Programs Started (Coach):Allentown Central Catholic (Chris Gentile)
East Penn League Champion:Phillipsburg (7-1)
LVIAA League Champion:Northampton & Stroudsburg Tie (5-1)
Lehigh-Northampton League Champion:Hellertown & Nazareth Tie (8-0-1)
District Champion:William Allen (3 Champions, 2 Runners-up)
Regionals:Bethlehem Liberty (2 Champions)
Individual State Champions:Randy Biggs, 95, Bethlehem Liberty
Geoff Baum, 180, William Allen

Regular Season

The 1966-67 wrestling season kicked off on December 2nd with several non-league bouts.  Defending Lehigh Valley League champion, Northampton hosted Nazareth on opening night.  The Blue Eagles pummeled their hosts 46-5 as Carl Peters, Tony Laurito, Jerry Hahn, Art Metz and Craig Fogel all scored falls.  The Kids only avoided a shut out when Pius Uhnak won by disqualification over John Doto.  The same night, Allentown Central Catholic challenged Bethlehem Catholic in their inaugural season but dropped a 38-10 decision.

Notre Dame Defeated Wilson to Start the Season Strong (Photo Courtesy of Notre Dame H.S. Yearbook)
Notre Dame Defeated Wilson to Start the Season Strong (Photo Courtesy of Notre Dame H.S. Yearbook)

One night later, a Notre Dame team with many returning starters downed Wilson 30-19 before 800 fans at Wilson per The Morning Call.  Wilson took an early lead by winning five of the first six bouts including a fall by Lutri at 103 to lead 17-6.  Bob Lux and Greg Giorano started the Crusader comeback with a decision and fall followed by a draw at 154 that left the team score at 19-14 Wilson.  With the strong grapplers in the last three weights, Notre Dame’s Bruce Danyluk, Jim Taviani and John Correll tallied a decision and two pins on the way to capping the comeback win.

Whitehall scored another come-from-behind win against rival Parkland 26-22.  The Trojans opened up a 11-3 lead after four bouts.  Whitehall’s Bob Rosenberger began a run of five wins in a row including falls by Ron Bower (133) and Bart Gable (145), and the Zephyrs led 24-11 with three bouts to go.

December 7th featured a mix of EPL opening league and non-league bouts.  Liberty scored falls in the first two bouts (Biggs and Shireman) and never looked back in easily defeating Notre Dame 36-11 in the EPL opener for both schools.  John Strohl put an exclamation point on the win by pinning tough Jim Taviani in the first period at 180.  A talented Allen team also won their opener by defeating Neshaminy 28-17.  The Canaries’ experienced grapplers led the way as Glenn Zoski (103) and Stan Dziedic (138) scored decisions while Freeman (145) and Geoff Baum (180) both scored falls.  Neshaminy’s Rich Tyma scored a big upset over Denny Zanders 13-8 at 112.

In non-league bouts both Dieruff and Emmaus scored big wins.  Dieruff relied on falls from Rick Lentz (133) and Abe Youwakim (138) and a big 7-2 win by Rick Scholl over John Tapajcik in a match up of returning district runnersup.  The Huskies won 25-18.  Meanwhile, Emmaus easily downed Parkland 32-12 including pins by Jack Nonnemaker (95), Bert Killio (127) and Leigh Rockwell (133).

A few days later, Dieruff won their EPL opener by defeating Easton 25-15.  The teams split the first six bouts and were deadlocked 9-9.  Abe Youwakim won by default over Craig Palmer at 138 while Scott Snyder (145) and Jim Rizzotto (165) each won identical 8-6 decisions.  Larry McIntyre won a 9-5 decision over tough Dieruff sophomore, Dan Newhard at 180 to cut the score to 20-15.  Ed Merkel won by default at heavyweight, and the Huskies had their 2nd win in eight tries against the Rovers.  Notre Dame rebounded to defeat Neshaminy 26-19.  Pennsbury dealt Becahi their first loss of the season 28-17.

Thad Turner Led Phillipsburg to Another EPL Title (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)
Thad Turner Led Phillipsburg to Another EPL Title (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)

Two intriguing non-league bouts were also on the card with Northampton visiting Wilson and Nazareth visiting Phillipsburg.  In both cases the homes team were triumphant.  Northampton won several one-point decisions and had Jack Hidebrandt battle to a 5-5 draw with Burgio at 103 to lead 14-5 at the halfway point.  Wilson won five straight bouts including falls by Bob Stoneback (165) and Willie Saloky (180) for a 25-20 win.  The Stateliners led the Blue Eagles 17-13 after Bob Zaro and Davis drew 1-1 at 154.  Jim Thompson (165) and and  Jack Smith (Hwt) both win by fall  for a 30-13 P-Burg win.

On December 14th, the Lehigh-Northampton and Lehigh Valley Leagues opened league competition.  In the LNL, defending tri-champions, Hellertown, Nazareth and Wilson all won easily.  Hellertown shut out Parkland 50-0 while Nazareth beat Pen Argyl 28-13 and Wilson routed Palisades 40-14.

