Northampton and Easton finished tied for the EPC title in 1987, but it was Phillipsburg who was deemed the pre-season favorite with Easton, Northampton and Parkland expected to be top contenders.  In the Colonial League, Nazareth was heavily favored to win its 8th straight championship.  The Centennial League was a toss-up with six of nine teams expected to compete for the league title per The Morning Call.

As the season kicked off, Dieruff won the ASD title and Northampton won the 2nd annual Bethlehem School District tourney over Quakertown.  The Huskies, under Coach Mel Riddick, had three champs – Juan Enriquez, Buddy Maxwell and Ted Steiner.  Salisbury’s Lee Todora won his 4th ASD title and his 100th career match.

Buddy Maxwell
Dieruff’s Buddy Maxwell Helped Lead the Huskies to an ASD Tourney title (Photo Courtesy of Dieruff HS Yearbook)

Northampton followed their tourney win over Quakertown by whipping them in a dual meet a few days later 37-13.   On December 19th, Quakertown nipped Parkland by a single point in the Quakertown Invitational Tourney.  The same night on overflow crowd of more than 2,000 fans packed the 25th Street gym as Easton and Nazareth battled in an early season dual. Nazareth won three straight bouts from 145-167 to close within 20-17, but Mike Mineo nipped John Renner 2-1 and Jack Thompson won a superior decision to top the Blue Eagles 28-17 in what would turn out to be the Blue Eagles only dual loss of the season.

Frank Gutierrez won his 250th dual meet against Allen, but on December 23rd, the Hurricanes ran into upstart Parkland.  The Trojans beat Liberty for the first time EVER in school history 36-15.

John Toggas
Parkland Coach John Toggas Led the Trojans to their First Victory Ever Over Liberty (Photo Courtesy of Parkland HS Yearbook)

Northampton won its 2nd straight Christmas City Tourney team champion as they defeated Nazareth 235-217.  The Kids and Blue Eagles had five head-to-head match-ups in the finals with Nazareth having a 3-2 edge.  The Kids had two additional champs to bring their overall total to four.  Dieruff had four champs to win the Kutztown Tourney and Buddy Maxwell won his 2nd OW award; Easton was 2nd in the Manheim Tourney; Phillipsburg won their own tourney with seven champs; Pleasant Valley won the Jim Thorpe tourney; and Liberty finished 2nd in the Lock Haven Tourney and had two champs

Last year, Easton nipped Northampton 24-23 and the teams ultimately tied for the EPC title.  This year, in a match where 10 of the 12 bouts were decided by four points or less, the Kids edged the Rovers 23-18.  Moss Grays and Dan Goffredo had the only bonus points of the night and gave Easton a 15-11 lead after seven bouts, but the Kids won the next four bouts to build an insurmountable 23-15 lead.

The following collection of photos from Jarrid Konya who wrestled for Northampton that night at 145:
Kids’ Mike Recker Downed Dave Moser 9-7 at 105.
Rovers’ Willard Baker is in on a Single Against Don Suranofsky at 112.
Suranofsky Takes Down Baker in a Bout that Ended in a 7-7 Draw.
Kids’ Ed Youwakim Edged Thad Piccone 10-9 at 119.
Northampton’s Jarrid Konya Has Tony Rizzolino on His Back at 145.
Konya Defeated Rizzolino 8-7.
Brian Chamberlain Decisioned Brian Marchetti 10-7 at 155.

Stroudsburg had three falls in defeating Notre Dame 33-17 in a key Centennial League match on January 9th.

On January 23rd, with several hundred fans turned away from the Blue Eagles gym, Nazareth and Northampton were tied at 20-20 after ten bouts.  John Renner and Scot Engler both scored falls for Nazareth to give them a 32-20 upset win.  Early on Brad Silimperi and Dan Madson won tight decisions to help pace the Blue Eagles.   According to Ross Nunamaker (who was in the Nazareth line up at 138 that night), ” The match sold out a week in advance, people called my dad trying to get tickets non-stop, there was closed circuit TV in the cafeteria for those who couldn’t fit in the gym and people mobbed outside to try to get in.  By match time there were no aisles in the stands and people stood from the wall to each team’s bench, you could hardly warm up.”

The following collection of photos from Jarrid Konya who wrestled for Northampton that night at 145:
Nazareth and Northampton Captains Shake Hands Before Coin Toss.
Brad Silimperi Edged Mike Recker 3-2 at 105.

Mike Miller (left) and Jarrid Konya Battle on Their Feet.

Ken Herceg Scored a Tech Fall at 155 Over Brian Chamberlain.
The Always Exciting Kevin Smith Gets a Fall at 167.
John Renner Flips Eric Gieske to Score the Fall at 185.
Scot Engler Pins Mike Reenock to Clinch the Match for the Blue Eagles

Teams Shake Hands Post Match

Youtube link from Ross Nunamaker of Pre-Match and Final Two Bouts:

The same day, upstart Souderton beat North Penn 40-25; it was the Indians first win over the Knights in 25 years!  Easton hammered Shikellamy 40-9.


