Notable Coaching Change:Thad Turner (to Lehigh University) --> Jan Dutt (Phillipsburg)
School Name Change:Hellertown--> Saucon Valley
East Penn League Champion:Liberty (9-0) & breaks Phillipsburg unbeaten streak at 58
LVIAA League Champion:Northampton (7-0)
Lehigh-Northampton League Champion:Saucon Valley (11-0)
District Champion:Liberty (4 Champions, 3 Runners-up)
Regionals:District XI – 8 Total Champs; Easton, Liberty & Saucon Valley with 2 Each
State Championships:Saucon Valley – 1st (1 Champion & 1 Runner-up)
Easton – 2nd (1 Champion & 1 Runner-up)
District XI has 7 finalists!
Individual State Champions:Rocco Creazzo, 95, Easton
Don Rohn, 120, Hellertown
Other Notes:Dick King (Dieruff) & retires from coaching at end of 1971 season.
Harry Wall served as coach of the Kids for 26 years & tragically passed away after the 1971 season ended.
Al Zarbatany retires as Wilson coach after 17 years as head coach in 1972.
Bill Young would follow retiring as Parkland head coach after 13 years in 1973.

Hellertown returned a talented junior class from an undefeated team the year before and was now known as Saucon Valley High School.

Phillipsburg lost a number of starters from their dominant 1970 team, but still had a strong core of returnees in Rick Thompson, Gary De Almo, Bill Cavanaugh and Blair Miers, for new coach, Jan Dutt.  Bethlehem Catholic returned three PCIAA state champions in Pat Sculley, Steve Cichelli and Bill Kametz along with a number of other starters.

Regular Season Highlights


Saucon Valley Wrestling
Bill Danyluk Went On To Finish 2nd in the States (Photo Courtesy of Saucon Valley H.S. Yearbook)

The 1970-71 season opened up on December 4th with Allentown Central Catholic scoring seven falls on their way to routing Palmerton 55-3.  One night later, Saucon Valley traveled to Freedom to wrestle the Patriots before “a standing room only crowd” per The Morning Call.  The Panthers trailed 6-3 after three bouts before Don Rohn and Dan Santoro came through with back-to-back falls for a 13-6 lead.  After a draw at 133, Klotz and Bill Danyluk won by decision before Bob Nagy and Len Rabel had a 1-1 draw at 154.  Saucon led 23-10 and then survived a three bout rally by the Patriots to hold on for a 23-21 victory.

Don Rohn Walks Off the Mat After Fall Against Freedom (Photo Courtesy of Dan Santoro)

Defending Lehigh Valley League champion, Emmaus, won nine bouts on the way to a 36-10 rout over Parkland.  Panther Valley, Southern Lehigh, Stroudsburg and Wilson also opened with non-league wins.  Sporting a squad with plenty of returnees from last year’s PCIAA state champion team, Coach Tony Iasiello’s team opened with a 42-7 win over Allentown Central Catholic.

League action kicked off on December 10th.  Liberty roared out of the gate to lead visiting Pennsbury 26-0 after seven bouts.  Chris Cadwallder stopped the bleeding for Pennsbury with a 9-1 win at 145.  The Hurricanes, who “may be the team to beat” per The Morning Call would close out the bout with a 36-8 win.   With 900 fans in attendance at Dieruff’s East Side Gym, Coach Dick King’s Huskies started strong winning three of the first four bouts against Freedom.  Frank Skrapits (154) and Jim Doster (165) won back-to-back bouts by default as Dieruff topped Freedom 31-15.

In the Lehigh-Northampton League, powerful Saucon Valley scored six falls as they crushed East Stroudsburg 44-8.  Perennial challengers, Nazareth and Wilson topped Southern Lehigh 38-9 and Parkland 36-9, respectively.  Northwestern downed Pocono Mountain 32-14; Palisades whipped Bangor 48-6; and Pen Argyl beat Salisbury 28-18.

Becahi continued their winning ways by easily beating Whitehall 47-3.  Slatington got falls from Jeff Smith (145) and Kevin Frech (154) to spark a comeback 31-20 win over Pleasant Valley.  Northampton made their season debut but dropped a 35-11 decision to Freedom.  Len Wrabel, Ted DeLong and Bob Schoener had falls in the final three bouts for the Patriots.

On December 15th, Phillipsburg hosted Nazareth in Coach Jan Dutt’s debut as coach.  The Blue Eagles led 16-14 after eight bouts thanks to falls by Terry Faust and Glen Young.  The Stateliners would reel off four wins in a row punctuated by Blair Miers fall at heavyweight to make the final score 28-16.  Neshaminy opened their EPL schedule by easily defeating Notre Dame 38-17.  Dieruff won nine bouts as they routed Emmaus 29-11.

Rick Thompson
New Phillipsburg Coach Jan Dutt (left) and Rick Thompson (right) (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)

One day later, Phillipsburg extended their unbeaten streak to 53 getting falls from Rick Thompson (103), Gary DeAlmo (120), Bruce Lear (127) and Joe Minorics (154) as they defeated Neshaminy 38-13.  Easton got big wins from Rocky Creazzo over Pat Sculley 13-3 at 103, and Brad Weaver shut out Mike Kozo 11-0 at 112.  After Ed Ferraro and Marty Lynn drew 2-2 at 120, the score was Easton 8-5.  The teams went 1-1-1 in the next three bouts, and the Rovers still held a three point lead.  Bill Kametz (145), Tom Lawler (154) and Jack Sculley (180) all scored falls as the Golden Hawks pulled away to win 29-16 and go 4-0.  Pennsbury had four wins by fall as they romped 41-10 over Notre Dame.

Lehigh Valley League action began on December 17th.  Stroudsburg led Lehighton 26-14 with three bouts to go.  Barry Reed and Joe Hauser won by decision setting up George Barkanic whose first period fall tied the match at 26-26.  Northampton got falls from Jerry Heist (95), Gus Hormes (112), George Hummel (120) and Mike Ziatyk (154) as they trounced Slatington 40-11.  Catasauqua pounded Palmerton 58-3.