Northampton again battled Stroudsburg in an LVL opener.  The Kids again rose to the occasion and jumped out to a 13-4 lead.  After Stroudsburg scored two decisions to narrow the gap, the Kid’s Al Nordquist scored a fall at 145 followed by wins by Coleman and Hontz to open up an insurmountable lead on the way to a 25-20 win.  Meanwhile, Lehighton flexed their muscles by upending Emmaus 27-17.  Lehighton clung to an 18-17 lead as defending LVL champs Jerry Serfass took the mat against Steve Huddleston.  Serfass triumphed 6-4 and Herman and McGowan followed with decisions for the Indians.  Catasauqua beat Whitehall for the first time in four tries as Bill Keenan scored a fall in the final bout to give Catty a 25-24 win.

Strohl Often Delivered the Fall for Coach Gutierrez (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Liberty H.S. Yearbook)
Strohl Often Delivered the Fall for Coach Gutierrez (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Liberty H.S. Yearbook)

In East Penn League action, Liberty was locked in a struggle with Phillipsburg.  Randy Biggs and John Filipos scored decisions as the Hurricanes led 6-0, but Maruy Mascari got a huge fall over defending regional champ, Nick Kalingeras.  Liberty countered with four straight wins including falls by Joe Benson at 127 and Tom Detsch at 138 to lead 22-5.  The Stateliners immediately responded with Bob Duckworth’s pin at 145 and three more decisions to cut the lead to 22-20.  The Hurricanes had John Strohl waiting in the wings, and Strohl delivered by pinning Jack Smith to give the Liberty a huge 27-20 win.

The match-ups worked in Allen’s favor against upstart Notre Dame. Coach Dick Baker bumped Glenn Zoski up to 112 vs. a match up with Bruce Danyluk.  After four bouts, Notre Dame led 8-5, but Allen then went 4-0-1 in the next five matches.  John Franco scored a fall at 127, and Stan Dziedic defeated Bob Lux 3-1 in a key matchup before Bob Freeman and Greg Giordano battled to a scoreless draw.  The result was an Allen 20-10 lead.  The Canaries would win three of the final four bouts including two more Allen wins in marquee match-ups – Geoff Baum’s 13-0 win over Jim Taviani  and Wipple’s 5-2 over John Correll – for a 29-13 final score.

A few days later, Dieruff moved to 3-0 overall with an easy 41-6 win over Neshaminy on the strength of five falls.  Easton and Wilson locked up in a non-league match.  Wilson clung to an 8-7 lead after four bouts.  The Rovers practically ran the table the rest of the way, winning 7 of 8 bouts, and Easton had a dominant 33-13 victory.  Northampton jumped out to a 24-3 lead and held on for a 30-23 win over Bethlehem Catholic in a competitive non-league bout.

Tom Huber & Ken Bloss - Hellertown Team Captains (Photo Courtesy of Hellertown H.S. Yearbook)
Tom Huber & Ken Bloss – Hellertown Team Captains (Photo Courtesy of Hellertown H.S. Yearbook)

Liberty and Hellertown met in front of 1,000 fans in the Hellertown gym with some great bouts along the way in a back and forth match.  The first six bouts included two one point decisions and two draws.  In a rematch of last year’s district finals, the result was the same as Nick Kalogeras edged Mike Tapajcik 3-2.  After the 133 pound bout, Liberty led 13-7.  Tom Detsch’s fall extended the lead to 19-7, but the Panthers answered with Tom Huber and the Bloss brothers scoring decisions to pull the Panthers within three points.  Ray Morales nipped Bob Seaman 3-2, and John Strohl downed Andy Hanzlik 6-1 to give Coach Frank Gutierrez a hard fought 25-16 win.

As pre-holiday competition wound down, Allen traveled to Yardley expecting to pick up a win against Pennsbury.  The Falcons were able to upset three unbeaten Allen wrestlers as Jim Baxter downed Stan Benton 4-2 at 95, Bill Strachan beat Stan Dziedic 8-6 at 138 and Mike Maybach knocked off Bob Freeman 5-2 at 145.  With Pennsbury up by six points, Geoff Baum took the mat looking for a fall, but was only able to score a 6-0 decision.  A win by Bob Wippel could give the Canaries a draw, but Ed Standanilick scored a 3-2 decision to give Pennsbury a 21-15 upset win.  The same evening, Easton dealt Hunterdon Central their first loss of the year 24-18.  Kurt Weaver got the Rovers off to a great start with a fall at 103 to counter a Red Devils fall at 95.  Easton was able to win 6 of the remaining 10 bouts.

Steve Huddleston Had a Huge Fall (Photo Courtesy of Emmaus H.S. Yearbook)
Steve Huddleston Had a Huge Fall (Photo Courtesy of Emmaus H.S. Yearbook)

On December 22nd, the final action before the holidays took place.  In the LVL, Emmaus broke Northampton’s 20 bout unbeaten streak intact since the inception of LVL, by downing the Kids 28-20.  The Kids lower weights started strong and led 12-6 after five bouts.  That’s when Emmaus strung together falls by Lee Rockwell (133) and Charlie Thomas (138) plus a decision by Gary Sell (145) to lead 20-12.  Steve Huddleston got a huge first period fall at 165 that helped clinch the win.  Lehighton continued its winning ways by downing Catasauqua 29-9, and Whitehall nipped Slatington 23-20 on heavyweight Denny Henninger’s fall.

