Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Down Goes the #1! - Part 11

 Part 11 today will feature times when the #1 seed went down before the NCAA DI finals during the early 1990's, 90' through 92'. 

1990 118 - U.S. Gary McCall of Iowa State Upsets #1 Doug Wyland of North Carolina 5-4 in QF

A two time state champion for Cedar Rapids Washington, Gary McCall was originally slated to compete for the Tigers of Louisiana State, but shortly after committing, the program was discontinued. As a result he ended up at Iowa State instead. Surprisingly enough even though he had earned All American honors in his sophomore & junior seasons of 7th & 8th respectively, he still entered his final tournament in 1990 unseeded. Nevertheless he was more than happy to prove his naysayers wrong as he upended the #1 seed & returning NCAA Runner-up Doug Wyland of North Carolina 5-4 in the quarter finals. Proving that it was no fluke he again handed Wyland a 5-4 loss in the consolation final to finish 3rd. Wyland who ended his career with a record of 74-4, later became a Dr. 

1990 150 - #9 Gary Steffensmeier Northern Iowa Upsets #1 Townsend "Junior" Saunders 2-0 in QF

Northern Iowa sophomore Gary Steffensmeier pulled off a huge upset at the NCAA tournament when he upended #1 Townsend "Junior" Saunders of Arizona State 2-0 in the quarter-finals. Steffensmeier would go on to a runner-up finish as Saunders came back to finish 3rd.  Also an academic All American Steffensmeier would earn two more All American finishes with back to back 4th place medals in 1991 & 1992. We touched on Saunders illustrious international career in part 10. 

1991 167 - #4 Mark Reiland Iowa Upsets #1 Dan Russell Portland State 5-4 in Semi-Finals 

Dan Russell had about done it all during his storybook career at Portland State. A four time NCAA Division II champion he had been 4th at the NCAA DI tournament in 1990. Now all there was left to do was win a Division I title. All seemed promising until he ran into Iowa's Mark Reiland who upset him 5-4 in the semi-finals. Reiland would go on to win the national title as Russell finished 4th for the second time in his career. The historical significance of this moment should be noted as it marked the final time when a non-Division I wrestler participated in the NCAA Division I tournament.  Reiland who had placed 4th at the 1989 NCAA's as a true sophomore would finish one match shy of placing as a senior in 1992. He went on to a famed high school coaching career training various team as well as individual champions before his untimely death earlier this year. 

1991 190 - #8 Curt Strahm Oregon Upsets #1 Dominic Black West Virginia 14-5 in QF 

This match was quite shocking in about every way you look at it. First off it's no secret to anyone in the wrestling community that when it comes to naming off great wrestlers & where they're from that Kentucky doesn't get uttered much, if at all. Yet this was the case with #1 seed Dominic Black of West Virginia. The two time EWL champ was a state champion for Henry Clay while in high school. The other surprising thing about this match is that Curt Strahm of Oregon had never been an All American as he entered his final NCAA tournament. This made his 14-5 major decision over Black all the more eye opening.  If that weren't enough Strahm would defeat him again 5-3 for 3rd place later on in the tournament. Black ended his time as a Mountaineer 105-36 as he went on to an international career that produced PAN-AMERICAN gold in 1999 & PAN-AMERICAN silver in 2000. 

1992 167 - #5 Todd Chesbro Oklahoma State Upsets #1 Steve Hamilton Iowa State 4-2 in SF

Rivalries, one of the best things about sports. Back in the early 1990's there was a great rivalry between Oklahoma State's Todd Chesbro and Iowa State's Steve Hamilton. Both All Americans as freshmen in 1989, Chesbro was 5th as Hamilton was 7th.  In 1990 Chesbro would miss out on his second All American honor as Hamilton finished in 3rd place. It was in 1991 when the two began their back & forth battles. In the BIG 12 tournament in 1991 Chesbro would defeat Hamilton in the finals 4-3. Hamilton would extract revenge in the NCAA quarter-finals with an 8-3 victory. The momentum lead him to a runner-up finish as Chesbro finished in 8th. Now seniors, Hamilton edged Chesbro for the BIG 12 title. The NCAA semi-finals would mark the final battle between the two. This time it was Chesbro who came out on top with a 4-2 victory.  The win led him to an eventual 2nd place finish as Hamilton battled back for 3rd. 

1992 177 - #5 Corey Olson Nebraska Upsets #1 Rich Powers Northern Iowa 18-8 in SF

A battle of two talented juniors took place at 177 lbs in the NCAA semi-finals in 1992. Nebraska's Corey Olson who had failed to place in 1991 as a sophomore after taking 3rd as a freshman in 1990 pulled off an impressive 18-8 major decision of #1 Rich Powers of Northern Iowa who had placed 5th in 1990. Olson would earn runner-up honors as Powers took another 5th. Both ending their collegiate careers in 1993, Olson again made the NCAA finals as Powers finished 4th.  Olson for the record was a three time BIG 12 Runner-up as Powers was a four time Western Regional champion.  Powers later coached at both Wyoming and Illinois State. 

1992 190- #4 Mark Kerr Syracuse Upsets #1 Rex Holman Ohio State 10-6 in Semi-Finals 

I don't know if I'm good at it or if it's just plain luck but again, I end on the best of stories. Although Syracuse's Mark Kerr was the #4 seed, I wouldn't exactly call him a likely candidate for the NCAA title. After all, a three time NCAA qualifier, he had never won a match at the NCAA tournament. His combined record freshman through junior year at the tournament was 0-4. He'd have to go undefeated just to have a winning record at the NCAA tournament. That's exactly what he did. Going 5-0 he won the NCAA title in his final appearance as an Orangeman. Along the way he upset #1 seed Rex Holman of Ohio State. Holman finished 3rd and then came back in 1993 to once again earn the #1, this time earning his own NCAA title.


Part 12 featuring the mid 90's, 93', 94' & 95' coming soon! 

1 comment:

  1. RIP Mark Reiland. Mark was an admin on The Wrestling Insider Group page when we started in 2013. Mark is certainly missed by many.