Regular Season

(Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

The Cement Job Was the Signature Move & Title for the Story of the 1992-93 Season

The Valley Youth House Elite Duals brought three of the Valley’s top teams, Easton, Nazareth and Northampton, together to face teams from New York, West Virginia and District 1 power, Methacton.  The local teams were loaded as Northampton began the year ranked #2 in the state (behind Canon McMillan) and returning eleven starters while both Easton and Nazareth returned eight starters each.  The visiting teams left Muhlenberg College’s Memorial Hall with a combined 0-9 record.  Longwood, New York’s #1 ranked team, fared the best but still lost 42-26 to Northampton, 33-25 to Easton and 38-9 to Nazareth.  Parkersburg South and Methacton were only able to register a few wins each.

Also on the opening weekend, the ASD Tourney saw Dieruff upend Allen and win the title by a healthy margin with four champions – Eric Smith, Billy Burch, John Sallit and Neal Harvey.  Burch was named Outstanding Wrestler as he defeated Catty’s Brad Lower 5-2.  Parkland again dominated the Souderton Tourney placing all thirteen wrestlers and crowning three champions.

James Reimert Was 1 of 3 Titlists for Allen
(Photo Courtesy of Allen HS Yearbook)

During the ’91-’92 season, the East Penn Conference ended in a three-way tie between Northampton, Easton and Phillipsburg.  The Kids were the clear favorite entering the current season with no one else expected to challenge the top three teams; Dieruff returned 12 starters and expected to improve upon an 11-6 record under Coach Glenn Whiteman.

Nazareth was a heavy favorite to win its 13th straight Colonial League title with Pen Argyl and Wilson expected to battle for second place.  In the Centennial League, Stroudsburg and Palmerton had shared the title in 1992, but Pleasant Valley under Coach Tim Cunningham returned nine starters and was favored to wrestle the league title from the defending co-champs.

Coach Tim Cunningham Would Lead Pleasant Valley to a Fine Season
(Photo Courtesy of Pleasant Valley HS Yearbook)

December 19th was the date of the first big dual of the season as Nazareth crushed Easton before 1,500 fans in its home gym.  Nazareth roared out to a 46-0 lead before Eric Thompson scored a fall for the Rovers at 171.  The Blue Eagles went on to win 49-12.  Several tournaments were held during the weekend with Stroudsburg and Saucon Valley finishing 2nd and 3rd in Quakertown.  Phillipsburg had four champions in the Hunterdon/Warren Tourney while Pius X was 2nd in the Delaware Valley Tourney.

Nazareth Dominated the Rovers in an Early Dual (Photo Courtesy of Nazareth HS Yearbook)

Two days before Christmas the Blue Eagles were back in action against Phillipsburg in a dual moved to Liberty’s Memorial Gym to accommodate the expected crowd.  The Stateliners started quickly by winning the first three bouts to lead 12-0, but Nazareth then won nine bouts in a row to win another big dual 35-18.  Nazareth’s Dan Tashner and Travis Doto were able to top returning New Jersey state place winners, Charlie Carty and Pat Coyle.

Travis Doto Helped Lead the Blue Eagles to Their 2nd Big Early Win (Photo Courtesy of Nazareth HS Yearbook)

The same night, Stroudsburg showed that it was ready to again contend in the Centennial League as they cruised by Notre Dame 48-21.  Pleasant Valley easily won its match against East Stroudsburg 66-9 while Pocono Mountain upended Palmerton 37-29.

Thirty-two local teams participated in ten different holiday tournaments.  Pleasant Valley crowned three champions to win the Jim Thorpe Christmas Tourney.    With three champs (Tory Burgio, Steve Dew and Eric Thompson), Easton topped Canon McMillan to win the Manheim Central Holiday Tournament.  Stroudsburg won the Warren Hills Tourney with two champions (Craig Loebsack and Mark Miller) while Lehighton and Salisbury were the top local teams in the Kutztown Tournament, placing 3rd and 4th, respectively.   Parkland nipped Oley Valley by 1.5 points to win the Governor Mifflin Tourney.

