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Iowa History Daily: March 2 - Wartburg Wrestling Rises to the Top

Iowa History Daily: On March 2, 1996, Wartburg College captured the school’s first of an NCAA Division III leading 15 wrestling national championships. The start of a dominant run, Wartburg wrestling continues to write a historic legacy.

Wartburg first went to the mats in 1955. During the early decades, Wartburg dominated the Iowa Conference, winning championships thirteen times before 1996. Jim Miller, a standout wrestler in his own right at Waterloo East and University of Northern Iowa, took over the program in 1991 and brought the Knights to new heights. 

By 1996, the team stood poised to capture the crown. Led by individual national champions Tom Smith of Dubuque Wahlert and Jamal Fox of Waterloo West, the Knights racked up 95.5 points to capture the title over Augsburg. Since 1996, only Wartburg and Augsburg have won the title, creating an exceptional wrestling rivalry.

With Miller at the helm, the Knights captured national championships in 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009. In 2010, Miller started sharing co-head coaching duties with Eric Keller. The tandem led the Knights to championships in 2011, 2012, and 2013, before Keller took over sole responsibility for the program.  Champs again in 2014, 2106, 2017, 2018, and 2022, Wartburg continues to create a dominant DIII wrestling legacy. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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