ATLANTA, Ga.–North Dakota State University’s 1973 NCAA College Division 142-pound national champion and two-time Division I All-American Lee Petersen accepted an invitation to travel and participate in the 50th anniversary of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Star Classic to be held Sunday, Nov. 1, at Georgia Tech’s Hank McCamish Pavilion. The event will be broadcast live on ESPNU starting at 2:30 p.m. Central on Sunday.
Petersen competed in the eighth annual East-West College All-America Wrestling meet in 1974 before 2,500 spectators at Gallagher Hall on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. The NWCA invited participants from the previous All-Star tournaments to attend and take part in a special reunion.
Petersen moved up a weight class to 150-pounds and took on Rich Lawinger, the Big Ten champion from the University of Wisconsin, who eventually won an NCAA title that year.
“I was wrestling up a weight at 150 and trailed 3-2 with 90 seconds to go. In an effort to win, I went for a 5-point move, got caught, and lost to Lawinger,” said Petersen.
Before coming to NDSU, Petersen won two state high school wrestling titles at Bismarck (N.D.) High School, wrestled on two All-Army teams, was first, fourth and fifth Army champion, and qualified for the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team Greco-Roman Final Trials.
In his three seasons with the Bison, Petersen won two North Central Conference championships at 142 pounds and placed second. In 1973, he was NCAA College Division national champion and placed fourth at the NCAA Division I championships. In 1974, he was NCAA Division II runner-up, selected to the NCAA Division I East-West Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Team, and finished in the top eight at the Division I championships.
As a junior, Petersen defeated NCAA Division I defending national champion Don Rohn from Clarion (Pa.) in a dual meet at NDSU. His NDSU career mat record was a phenomenal 84-10-2, the second best winning percentage in school history (.885). He lost only one dual meet match in his three seasons at NDSU (34-1-2). Twice he won 30 or more matches in an overall season, going 36-4 in 1972-73 and 30-4-1 in 1973-74. He was North Dakota State’s North Central Conference Scholar-Athlete and recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Petersen was a Bison assistant wrestling coach from 1975-77, president of NDSU Team Makers in 1994, and co-chairman of the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame Committee from 1989-1991. He has chaired the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame Committee since 1992.