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Gone, Lost and Forgotten: Their Best – Denver

Gone, Lost and Forgotten: Their Best = Denver

By Stephen Stonebraker

It’s been a long time since the University of Denver fielded a wrestling team.  The Pioneers had wrestling from the 1921-1922 season through the 1966-1967 season. While never a powerhouse during their time on the mat they did send seven wrestlers to the NCAA championships and had some memorable names.

Everett Marshall

One name was Everett Marshall who wrestled for the Pioneers back from 1926 through 1928.  Marshall would later become a champion professional wrestler known as “The Blonde bear.”

John “Dutch” Woudenberg

Another name in the history of Pioneer wrestling is John “Dutch” Woudenberg who later went on to play in the NFL for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49er’s.  While wrestling HWT for Denver, he won many matches.

Albert “Bo” Place

I was unable to secure a photograph of the late Albert “Bo” Place but I felt compelled to add him into the conversation on Denver wrestling because of how beloved of a figure he was in Pioneer athletics. Not only did Place wrestle, but he was also a member of the football and baseball teams as well.  Known for his class and humility it is said that one would be hard pressed to ever find an athlete that showed better sportsmanship than Bo.  Long before he would ever celebrate a victory on the mat, he made sure to shake his opponents hand and thank him for a hard fought battle.  It’s said on the gridiron he’d knock the other player straight on his keester, hear the whistle blow, reach down and help him up.

Will Howard

If I had to pick the very best wrestler in the history of Denver Pioneer wrestling it without question has to be Will Howard.  Wrestling for Denver North in high school, Howard won the state title his junior season at 112 pounds and the state title his senior season at 120 lbs in 1945 & 1946 respectively.

Staying close to home Howard dropped down to 115 lbs to wrestle collegiality for the Pioneers.  In 1952 he made the NCAA finals taking home runner-up honors.

There you have it.  The best wrestlers in the history of Denver Pioneer wrestling.  If you have any more names or information involving the University of Denver’s wrestling program I more than welcome it.  I’d love to learn more!

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