Dieruff upended Bethlehem Catholic 24-15, rebounding after Becahi won the first four bouts.  Dieruff’s Jim Rizzotto picked up a huge fall at 165 and Dan Newhard and Ed Merkel both won decisions to close out the match strong for the Huskies.  Phillipsburg clipped Notre Dame 27-20.  The Stateliners jumped out to a quick start with three pins in the first six bouts – Mike Bateman (95), Dale Markus (103) and Harry Kisselbach (133) – and led 21-8.  Jim Thompson (154) and John Visconi (165) won decisions to interrupt the Notre Dame comeback attempt.

Southern Lehigh Was Unbeaten in the LNL for Much of the Season (Photo Courtesy of Southern Lehigh H.S. Yearbook)
Southern Lehigh Was Unbeaten in the LNL for Much of the Season (Photo Courtesy of Southern Lehigh H.S. Yearbook)

In the Lehigh-Northampton League, Nazareth and Wilson faced off in a key conference bout.  The Blue Eagles started quickly reeled off five straight wins, including falls by Carl Peters (95) and Jerry Hahn (120), to lead 20-0.  Jim Kilpatrick knocked off Art Metz 8-5.  Wilson was able to win four of the following five bouts, but could only close to 23-15 and ultimately dropped a 26-15 decision.  Southern Lehigh stayed undefeated by trouncing Parkland 38-11.

After years of traveling to Boiling Springs, Easton decided to host a holiday tournament.   According to Easton historian Jack Logic, the tourney was started to raise funds for a scholarship foundation in memory of former Easton football coach Pat Reilly.  The initial tournament included Bound Brook, host Easton, Manheim Township, Neshaminy, Palmyra, Parkland, Upper Darby and Wilson.  Upper Darby jumped out to a lead by sending ten men to the semi-finals.  Easton was able to battle back to outpoint both Upper Darby and Bound Brook.  According to the Morning Call, a key to the Rovers’ win was Terry Gibson’s “amazing upset in the semi-finals” as he pinned Alan Matter of Upper Darby “with an overhead cradle.”  Gibson went on to claim the title at 133 by registering another pin in the finals to claim the outstanding wrestler.  Also winning for Easton were Lance France (95), Bill Snyder (138) and Larry McEntire (180) while Bob Pratt (127) was runner-up.

Notre Dame and Palisades traveled to Washington NJ with the Crusaders winning the team title.  Bruce Danyluk (103), Bob Lux (133), Greg Giordano (138) and John Correll (Hwt) all won titles. Notre Dame and Palisades also had runners-up in Gene Sacarakis and Charlie Blatnick and Keith Ernst, respectively.

Bethlehem Catholic also traveled to New Jersey to participate in the Hunterdon Central Invitational.

Mike Fenton Was One of Becahi's Anchors in the Lineup (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Catholic H.S. Yearbook)
Mike Fenton Was One of Becahi’s Anchors in the Lineup (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Catholic H.S. Yearbook)
Marty Mascari Had Many Key Dual Wins (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)
Marty Mascari Had Many Key Dual Wins (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)

After the holidays, the battle in the EPL continued.  Liberty easily defeated Becahi 35-6 to tie Dieruff for first place.  Phillipsburg and defending champion, Allen, matched up.  Coach Thad Turner’s squad had the Canaries in a huge hole right from the start by winning the first five bouts.  Mike Bateman, Maury Mascari and Jack Thompson all scored falls as the Stateliners led 20-2.  After decisions by Stan Dziedic and Bob Freeman cut the lead to 12, P-Burg won three decisions in a row from Morris, Zaro and Jim Thompson to put the match out of reach on their way to a 31-16 win.  With falls by Lance France, Kurt Weaver and Terry Gibson, Easton held a 20-6 lead at the halfway point.  Unlike P-Burg, the Rovers could not hold onto the lead.  Notre Dame won the last six bouts, all by decision, to triumph 24-20.  Jim Taviani dealt Larry McEntire his first defeat at 180 by a 2-1 count to pull the Crusaders ahead by one.  John Correll pitched a 6-0 shut out at heavyweight to end the Rovers’ hopes.

Crowds Grew for Rivalry Matchups Throughout the Valley (Photo Courtesy of Hellertown H.S. Yearbook)
Crowds Grew for Rivalry Matchups Throughout the Valley (Photo Courtesy of Hellertown H.S. Yearbook)

In the Lehigh-Northampton League, the title was on the line the same night, January 5th, as Nazareth visited Hellertown.  The Blue Eagles led on three separate occasions only to have Hellertown tie the match three times as well.  In a match, where no bonus points were scored, there were only two individual bouts decided by three points or less.  After the teams split the first four bouts, Nazareth won the next three bouts.  Rismiller’s 7-6 win over Lawrence at 138 put the Blue Eagles led 15-6.  Hellertown again answered back as Tom Huber, Carl Bloss (a 4-1 winner) and Ken Bloss tieing the match at 15-15.  Pete Topping’s 4-0 win at 180 again gave Nazareth the lead, but Andy Hanzlik shut out John Doto 6-0, and the teams ended in an 18-18 draw.

Southern Lehigh took sole possession of first place by handling East Stroudsburg 38-6.  Bangor had lost to Palisades by 45 points the year before, but downed Palisades 29-19 for a big win for their program.

