After five  years coaching at Hazleton, Don Rohn returned to the Lehigh Valley to take over a Northampton program that had finished 6-13 the previous year.  In the EPC, Phillipsburg was favored to outpace Bethlehem Catholic, Easton and Liberty.   In the Centennial League, Northern Lehigh was favored to repeat while in the Colonial League, Wilson was seen as the team to beat.
Don Rohn
After 5 Very Successful Years at Hazleton, Don Rohn Returned to the Valley to Coach Northampton (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)
December kicked off with Bethlehem Catholic had pins in the final four bouts to defeat Saucon Valley 39-26.  Allen, with transfer Felix Rosado, lost a close bout to Nazareth 29-23 and signaled that they belonged among the top tier programs in the Lehigh Valley.  In the Reilly Tournament, Easton had four champs to outpace Bethlehem Catholic.
Felix Rosado
Felix Rosado Transferred to Allen and Gave the Canaries a Boost as They Went 15-5 (Photo Courtesy of Allen HS Yearbook)
After dropping a dual to Northern Lehigh, Northwestern bounced back and upset Pocono Mountain 30-26 in Centennial League action.  Freedom’s Scott Turner bumped up to 155 and had a 1-1 draw with Becahi’s Duane Peoples; the Hawks won the final three bouts to triumph 31-19.  Easton cruised past Nazareth 44-14.  Northern Lehigh passed a key pre-Christmas Centennial League test by defeating Pocono Mountain 31-18.
In the annual holiday tournaments, Bethlehem Catholic and Northern Lehigh were locked in a tight battle heading into the final round.  Pat Santoro’s upset win over Jim Milot at 112 proved to be the winning margin for the Hawks especially after the Bulldogs’ Darrin Evans nipped John Wagner at 167.  Northwestern won the Jim Thorpe tourney,
On January 6th, Easton gained revenge, winning the final five bouts, to top Liberty 37-18.  Wilson hammered Saucon Valley 44-12 in a key  Colonial League battle.  Two huge EPC matches followed a week later with Easton topping Bethlehem Catholic 36-18 and Phillipsburg jumping to an early lead and defeating Liberty 33-17.  The Easton-Becahi match featured a marquee match-up at 155 with Jody Karam battling Duane Peoples.  Peoples led 11-8 in the 3rd period and countered a Karam headlock attempt with a throw but was DQ’d for an illegal slam – a result that left neither boy nor the crowd satisfied.
Phillipsburg Wrestling
Phillipsburg Topped Liberty & Looked Forward to Match Up with Easton (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg HS Yearbook)
At about the midway point of the dual schedule, Easton and P-Burg were headed for a showdown in the EPC as Nazareth and Wilson were in the Colonial.  Northern Lehigh was solidly in the top spot in the Centennial League and expected to run the table.
“A frenzied packed house in Wilson” per The Morning Call was the setting for the Nazareth-Wilson showdown on January 20th.  Wilson took an early lead and led 17-9 at the halfway point, but the Blue Eagles won all but one of the remaining bouts to win 33-20.
Allen pulled off a huge upset beating Bethlehem Catholic 30-21 and giving Coach Don Schleicher his first win over a Bethlehem school in his eight year career.  The same night, Nazareth defeated Saucon Valley 34-21 to basically lock up the Colonial League title.
Allen Wrestlilng
Canaries Defeat Bethlehem Catholic for 1st Time in Years (Photo Courtesy of Allen HS Yearbook)
To the north, North Schuylkill was rolling through the competition in the Schuylkill League.  The Spartans knocked off Shikellamy 39-23 and rival Hazleton 34-17.
What remained was the Easton-Phillipsburg match on February 3rd which would decide the EPC title.  The Rovers dropped a number of their lower weights and jumped out to a 19-0 lead.  The Stateliners fought back with falls in the next two bouts and a major decision to trim the lead to 19-16.  John Swick and Jody Karam had falls in the next two bouts, and Easton won 31-26.
Jody Karam
Exciting Jody Karam Helped the Rovers Defeat Rival Phillipsburg (Photo Courtesy of Easton HS Yearbook)
The rest of the dual season played out largely as expected.  After snow delayed the initial dual, North Schuylkill traveled to Slatington to face Northern Lehigh on February 17th.  The Bulldogs led 16-0 after three bouts, but North Schuylkill was able to take advantage of the rule requiring the home team to put their wrestler on the mat first so Coach Cesari was able to get the matchups that he wanted at 126/132 and 145/155.  The Spartans held a 22-16 lead with three bouts to go.  Darrin Evans, who dealt Rob Wary his first loss in 30 bouts, and Chris Grammes put Northern Lehigh ahead 23-22, but Glenn Geist’s pin at heavyweight gave the Spartans a 28-23 victory.
North Schuylkill
Battle for #1 – North Schuylkill Defeats Northern Lehigh to Finish a 27-0 Dual Season! (Photo Courtesy of N. Schuylkill HS Yearbook)
An exciting dual season ended with Easton, Nazareth and Northern Lehigh all going undefeated in their respective leagues to win the East Penn, Colonial and Centennial league titles.    Easton finished 15-1 (losing only to Shikellamy) while Nazareth was 14-4 and Northern Lehigh was 17-1 (losing only to North Schuylkill).  North Schuylkill finished an incredible 27-0, Phillipsburg 17-2, Freedom 15-4-1, Allen 15-5, Liberty 14-3 and Nazareth 14-4.  North Schuylkill was so dominant that it outscored its opponents 1,334-278 in its 27 dual meet victories.

