Iowa State legendary wrestling coach Dr. Harold Nichols produced many outstanding wrestlers at Iowa State. Tom Peckham was one of those outstanding wrestlers, winning two NCAA titles, earning All-America status three times, capturing two Big Eight titles and three Midlands championships.
From 1964-66, Peckham dominated the collegiate wrestling scene after winning three Iowa high school prep titles at Cresco, the same high school Nichols had attended. Peckham’s grind-it-out, strong physical style and leverage wore down his opponents. As a sophomore in 1964, Peckham won the Big Eight title and finished fifth at the NCAA meet at 167 pounds. With Iowa State returning Peckham and four other All-Americans in 1965, hopes were high for ISU to capture the national title. Peckham did his part by winning his first individual national crown at 177 pounds, paving the way for ISU’s first of six national championship banners under Nichols and the school’s first since 1933.
Peckham repeated as national champion in 1966, claiming the 177-pound NCAA award, pinning Oklahoma State’s Fred Fozzard (3:43) in the championship match at ISU’s Armory. He also won the Big Eight 177-pound championship. Peckham was the Midlands champion at 177 pounds, earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the prestigious wrestling tournament. The Cyclones were 40-3-1 in dual meets with Peckham in the lineup.
After graduating from Iowa State and earning ISU’s 1966 Athlete of the Year Award, Peckham switched his gears to international competition. Peckham landed a spot on the United States Olympic team in 1968, finishing fourth in the middleweight division in Mexico City.
He is a member of the International Wrestling Institute and Midlands Hall of Fames.