In the LNL, Wilson’s Joe Reighn (95), Greg Cron (103), Vince Roscioli (133) and Mike Bertolino (138) scored falls to lead the Warriors to a 32-14 win over Pen Argyl.  Parkland jumped out to a 14-0 lead as the downed Palisades 31-15; Salisbury beat Bangor 44-6 and Southern Lehigh defeated Northwestern 27-17.  Nazareth scored five falls as they downed East Stroudsburg 39-13.

Easton visited Nazareth on December 19th.  After falling behind 3-0, the Rovers reeled off five wins in a row to lead 15-3.  Nazareth would win the next four bouts to tie the match at 15-15.  Frank Bailo decisioned Ron Gerhard 3-2 on a riding time point at 180, and then Mike Daily was locked in a tight bout with Gibb Bastian when he reversed and pinned him in the 3rd period to give Easton a hard earned 23-15 victory.

The same night, Saucon Valley shut out Pocono Mountain 49-0 to win their 25th straight LNL dual meet in a row.  Wilson was tied was Northampton 14-14 with three bouts to go.  Leo Wismer scored a decision at 165 and Jim Davis and Lou Sakell had pins in the final two bouts as Wilson won 27-14.  Phillipsburg faced New Jersey rival Warren Hills.  Sparked by strong middleweights – Bruce Lear, Bill Cavanaugh, Joe Piro and Joe Minorics, P-Burg won 25-16 to extend their unbeaten streak to 54.  Dieruff was only able to win three bouts in dropping a 28-13 match to Hunterdon Central.

As the holidays approached, Saucon Valley continued their streak by winning their 29th match in a row, pounding Parkland 40-6.  Ed Zigler, Don Rohn, Dan Santoro and Frank Klotz scored falls.  Allentown Central Catholic rode a balanced attack to defeat Whitehall 28-13.

In EPL action, Greg Filipos and Jeff McCandless both scored falls as Liberty started strong against Dieruff.  John Fritz added a fall at 127, and the Hurricanes would go on to win nine total bouts and the meet 37-8.  At heavyweight, “Jim Gaycheck gave away 50 pounds in holding Matt Szymakowski to a 4-4 draw per The Morning Call” in an interesting match-up.  Easton and Phillipsburg both won easy victories against their Bucks County opponents.  The Rovers beat Neshaminy 40-8 while the Stateliners defeated Pennsbury 38-12.

Bethlehem Catholic’s Bob Cassidy scored a fall to start the match and Pat Sculley and Marty Lynn both scored decisions.  Allen’s Jay Meron countered with a cradle pin of Mike Kozo at 112.  Becahi led 12-5 after four bouts.  The teams first traded decisions and then draws in the next two matches.  The score stood at 17-10 with four matches to go.  Chuck Alley and Bob Alpha scored falls in the next two bouts, and Scott Barker won a 20-0 decision of Jack Sculley to clinch the win for the Canaries.  Becahi would win the final bout, but Allen had the comeback win at 26-22.

Southern Lehigh and Salisbury were tied on three separate occasions and a back and forth LNL match.  Kevin McManus and Mark Gibbs picked up wins in the final two matches to clinch the win for Southern Lehigh 21-15.

Holiday Tournaments

North Schuylkill Wrestling
North Schuylkill Had Another Successful Season (Photo Courtesy of North Schuylkill H.S. YearbooK)

North Schuylkill again dominated their own Holiday tournament with 12 finalists and seven champions.  Lehighton came in 2nd with four champions.

Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Notre Dame and Salisbury joined four other teams and host Bethlehem Catholic in the 2nd Christmas City Tournament.  The host Golden Hawks advanced 12 men into the semi-finals while Delaware Valley, Northampton and Notre Dame each had seven semi-finalists.  Becahi sent eight men into the finals and had 97 points.  The Hawks crowned Bob Cassidy (88), Mary Lynn (120), Bill Kametz (138), Jack Sculley (180) and Frank Seier (Hwt) as champions.  Northampton finished 2nd with three champions.  At 103, Ralph McCandless upset Beachi’s Pat Schulley in the semi’s and then won an 8-0 decision in the finals.  George Hummel (112) and Mike Ziatyk (154) also won titles for the Kids.  Jerry Golden (95) and Carlos Negrete (127) were champions for Notre Dame.

Wilson High School Wrestling
Wilson’s Crivellaro Goes for the Fall (Photo Courtesy of Wilson H.S. Yearbook)

In the Easton Holiday Classic, Easton and Saucon Valley were tied for the lead after the quarter-final round in a tournament that also included Dieruff, Freedom, Hanover Township, Manheim Township, Wilson and West York.  Saucon Valley moved six men into the finals and captured four titles (Don Rohn, Dan Santoro, Frank Klotz and Bruce Danyluk) to win the team title with 64 points.  Manheim Tonwhip was 2nd with 46 points while Easton was 3rd with 45.  The finals featured some excellent individual bouts.  Easton’s Rocky Creazzo won a referee’s decision over Saucon Vallley’s Rocky Chunko at 103; Freedom’s Lance Leonhardt defeated Easton’s Brad Weaver 3-2.  Wilson’s Sam Crivallero nipped Saucon Valley’s Bob Nagy 7-4 at 154.  Dieruff had champions in Jim Doster (165) and Jim Gaycheck (180) while Bob Schoener at heavyweight won Freedom’s 2nd title.

Champions from 1970 Easton Holiday Tournament (Photo Courtesy of West York Alumni Association Wrestling Website)

Phillipsburg hosted a holiday tournament for the 3rd straight year.  Rick Thompson (95), Bob Jiorle (112), Bill Cavanaugh (127), Joe Minorics (154) and Bill Kowalchuk (165) all won championships for the host Stateliners.  Nazareth had three champions – John Trudgan (120), Larry Lambert (133) and Doug Crawn (Hwt).


January began with Northwestern easily downing Bangor 48-15 in an LNL match.

