Wrestlers recreate historic team photo
Seventy years ago a team from Cornell College upset the U.S. collegiate wrestling powerhouses by winning both the NCAA and AAU national championships.
Their legacy remains to this day, especially with Cornell Head Wrestling Coach Mike Duroe and his team. Duroe and members of the 2017 team recently recreated a 1947 photo of the national championship team departing the Mount Vernon train depot for the AAU meet in San Francisco.
“The accomplishments of the 1947 Cornell wrestling team are unprecedented. Winning any NCAA team title is a monumental feat and should be recognized and celebrated forever,” said Duroe. “The historical significance still holds great value at Cornell College, and also in collegiate wrestling history.”
The original photo shows coach Paul Scott ’29 with members of his historic team clad in suits, ties, hats, and overcoats. In San Francisco they claimed the team championship and the San Francisco Chronicle proclaimed Cornell College to be the “biggest little school in athletics.” This was when the NCAA had only one division for all colleges and universities, not three.
When the team returned 10 days later they were greeted by an estimated 1,500 townspeople and college students and feted with a parade through town. The team remains the smallest ever to win a national championship.
The program has seen continued success. In the past two years, the Rams have recorded back-to-back top-20 NCAA team finishes with three all-Americans and a pair of NCAA finalists. The team has also won 20 dual meets over the last two years, including a victory over Simpson in November of 2016 at Ash Park football field— the program’s first-ever outdoor wrestling meet. In addition, Coach Duroe holds the title as Cornell’s winningest wrestling coach with 139-92-2 record in 12 seasons on the Hilltop.
Posters of the two photos will become part of the upcoming Smithsonian traveling exhibit, “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” when it opens in Mount Vernon on March 18, 2018.