Right now, much of the focus in college wrestling is on Cornell University, ranked No. 1 in the nation and the odds-on favorite to win the team title at the 2011 NCAA Division I championships next March.
More than 60 years ago, another Cornell was making headlines on the mat — Cornell College of Iowa. This tiny school won the team title at the 1947 NCAAs, upsetting the major mat superpowers of the era.
Now, a new book, The Dream Team of 1947, introduces wrestling fans to this incredible Cinderella story that author Arno Niemand describes as “the remarkable, untold story of the greatest team you’ve never heard of.”
Cornell College, located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, had only 600 students at the time… but managed to become the first private school to win an NCAA team title, and the first school within the state of Iowa to claim that honor, before Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa), Iowa State, or University of Iowa.
Niemand tells the story of the Cornell Purple wrestling team, comprised of World War II veterans and three freshmen from Waterloo West High School (Dan Gable‘s prep alma mater), and how they defeated top college programs such as the University of Illinois, Iowa State, and Lehigh in dual-meet competition… then became the first school to win the “grand slam” of NCAA and national AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team crowns.
In words and photos, Niemand does a skillful job introducing these wrestlers and their coach, Paul Scott… while painting a fascinating picture of the college wrestling world as it was immediately after World War II. For sports fans who love a great David-beats-Goliath story, The Dream Team of 1947 is compelling reading.
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InterMat Rewind: The Dream Team of 1947, Cornell College of Iowa
The Dream Team of 1947 book: Official website
VintageAmateurWrestling Photo Annex 2 Yahoo group Cornell College photo albums: Images from 1947 Life magazine… Photos of 1947 Cornell wrestlers, coach, campus, more
TheMat.com: This week’s college wrestling scoreboard… College wrestling on TV (2010-11 season schedule)
College Wrestling 101: Links to College Wrestling Examiner articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
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