Pleasant Valley Won the Jim Thorpe Tourney
(Photo Courtesy of Pleasant Valley HS Yearbook)

In the Christmas City Tourney, Northampton and Nazareth opened up a huge lead on the field after Day one.  The Kids pulled away as they had eight finalists and six champions.  Nazareth finished 2nd followed by Freedom, Dieruff, Pen Argyl and Wilson (who all crowned at least one champ).  The finals featured some incredibly exciting matches.  Northampton’s Dave Emili topped Freedom’s Jon Horvath 10-8 at 112.  At 119, the Kids’ Mike Tomsic hit a cement job to seemingly win his bout only to have Nazareth’s Justin Hoff score a reversal and back points in the closing seconds to win 7-4.  Dan Tashner led Frank Mazzocchi 4-0 before the newly minted “Konkrete Special” resulted in a fall for Mazzocchi at 130.  Pen Argyl’s James Kocher defeated Nazareth’s Mark Getz 4-0 countering a Getz reversal attempt (which would have won the match) for three back points at the buzzer.  Defending AA state champ, Brett Werkheiser from Wilson battled Dieruff’s Billy Burch in a highly entertaining bout as he led 14-11 and then scored a fall with six seconds left.  In the first of their series of close matches, Dieruff’s John Sallit nipped Northampton’s Craig Fenstermacher 4-3 at 171.  Wow!

As 1993 began, Phillipsburg hosted Highlands Regional at The Pit looking for a win #499 in the school’s history.  Sophomore Larry Marino took the mat at heavyweight in his debut for the Liners with his team trailing 23-19, but scored a fall to win the match 25-23 and snap Highland’s 39-match win streak.  Northampton participated in the Cedar Cliff Duals and met AA power Pine Grove in the finals.  After a rally by Cardinals from 160-189, the match score was tied at 26-26, but Jason Grim’s fall gave the Kid’s a 32-26 victory.

On January 6th, Phillipsburg registered school victory #500 by routing Liberty 54-13.  Freedom and Dieruff battled in an interesting match up that the Patriots won 34-27.  In the Colonial League, Nazareth easily defeated Wilson 56-6. 

Nazareth Had a Great Year Under Coach Ray Nunamaker, But Would Lose Twice to the K-Kids (Photo Courtesy of Nazareth HS Yearbook)

A few days later, Canon-McMillan and Delaware Valley Regional (coached by Jody Karam for the final season before his move to Liberty) faced off against Easton and Nazareth.  The Blue Eagles defeated the #2 state ranked Mighty Macs 36-27 and then downed DVR 28-19.  The Rovers were upended by DVR 33-18 before rallying for a 27-27 tie with Canon-McMillan.  Northampton and Phillipsburg traveled to Hampton Colosseum for the Virginia Duals.  The Kids won both their matches while Phillipsburg split.   In a non-league dual, Wilson had three falls to top Freedom 33-23.

During league activity on January 13th the favorites won their matches.  In round 2, Craig Fenstermaker avenged his holiday tourney loss to John Sallit by winning their bout 3-2.  Pen Argyl remained undefeated by topping Dieruff 35-31 in a very competitive match. The Morning Call’s Ted Meixell wrote about the mixed emotions of Pen Argyl coach and former Dieruff wrestler, John Piper, in topping his alma mater especially in light of his former coach, Larry Fornicola, passing away earlier in the week.  Stroudsburg and Pleasant Valley also won their duals to stay unbeaten.

As the week of January 17th began, big matches were on the horizon in all three leagues involving five unbeaten teams:  EPC – Phillipsburg at Northampton; Colonial – Nazareth at Pen Argyl; and Centennial – Stroudsburg at Pleasant Valley.  In addition, a Saturday match up at Liberty between the Kids and Blue Eagles was on the docket.