Northampton and Stroudsburg stayed in the title hunt, ½ match behind Lehighton, by each gaining wins in the Lehigh Valley League.  Stroudsburg and Emmaus and battled back and forth in the early going as the Poconos clung to a 15-14 lead after eight bouts.  MacHose and Huddleston scored decisions to move Emmaus into a 20-15 lead.  Gary Tinney and Bob White both scored falls, and Stroudsburg won 25-20.  Northampton had a much easier time by winning nine bouts to down Whitehall 33-13.

In non-league action two days later, Dieruff won its fifth match in a row by whipping Emmaus 43-8, and Phillipsburg picked up a big win over Hunterdon Central 26-14.  Allen traveled to Wilkes-Barre and dealt GAR their first loss of the year 42-5.

On January 11th, Liberty scored five pins on the way to topping Neshaminy 38-11.  Easton and Allen matched up in a very competitive bout that saw some great individual match ups.   At 95, Allen’s Stan Benton nipped Lance France 1-0.  After Kurt Weaver won at 103 to even the score, while Tony Franco scored a fall at 112.  Terry Gibson pinned Stan Dziedic in the first period at 133 to give Easton a 14-10 lead. After Bob Freeman gave Allen its second 1-0 victory at 138, Easton scored two decisions in a row to lead 20-13 with three bouts to go.  The Canaries ran the table as Bill Stephens, Geoff Baum and Bob Wipple all scored decisions to clinch the come from behind 22-20 win.

Ed Merkel's Comeback Clinched the "W" for the Huskies (Photo Courtesy of Dieruff H.S. Yearbook)
Ed Merkel’s Comeback Clinched the “W” for the Huskies (Photo Courtesy of Dieruff H.S. Yearbook)

The following Thursday, Dieruff again pulled even with Liberty in the EPL standings by edging Pennsbury 21-18.  After Ron Strauss edged Dan Howard 6-4 at 127, Pennsbury led 12-6.  Unbeaten Rick Lentz and Abe Youwakim both won decisions to even the team score, but Pennsbury again answered back with two close decisions to lead 18-12.  Dieruff’s Jim Rizzotto and Dan Newhard each won easily to tie the score at 18 with one bout remaining.  Per The Morning Call, the Huskies’ Ed “Merkel trailed Pennsbury heavyweight Ed Standanlick 3-2 with only 17 seconds remaining…when he scored his takedown to gain a 4-3 decision and give the Huskies a 21-18 victory.”  Bethlehem Catholic upset Notre Dame by jumping out to a quick 15-3 lead and then gaining draws in the final three bouts for a 27-20 win.

In the LVL, Lehighton was unbeaten in the league but ran into a buzzsaw in Stroudsburg.  The Indians never stood a chance as Stroudsburg jumped out to a 22-0 lead on their way to an easy 36-9 victory.  This allowed Northampton, a 29-13 winner over Slatington, to move back into first place.  Emmaus downed Whitehall 31-14 in another league bout.

Southern Lehigh stayed in first place in the LNL by defeating Pen Argyl 33-11.  The other league contenders all won easily as Hellertown beat Palisades 47-5, Nazareth downed East Stroudsburg 45-5 and Wilson routed Bangor 46-2.  Parkland got falls in the final three bouts to edge Northwestern 25-22.

Bob Zaro Started the P-Burg Rally (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)
Bob Zaro Started the P-Burg Rally (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)

With 2,000 fans in the stands, Easton and Phillipsburg matched up on January 14th.  As they often have, Easton gained an early lead by winning four of the first six bouts to lead 14-6.  Unbeaten Terry Gibson bumped up to 138 to face off with unbeaten Bob Duckworth.  Duckworth prevailed 5-2 to start a P-Burg rally as Bob Zaro, Jim Thompson and Buddy Morris all won to give the Stateliners an 18-14 lead.  After Bob Billheimer’s 4-0 win, the heavyweights took the mat with P-Burg clinging to a one point lead.  Jack Smith pinned Gary Love in the 2nd period and P-Burg won 23-17 for their 5th straight win over the Rovers.

The same night EPL leaders, Liberty and Dieruff had non-league bouts.  Liberty easily outpointed Southern Lehigh 36-12, and Dieruff downed Hill School 33-11.

The Red Rovers’ challenging season continued the next week as they visited Hellertown.  The Panthers were able to keep it close against the tough Easton lightweights.  Maurer held Kurt Weaver to a draw at 103 and Neith beat Bob Snyder 4-1 at 127.  The Rovers still led 14-8 after 138, but the Panthers won 4 of the final five bouts to triumph 20-17.  Liberty downed Pennsbury 32-9, and Phillipsburg easily handled Bethlehem Catholic 41-3 in EPL competition.

Stroudsburg's Tom Coco Goes for the Takedown (Photo Courtesy of Stroudsburg H.S. Yearbook)
Stroudsburg’s Tom Coco Works Out with Teammate Bob Miller (Photo Courtesy of Stroudsburg H.S. Yearbook)

On January 18th, Stroudsburg moved into a tie with Northampton for the LVL lead by beating Catasauqua 35-12.  Tom Coco and Bob White remained unbeaten for the Poconos.  Emmaus handled Slatington 37-13.  The most competitive league bout saw Whitehall lower and middleweights build enough of a lead to hold off the Lehighton upperweights 26-22.