On January 7th, the EPL kicked off its post-holiday schedule.  Liberty won the first seven bouts to take a commanding 21-0 lead over Allen.  Greg Filipos, Jeff McCandless, Dave Hammer, John Fritz, Jim Richie and Petch Gibbons all remained undefeated for the Hurricanes.  Allen won the next four bouts, but Matt Szmakowksi had a fall to give Liberty a 26-12 victory as they remained unbeaten in the EPL.  Dieruff had falls from Dan Bosket (103), Rich Cox (133), Al Strauss (180) and Jim Gaycheck (Hwt) as they defeated Notre Dame 31-17.

Brad Weaver
Easton Captains Brad Weaver and Larry Davis (Photo Courtesy of Easton H.S. Yearbook)

Easton and Freedom faced off, and the Rovers again dominated the lower weights.  Rocky Creazzo (103) and Larry Davis (133) both had falls and Brad Weaver reversed a holiday tourney loss to defeat Lance Leonhardt 3-1.  The Rovers led 22-3 and held on for a 28-14 victory.  Phillipsburg used a strong middleweight performance to pull away from Bethlehem Catholic 28-14.  At 120, Marty Lynn downed previously unbeaten Gary DeAlmo 5-2.

In the Lehigh Valley League, Stroudsburg got a 9-4 victory from Bill Brown at heavyweight to defeat Catasauqua 22-20; Emmaus crushed Slatington 53-5 while Northampton easily defeated Palmerton 53-6.  Lehighton won the final three bouts as they dumped Whitehall 28-14.

The LNL saw a lot of lopsided scores as Saucon Valley crushed Palisades 47-3; Nazareth beat Salisbury 36-9; and Wilson whipped Pocono Mountain 38-3.  Southern Lehigh won the first six bouts as they beat Bangor 35-15.  Northwestern jumped out to a 19-0 lead and then got a late fall from Dave Wert as they dumped Parkland 29-23.  Pen Argyl nipped East Stroudsburg 24-23.

On January 13th, Hunterdon Central threatened the Phillipsburg undefeated streak.  The Red Devils won five of the first seven bouts to lead 17-9.  After Lukacheck, Joe Minorics by fall and Bill Kowalchuk won their bouts, P-Burg led 20-17.  Hunterdon’s Wayne Barbeche beat Jeff Curzi 10-1 at 180 and the score was tied at 20-20.  The Stateliners’ Blair Meiers scored a 3rd period fall to clinch the win 25-20 and extend the unbeaten streak to 57.

Bethlehem Catholic Wrestling
Jack Sculley Was Involved in Many Exciting, High Scoring Bouts (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Catholic Yearbook)

The same evening, Saucon Valley hammered Dieruff 34-8 as Rocky Chunko (103) and Don Rohn (120) scored falls.  Fred Kugler and Jim Doster battled to a 1-1 draw at 165.  Nazareth scored four falls by Terry Faust (112), John Vavorski (127), Glen Young (138) and Ron Gerhard (180) en route to a 35-9 win over Northampton.  In an EPL bout, Bethlehem Catholic rolled over Neshaminy 29-8.  Marty Lynn (120) and Bill Kametz (145) stayed unbeaten while Jack Sculley (180) won a wild 19-10 bout.  In the battle of the Poconos, Stroudsburg had three falls in downing East Stroudsburg 30-18.  Northwestern continued their winning ways with a 35-14 win over Slatington in non-league bout for their 5th win of the year.

On January 13th, Allen was tested by Pennsbury, but came back to win 25-18.   The Canaries jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, but Glen Willard and Dave Byrnes scored falls and Steve Pike scored a decision.  Pennsbury led 15-11.  Rich Sharp scored a fall and then Chuck Alley , Bob Alpha and Scott Barker all scored decisions to clinch the win for the Canaries.  Freedom trailed early but got falls from George Stasak (133), Len Wrabel (154) and Santos Morales (165) to beat Neshaminy 33-11.  On the strength of five falls, Liberty crushed Notre Dame 43-3

In the Lehigh Valley League, Northampton won the 3rd league match in a row over Catasauqua 36-12; Lehighton beat Slatington 52-7; and Emmaus clobbered Palmerton 50-8.

In the LNL, Nazareth shut out Bangor 52-0.  Pocono Mountain trailed Pen Argyl but George Sopko and Roland Renick scored decisions in the final two bouts to win 21-20.  Southern Lehigh got a fall from Mark Gibbs at heavyweight to clinch a win over Parkland 25-18.  Salisbury’s Tom Serfass trailed in the final bout but rallied to give the Falcons a 23-19 win over East Stroudsburg.

In non-league action, Allentown Central Catholic defeated a Blair Academy team with Mike and Mark Lieberman in the lineup 22-20.  The Liebermans split with Mark losing by fall to Ed Emerich at 154, and Mike beating Mark Krupka 10-0 at 180.

On January 16th, Phillipsburg extended their unbeaten streak to 58 by defeating Freedom 33-14.  Rick Thompson (95), Bob Pretopapa (103), Bill Cavanaugh (127) and Joe Minorics (154) all scored falls.  Bethlehem Catholic saw Pennsbury pull within three points after Chris Cadwallder’s fall at 154.  Dennis Fenton, Jack Sculley and Frank Seier won decisions in the final three bouts as the Golden Hawks won 26-14.

In non-league action Easton dealt Wilson their first loss of the year.  Rocky Creazzo and Brad Weaver got the Rovers off to a strong start.  Wilson kept it close as they won four of the next seven bouts. The score stood at 17-12; Tom Heilman (165) and Bob Daley (Hwt) scored decisions and Easton won 25-14.  Allen easily beat Pottsville 42-11.  In an LNL match, Nazareth defeated Pen Argyll 36-12 on the strength of falls by Lou Keck (95), Glen Young (138), Jack Miller (165) and Gib Bastian (Hwt).

Emmaus snapped a three bout winning streak by Allentown Central Catholic 36-14.  Northwestern defeated Pleasant Valley 31-17.