Before 1,100 fans at Pen Argyl, Nazareth was way too much for the Green Knights as they won 47-9.  Stroudsburg jumped out to a 15-0 lead and never trailed as they knocked Pleasant Valley from the unbeaten ranks 36-20.  The Northampton-Phillipsburg match featured some great individual match ups early on, and the first six bouts were split equally with the Liners leading 10-9.  The Kids got falls from Bob Gresko and Ryan Gumlock to pull away and triumph 37-16.

Bob Gresko Had One of the Key Falls as Northampton Topped P-Burg (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

Speculation of weight drops, lineup maneuvering and the coin flip were rampant in the Valley in advance of the Nazareth-Northampton match up before 3,600 fans at Liberty on January 23rd.   When the Kids weighed in, every wrestler from 119-140 had dropped a weight.  Denny Liberto scored a major at 103 to give the Kids a 4-0 lead, but then all of the weight droppers, except one – A.J. Bucko, lost to Brian Tashner, Justin Hoff, Dan Tashner and Mark Getz.  The Blue Eagles led 12-7.  When Travis Doto won by default and Adam Colombo, who had dropped two weights, defeated Ryan Gumlock at 145, Nazareth had a commanding 21-7 lead.  After Steve Gaugler scored a tight 10-7 win over Ben Duelley at 152, Rich Kutzler stunned favored Pete Eckhart and the crowd by converting a low leg cradle to a fall.  After Craig Fentsermaker’s major decision at 171, the score was 21-20 in favor of Nazareth.  Mark Madson had aggressive Kids’ freshman, Rick Umstead, on his back after an attempted throw, but Umstead battled back and Madson settled for a decision.  Jason Grim scored a first period fall at heavyweight and after a team point deduction for Nazareth, the final score was Northampton 26-23 in a tremendously exciting dual meet!

Rich Kutzler Sets Up Lower Leg Cradle to Score Big Fall
(Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)
Jason Grim After Clinching Win (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

On January 27th, Northampton was back on the mats looking to complete a clean sweep of Phillipsburg, Nazareth and Easton in eight days!  The first ten bouts saw several Konkrete Specials and a Cement Job or two as Northampton had six pins to build a 48-0 lead.  Easton finally got on the board when Eric Thompson defeated Craig Fenstermaker 9-7 in the first of three straight decisions for the Rovers to make the final score 48-9.  In the Centennial League, Pocono Mountain and Stroudsburg remained unbeaten by defeating East Stroudsburg 64-6 and Palmerton 46-27, respectively.

Having already upset one local team in Easton, Delaware Valley Regional registered another – 28-24 over Phillipsburg.  The Stateliners had roared out to a 21-0 lead, but the Terriers won all but one of the remaining bouts, including three by fall, to pull off the “W”.

The battle for 4th place in the EPC had featured some fierce duals between Allen, Dieruff, Freedom, Liberty, Parkland and others.  The Trojans head man, John Toggas, made several key lineup moves in a match against Dieruff.  Matt Roth’s drop to 112 resulted in a 6-0 over Eric Smith in a string of victories in the first three bouts which also included a 14-13 win by Long Nguyen at 119.  The Trojans took a 26-3 lead before the Huskies’ upperweight rally narrowed the final score to 32-24.

On February 4th, Easton and Phillipsburg matched up at Kirby Field House in the battle for 2nd place in the EPC.  As expected the Stateliners jumped out to an early lead (14-0) after three bouts.  Easton quickly battled back as Brad Weaver scored a fall with two seconds to go while leading 3-2 at 125 and then Tory Burgio nipped Charlie Carty 12-10 in overtime at 130.  Phillipsburg won the next two bouts to extend their lead to 23-9, but the calvary was coming for the Rovers.  Easton would win all but one of the remaining bouts including two by fall and one by default to win 33-26.  Liberty upended co-Centennial League leader, Pocono Mountain, 31-18 in a non-league match.

