It's SHORT TIME SHOTS … a quick look at the day's top wrestling stories. Just going with the big news for October 31 as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has, quite literally, the honors.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame recently announced its Class of 2024, and it's an illustrious group that has made significant contributions to the sport of wrestling. The class includes Distinguished Members Tadaaki Hatta, Toccara Montgomery, Coleman Scott, and Logan Stieber. These four individuals have had a profound impact on the sport. J.R. Johnson, Darryl Miller, Jonathan Koch and Colonel Steve Banach will also be honored by The Hall.
Tadaaki Hatta, originally from Tokyo, Japan, moved to the United States in 1961 and became an NCAA champion and two-time national champion for Oklahoma State University. Hatta has a storied career in coaching, having been part of the U.S. men's freestyle coaching staff for the Olympics in 1988, 1992, and 1996. He also coached the Japanese Olympic team in 1968 and 1984 and the Mexican Olympic team in 1972. Hatta has been an art teacher, wrestling coach, and trainer at high schools in Ohio for 40 years. His contributions to the sport are immense, and he has been a guiding force in the development of wrestling at both the national and international levels.
Toccara Montgomery is another name that stands out. She is considered one of the most dominant female wrestlers in United States history. Montgomery made history in 2004 as the first Black woman to wrestle for the U.S. in the Olympics. She was a four-time United States Open champion and the Pan Am champion in 2002 and 2003. Montgomery was a two-time national champion for the University of the Cumberlands and has been inducted into multiple halls of fame. She currently serves as an assistant principal and continues to contribute to the sport as a coach.
Coleman Scott won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and was a four-time All-American, finishing his college career as an NCAA champion for Oklahoma State. He was a member of the U.S. National Freestyle Team multiple times and has contributed as a coach at both Oklahoma State and the University of North Carolina. Scott's achievements on the mat are paralleled by his contributions as a coach, nurturing the next generation of wrestling talent.
Logan Stieber is another name that resonates in the wrestling community. He became the first Big Ten Conference wrestler and the fourth wrestler overall to be a four-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion. Stieber led Ohio State to its first wrestling national championship in 2015 and has a World Championship in men’s freestyle to his name. He has been an assistant coach for Ohio State since 2021.
J.R. Johnson, the Meritorious Official honoree, has officiated at every level in the United States and has been a mentor to younger officials. His dedication to the sport extends beyond the mat, as he also assists with weigh-ins, pairings, and scheduling at tournaments at every level. Johnson's extensive experience, with over 20 NCAA championships, and commitment, make him one of the most respected officials in the wrestling community. He's also a Virginia native, so 2 Up, 2 down.
Darryl Miller, the Order of Merit recipient, has been a medical volunteer for USA Wrestling since 1993 and has served at multiple World Championships and Olympic Games. His expertise extends to educational presentations on emergency procedures, skin lesions, and CPR and First Aid for coaches at USA Wrestling clinics. Miller's contributions have been instrumental in ensuring the safety and well-being of athletes at both national and international events.
Jonathan Koch, the Medal of Courage recipient, is a living testament to the resilience and fighting spirit that wrestling instills in its athletes. After surviving septic shock and losing parts of all four limbs, he underwent a revolutionary human hand transplant and defied all odds to not only survive but thrive. Koch's journey serves as an inspiring example of the indomitable human spirit, proving that with resilience and determination, one can overcome even the most daunting challenges.
Retired United States Army Infantry Colonel Steve Banach, the Outstanding American honoree, served with distinction in the United States Army from 1983 to 2010. His leadership skills, honed on the wrestling mat, were evident in his military service, including deployments to six combat zones and a distinguished career in special operations. Banach's wrestling background has clearly influenced his leadership style, making him a standout figure in both the military and the wrestling communities.
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