Liberty Wrestling
Heavyweight Matt Szymakowski Won the Clinching Match Against Phillipsburg (Photo Courtesy of Liberty H.S. Yearbook)

On January 21, 1971, the Stateliners invaded Memorial Gymnasium to face Coach Frank Gutierrez’s Hurricanes.  The Morning Call reported “a turnaway crowd of almost 3,600 – the largest ever to watch a scholastic dual in the Lehigh Valley” witnessed the big match.   Rick Thompson and Greg Filipos opened the meet by battling to a 2-2 draw.  The team traded decisions at the next two weights with Bob Pretopapa winning 7-2 for the Liners at 103 over unbeaten Jeff McCandless, and Dave Hammer upending former state champ, Bob Jiorle, 11-6.  Gary DeAlmo “got a takedown and predicament in the last 20 seconds and edged Ernie Gonzalez 9-7” per the Call.  Leading 8-5, Coach Dutt inserted Bruce Lear in the line-up to face state runner-up John Fritz with Fritz easily winning 16-4.  State runner-up Bill Cavanaugh moved to 133 to face Jim Ritchie and was upset 4-0.  At 138, Joe Piro scored got a late takedown and back points to nip Petch Gibbons 8-6.  After seven bouts, the score was tied again at 11-11.  The teams traded decisions over the next four weights with George Nemchik pulling Liberty into a 17-17 tie with a 4-2 win over Jeff Curzi.  Matt Szymakowski took the mat in front of his home crowd and delivered by scoring a dominant 15-1 win over Blair Miers.  The Hurricanes had won 20-17 ending Phillipsburg’s 58 match unbeaten streak.

In other EPL action, Easton had Ed Kovacs at 95 and bumped Rocky Creazzo and Brad Weaver up a weight.  The strategy worked as Easton led Dieruff 12-0 after three bouts.  Later, Tom Heilman dropped to 154 and edged Frank Skrapits 3-1.  The Huskies rallied in the final three weights, but the Rovers won 23-17.  Allen started quickly and held a slim 16-13 lead over Notre Dame; they won the final four bouts to win 32-13.

Wilson high School Wrestling
Mike Bertolino in Action (Photo Courtesy of Wilson H.S. Yearbook)

Saucon Valley scored six falls in winning their 30th straight match and defeating Pen Argyl 43-11.  Upstart Northwestern won three of the first four bouts to lead Wilson 11-3.  The Warriors won five in a row including pins from Vince Rosciolo (133), Mike Bertolino (138) and Sam Crivellaro (154) to pull away and win 34-16.  Nazareth matched Saucon’s six pins to trounce Parkland 41-9; Southern Lehigh went to 5-1 in league action by defeating Palisades 40-15.  Pocono Mountain again rallied, scoring falls in the final two bouts by George Sopko to Roland Rennick to top Salisbury 27-20. East Stroudsburg whipped Bangor 45-6.

Northampton and Lehighton were both unbeaten in the LVL.  From 112 to 165, the Kids only lost one bout and tied another.  Lehighton would get first period falls in the final two bouts, but Northampton triumphed 23-20.  Whitehall whipped Palmerton 40-14, and Stroudsburg easily beat Slatington 38-14.

Jim Thorpe had been unbeaten in the Tri-County League but was hammered by West Hazleton 39-12.  Allen and Northampton both went on the road to face Hunterdon Central and Hill School.  Both local teams lost – Allen 14-35 and Northampton 13-39.

On January 23rd, there was just one bout in the EPL, but it sure was a good one.  Bethlehem Catholic won four of the first five bouts to lead 12-5.  Freedom’s George Staysak and Becahi’s Bill Kametz, who had dropped down to 138, both won decisions.  Dean Dutko (145) and Len Wrable (154) each won decisions to narrow the deficit to one point.  The next two bouts ended in draws with Wayne Horton and Dennis Fenton tieing 4-4 at 165 and Ted Delong and Jack Sculley tieing 1-1 at 180.  At heavyweight, a late stalling call gave Bob Schoener a 1-0 win over Frank Seier, and Freedom won 21-19.

Emmaus easily defeated Catasauqua 39-6 in an LVL match while Wilson beat East Stroudsburg 32-7 in an LNL match.  A few nights later, Northwestern bounced back to win an LNL match 35-17 over Palisades, and Northampton won all but two bouts in routing Allentown Central Catholic 40-5.

Freedom evened their record in the EPL at 3-3 beating winless Notre Dame 34-11.  Pocono Mountain pounded Pleasant Valley 43-8.

Rocky Creazzo
Rocky Creazzo dropped to 95 after wrestling most of the season at 103 (Photo Courtesy of Easton H.S. Yearbook)

A week after upending Phillipsburg, Liberty faced Easton in an EPL battle.  Rocky Creazzo dropped to 95 and beat Greg Filipos 5-4 while Brad Weaver pinned Jeff McCandless to give the Rovers a 9-0 lead.  Liberty roared back as Dave Hammer and John Fritz scored falls around an Ernie Gonzalez decision.  The Hurricanes led 13-9.  The teams traded decisions at the next two bouts as Easton’s Larry David and Liberty’s Petch Gibbons won their bouts.  Phil Dale stayed unbeaten by winning 14-9 to pull the Rovers within one point.  The next two bouts ended in draws.  Bryan Green scored a huge 2-0 win at 180, and then Matt Szymakowski decisoned Mike Daley 10-0.  Liberty had another huge EPL win 26-19.

Bethlehem Catholic had never beaten Dieruff, but the Golden Hawks got two decisions, a fall by Pat Sculley and a draw to lead the Huskies 13-2 after four bouts.  A Husky win by Ron Long and another draw cut the lead to 15-7.  The teams alternated wins the rest of the way with Bill Kametz staying unbeaten for Becahi at 138, and Jim Doster winning by fall for the Huskies at 165.  The final score was 24-17, and Coach Tony Iasiello had his first win over Dick King’s Huskies.