Over in the LNL, the league leaders continued their winning ways.  Southern Lehigh stayed unbeaten in the league by bashing Bangor 45-6.  Hellertown, Nazareth and Wilson also all won lopsided decisions.  In the most competitive match, Parkland downed Palisades 30-24.

The featured dual on Saturday, January 21st, saw Phillipsburg face off against Dieruff before 1,500 fans in the Huskies’ gym.  Dieruff was never in the match as the Stateliners won 8 of the first 10 bouts.  Key wins included Jack Thompson nipping Dan Howard 4-3 at 127 and Bob Duckworth shutting out previously unbeaten Abe Youwakim 6-0 at 138.  Dan Newhard tallied the only fall of the bout at 180, but the damage was done and Phillipsburg dealt the Huskies their first loss of the year 26-14.

Inspired by Coach John Maitland announcing his retirement at season’s end after 16 years at the helm, Easton upset Liberty 26-14.  Lance Frace edged Randy Biggs 2-1 at 95 to open the match on a strong note for the Rovers.  After Greg Filipos whipped Kurt Weaver 8-3, Dancer won a close bout at 112 by a 3-2 score.  The match stood tied at 6 after Benson beat Bob Pratt 11-0.  The Easton middleweights took over from there stringing together six straight wins including Terry Gibson’s fall at 133 and two 2-point decisions.  John Strohl scored his 7th fall in eight bouts, but it was too late as Easton had a 26-14 surprise win.  This left Liberty, Dieruff and Phillipsburg (a 37-3 winner over Neshaminy) all with just one league loss.  Notre Dame and Pennsbury competed in a close 22-17 bout won by the Crusaders.  Bruce Danyluk bumped up to 120 and defeated Brown 4-3.  Charlie Blatnick, Danjczak and Jim Taviani led an upper weight comeback to win the match.

Stan Dziedic Dominated Rick Lentz, but the Huskies Triumphed (Photo Courtesy of Allen H.S. Yearbook)
Stan Dziedic Dominated Rick Lentz, but the Huskies Triumphed (Photo Courtesy of Allen H.S. Yearbook)

On January 26th, Dieruff bounced back from their first loss of the year rallying to down Allen in front of 1,500 fans in the Little Palestra.  After an opening bout draw, Glenn Zoski and Rick Scholl each won decisions and the score was tied a 5-5.  Roger Washburn’s quick pin at 127 gave the Huskies an 11-5 lead, but Allen would rally by winning the next four bouts.  Larry Clymer edged Dan Howard 3-1 before Stan Dziedic dominated Rick Lentz 13-1.  Bob Freeman and Ken Miller also scored decisions, and the Canaries led 17-11.  Coach Dick Baker had done some lineup maneuvering by dropping Bill Stephens to 154 and Bob Wipple to 165, but Jan Kling and Jim Rizzotto had other ideas winning 6-1 and 12-7 to tie the match.  Geoff Baum put Allen back up by 3 by defeating Dan Newhard 6-2.  If things weren’t interesting enough already, the conversation behind the Husky bench was even more intriguing.  Coach Dick King huddled with undefeated Ed Merkel and the hero from last year’s win over Allen, Carl Smith.  Wanting to go for the win and not the tie, Coach King asked Merkel if he thought he could pin Allen’s 240 pound Rich Harakal.  While confident he could win, Merkel said he couldn’t get a fall.  King then turned to Carl Smith who said he’d either pin or get pinned.  With the bout “deadlocked at 2-2”, Smith “caught Harakal with a half nelson and arm bar” for the fall per The Morning Call, and the Huskies had beaten Allen again 22-20.

Paul Miller Helped East Stroudsburg Upset Parkland & Went On to Finish 2nd in Districts (Photo Courtesy of East Stroudsburg H.S. Yearbook)
Paul Miller Helped East Stroudsburg Upset Parkland & Went On to Finish 2nd in Districts (Photo Courtesy of East Stroudsburg H.S. Yearbook)

The same night, all eyes were on the Wilson-Southern Lehigh match in the LNL.  Solehi was undefeated but had yet to face any of the ‘Big 3’.  The teams were deadlocked at 9-9 after six bouts.  Unbeaten Craig Roberts started a Warrior run by nipping Frank Pfneisel 1-0.   Wilson then went on to win the next four bouts to build an insurmountable 24-9 lead on the way to a 24-12 triumph.  Hellertown and Nazareth both won to remain tied but now in 1st place.  East Stroudsburg upset Parkland 29-20.

Northampton and Stroudsburg remained on a course to end the season tied for the LVL championship as both won easily.  The Kids downed Catty 36-11, and Stroudsburg completely ran away from Whitehall 53-2.  Lehighton kept its slim hopes for a title alive as Joe McGowan won 5-2 at heavyweight for a 22-21 win over Slatington.

A few nights later, Easton had five pins on its way to defeating Bethlehem Catholic 43-7.  Meanwhile, both Allen and Northampton dropped on-the-road non-league bouts.  Wrestling without two starters, Allen lost 24-17 to Hunterdon Central.  The Kids won the first five matches to build a 15-0 lead over Hill School.  Hill School won four matches in a row including falls at 133 and 145 to lead 17-15.  In a wild bout, Northampton’s Jay Hontz won 15-14 over Hayden.  Hill School got a fall at 180 and decision at Hwt. to win 26-20.

