Helping to bring national attention to Washington and Lee's budding wrestling powerhouse was Rowland Thomas '36.
During the 1930's, W&L was an emerging power that won three Southern Conference championships and served as host site for the 1936 national championship.
Thomas' career began in 1932 when he won all his matches for the udefeated freshman team at W&L. In 1933, he won his first Southern Conference championship at the 115-pound class while leading the Generals to their first SC championship as well. After taking one year off, he returned in 1935 to win a conference title at 118 pounds and then Thomas defended his individual title in 1936 while leading the Generals to another SC championship. The Generals combined record during his career was 15-2 with both losses coming to Navy.
Over his final two seasons, Thomas compiled an individual record of 19-4 with all the losses coming in national championship competition. He was the high point scorer of the 1935 and 1936 Southern Conference tournaments and was the Generals co-captain in 1936. Thomas' skill, speed and determination were evident in each of his bouts and he was the first wrestler in school history to win three Southern Conference titles.