March 17, 2007 - Auburn Hills, Mich. - Before the NCAA Championships, American University wrestler Josh Glenn said his only goal heading in was to win five more matches. Three days of competition later, Glenn did that and more, becoming AU wrestling's first national champion and AU Athletics' first national champion in more than 40 years with a heart-stopping 6-4 win in overtime over Kurt Backes of Iowa State for the 197 lb. title.
The match itself was as dramatic as any in recent memory as both wrestlers battled through regulation into overtime. It was Glenn on the attack first, scoring a takedown in the opening minute and gaining over a minute of riding time before Backes escaped near the end of the period for a 2-1 lead. Glenn chose down to start the second and popped right up for the 3-1 lead. Late in the period, Backes scored on a reshot to tie the match at three. The Cyclone chose down to start the third and earned the escape for the 4-3 lead though Glenn had locked up a riding time point. Late in the period, it appeared Glenn finished a takedown and was awarded two points when the action was stopped for potentially dangerous. Because Glenn was in the dangerous position, the refs conferred and repealed the takedown, keeping the score at four apiece and pushing the match into overtime. Once there, it did not take long for the AU Eagle to attack, launching a single leg shot into a takedown for the 6-4 win.
When asked about his takedown at the end of regulation that was called back in the post-match press conference, Glenn answered in his usual calm demeanor, "I knew I was going to win the match no matter what... I didn't care if I got the call or not. I knew I was going to stay aggressive and keep wrestling."
Glenn's win is American's first national championship in any sport since 1966 when diver Ray Crowe won the national title. The victory also makes him the first wrestler from the Washington D.C. area to win a national title since the University of Maryland's Gobel Kline accomplished the feat in 1969.
For the AU junior from Johnson City, N.Y., the victory highlights a year-long road back to NCAA Championships podium after his fourth-place finish in 2006. Glenn became the first AU wrestler to win All-America honors as an underclassman, when he entered last year's tournament as the No. 1 seed at 184 lb. and fell a point short of making the finals.
This season, Glenn has been as dominant as anyone in the country, ending his 27-1 season on a 24 match winning streak. He became American's second two-time EIWA Champion two weeks ago, defeated three All-Americans and won 16 matches by bonus points. In just three years of competition, the double major in law and society and international studies has 91 career wins, which is good for third all-time in program history. Glenn's win was also revenge on Backes who earned the only win over the AU junior this season.
Asked about his junior captain, head coach Mark Cody was effusive in his praise. "Josh does not do anything between two and 99 percent - he gives 100 percent all the time."
In total, Glenn beat the tournament's second-place, third-place and sixth-place finishers. He scored the second most team points of any wrestler in the tournament, trailing only Hodge trophy winner Ben Askren of Missouri.
The Eagles ended the tournament with 33 points, which put them in 17th place, a tie for a school-best finish.
American wrestling loses just two athletes to graduation this spring and for the first time ever will return four national qualifiers, including one National Champion.