EMIL PERONA, Rutgers ’52 became the first-ever NCAA Division I All-American for the Scarlet Knights by placing fourth at 157 in 1952. He won two EIWA titles (at 157, 167) and, in his sophomore year at Easterns, he won a dramatic 8-7 finals bout over future NCAA second, George Graveson of Yale. In his last two bouts as a senior Perona pinned future Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld in the semis, then won by fall over Brown’s NCAA fourth, Dana Eastham.
Emil will forever hold the record as the sole three-time EIWA champion for Rutgers wrestling. He owns three of the Scarlet Knights’ 11 league titles and also took first at the 1950 East Regional AAU Tournament at 150 pounds. Team captain as senior, Emil was a rare three-time NCAA qualifier for Rutgers. He spent his career as a veterinarian.