New Hampton, Iowa – Seventy-seven years ago, Merle Roths wrestled the match of his life and lost.
The 95-year-old is credited for longest match in state tournament history in 1942. As the reigning state champion, Roths faced Bob Hunt of Council Bluff-Thomas Jefferson. Hunt won on an official’s decision after two extended over time periods.
The match lasted 14 minutes.
In December, The Iowa High School Athletics Association announced Roths would be inducted into the wrestling Hall of Fame. A class consisting of two coaches and five wrestlers will be honored before the state championship round Saturday February 16 in Des Moines.
Roths, a New Hampton graduate, is part of a tradition rich program dating all the way back into the Roaring 20s.
New Hampton/Turkey Valley is the two-time reigning state dual champion. The Chickasaws have been crowned the top spot five of their 10 appearances. The program has produced 39 individual champions and six team individual firsts and seven runner up finishes.
Roths says the tradition continues despite the changes over the years.
He was featured on the cover of the 1942 state tournament program. He was also runner up in 1940.