Phillipsburg H.S. Wrestling
Phillipsburg Had a Very Good Year By Any Standard Despite Losing Their Unbeaten Streak (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg H.S. Yearbook)

Allen won nine of ten bouts bookended by two Neshaminy falls as the Canaries scored a 33-14 win to go 4-1 in the league.  Chuck Alley and Scott Barker remained undefeated.  Phillipsburg bounced back after their loss to Liberty by topping Notre Dame 34-19.  Joe Piro (133) and Blair Miers (Hwt) scored falls to lead the Stateliners.

Don Rohn’s cross face cradle fall was his 37th victory in a row as he led Saucon Valley to their 33rd win in a row 42-0 over Salisbury.  Rohn, Rocky Chunko, Dan Santoro, Frank Klotz and Bill Danyluk all remained unbeaten.  On the strength of seven pins, Nazareth easily defeated Palisades 49-4.  Wilson was locked in a 15-11 bout with Southern Lehigh but won the final four bouts to improve their league record to 6-0.  Pocono Mountain pounded Bangor 45-9 including two wins by forfeit and six wins by fall.  Northwestern got off to a strong start in downing Pen Argyl 27-17.  One LNL match up came down to the final bout with   Parkland’s Nick Delong scoring a fall to defeat East Stroudsburg 28-19

In the LVL, Northampton rode a strong performance by its middleweights to defeat Stroudsburg 29-14.  Terry Oplinger (133), Clayt Fogel (138) and Mike Ziatyk (154) scored falls to open the match up for the Kids.  The Kids were able to pull into a tie with Emmaus who lost to Lehighton 24-23.  The Green Hornets appeared on the verge of a victory after falls by Jim Paterno (145) and Kratzer (154) gave them a 23-11 lead.  Lehighton’s Barry Reed (165) pinned unbeaten Lou Roche followed by  Joe House’s decision.  That set the stage for George Barkanic’s fall at heavyweight to ice the bout for the Indians.  In other matches, Catasauqua whipped Whitehall 34-14, and Slatington defeated Palmerton 36-16.

In a match that featured all wins by decision, Allen got the best of Easton 24-12 to stay in the EPL championship race.  In the most exciting bout, Rocky Creazzo built a 13-2 lead over Don Kuhns before holding off Kuhns’ rally to win 15-14.  Jay Meron was able to nip Brad Weaver 5-2 at 112.  Jenkins, Rick Sharp, Chuck Alley, Bob Alpha and Scott Barker scored consecutive decisions to clinch the match for Coach Dick Baker.  Freedom held a one point lead briefly, but Pennsbury stormed back to win five of six bouts including falls by Glen Williard (127) and Chris Cadwallader (154) on their way to a 27-18 win.

Liberty took a commanding 17-3 lead at the halfway point against Hill School, but could only manage one win the rest of the way as they held on to beat Hill School 20-18.  Allentown Central Catholic shut out Slatington 40-0, and Stroudsburg beat Delaware Valley 38-18.

In the Lehigh-Northampton League, Saucon Valley and Wilson met in a battle of league unbeaten teams.  Don Rohn’s first period fall followed by decisions by Dan Santoro and Dennis Underkoffler put the Panthers ahead 15-6.  The teams would trade decisions the rest of the way with Fred Kugler’s late takedown in the 165 pound match one of the keys in a 24-15 victory before a capacity home crowd for Saucon Valley.

Saucon Valley Wrestling
Bob Nagy Scored a Fall in Saucon’s Win (Photo Courtesy of Saucon Valley Yearbook)

On February 3rd, Nazareth and Wilson faced off in a key battle in the LNL.  Incredibly, each team would win four bouts, and four bouts ended in ties in a tightly contested dual meet.  After the 154 match, Wilson held an 18- 12 lead only to see Nazareth’s Jack Miller and Ron Gerhard win decisions to tie the match at 18-18.  Lou Sakell and Gib Bastian battled to a scoreless draw at heavyweight, and the meet ended tied at 20-20.  Saucon Valley moved into sole possession of first place Steve Donchez, Don Rohn, Dan Santoro, Bill Danyluk and Bob Nagy all had falls.  The Panthers blanked Bangor 60-0.

Pen Argyl rallied to win the final three bouts including Bill Hicks dramatic fall at heavyweight with only one second left to defeat Southern Lehigh 22-21.  Northwestern opened up a 13-0 lead on Salisbury on the way to a 28-21 triumph.  Parkland’s Tom Boyd broke up a Pocono Mountain comeback as the Trojans nipped Pocono Mountain 24-22.  East Stroudsburg had four falls as the easily topped Palisades 38-16.

In the East Penn League, a standing room only crowd was on hand in the Pit as Allen visited Phillipsburg.  The Stateliners never gave the Canaries a chance as they won seven of the first eight bouts.  Rick Thompson (95) and Bill Cavanaugh had falls.  Allen’s tough trio of Alley, Alpha and Barker all won their bouts, but Blair Miers had a fall to bolster the final score to 35-12 P-Burg.  Easton won their first three bouts and then got a fall from Wesley at 133 as they defeated Notre Dame 30-10.  Some interesting individual bouts saw Rocky Creazzo score a 26-1 win at 95 pounds , and Ed Ferraro and Jack Golden battle to a 9-9 draw at 120.

Emmaus won three of the first five bouts and tied one to lead Northampton 11-5.  That’s when Coach Harry Wall’s team took things up a notch as Terry Oplinger, Clayton Fogel, Eric Butler, Mike Ziatyk and Jody Gmitter (in a wild 12-10 bout) all won.  The Kids led 22-11 with two bouts to go.  The Hornets would win those final two bouts, but the Kids won the dual 22-19 to win their first LVL title in four years.  Whitehall edged Slatington 24-22 on Jim Schunk’s fall in the final bout.  Lehighton won nine matches including three by fall to easily defeat Catasauqua 33-9.

In the EPL, Liberty stayed unbeaten by winning a tight bout against Bethlehem Catholic.  The Hurricanes Greg Filipos nipped Bob Cassidy 3-2 to start the match.  Marty Lynn and Bill Kmetz stayed unbeaten for the Golden Hawks, but Dave Hammer, John Fritz and Jim Richie kept the Hurricanes ahead 12-9 after the 138 pound bout.  Mike Potts fall at 145 was critical to the win, and Matt Szymakowski decisioned Frank Seier 5-0 in the final bout to give Liberty a 23-15 win.