As February began, the top teams in the Lehigh-Northampton League continued ‘holding serve.’  Hellertown and Nazareth remained tied at the top of the standings with no losses and a draw while Wilson and Southern Lehigh were close behind with only one loss.  The four teams won by a combined 169-25 score.

Liberty and Dieruff both still had a chance to win or share the EPL title.  After Randy Biggs won at 95, Gary Fye  and Rick Scholl won close decisions to give Dieruff a 6-3 lead.  After Ron Kline’s late reversal tied Rick Lentz at 133, Liberty led 11-8.  The Hurricanes got decisions at the next two weights, but Dieruff came right back with wins by Jan Kling and Jim Rizzotto to pull back within 3 points.  Unbeaten John Strohl was too much for Dan Newhard as he won 10-4 as the Hurricanes stayed in the league title hunt with a 20-17 win.  Allen won all but the final bout en route to a 42-3 win over Becahi.

Stroudsburg easily defeated Slatington 44-10 to gain a share of the LVL title.  Northampton would have a much tougher time earning their share of the title against a tough Lehighton squad.  The Kids strung together six straight decisions to lead 18-0.  Lehighton got a decision and then a pin from Hawk at 145 to close the gap to 18-8.  Marlin Coleman’s 5-0 decision at 154 proved decisive as Lehighton would go on to win the final three bouts, but the Kids had a 21-19 victory and share of the league title.

After a series of non-league bouts, punctuated by Allen’s 47-12 romp over Northampton, it was time for a series of title deciding bouts in the EPL and LNL.  First, Hellertown ended Southern Lehigh’s title hopes with a dominant 41-11 win.  Nazareth and Wilson both won to stay in the hunt.  The following Thursday night, Hellertown won 8 of 12 bouts to down Wilson 28-12 while Nazareth bounced Southern Lehigh 38-6.  Hellertown and Nazareth would share the Lehigh-Northampton League title.

Baum Pinned Strohl in a Highly Anticipated Match Up (Photo Courtesy of Morning Call)
Baum Pinned Strohl in a Highly Anticipated Match Up (Photo Courtesy of Morning Call)

Liberty was looking to defeat Allen to earn a share of the EPL title, but the Canaries had other ideas.  With more than 2,000 fans in Memorial Gym, the Hurricanes were on track leading 11-3 after Joe Benson’s fall at 120.  After Larry Clymer and Stan Dziedic both won by decision to close the gap to 11-9, Liberty’s Tom Detsch upset Bob Freeman 9-2.  Liberty would add two more decisions before Stephens won a decision at 165  Liberty led 20-12 as perhaps the most anticipated individual match of the year was about to take place with Geoff Baum and John Strohl taking the mat at 180.  The two grapplers had split two matches last year with Strohl winning the dual meet and Baum winning in districts.  This time it was no contest as Baum built a 5-1 lead before taking Strohl and pinning him in 5:15.  Allen’s Bob Wipple followed with a 5-0 shut out over Balluff.  Allen had tied Liberty 20-20 which in all likelihood ruined their chances for a share of the league title.  A few nights later Phillipsburg ran away from Pennsbury 33-12 to win the title outright.

The same weekend, the Lehigh Valley League was holding its annual tournament.  While Stroudsburg and Northampton had tied for the regular season title and were even again with six finalists and four champions each, but Stroudsburg came out on top 68-61 to win the tourney title.  The key to the victory was a 3-1 advantage in head-to-head bouts as Tom Coco (112), Gary Tinney (180) and Bob White (Hwt) all beat Northampton opponents.  Jim Serfass (138) was Stroudsburg’s other champion.  For the Kids, Bill Feichtl (95), Jack Hildebrandt (103), Tony Mauser (120) and Marlin Coleman (154) were champions.  Whitehall had two champions while Catasauqua and Lehighton each had one.

With the sectional tourneys still almost two weeks away, teams wrestled some final non-league matches.  In some of the more interesting match ups, Hunterdon Central downed Dieruff 26-16 while Liberty whipped Hill School 32-11.  Hellertown won 10 of 12 bouts on the way to a 30-6 win over Northampton.

Final dual standings were as follows:

Compiled LVL Standings 1966-67PlaceW-L-D
East Penn
William Allen44-3-1
Notre Dame5T4-4
Bethlehem Catholic82-6
Southern Lehigh45-4
East Stroudsburg5T4-5
Pen Argyl5T4-5

Phillipsburg finished with the best overall record at 12-1, winning 11 in a row after losing to Liberty, beginning the start of their legendary streak.  The Hurricanes finished 9-1-1.  LNL Co-champions, Nazareth (11-1-1) and Hellertown (11-2-1) also had excellent overall records.

