TSSAA D-II Wrestlers Eligible for Nat'l Prep Tourney

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

In the hey day of the Old Mid-South Conference (late 1940s-1970), McCallie and Baylor gave Southern wrestling a good name by competing well at the National Prep Wrestling Championship in Lehigh, Pa.

The two schools have a combined total of 18 Individual champions while Baylor was team champ in 1970 (runner-up, ’65-66-67) and McCallie runner-up in 1968 and 1971.

Now for the first time, TSSAA, the National Prep Board and the D-II schools have worked out an agreement where 2014 D-II state wrestling champions are eligible for a wild card entry into the prestigious national event.

The D-II state traditional tournament is Feb. 14-15 in Franklin and each champion can compete at the National Prep tourney, Feb. 21-22.

The long standing TSSAA rule has been once the state tournament is completed, the season is over in that sport for competing schools and individuals. And the long standing National Prep rule has been independent prep wrestlers must compete under the banner of their school.

Starting this year, D-II state champs (grades 9-12) can compete as independent wrestlers under Team Tennessee and not their respective schools.

89th Annual Championship: The National Prep Wrestling Championship was first held in 1935 (no championship in 1936)

In the 1950s and 60s when McCallie, Baylor and a few other Mid-South schools competed, The Hill School (Pa.), Milton Hersey (Pa.), St. Benedict’s (NJ), Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), Tatnall (Delaware), and Bryn Athyn (Pa.) were the powers.

Today, its Blair Academy, as the N.J. based prep school has won 33 team titles in a row.

National Prep Champions From Tennessee

Baylor (11):  Moe Trail (1962), Charlie Moore (1962), Chip Healy (1964-65), Lane Headrick (1965), Alec Roberts (1967), John Hannah (1967), Rob Healy (1968-69), Randy Weinberg (1969), Albert Wilson (1970)

McCallie (7): Pat Smartt (1959), Lou Hudson (1966-OW), Jim Glasser (1966-67), Luther Killian (1968), Steve Gross (1969), Brian Card (1971)

St. Andrews (1): Bill Harlow (1962-OW)

Baylor’s First Nationals: Sent five wrestlers in 1947 … Howard Frumin won one match and lost in the semis.

McCallie’s First Nationals: sent two wrestlers in 1959 … Pat Smartt became first Southerner to win a national prep title … later wrestled for Lehigh Univ. and was a 1963 NCAA All-American.

St. Andrews First Nationals: Bill Harlow won a title as a senior in 1962 and was tournament Outstanding Wrestler … 1966 NCAA champion at Okla State, 1970 world silver medalist and National AAU champ.

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

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