Freedom cruised by Allentown Central Catholic 38-6.  Phillipsburg won five of the first six bouts to take a 17-3 lead over North Hunterdon.  The 2nd ranked squad in New Jersey, North Hunterdon, bounced back with two straight falls and a 13-0 decision by defending state champ, Dave Gaunt, over Scott Curzi to cut the lead to 20-16.  Bill Kowalchuk’s 5-3 decision at 180 clinched the match for the Stateliners; Blair Miers was disqualified at heavyweight.  The ‘Liners won 23-21.  Notre Dame lost their 10th straight bout by dropping a 28-16 decision to Warren Hills.

Saucon Valley Wrestling
Saucon Valley Won 8 of 12 Bouts in Their Dual with Nazareth to Win the LNL Title (Photo Courtesy of Saucon Valley Yearbook)

With the LNL title on the line, on February 6th , Saucon Valley and Nazareth faced off.  Lee Keck (95) and Terry Faust (112) both won by decision while Rocky Chunko won at 103; the Blue Eagles led for the only time in match 6-3.  Don Rohn, Dan Santoro and Dennnsi Underkoffler strung together three straight wins to retake the lead 12-6.  Nazareth’s Glenn Young knocked off Frank Klotz 8-7 at 138; Bill Danyluk and Bob Nagy scored decisions to stretch the Panthers lead to 18-9.  The Blue Eagles’ Miller scored a huge 10-1 win over Fred Kugler, but Saucon won the final two bouts to win the dual meet 24-12.

Parkland led Pen Argyl 22-9, but the Knights roared back to win the final four bouts, and Bill Hicks first period fall over Nick DeLong at heavyweight completed the 26-22 comeback win.  Wilson blanked Bangor 57-0; Salisbury easily beat Palisades 36-13; and Southern Lehigh triumphed over Pocono Mountain 24-12.  Northwestern scored three falls which made the difference as they edged East Stroudsburg 28-26.

In an EPL bout where 10 of 12 matches ended in falls, Dieruff got the better of Neshaminy 36-25.  Easton won their annual match-up against Wyoming Valley West 28-14.  In the only LVL match-up, Stroudsburg cruised to a 39-11 win over Palmerton.

Both Pennsbury and Neshaminy competed in the East Penn League as well as the Lower Bucks League.  Pennsbury was in the midst of its best season since 1962-63 and now faced another challenge.  Woodrow Wilson had not lost a Lower Bucks League dual meet in 48 straight matches.  Pennsbury had come close before with the 1969 match ending in a tie.  Coach John Kopack was quoted by the Bucks Courier Times before the match as saying “The boys are pointing for this one, and are as ready as they ever will be.  Our team is taking the meet as a challenge, a great opportunity to stop a long, long streak compiled by the wrestling crews from Wilson.”  The Falcons started strong against Wilson as they won five of the first six bouts including three by two or fewer points.  Wilson was favored at the first two weights as neither Pennsbury wrestler had a winning record, but both came through with wins.  Eric Carlson scored a 10-6 decision, and Steve Minewiser got a last second near fall to win 9-7.  Glen Williard had a key win over Fred Hibbs 5-3 at 127.  Pennsbury led 15-3 at the halfway point, but trailing 9-4 with only 20 seconds left, Dave Smith scored a fall for Wilson at 138.  After a 10-10 draw in a wild match at 145, the team score stood 17-10.  Chris Cadwallader scored a 27-3 win at 154, followed by a Wilson win at 165.  Pennsbury led 20-13 with two bouts to go.  180 was considered a toss-up, and Wilson was heavily favored at heavyweight so the outcome was anything but certain.  Mike Logar downed Brian Lackewitz 19-7 at 180, and the Falcons had clinched the win.  After a forfeit at heavyweight, the final score was Pennsbury 23-19 and another long streak had been busted.  The Falcons finished 6-0 in the Lower Bucks League to win the title.

Pen Argyl’s Steve Detweiler Was a Key Performer for the Green Knights (Photo Courtesy of Pen Argyl H.S. Yearbook)

Allentown Central Catholic won five bouts in a row from 133-165 to defeat Catasauqua 24-20 to improve their record to 7-5.  Stroudsburg won their 2nd straight LVL bout by a 28 point margin, 38-10 over Whitehall.  Pen Argyl was locked in a tight struggle against Delaware Valley Regional and had just won a controversial decision, in the opinion of DVR’s coach, to narrow the team score to 16-15.  The DVR coach pulled his team off the mat, forfeiting the final three bouts, and Pen Argyl won 33-16.

On February 10th, Liberty continued their march to their first EPL title by winning all but one match to defeat Neshaminy 49-5.  John Fritz and Matt Szymakowski remained unbeaten for the Hurricanes.  Phillipsburg won the first three bouts and then got falls from Joe Minorics, Bill Kowalchuk and Jeff Curzi in the upperweights to top Dieruff 38-12.

The next night, Freedom’s Lance Leonhardt knocked off Jay Meron 3-1 at 112 and started a six bout winning streak for the Patriots against Allen.  The Canaries’ trio of Chuck Alley, Bob Alpha and Scott Barker pulled Allen within 22-17 entering the heavyweight bout, but Bob Schoener scored a fall clinching a 27-17 win for the Patriots.  Bethlehem Catholic defeated Notre Dame 38-9.

For the 7th time in eight years, Northampton won at least a share of the LVL title. This time, the Kids won the title outright by defeating Whitehall 35-9.  Mike Ziatyk (154) stayed unbeaten as Northampton improved to 8-4 overall.  Emmaus won nine bouts as they easily defeated Stroudsburg 30-9; Lehighton pounded Palmerton 51-9; and Catasauqua had three falls as they defeated Slatington 36-6.

