Mike Land was a dominating force in ISU’s wrestling dynasty of the late 1970s (1975-79), becoming ISU’s second four-time All-American while amassing the second-most wins in school history.
The Des Moines native garnered All-America status as a true freshman, finishing the year with a 32-8 record while placing sixth at 118 pounds at the 1975 NCAA Championships. Land redshirted the following year and came back strong as a sophomore in 1977, helping the Cyclones win their seventh NCAA team title by placing third in the 126-pound weight class at the 1977 NCAA Championships. Land was 36-4-1 that year, winning the first of his three consecutive Big Eight individual titles.
In Land’s final two seasons with the Cyclones, he was arguably the most feared wrestler in the nation. Land won 84 consecutive matches, from the last two matches of his sophomore season to his final match as a senior. At the time, it was the third longest winning streak in NCAA history. In his junior season, Land was a perfect 48-0 en route to the 1978 126-pound NCAA title by defeating Iowa’s Randy Lewis 13-5 in the final. He also won Big Eight and Midlands titles in his undefeated junior campaign. Land moved up a weight class his senior season to 134 pounds while continuing his dominance. He won 34 matches until the 1979 NCAA 134-pound final, where Land was defeated by Lehigh’s Darryl Burley (9-7). Land was named Iowa State Athlete of the Year in 1979.
Land ended his illustrious career with a 150-13-1 overall mark, breaking the school record for career wins. His record stood for over 20 years until four-time national champion and current Cyclone head wrestling coach Cael Sanderson ended his career with a 159-0 record in 2002.