Final league standing were as follows:

Compiled Standings 1982-83PlaceW-L-D
East Penn
Bethlehem Catholic3T8-3
William Allen57-4
Allentown Central Catholic83-8
Southern Lehigh44-3-1
Saucon Valley53-4-1
Pen Argyl90-8
Northern Lehigh18-0
Pocono Mountain36-2
Notre Dame45-3
East Stroudsburg72-6
Pleasant Valley90-8
Nazareth Wrestling
Nazareth – Colonial League Champs Again! (Photo Courtesy of Nazareth HS Yearbook)
Northern Lehigh Wrestling
Northern Lehigh – Centennial League Champs (Photo Courtesy of Northern Lehigh HS Yearbook)
As they had done in the regular season, Nazareth and Northern Lehigh won the Colonial and Centennial League tourneys.  Nazareth had eight finalists while Northern Lehigh had five champs.  Phillipsburg had nine champions in romping to the NJ District 16 team title.
With a change in the criteria for determining AAA and AA schools, the AAA field expanded to 24 teams but many of the perennial favorites – Bethlehem Catholic, Easton & Liberty – were back to compete for the team title.  The tournament was also consolidated into one weekend (Friday-Saturday).  While the favorites jumped out to a strong start, Hazleton (last year’s runner-up), Parkland and Whitehall had four semi-finalists each.
Parkland’s Thurston Nichols jumped out to an 8-2 lead over Easton’s Jack Cuvo, but The Cuve battled back to cap a 17-13 comeback win.  Cuvo was the first of three finalists for the Rovers who also had three wrestlers place 3rd and one 4th on their way to the team title.  Bethlehem Catholic Duane Peoples became only the 2nd wrestler to win four District XI titles as he defeated Lehighton’s Glenn Whiteman 12-4 as he led the Hawks to a 2nd place finish.  Mickey Torres avenged two losses to Hazleton’s Mark DeLese at 112as he led the Hurricanes to a 3rd place finish.
In the AA tournament, Northern Lehigh did more than enough to win in most years – scoring 141.5 – and crowning three champions, Larry Rehrig (98), Jim Milot (105) and Darrin Evans (167).  But this wasn’t most years!  North Schuylkill had six champions and 201 points – Kent Lane (119), Joe Cesari (138), Steve Cesari (145), Rob Wary (155) Al Razzis (185) and Glenn Geist (Hwt).  Joe Sr was named Coach of the Year and Joe Jr was named Outstanding Wrestler.  Phillipsburg won another District 16 team title and then had three wrestlers win NJ Region 4 titles.
North Schuylkill Had 6 Champs to Win District XI AA Team Title (Photo Courtesy of N. Schuylkill HS Yearbook)
In the Northeast Regionals, Easton had another great week by scoring 100 points and crowning three champs (Jack Cuvo, Brian McIntyre and Jody Karam).  District XI wrestlers won ten titles and advanced 21 wrestlers to the state tournament.
In the AA Southeast Regional tourney, District XI wrestlers won 37 of 48 quarterfinal matches including Catausaqua’s Matt Gerhard winning his 100th match.  North Schuylkill was again dominant and had eight finalists, five of whom were crowned champions in winning the team title by almost 80 points.  District XI crowned 10 titlists.
For the 3rd weekend in a row, North Schuylkill ran the table.  They claimed the team title, Coach of the Year (Joe Sr) and Outstanding Wrestler (Joe Jr).  Joe Cesari Jr. won his 2nd title at 138 while Bob Wary was 2nd at 155.   Matt Gerhard won his 3rd state title 13-7 at 112, and Wilson’s John Handlovic won at 126.  Northern Lehigh’s Jim Milot (2nd at 105) and Darrin Evans (3rd at 167) helped pace the Bulldogs to a 4th place finish.
AA State Team Champs = North Schuylkill Spartans (Photo Courtesy of N. Schuylkill HS Yearbook)
Rob Wary, State Runnerup (Photo Courtesy of N. Schuylkill HS Yearbook)
Northern Lehigh Wrestling
Northern Lehigh State Placewinners (Photo Courtesy of N. Lehigh HS Yearbook)
Joe Cesari Jr.
State Champ Joe Cesari Jr Won His 2nd Title (Photo Courtesy N. Schuylkill Yearbook)
Matt Gerhard
Matty from Catty Won His 3rd State Title (Photo Courtesy of Catasauqua HS Yearbook)
A District XI squad also won the team title in the AAA state championships.  Easton led by 98 pound state champ, Jack Cuvo; runner-up Brian McIntyre (126) and 5th place finisher Jody Karam (155) won the team title.
Easton Wrestling
Easton Coaches Included Dave Crowell & Steve Powell (Photo Courtesy of Easton HS Yearbook)
District XI advanced four other wrestlers to the finals with Liberty’s Mickey Torres winning a come from behind 9-8 match to claim the title at 112.  Saucon Valley’s Sean Finkbeiner finished 2nd for the 2nd consecutive year; Lehighton’s Glenn Whiteman and Stroudsburg’s John Fisher were also runner-ups.  Bethlehem Catholic’s Duane Peoples set the state record for most wins but fell short in his quest for a state title.
Jack Cuvo
Super Soph Jack Cuvo Won the 1st of 3 State Titles (Photo from The Morning Call)
Mickey Torres
Mickey Torres – 112 Lb. State Champ (Photo Courtesy of Liberty HS Yearbook)
(Photo Courtesy of West York Alumni Wrestling Website)
Phillipsburg’s Jeff Bowyer (105) and Mike Barna (138) were New Jersey state runners-up.
Jeff Bowyer
Jeff Bowyer – 1 of 2 NJ Runner-Ups for P-Burg (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg HS Yearbook)