Saucon Valley won their 3rd consecutive LNL title and extended their winning streak to 37 by defeating Southern Lehigh 43-2.  The Panthers had three pins, and Dennis Underkoffler defeated previously unbeaten Joe Berner 7-0 at 133.  Salisbury won five of six bouts in the 112 to 145 weight class range and then got a key pin from Jim Powerll at 165 to defeat Parkland 24-22.  None of the remaining LNL bouts was close as Nazareth defeated Northwestern 40-9; Wilson beat Palisades 48-7; Pen Argyl beat Bangor 49-9; and Pocono Mountain downed East Stroudsburg  26-16.

Frank Gutierrez Liberty Wrestling
Coach Gutierrez Had Plenty to Be Excited About During a Tough But Successful Season (Photo Courtesy of Liberty H.S. Yearbook)

Sporting a 10-0 record, Liberty had faced a difficult schedule and had conquered all challengers to date.  The Hurricanes would face another test on February 13, 1971, traveling to Hellertown to face a powerful Saucon Valley team with a 37 match winning streak intact.  With a standing room only crowd of 1,800 on hand, Greg Filipos staked the Hurricanes to a 3-0 lead before Rocky Chunko had a late second period takedown stand up for a 3-1 win over Jeff McCandless.  The score was tied at 3-3, but it would be the only time all night the Panthers would be tied.  Dave Hammer scored a fall at 112.  Don Rohn took the mat against Ernie Gonzalez and scored a takedown and had Gonzalez on his back for the rest of the first period.  With Gonzalez in a high bridge, Rohn was unable to score the fall.  He led 6-0 after two periods, but Gonzalez rallied for a 6-6 draw.  John Fritz decisioned Dan Santoro 7-3, and Jim Richie scored a third period takedown over Dennis Underkoffler 4-2.  The Hurricanes led 16-5 in a match that was expected to be much closer at the halfway mark.  Petch Gibbons would stretch the lead to 19-5 with a 4-0 win at 138, but Saucon Valley was able to rally.  Bill Danyluk, Bob Nagy and Fred Kugler scored shut out decisions to cut the lead to 19-14.  At 180, Rick Israel led 5-3, and Saucon Valley appeared to have hope, but “Bryan Green wiped it out when he scored four points in the final 24 seconds” per The Morning Call.  Green scored a 7-5 win ending the Panthers comeback attempt.  Liberty heavyweight, Matt Szmakowski won 7-0, and Liberty won 25-13 to break the Saucon Valley’s 37 match winning streak.  Coach Frank Gutierrez’s team would go on to defeat Freedom 29-11 to finish the season undefeated at 12-0, winning the East Penn League title and breaking two of the longest streaks in Lehigh Valley wrestling history!

Easton had not beaten Phillipsburg since Thad Turner’s first year and had come oh so close several times.  With Turner moving on to Lehigh, would 1971 be the year the Rovers got back in the win column?  Rocky Creazzo decisioned Rick Thompson 1-0 in a match between two of the most accomplished wrestlers from the 1970’s.  Brad Weaver followed with a fall, and Easton appeared to be on their way 8-0.  Phillipsburg quickly countered as Bob Jiorle and Bill Cavanaugh scored falls around Gary DeAlmo’s decision to give the ‘Liners a 13-8 lead.  Easton tied the bout on John Wesley pin at 133.  This set up a match up between P-Burg’s Joe Piro, a transfer from Easton, and Larry Davis.  Piro won 7-0 spurring a streak by the Stateliners that included a fall by Joe Minorics.  Phillipsburg won their ninth straight dual against Easton 30-18.

Pennsbury had come close, but had never beaten Dieruff since they joined the EPL in 1965.  The Huskies won three of the first four bouts and led 9-6, but this match would prove different.  Pennsbury didn’t lose another bout until the heavyweight match as Chris Cadwallder (154) and Mike Logar (180) had falls for the Falcons as they defeated Dieruff 34-17 for a big EPL victory.

Bethlehem Catholic visited Emmaus in a non-league match.  Becahi’s Bob Cassidy and Pat Sculley won the first two bouts.  After Emmaus’ Weller scored a fall at 112, Marty Lynn edged Reid Derr 4-2 in a key bout.  Mark Derr won 1-0 at 127.  After unbeaten Bill Kametz’s fall at 138, the Golden Hawks led 17-8.  The Green Hornets were able to pull even after Steve Paterno’s fall at 145 and Terry Kratzer’s decision at 154.  Dennis Fenton got a huge fall at 165 to put Becahi back in the lead, and after Tom Kauffman’s win at 180, the Hawks held a 22-20 lead.  Frank Seier’s decision at heavyweight made the final score 25-20 Becahi.

Catasauqua jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but Pen Argyl came back to lead 23-22 heading into the heavyweight bout.  Catty sent unbeaten Gary Hein out on the mat, and Pen Argyl countered by bumping 180 pounder Bill Hicks.  Hicks came through to defeat Hein 10-9 to clinch the win for the Green Knights 26-22.  In another non-league bout, Southern Lehigh lost the final three bouts and dropped a 25-14 bout to Pennridge.

On February 17th, Saucon Valley rewarded Coach Charlie Bartolet with his 100th win and another Lehigh-Northampton League title by beating Northwestern 43-5.  Wilson and Nazareth finished tied for 2nd in the league at 9-1-1.  The Warriors downed Salisbury 32-8, and the Blue Eagles beat Pocono Mountain 31-11.  In other league bouts, Parkland defeated Bangor 43-9, and Southern Lehigh dropped East Stroudsburg 27-15.

Liberty High School Wrestling
The Liberty Hurricanes Had An Outstanding Year (Photo Courtesy of Liberty H.S. Yearbook)

Liberty won five of the first six bouts, including a fall by John Fritz at 127, to lead Freedom 18-3.  Freedom would bounce back in the middle weights, but the Hurricanes won the final three bouts to win 29-11 and finish undefeated in the EPL.  Pennsbury continued their season of firsts – this time surprising Easton 21-19.  The Rovers started strong by winning the first three bouts to lead 11-0.  Pennsbury then won seven of the next eight bouts, all by decision, and had an insurmountable 21-14 lead.  Mike Daley had a fall at heavyweight.