A few days later, Nazareth beat up on Shikellamy, in a down year for the Braves, 40-12.  In some competitive EPC matches, Allen edged Central Catholic 33-25; Phillipsburg defeated Freedom 32-25 and Bethlehem Catholic’s middle weights rallied to down Emmaus 33-26.  Pleasant Valley nipped Bethlehem Catholic 31-29 in a non-league match.  In article in The Morning Call shed light on inequities in the District XI team seeding system that could result in Nazareth being the #4 seed in the AAA duals despite having defeated Easton handily earlier in the season.

With the EPC and Colonial League titles pretty well decided, February 10th would feature the match to decide the Centennial League title as Stroudsburg visited Pocono Mountain.  The teams split the first four bouts, but the Cardinals led 9-6 on Jon Laudenslager’s fall at 125.  The Mounties then won the next two bouts to take a 15-9 lead which they would never relinquish.  Pocono Mountain got a win at 145, but Stroudsburg ran the table winning the final five bouts including falls by Mark Miller, Steve Keim and Joe Hull to win 42-13.  In an exciting EPC bout the same night, John Sallit bumped up to 189 and scored a decision, and Neal Harvey followed with a fall as Dieruff clipped Bethlehem Catholic 26-25.

Phillipsburg defeated Parsippany 56-15 in the North Section 2 semi-final at The Pit.  In competitive EPC action, heavyweight bouts decided three matches as Neal Harvey’s fall gave Dieruff a 35-27 win over Liberty; Ray Jacovitz’s decision helped Parkland defeat Becahi 33-27; and Emmaus’ Joe Simeone scored a decision as the Hornets defeated Freedom 31-27.  In the Colonial League, Wilson and Pen Argyl both won their matches to stay tied at 6-1 in league action. 

District Duals

Due to the weighting of dual wins, Nazareth which was ranked #2 in the Valley and the state and #6 in the nation only drew the #4 seed in the District Duals.  The Blue Eagles easily defeated Parkland 42-16 in one quarterfinal, but then found Northampton waiting for them in the semi-finals.  Round 2 would see the Kids jump out to an 18-0 lead as Dave Emili and Frank Mazzocchi both scored falls.  Dan Tashner’s decision finally got the Blue Eagles on the board, but Bob Gresko’s OT win over Mark Getz broke up Nazareth’s momentum.  The Blue Eagles would win the next three bouts to cut the team score to 21-16, but the Kids won 3 of the final 4 bouts to triumph 32-19.

Frank Mazzocchi Scored Key Pins for the Kids Throughout the Season (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

On the other side of the AAA bracket, North Schuylkill which had moved up from AA to AAA, had five falls in downing Centennial League champ, Stroudsburg, 42-17 to advance to face Easton in the other semi-final.  The Spartans had the Rovers trouble early as they won four of the first six bouts to lead 19-8, including falls by Pete Kroshefski at 103 and Chris Edwards at 125.  The teams split the next two bouts, and then Mike Mertz’s fall at 152 pulled Easton within five points 22-17.  The final four bouts would see the Spartans gain one win by a major decision and the Rovers winning three close bouts – two by a single point and one by three points.  In the end, Joey Jones 3-2 win over Howie Smith at heavyweight resulted in a 26-26.  Easton gained the win and advanced to the final on criteria.

In the finals, Northampton opened up a huge 27-0 lead by winning the first six bouts including falls by Denny Liberto and Mike Tomsic and a tech fall by Jay Merchen.  The teams split the final six bouts, and Northampton won the AAA Duals’ title 37-12 to cap an amazing regular season.

