This blows my mind, in a positive way...
Way to go, Nick!
Ackerman's win recognized by magazine
Simpson College Sports Information
NCAA Champion Magazine has named Simpson College wrestler Nick Ackerman's 2001 National Championship victory the No. 1 most dramatic championship victory in NCAA history. Ackerman, who lost his legs due ot bacterial meningitis as a baby, won the 174-pound national championship 13-11 over Nick Slack of Augsburg. At the time, Slack was the defending national champion and entered the contest on a 60-match winning streak.
NCAA Champion Magazine's top 10 list encompasses championships over since the start of the 1982-83 season, which also marked the beginning of NCAA Women's Championships.
'Don?t call me disabled. Call me national champion.'
When fans of your conference rival are standing to applaud, you know you?ve accomplished something great.
Simpson wrestler Nick Ackerman?s 13-11 victory in the final of the 174-pound weight division over defending Division III national champion Nick Slack of Augsburg, winner of 60 straight matches, was an upset in itself.
But what makes this the most memorable championship performance of the past 25 years is that Ackerman won the title despite having his lower legs amputated when he was 18 months old to stop an aggressive form of bacterial meningitis.
Ackerman didn?t know much about his opponent in the 2001 final, despite Slack?s credentials.
?I don?t like to know all the things about someone before I wrestle them,? Ackerman said. ?I block it out. Later, I was like, ?Holy crap. He?s not so bad.? He is a monster of a guy. It started at his ankles and went all the way up. He was a large V.?
But Ackerman, who today makes prosthetics for others, soon gained the upper hand, even winning the accolades of fans from rival schools in the process.
?I beat a guy from Loras College, 2-1, in the quarterfinals. I had lost to him twice that year,? said Ackerman, who was 96-41 in his college career. ?He beat me once in the conference finals and in the conference duals. After I beat him, I had the whole Loras crowd hating me. (But) I saw a picture where those guys were standing and cheering after the final. They were the same guys that were yelling at me earlier. It was pretty cool to see.?
Bryan Poulter, who coached Ackerman at Colfax-Mingo High School in Iowa, said he still hears from people he?s never known because of his relationship with Ackerman. They ask for advice on how to coach athletes with disabilities.
?Even when Nick was young and someone said something about his disability, he would always correct them and say, ?I don?t have a disability. I have ability,? He never saw anything he couldn?t do.?
He stuck to his story even when a reporter used the word ?disabled? in asking him about his championship win.
?The guy said, ?What do you want people to call you?? I said, ?I don?t care, don?t call me disabled. You can call me national champion.??