The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Lincoln McIlravy - Inducted 2012

Lincoln McIlravy, the Philip High and University of Iowa graduate, is one of the greatest wrestlers in state history.

He was a freestyle bronze medalist at 152 pounds at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. There, he beat wrestlers from Nigeria, Turkey, and Moldova to reach the semifinals, where he lost in overtime to Canada’s Daniel Igali. McIlravy then beat Sergei Demchenko of Belorussia 3-1 for the bronze.

He competed in the world championships three times, earning a bronze medal in 1998 and a silver medal in 1999.

McIlravy won four straight U.S. Freestyle Nationals gold medals (1997-2000) and was second in 1996. He finished third at the 1996 Olympic Trials. Among his major international titles were three World Cup gold medals (1998-2000), the 1999 Pan American Games, the 1998 Yarygin Tournament in Russia, and the 1996 Sunkist Kids International Open.

At Iowa, wrestling for the legendary Dan Gable, he won three NCAA Division I titles. He was runner-up the other year while compiling a 96-3 record, the best winning percentage in the storied history of Iowa’s wrestling program. As a true freshman, he came from five points down in the final 45 seconds to win his first title, 16-15, at 142 pounds. He moved up a weight class for his other two championships, going unbeaten as a sophomore (27-0) and senior (22-0).

McIlravy was introduced to wrestling at age five, joining brothers Arthur and Clayton in the Philip youth program. “I wasn’t the toughest kid in Philip or the toughest kid at practice, but I was a little better than average,’’ McIlravy recalled. “More importantly, I really liked it, so I worked at it a lot. I played football and baseball, too, but by eighth grade, I made a year-round commitment to wrestling.”

He was a five-time state high school champion (98 pounds in 1988, 112 in 1989, 125 in 1990, and 152 in 1991 and ’92) and had a record of 200-25. He was only the second South Dakotan to win five state prep titles. He was a Cadet and Junior national freestyle champion.

He was a volunteer assistant coach at Iowa and a resident men’s freestyle coach at the Olympic Training Center.

He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010.

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