Over in AA, the closest dual would be decided by 11 points.  In the quarterfinals, Wilson pounded Pius X 60-18 and Northern Lehigh rallied to defeat Tri-Valley 33-22.  Tri-Valley led 22-14, but the Bulldogs won the final four bouts including falls by Kyle Rogers and R.C. Price.  In the semi-finals, Wilson ran into a very strong Pine Grove team.  The Cardinals scored four falls as the won 47-14 over the Warriors.  In the other semi-finals, Pen Argyl lost the first bout but never trailed again after the second as they registered seven bonus point wins to defeat Northern Lehigh 35-18.

In the AA District Dual finals, Pine Grove won the first five bouts, two in overtime, to lead Pen Argyl 17-0.  The Green Knights battled back in the middle weights with two falls and one tech fall to come within striking distance at 26-17.  Matt Warner, Shawn Smith and Jonathan Flynn scored 17 of a possible 18 team points to widen the final score to 43-17 and give the Cardinals the AA team title.

Phillipsburg advanced to the NJ Group 3 finals, but lost to North Hunterdon 27-24.

A final week of limited duals followed to close out the regular season.  In rivalry bouts in the EPC, Freedom nipped Liberty 30-25; Parkland defeated Emmaus 38-19; and Dieruff defeated Allen for the first time in 16 years 33-28.  Northampton closed out a perfect 24-0 dual season and won the EPC title by defeating Whitehall 69-3.

In the Colonial League, Pen Argyl won the battle for 2nd over Wilson.  The Green Knights had four early falls as they opened a 27-0 lead on their way to a 40-21 win.  Nazareth topped Catasauqua 53-9 to win yet another (13th in a row) Colonial League title.

The final league standings were as follows:

East PennPlaceW-L-D
Northampton111-0
Easton210-1
Phillipsburg39-2
Parkland48-3
Dieruff5T6-5
Freedom5T6-5
Liberty75-6
Bethlehem Catholic84-7
Emmaus9T3-8
William Allen9T3-8
Allentown Central Catholic112-9
Whitehall120-11
Colonial
Nazareth18-0
Pen Argyl27-1
Wilson36-2
Bangor4T4-4
Saucon Valley4T4-4
Catasauqua6T3-5
Salisbury6T3-5
Palisades81-7
Southern Lehigh90-8
Centennial
Stroudsburg18-0
Northern Lehigh2T6-2
Pleasant Valley2T6-2
Pocono Mountain2T6-2
Lehighton54-4
Palmerton63-5
Notre Dame72-6
Northwestern81-7
East Stroudsburg90-8

League champions overall records were:  Northampton (24-0), Nazareth (22-2) and Stroudsburg (15-2).  Other teams with very good records were Pen Argyl (20-3), Pleasant Valley (16-3), Easton (17-4-1), Parkland (13-5), Phillipsburg (17-6), Wilson (16-6), Dieruff (13-6) and Northern Lehigh (13-7).

In the Centennial League Tourney, Stroudsburg had three champions, Kevin Legione, Craig Loebsack and Mark Miller, to win the team title 164.5-145 over Pocono Mountain.

Districts

Northampton claimed the lead in AAA after Day 1 by moving a record 11 wrestlers into the semi-finals; Nazareth was 2nd with nine semi-finalists.  One #1 seed was upset when East Stroudsburg freshman, Eric Greshko , decisioned Tory Burgio of Easton in overtime.  The Kids and Blue Eagles each advanced five wrestlers to the finals.  Nazareth would crown more champs (4 to 3), but Northampton had more regional qualifiers (9 to 8) on their way to winning the team title 216 to 194.  Whitehall’s Whitey Chlebove won his 3rd District title at 119 by technical fall and was named Outstanding Wrestler. 

