Oregon’s 1975 team sets conference record.
The University of Oregon wrestling program has a proud heritage of success. Long before Phil Knight’s philanthropy and resources transformed Oregon’s athletic fortunes, wrestling stood tall alongside track, cross country and gymnastics as the men’s programs that regularly crowned All-Americans, placed athletes on Olympic and national teams, and was annually ranked among the nation’s top 20. Ron Finley’s 1975 team was one of Oregon Wrestling’s very best.
In the early 1970s, both Oregon State and the University of Washington wrestling teams were national powers. Oregon State finished second at the NCAA Championships in 1973, and Washington placed fourth the year before. Oregon was on the rise, pushing past the Beavers, placing second behind Washington at the 1974 Pac-8 Championships. Then in 1975, Oregon wrestled a Pac-8 Conference tournament for the ages.
Oregon State hosted and was the co-favorite. The Ducks not only put six wrestlers into the finals, all six won, including Greg Gibson’s wild upset of top-ranked Larry Bielenberg at Hwt in the final match of the night. The jubilant Oregon team carried Gibson off of the mat and took home the team trophy with a conference record 145 points.
Also winning Pac-8 titles for Oregon were Joe Sade at 126, Dean Dixon at 142, Kevin Kramer at 158, Duane Stutzman at 167, and Wes Hines at 190. Three more Ducks placed 3rd, including Buck Davis at 177, Shuichi Shoji at 134, and Ralph Davis at 118, giving Oregon nine qualifiers advancing to the NCAA championships in Princeton, NJ.
Three Ducks, Dixon, Stutzman, and Gibson, advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, but only Gibson made it to the podium, finishing 2nd in a heavyweight final rematch against Bielenberg. Both Dixon and Stutzman lost by single points in consolation quarterfinals. Only the top six placed back then. Now, they would wrestle for 7th and 8th. Oregon finished 12th in the team standings, which is the second-highest Oregon finish.
The 1975 team compiled a 16-2-1 dual meet record. The line-up was full of studs. Joe Sade made the 1976 Olympic team in Greco-Roman. Kevin Kramer was selected to wrestle in the East-West All-Star Meet against Lee Kemp his senior year. Duane Stutzman placed 5th in the NCAAs in 1974. Shuichi Shoji was a Japanese champion. Buck Davis beat numerous All-Americans and was a Pac-8 champion. Wes Hines was on USA Greco teams. Greg Gibson won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Greco-Roman, won world medals in all three international styles, and was inducted into the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame. Dean Dixon was inducted into the Oregon Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. John Scott, the lone non-qualifier on the 1975 team spent the weekend of the NCAAs winning the Canadian Nationals in Greco-Roman.
The 1975 team put Oregon Wrestling firmly on the national map and set a high bar for all Oregon teams that followed.
|Hwt||Greg Gibson||1st||4-1||2nd Place|