Nazareth’s Lehigh-Northampton League Championship Trophies 1966-67 & 1967-68 (Photo by Rich King)


For the first year, the Sectionals were split out into four divisions, as follows:

AllenDieruffBangorBlue Mountain
CatasauquaEast StroudsburgEastonEmmaus
HellertownNazarethHazletonJim Thorpe
LehightonNorth SchuylkillNorthamptonLiberty
Mahoney AreaNorthwesternPocono Mt.Parkland
PalisadesWest HazletonSlatingtonSouthern Lehigh
Pen ArgylWhitehallWilsonTri-Valley
Williams Valley

Allen, the defending District champion, and Hellertown dominated the action in the East.  The Canaries advanced 10 wrestlers (including defending champs Glenn Zoski, Larry Clymer and Geoff Baum) while tallying 11 pins.  The Panthers advanced 11 wrestlers.

In the West, Easton and Wilson led the way with 8 and 7 wrestlers, respectively, moving forward.  Dieruff and Liberty each advanced 7 wrestlers to lead the South and North, respectively.

District XI Tournament

With the growth to 33 participating teams, 8 qualifiers and a Friday night quarterfinal round were added to the 1967 districts.  Overall, The Morning call tallied the 96 district qualifiers as follows by league:  Lehigh-Northampton 34, East Penn 32, Lehigh Valley 16 and Tri-County 14.

Allen’s district success continued as they won 8 of 10 quarterfinal bouts.   Liberty had 6 of 7 wrestlers win, but Hellertown could only win four of eleven bouts.  Easton, Nazareth and Wilson also each moved four wrestlers to the semi-finals.

While there were no surprises at 95, 103 featured some interesting bouts as Dieruff’s Gary Fye knocked off Tri-Valley’s 14-0 Masser.  Glenn Zoski, the favorite from Allen, nipped John Filipos 2-0 while Nazareth’s Tony Laurito pinned Northampton’s Jack Hildebrandt.   At 112, two defending district runners-up, Dieruff’s Rick Scholl and Hellertown’s John Tapajcik while Allen’s Tony Franco beat Pottsville’s unbeaten Dan Murphy.

At 130, Easton’s Barry Snyder upset Rosenberger from Whitehall 8-3.  At 180, Dieruff’s Dan Newhard had the misfortune of being seeded to match up with Allen’s Geoff Baum.  Newhard scored the first takedown, but Baum dominated from there to win 7-2.  Liberty’s John Strohl moved up to Heavyweight after losing to Baum in the dual meet and downed Hellertown’s once beaten Andy Hanzlik 7-3.

As they had done in 1966, Allen clinched the district title in 1967 with a strong semi-final performance coupled with their earlier efforts.  Winning for the Canaries were Glenn Zoski (103), Tony Franco (112), Stan Dziedzic (133) and Geoff Baum (180).  Franco beat previously unbeaten Joe Onuskanich from Blue Mountain 10-3.  Dziedzic, who had been pinned by Easton’s Terry Gibson in the first period of their dual match, turned the tables with an 8-4 win.  The semi’s were not without disappointment for the Canaries, however.  District finalists from last year, both Larry Clymer and Bob Freeman lost decisions.  Clymer was upset by Easton sophomore Barry Snyder 7-5 while Freeman dropped a decision to North Schuylkill’s Russ Scheuren.

Another Allen wrestler, Billy Stephens was leading 7-2 at 165 when he was pinned by North Schuylkill’s Joe McAndrew.  Emmaus’ Steve Huddleston upset top-seeded Ken Bloss via fall in the other semi-final at 165.  Liberty moved three wrestlers to the finals, but no other team could advance more than two.

Liberty sophomore, Randy Biggs, became the only underclassman to win a title in the first bout at 95 by decisioning Wilson’s Dale King 6-1.  Glenn Zoski claimed his 2nd district title by beating Dieruff’s Gary Fye 4-2 at 103 while teammate Tony Franco’s unlikely run ended with an 8-4 loss to Easton’s  Dwight Danser.  Liberty and Allen would add titlists in two of the next three weight classes as the Hurricanes’ Joe Benson won 11-2 at 120, and Dziedzic continued his post-season run 11-1 at 133.  In between, Ron Bowers of Nazareth stopped Easton’s Snyder 9-5.

Russ Scheuren Won North Schuylkill’s First District Title (Photo Courtesy of North Schuylkill H.S. Yearbook)

Competing in their first District XI championship, Joe Cesari produced two finalists for North Schuylkill.  Russ Scheuren upset Craig Roberts from Wilson 5-2 at 138 to become the Spartans’ first champ.  Joe McAndrew was upended by Emmaus’ Steve Huddleston 2-0 at 165.  Hellertown produced two champions in Tom Huber, who won his 2nd title at 145, and Chuck Bloss, a 4-2 winner at 157.

At 180 and Heavyweight, favorites Geoff Baum of Allen and John Strohl of Liberty both had falls to win their titles.

Team scores were as follows:

Team Scores
Easton29Pocono Mt.2
Dieruff25West Hazleton2
North Schuylkill23Williams Valley2
Mahoney Area11Minersville1
East Stroudsburg10Northwestern1
Blue Mountain8Parkland1
Southern Lehigh5Whitehall1
1967 District XI Wrestling Champs
1967 District XI Wrestling Champs (Photo Courtesy of Easton Express via Bob Hower)

Northeast Regional Tournament

With four defending champs and four runners-up, the Northeast Regional tourney at Williamsport was shaping up as an excellent tournament.  District XI had a solid semi-final round by winning 8 of 12 bouts.  Liberty’s Randy Biggs, Allen’s Glenn Zoski and Easton’s Dwight Danser all won decisions at the first three weights.  Liberty’s Joe Benson (120) dropped a 9-8 decision to see his season end.  District XI would finish strong in the upperweights with five of six entrants advancing to the finals.  North Schuylkill’s Russ Scheuren  (138), Hellertown’s Tom Huber (145) and Allen’s Geoff Baum (180) all won by decision while Emmaus’ Steve Huddleston (165) and Liberty’s John Strohl (Hwt) both won by fall.  Ron Bowers of Nazareth and Stan Dziedzic of Allen also lost decisions.