Whitey Chlebove Won His 3rd District Title
(Photo Courtesy of Whitehall HS Yearbook)

Northampton and Dieruff wrestlers battled in two final bouts with the Kids winning both.  Two defending District champs matched up at 152 with Steve Gaugler avenging two losses to Billy Burch 4-3.  John Sallit led Craig Fenstermaker 5-2 with 20 seconds to go, but Fenstermacher rallied to send the bout into OT and win 7-5 at 171.  Northampton’s 3rd champ was Mike Tomsic at 112 who scored a fall over Freedom’s Jon Horvath.  Nazareth had four champs in Dan Tashner (125), Mark Getz (130), Adam Colombo (145) and Mark Madson (189) who defeated Liberty’s Kyle Tarboro for the 2nd year in a row.  Lehighton was able to crown “book-end” champs by winning at 103 and heavyweight as Nic Lorenzo and Steve Hawk both won one-point decisions.  Freedom’s Matt Zebertavage (135), Allen’s Jim Reimert (140) and Easton’s Eric Thompson(winning an 18-13 battle over Stroudsburg’s Mark Miller at 160) also won titles.

Lehighton’s Steve Hawk Won the AAA Heavyweight Title
(Photo Courtesy of Lehighton HS Yearbook)

The AA tourney featured two returning state champions in Wilson’s Brett Werkheiser and Mount Carmel’s Mike Garcia, but they both were competing at 140 pounds and were both 24-0 heading into the District tourney.  The first day saw no upsets to speak of with Pine Grove, who had four #1 seeds, opening up a lead as expected.  The Cardinals easily won the team title 216-160 over Pen Argyl.  They crowned four champions in Andy LeVan (112), Trevor Warner (119), Matt Warner (160) and Shawn Smith (171) and advanced nine wrestlers to the regionals.  In addition, Duane Maurer was named coach of the year.  The battle of defending state champs saw Mike Garcia open up a 6-3 lead, but Brett Werkheiser escaped and scored a takedown with two seconds to go to send the bout into overtime.  Garcia scored a takedown in overtime to win 8-6; he was also named Outstanding Wrestler.  Northern Lehigh had two champions – Jeremy Dogmanits (103) and Mike Altif (126).  Pen Argyl’s James Kocher (130) earned his 2nd District title.  Salisbury’s Brian Nesfeder (135), Wilson’s Brian Knott (145), Catasauqua’s Brad Lower (152), Notre Dame’s Santo Morici (189) and Panther Valley’s Joe Tout (Hwt) also won titles.

Regionals

With the Blizzard of ’93 bearing down on the Lehigh Valley, the organizers of the AAA and AA tournaments took different approaches to the impending weather.  In AAA, a marathon session was held on Friday, March 12th which featured action through the semi-final round.  Action resumed on Monday, March 15th.  In AA, due to scheduling challenges at Allen’s Phys. Ed. Center, the entire tournament of 157 matches was wrestled in one evening (in 6 hours and 10 minutes).

The Northeast AAA Regionals had a marathon session which lasted until about midnight and concluded with the semi-finals.  There were a number of upsets including Parkland’s Matt Roth knocking off State Runner-up Mike Brennan of Wyoming Valley West 6-5 in OT at 112.  Meanwhile, at the same weight, the Kids’ Mike Tomsic went from his own back to a fall over District 4 champ Eric Steppe of Williamsport via a Konkrete Special.  Frank Mazzocchi used a similar move to pin another District 4 champ, Brian Derr of Shikellamy.  All in all, District XI qualified finalists at every weight with eight bouts featuring all District XI match-ups. 

Matt Roth Upset Defending State Runner-Up in Regional Action
(Photo Courtesy of Parkland HS Yearbook)

The delayed finals were held Monday evening and featured an incredibly exciting bout between 3-time state champ, Bob Crawford of Milton and Nazareth’s Dan Tashner at 125.  Blue Eagle fans knew Crawford well as he had twice rallied to defeat Ryan Nunamaker in the ’91 regional and state finals.  Crawford led 1-0 early in the 3rd period, and The Morning Call’s Ted Meixell described the action as follows:  “But Tashner used his trademark three-quarter nelson to take Crawford down right to his back.  He held Crawford almost flat for nearly a minute.  But somehow, Crawford got off his back and was awarded a point for an illegal hold… He wriggled free with 13 seconds remaining.  Still, the five-point move left Tashner with a seemingly secure 5-3 lead.  …Crawford tackled him like a linebacker with two seconds left to send the bout into overtime.”  After both wrestlers nearly scored the winning takedown in overtime, it was Tashner who hipped over scoring the winning takedown to win 7-5 and snap Crawford’s 133-match win streak in one of the most memorable bouts in NE Regional history.