In the very competitive Centennial League, East Stroudsburg remained unbeaten in the league by beating Northern Lehigh 31-13.  A few days later, Coach Ed Watto’s son, “Little Ed” Watto had a fall in the final bout as Pocono Mountain beat East Stroudsburg 36-24; Palmerton and Stroudsburg won six bouts each, but all of the Blue Bombers wins were for bonus points as they upset the Mountaineers 34-30 on January 30th.

On February 2nd, Phillipsburg got big wins from Ed Moore (98) and Jim Crouse (155) and then saw Heath Condon defeat last year’s hero for Easton, Jack Thompson, 5-2 at heavyweight to give the Stateliners their first win over the Rovers in five years, 22-17.

Easton vs. Phillipsburg Match (Easton HS Sports Videos)

Phillipsburg Wrestling
The Stateliners Got Their First Win over the Rovers in 5 Years (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg HS Yearbook)

On February 6th, Northampton faced Phillipsburg at The Pit.  The Kids raced to a 16-0 lead then saw the Liners fight back to win the next four bouts to cut the lead to 16-15.  The teams split the next two bouts before Kevin Smith edged Greg Troxell 11-9 and Eric Gieske won 18-9 at 185.  Both Kids were on the backs but fought back as Northampton triumphed 26-19.

The following collection of photos from Jarrid Konya who wrestled for Northampton that night at 145:
Pre-Match Meeting of Captains.
Rian Youwakim Works for Escape at 98 against Ed Moore; Youwakim Won 4-3.

Mike Recker (right) Topped Scott Dellatore 6-2 at 105.
Don Suranofsky Scores a Fall at 112 over E.J. Watson.
Ed Youwakim Works for a Tilt at 119 on way to 9-1 Win Over Pat Maczko.
Jarrid Konya (right) Tangles with Greg Gehm at 145.
Konya Works for Near Side Cradle Against Gehm & Went on to Win 9-6.
Jim Crouse Hits Barrel Roll on Brian Chamberlain on way to 6-5 Win at 155.
Kevin Smith Locks Up Standing Cradle on Greg Troxell; Smith Won 11-9.
Eric Gieske Defeated Heath Condon 18-9 at 185 to Clinch the Meet for the Kids.
Northampton Bench Celebrates the Victory!

On February 10th, Notre Dame rallied from a ten point deficit to defeat East Stroudsburg 29-24.  Then on February 13th, Pocono Mountain defeated Stroudsburg 32-24 to finish tied with Notre Dame for the league title.

Pocono Mountain Wrestlling
Pocono Mountain’s Late Season Win Pulled Them Into a Tie for the Centennial League Title (Photo Courtesy of Pocono Mountain HS Yearbook)

Nazareth hammered Saucon Valley 51-8 to wrap up the Colonial League title.

Nazareth Wrestling
Nazareth Had a Stellar 17-1 Season & Won the Colonial League Title (Photo Courtesy of Nazareth HS Yearbook)

New Jersey won its third straight NJ Group 4 state dual title and finished #1 in the coaches and Star Ledger polls as the #1 team in New Jersey (final record = 19-1).  League champions were as follows:

  • EPC – Northampton – 11-0 league and 17-1 overall (only loss to Nazareth)

  • Colonial – Nazareth – 8-0 league and 17-1 (only loss to Easton)

  • Centennial – Notre Dame – 7-1 league and 15-3 & Pocono Mountain – 7-1 league and 14-3 overall

Other teams with very good records were:  Easton 16-2, Liberty 13-6, Parkland 13-4, Catasauqua 13-3, Saucon Valley 12-5-1 and East Stroudsburg 13-5.

Final league standings were as follows:

Compiled Standings 1987-88PlaceW-L-D
East Penn
Bethlehem Catholic6T5-6
William Allen6T5-6
Allentown Central Catholic102-9
Saucon Valley36-2
Pen Argyl5T3-5
Southern Lehigh90-8
Notre Dame1T7-1
Pocono Mountain1T7-1
East Stroudsburg36-2
Northern Lehigh5T3-5
Pleasant Valley81-6-1

The Colonial League Tournament was eliminated, but the Centennial League Tournament saw East Stroudsburg, who finished 3rd in the dual standings, claim the top spot with three champs and three runner-ups.

Down in District 1, Souderton was also flexing its muscles as it outpaced both Quakertown and North Penn to win the Section 2 title.  Quakertown turned the tables on Souderton in the District 1 North championship winning the team title by 1.5 points.

Northampton had not won a District team title in 35 years, but Don Rohn’s K-Kids won the AAA won crown in the semi-finals when they advanced six wrestlers to the finals.  When the dust settled, they had crowned three champs (Mike Recker, Ed Youwakim and Kevin Smith), three runner-ups and three 3rd place finishers as they topped Nazareth by 30 points.  The Blue Eagles also crowned three champs (Brad Silimperi, Mike Miller and Ken Herceg).

