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Thread: Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

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  1. #1

    Default Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

    This blows my mind, in a positive way...

    Way to go, Nick!

    http://revwrestling.com/articles/377...ed-by-magazine
    Ackerman's win recognized by magazine
    4/30/2008
    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.??

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

    I was there for the 2001 DIII tournament and (as I have frequently posted) Nick Ackerman became one of my heroes. You'd see him walking around between matches with his prostheses and he'd be about 6'1" and then on the mat - maybe 5'5". He seemed to know how to use his low center of gravity and his long arms to his advantage. He had an outstanding cradle and an excellent Granby series.

    When his mom came down on the mat after his championsip win - well - I was crying like a little kid who's puppy had just died. Yes, he's giving back by becoming a prosthetist, but he has also helped young wrestlers who have faced amputation go on and continue to compete.

    If you're looking for a wrestler to be a role model - Nick Ackerman is very near the top of my list.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

    I wrestled Nick twice when I was at Wartburg. We went 1 and 1. He is one of the strongest wrestlers that I ran across.

    I am sure he probably wouldn't remember me but one thing I remember about him was not only how strong he was but how much of a competitor he was. No matter what he never gave up. He sure earned my respect!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

    Slack gave me what was by far the worst (and really the only, since I don't count fluky techs in the pool finals as a whipping...still bitter) whipping that I ever got in high school and Junior Nationals one year. He was so big for the weight it was unreal. I felt totally helpless, it was pretty bad. He's a class act though, and it sounds like Ackerman is as well.
    "Now class, I'd like for you to transition from downward dog....straight to FULL BRING!!!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

    Anyone got video of that final match?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ackerman's 2001 Title "NCAA's Most Dramatic Championship Win"

    I've looked for years and haven't found it.

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