First of Many

Penn State wrestling's first national title came 70 years ago this March.

first PSU wrestling championship team black and white photo by Penn State Archives

National championships are commonplace for the Penn State wrestling team nowadays, but the program’s first national title came 70 years ago this March. The Nittany Lions, led by coach Charlie Speidel ’39, ’41 MS H&HD, were 9-0 in dual meets during the season and won the EIWA title at Princeton before hosting the NCAA championships at Rec Hall. As a capacity crowd of 6,000 looked on, 191-pounder Hud Samson ’53 Lib won Penn State’s lone individual national title, pinning Chuck Weber of West Chester State Teachers College. Samson was one of five Penn State All-Americans and five Nittany Lions to record a pin in the tournament.