Konkrete Kids Win First of Many District XI Team Championships Under Coach Don Rohn (Photo Courtesy of Mike Recker)
Ed Youwakim
Ed Youwakim Helped the Kids Win Their First District Title in 35 Years (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith Made an Immediate Impact for the K-Kids and Was Involved in Many Exciting Bouts (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

After a 21-1 dual season which earned them the #1 AA ranking in the state, North Schuylkill romped to the AA team title.  The Spartans crowned four champions (Chris Rickard, Tom Edwards, Mark Cesari and Todd Lane) and qualified eleven wrestlers for the regional tournament.  Northwestern’s Scott Derr won his fourth District title while Rickard and Salisbury’s Lee Todora both won their 3rd District titles.

With a strong quarterfinal performance, District XI advanced 27 of 36 wrestlers to the Northeast Regional AAA semi-finals.  On the strength of four regional champs, Nazareth outpaced Northampton and Shikellamy to win the team title.  District XI won eight of twelve championship bouts and qualified 23 wrestlers for states.  Brad Silimperi, Mike Miller, Ken Herceg and John Renner won titles for the Blue Eagles while Freedom’s Dave Foley, Dieruff’s Buddy Maxwell (career win #99), Northampton’s Kevin Smith and West Hazleton’s Tim Samec also won titles.  Maxwell became Dieruff’s first 100 win wrestler ever at states the following week.

1988 Northeast Regional Champs
AAA Northeast Regional Champs: L-R – Front Row: Brad Silimperi (Nazareth), Crock Herman (Jersey Shore), Dave Foley (Freedom), Chris Derr (Shikellamy), Buddy Maxwell Jr (Dieruff), Tom Best (Williamsport). Back Row: Mike Miller (Nazareth), Ken Herceg (Nazareth), Marc Brouse (Shikellamy), Kevin Smith (Northampton), John Renner (Nazareth) & Tim Samec (West Hazleton). After Kevin Smith nipped Tony Iasiello 5-4 to put Northampton in the lead, John Renner edged Lance Morabito 6-4 to give the Blue Eagles the team title. (Photo Courtesy of Buddy Maxwell)
Dave Foley
Dave Foley Won a Regional Title and Went on to Win His 2nd State Title (Photo from The Morning Call)

In the Southeast AA Regional, District XI had a dominate performance as they crowned all 12 champions and qualified 30 for the state tourney.  North Schuylkill easily won the team title with six champions and eight total qualifiers.  Salisbury’s Lee Todora won his 4th regional title.

North Schuylkill Wrestling
North Schuylkill Led a District XI Gold Rush in the AA Southeast Regionals (Photo Courtesy of N. Schuylkill HS Yearbook)

The Southeast AAA Regional would see North Penn edging Quakertown and Souderton (68-65.5-63) as the Finacchio brothers and Chris Kwortnik triumphed.

North Penn Wrestling
North Penn Regional Champs – Matt & Dan Finacchio and Chris Kwortnik (Photo Courtesy of North Penn HS Yearbook)

Nazareth had a strong performance in the AAA states as Brad Silimperi became Coach Ray Nunamaker’s first state titlist (and the school’s first in 34 years) with a 7-3 win over Upper Perk’s Jason Marks at 98.  The Blue Eagles finished 2nd in the team race as John Renner finished 2nd at 185 to Quakertown’s John Hangey while Ken Herceg was 3rd and Mike Miller was 4th.  Ray Nunamaker was named Coach of the Year.  Freedom’s Dave Foley was in the finals for the 3rd time and won his 2nd championship at 112.  West Hazleton’s Tim Samec was 2nd at heavyweight.  “Morning Call area” wrestlers Mike Salone from Souderton and North Penn’s Chris Kwortnik also won titles at 145 and 167, respectively.  Seven other District XI wrestlers placed in the top six.

Nazareth Wrestling
Nazareth 1988 State Champions (Photo Courtesy of Ross Nunamaker
Brad Silimperi on the Top of the Podium – 98 Lb State Champ (Photo Courtesy of Ross Nunamaker
John Hangey
Quakertown’s John Hangey Edged Nazareth’s John Renner to Win his School’s 2nd State Title (Photo Courtesy of Quakertown HS Yearbook)

Salisbury’s Lee Todora won by an 8-1 score in the 132 pound final to win his 2nd AA state title.  Pen Argyl’s Rick Sterner was 2nd at 185 while Northwestern’s Scott Derr and Palisades’ Tom Socker were 3rd place winners.

Lee Todora
Salisbury’s Lee Todora Finished a Stellar Career with his 2nd State Title (Photo Courtesy of Salisbury HS Yearbook)

Phillipsburg won another District 16 team title (21 of the past 22 years) as eight wrestlers claimed championships which gave Coach Rick Thompson an even 50 district champs in eight years of coaching.  Mike Kocsis (125), Jason Hawk (130) and Greg Gehm (145) won Region 4 titles.  Kevin Dilts finished as a NJ state runner-up at 103.

Phillipsburg Wrestling
Phillipsburg Had an Excellent Year (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg HS Yearbook)