In the finals, in front of 2,800 fans, Liberty’s Biggs beat Shamokin’s unbeaten Joe Bordell 10-4.  Zoski lost to defending regional champ Ken Hess 5-0 while Danser lost a close 7-6 decision.  Scheuren had the misfortune of facing defending state champ, Clyde Frantz of Hughesville, and was shut out 8-0.  Huber helped the Valley’s contingent rebound by winning his 2nd title 7-0 at 145.  After Huddleston lost by fall, Baum won a close 2-0 decision to win his 2nd regional title.  At heavyweight John Strohl matched up against Towanda’s Gary Cobb.  According to The Morning Call, Cobb had pinned 18 opponents in a row, but Strohl dominated Cobb 23-1.

District 4 crowned the most champions with six vs. District 11’s four and District 2’s two champions.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Elling from PIAA Program

PIAA State Championships

Randy Biggs Won a State Title as a Sophomore (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Liberty H.S. Yearbook)
Randy Biggs Won a State Title as a Sophomore (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Liberty H.S. Yearbook)

Liberty’s Randy Biggs and Allen’s Geoff Baum claimed titles in Penn State’s Rec. Hall.  Biggs won 6-2 in the semi-finals.  In the finals, Biggs and Waynesburg’s Gary McClure battled to a 2-2, 0-0 score, but Biggs won on a referee’s decision.  The Morning Call quoted Coach Frank Gutierrez “said he was ‘scared stiff’ while the officials made their final decision.”  Biggs will be moving to Freedom H.S. when the new school opens next year.

For Geoff Baum the Second Time Was the Charm (Photo Courtesy of Allen H.S. Yearbook)
For Geoff Baum the Second Time Was the Charm (Photo Courtesy of Allen H.S. Yearbook)

Baum did not give up a point on the way to his title.  First he won 4-0 in the semi-finals and then defeated Erie East’s Fletcher Carr 2-0 to claim his title.  Both Hellertown’s Tom Huber and Liberty’s John Strohl saw their title hopes end in the semi-finals.

1967  State  Champs.  Kneeling,  left  to  right:  Randy  Biggs  (95)  Bethlehem  (11);   Larry  Strong  (103)  United  Joint  (6);   Ed  Osborn  (112)  Commodore  Perry  (10);   Ron  Junko  (120)  Trinity  (7);   Larry  Rippey  (127)  Lock  Haven  (6)  and  Barry  Daniels  (133)  Bald  Eagle-Nittany  (6). Standing,  left  to  right:  Clyde  Frantz  (138)  Hughesville  (4);   Jim  Gollner  (145)  Reynolds  (10);   Bill  Brunofsky  (154)  Waynesburg  (7);  Ted  Swisher  (165)  Mount  Lebanon  (7);   Geoff  Baum  (180)  Allentown  Allen  (11)  and  Dave  Joyner  (Hwt)  State  College  (6). (Photo Courtesy of Bob Hower)


Notre Dame Wrestling
Bruce Danyluk Won PCIAA Eastern Division Title (Photo Courtesy of The Morning Call)

Notre Dame and Bethlehem Catholic dominated the PCIAA Eastern Regional with nine champions between them on the way to a 1-2 finish.  Notre Dame had six champions in Tim Hippert (112), Bruce Danyluk (120), Gene Sacarakis (127), Bob Lux (138), Greg Giordano (145) and Mike Danjczek (165).  Jim Taviani (180) and John Correll (Hwt) placed 2nd.  For the Golden Hawks, George Fidmik (95), Chris Keating (133) and Greg Karabin (154) won titles.  Allentown Central Catholic’s Casmir Pele (103) was also a champion.

Notre Dame won their 3rd straight PCIAA state championship finishing with 84 team points.  Coach Bob Yavorsky got titles from Tim Hippert (112), Mike Danjczek (165) and John Correll (Hwt) while Gene Sarcarakis and Bob Giordano were 2nd.  Bethlehem Catholic again finished 2nd and had a pair of champions in George Fidmik (95) and Greg Karabin (154).

Phillipsburg Post Season

Thad Turner’s 1967 squad won the first of an incredible 18 straight NJ District 16 team championships.  The Stateliners had six district champs – Mike Bateman (95), Maury Mascari (112), Jack Thompson (127), Bob Duckworth (138), Buddy Morris (145) and Bob Zaro (165).    Mascari, Duckworth and Morris would also claim Regional Championships and move on to the state tourney.

All three P-Burg entrants made the state finals.  Maury Mascari dropped a decision, but both Bob Duckworth and Buddy Morris to become Phillipsburg’s 7th and 8th state champions and cap a great year.

Buddy Morris Claimed at NJ State Title (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)
Buddy Morris Claimed at NJ State Title (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)