his junior season of 1998, as he placed 4th in 1997 and finished off his career with a 3rd place finish in 1999.  Post college, Moore has coached at Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Harvard, Clarion and American. 

1998 Champion 150
Eric Siebert of Illinois

A state champion for LaSalle-Peru, Siebert put together a record of 112-30 while competing for the Fighting Illini.  5th in the nation as a junior in 1997, he capped off his career national champion in 1998.  He later coached at Carl Sandberg high school. 

1998 Champion 158 
Dwight Gardner of Ohio 

Gardner came to Ohio from Florida where he wrestled for Miami-Palmetto high school.  During his time as a Bobcat, he went 123-27 winning two MAC titles as he earned 7th place All American honors in 1997 as a junior, capping off his career as NCAA champion in 1998 as a senior. 

1998 Champion 177
Mitch Clark of Ohio State 

One of the most brutal and dominate top wrestlers in the history of collegiate wrestling, it's hard to believe that a state title never made an appearance in Clark's high school career. The best he finished in the state of New York competing for Canton High was two-time runner-up.  While competing for the Buckeyes, Clark finished NCAA runner-up during his junior campaign of 1997.  He finished his career as NCAA champion in 1998.  Post college Clark has coached as well as sold fitness equipment.  His father coached at St. Lawrence and his brother John a two time All American for the Buckeyes, is currently the head coach at Sacred Heart.  If your looking for a good read, Clark's MAKE IT HAPPEN is one of the best amateur wrestling books out there. 

1998 Champion 190 
Tim Hartung of Minnesota 

College wrestling didn't look to be in the future of Tim Hartung. While a Wisconsin state champion for Durand High School, the "experts" informed him that he wasn't good enough to wrestle at the DI stage in college. Hartung strongly considered going to St. Cloud State to play football and baseball instead. Yet he ended up at Minnesota and quickly made ghosts out of his doubters.  Finishing 3rd in the nation as a sophomore in 1997, he won back to back NCAA titles in 1998 and 1999. 

1998 Champion HWT
Stephen Neal of Cal State Bakersfield 

Competing for San Diego High School, the best Stephen Neal ever did was 4th at the state championships.  Competing for the Road-Runners he'd do a lot better than that in college.  A four time PAC-12 champion, Neal finished 4th at the NCAA's as a freshman in 1996.  Earning NCAA runner-up honors in 1997 as a sophomore, Neal won back to back NCAA titles in 1998 and 1999.  Shortly after graduation, Neal won Pan-American Gold and World Gold.  He then made the switch to football, where he played in the NFL for the New England Patriots. During his grid-iron career, he helped to win three Superbowls. 


Guerrero, Ironside, McGinnis, and Williams previously mentioned 

Moore did not repeat 

Hartung and Neal both repeated 

Siebert, Gardner and Clark all seniors 

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