Prior to the 125-pound, Northampton crowned two champions in Denny Liberto and Mike Tomsic, but saw a 3rd, Frank Mazzocchi, fall to 3-time regional champ, Whitey Chlebove of Whitehall 5-2.  Mark Getz (130) and Travis Doto (140) also won titles for the Blue Eagles, while Northampton crowned a two more champs in Steve Gaugler (152) and Craig Fenstermaker (171) who again battled Dieruff’s John Sallit and won 10-6.   Eric Thompson (160) and Joey Jones (Hwt), who bout previously undefeated Steve Hawk from Lehighton, won championships for Easton.  Bangor’s Dan Terpestra was the final District XI champ.  District XI claimed 26 of 39 state qualifiers and Northampton, Nazareth and Easton finished 1-2-3 in the team score.

In the Southeast AA Regionals, the action was condensed into one session and featured some exciting matches.  Pine Grove again won the team championship for the second straight week over Wilson and Pen Argyl.  The Cardinals had five finalists and advanced seven wrestlers to states.  District 11 was dominant as they claimed 30 of 39 regional slots and 11 of 13 champions.  For the second week in a row, the feature match was Brett Werkheiser vs. Mike Garcia at 140.  Werkheiser avenged last week’s loss by dealing Garcia his first loss of the year 8-6 in overtime.  Werkheiser has survived a semi-final scare as Saucon Valley’s Mark Raudenbush had him on his back in a headlock before he was able to secure a fall.  Another Wilson wrestler, Jeff Tufano (130) was his 2nd regional title by handing Pen Argyl’s Jim Kocher his 1st loss of the season 10-4, and teammate, Brian Knott, won the 145 pound title.  Team champ, Pine Grove, matched Wilson with three champs – Scott LeVan (112), Rusty Huber (125) and Shawn Smith (171).  Other District XI regional champs were Saucon Valley’s Dan Ziegler (103), Catasauqua’s Jason Mutarelli (119), Salisbury’s Brian Nesfeder (135), Notre Dame’s Santo Morici (189) by fall and Northern Lehigh’s R.C. Price (Hwt).

Catty’s Brad Lower Finished 2nd in the Regionals & States
(Photo Courtesy of Catasauqua HS Yearbook)

States

Northampton went 4 for 5 in opening round action to lead the local contingent in AAA.   Nine District XI wrestlers then gained the semi-finals including Nazareth’s Dan Tashner and Pocono Mountain’s Jon Laudenslager who both won by fall at 125.   Nazareth was the only local squad with more than one semi-finalist as Mark Getz also advanced.  In the semi-finals, after two close wins, Northampton’s Mike Tomsic scored a fall to advance to the finals.  Whitehall’s Whitey Chlebove and Dieruff’s John Sallit both won close matches to advance while Tashner defeated Pocono Mountain’s Jon Laudenslager 5-1.

In the finals, Tomsic wasted little time in slapping a cement job on favored Jason Lamotta of Conestoga to score a fall in :45.  The Kids also placed Denny Liberto (6th at 103), Frank Mazzocchi (3rd at 119) and Steve Gaugler (4th at 152) to win the team title.  Coach Don Rohn was named Coach of the Year as the Kids completed a perfect season.  After pulling off the upset in the regionals, Tashner was unable to repeat the feet against the amazing Bob Crawford at 125 who won 6-0 to become the 8th 4-time state champ in PA history.  Dieruff’s John Sallit claimed the state title at 171 with a 9-1 decision while Chlebove dropped a close decision at 119.  Laudenslager, Getz and Lehighton’s Steve Hawk (Hwt) all finished 3rd.  Nazareth was 4th in the team standings.

Mike Tomsic With the Cement Job Fall for the State Title (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

In AA, twenty-two local wrestlers won their first round bouts, including four from Wilson at consecutive weights (130-145).  The Warriors then moved all four wrestlers to the semi’s and 3 of 4 (Jeff Tufano, Steve Klass and Brett Werkheiser) into the finals, but they still trailed Reynolds by three points in the team race.  Some familiar faces were waiting for two of them in the finals as Klass matched up against Salisbury’s Brian Nesfeder for the 2nd week in a row while Werkheiser was set to battle Mt. Carmel’s Mike Garcia once again.  In the finals, Nesfeder caught Klass in a cradle and scored a fall to claim the 135 pound title.  Garcia-Werkheiser Round 3 was again exciting and came down to the final 12 seconds of the bout.  Garcia led 3-0 heading into the 3rd period, but Werkheiser rallied to tie the bout at 3-3 and 5-5 before Garcia’s escape proved decisive for a 6-5 win.  Both Tufano and Catasauqua’s Brad Lower (152) lost close bouts and settled for silver medals.  Pen Argyl’s Placido Salamone (125) and James Kocher (130) both took 3rd place.    Wilson finished 2nd in the team race.

Brian Nesfeder
Brian Nesfeder Won the 135 Pound State Title
(Photo Courtesy of Salisbury HS Yearbook)

On Sunday, March 21st the #1 nationally ranked Northampton wrestlers were welcomed home with a parade.  Superintendent Ralph Tarola said “this is one of the greatest moments in sports history in Northampton.”

Don Rohn
Coach Don Rohn Led Northampton to the #1 Ranking in the Country
(Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

Phillipsburg Post Season

Phillipsburg advanced 11 wrestlers to the semi-finals and had four champions and four runner-ups, but it was not enough to win the District 1 NJ team title.  That honor went to Coach Jody Karam’s Delaware Valley Regional team.  The Terriers had ten finalists and seven champions as they unseated the Stateliners.   Joe Edwards (103), Pete Poretta (112), Pat Coyle (135) and Mark DeFrancisco (160) won individual titles.

In the Region 1 championships, Edwards, Charlie Carty (125) and Coyle won titles.  Pete Poretta was 2nd and Mike Coyle was 3rd.

In the state finals, Pete Poretta gained revenge for a regional finals loss and defeated Jefferson’s Ken Rossi 5-4 to win the 112-pound  state title.  Coach Rick Thompson had two more finalists as Charlie Carty and Pat Coyle both improved on their prior year’s finishes as both finished as runner-ups.  In addition, Mike Coyle was 4th at 119.

In the 13th annual Easton Lions Classic featured two state champions and seven runner-ups.   Jody Karam coached the New Jersey team while Don Rohn coached the PA team.  Northampton’s Mike Tomsic had the night’s only fall, but New Jersey was able to defeat PA 28-16. 

A change in timing saw the Challenge of Champions between AAA-AA held the same weekend as the Pittsburgh Classic.  As a result, wrestlers were not able to participate in both events.  Northampton’s Mike Tomsic was the only local participant in the Pittsburgh Classic and he dropped his bout.  Team USA doubled up the PA squad 30-15.  Seven District XI wrestlers were in action in the Challenge of Champions which was won by AAA 27-25.  Wilson’s Jeff Tufano (130), Steve Klass (135) and Brett Werkheiser (140 over Allen’s James Reimert) all scored major decisions for AA.  Northampton’s Frank Mazzocchi scored a fall at 119 over Pine Grove’s Trevor Warner; Pine Grove’s Andy Levan (112) also participated but lost at 112.