Emmaus wrapped up their LVL season by easily beating Whitehall 48-6.  Notre Dame avoided a winless season by upsetting Allentown Central Catholic.  Notre Dame’s Jerry and Jack Golden each scored falls to lead the Crusaders to a 25-18 victory.  Bethlehem Catholic got three falls from  Bob Cassidy (95), Jack Sculley (180) and Frank Seier (Hwt) to defeat Northampton 33-12.

Allen jumped out to an 11-0 lead over Dieruff including Don Kuhns fall at 103.  The Huskies would win the next three bouts to narrow the score to 11-9, but the Canaries would win the remaining six bouts to win 34-9.  Bob Alpha beat Jim Doster 8-2, and Scott Barker shut out Jim Gaycheck 7-0.

In the final bouts before the Sectionals, Catasauqua doubled up Salisbury 34-17, and Pocono Mountain, on falls from Matule at 154 and Sopko at 180, beat Palisades 28-22.

League Standings were as follows:

Compiled Standings 1970-71PlaceW-L-D
East Penn
William Allen36-3
Bethlehem Catholic4T5-4
Notre Dame100-9
Southern Lehigh48-3
Pen Argyl66-5
Pocono Mountain75-6
East Stroudsburg102-9
Lehigh Valley

East Penn League champion, Liberty, finished the season a perfect 12-0.  LNL League Champion, Saucon Valley, and EPL runner-up Phillipsburg both lost their streaks but finished 13-1 and 12-1, respectively.  Teams finishing with at least 10 wins were Wilson (11-2-1), Lehighton (10-2-1), Nazareth (10-3-1), Bethlehem Catholic (10-4), Northwestern (10-4) and Lower Bucks League champion Pennsbury (10-4).  LVL champ Northampton struggled outside the league and finished 8-5.

Liberty Wrestling
Liberty was the last team to beat Phillipsburg before they started their 58-Match Unbeaten Streak and the Team that Ended the Streak 4+ Years Later 20-17.

Sectional Tournaments

Once again, the sectional tournaments were organized by league with two wrestlers advancing from each sectional.

Emmaus and Saucon Valley both started strong in their respective tournaments by advancing 12 wrestlers each to the 2nd day.  In the LNL, Nazareth and Wilson were not far behind with 11 wrestlers each.   Two top-seeded wrestlers in the Tri-Valley league were upset.  Jim Thorpe’s Jack Pollock won a referee’s decision over Ted Horn of West Hazleton at 95, and North Schuylkill’s Bob Smith downed Don Drash of Blue Mountain 5-2 at 154.

The LVL League Sectional, the league not only advanced two wrestlers at each weight to Districts, but also kept score and crowned a team champion.  Emmaus could not hold their early lead, and Northampton was crowned team champion by crowning four champions and scoring 65 points compared to Emmaus’ and Lehighton’s 59 points.  Northampton advanced seven wrestlers while Emmaus and Lehighton each advanced six to the District Tourney.

The Lehigh-Northampton League saw Saucon Valley continue their dominance as they advanced seven wrestlers.  Wilson had five men still alive while Nazareth had three.

North Schuylkill and Tri-Valley again led the way in the Tri-Valley League each moving five wrestlers to the District round.

With just five teams competing in the sectional, but never-the-less very competitive, the East Penn League held a one day tournament.  EPL champion Liberty led all teams by moving eight men through to the next week’s competition; Allen and Easton each had five while Dieruff had four.

District XI Wrestling Tournament

Six returning champions were back to defend their 1970 titles:  Liberty’s Greg Filipos & John Fritz, Easton’s Brad Weaver & Larry Davis, Saucon Valley’s Don Rohn and Allen’s Scott Barker.  In addition, four runner-ups were back.  Friday night’s quarterfinal round saw the two top District XI teams from the regular season continue to excel.  Liberty and Saucon Valley went a combined 15 for 15 in the quarterfinal round.  Allen advanced four wrestlers including two #8 seeds who dumped top-seeded grapplers.  Charlie Jenkins defeated Hazleton’s previously unbeaten Mike Stronko at 138 by a 5-2 score.  Teammate Bob Alpha replicated the feat at 165 as he easily defeated Lehighton’s once-beaten Barry Reid 10-2.  The most exciting bout per The Morning Call involved Wilson’s Sam Crivellaro and Emmaus’ Terry Kratzer at 154.  Crivellaro led 7-2 in the 3rd period when Kratzer put him on his back almost pinning him and knotting the score at 7-7.  Crivellaro bounced back to win 5-0 in overtime.

The semi-finals featured several critical bouts in the team race between Liberty and Saucon Valley, and the Hurricanes came up on top in both matches.  At 103, Jeff McCandless reversed a dual meet loss and nipped Rocky Chunko 3-2; at 133 Jim Ritchie beat Dennis Underkoffler 5-1.  The only negative in an otherwise outstanding semi-final round for Coach Frank Gutierrez was Matt Szymakowski losing 3-2 to eventual heavyweight champion George Barkanic from Lehighton.

While Liberty had clinched the team title after the semi-finals, there was still plenty of wrestling to do and as had been the case for the prior 23 years, only the winners advanced to regionals.  Easton won the first three weights, including the 88 pound exhibition weight class (Ed Kovacs).  Rocky Creazzo and Brad Weaver both defeated their Liberty opponents with Creazzo scoring a fall and Weaver winning 5-2.   At 112, Dave Hammer gave Liberty its first champ with a 5-2 victory over Freedom’s Lance Leonhardt.

The stage was set for a rematch of the dual meet draw between defending state champ, Don Rohn, and Liberty’s Ernie Gonzalez.  This time a riding time point was the difference as Rohn triumphed 2-1.  Liberty’s John Fritz defeated Saucon’s Dan Santoro 7-2 at 127, and Jim Ritchie downed defending District champ Larry Davis 2-0 at 133.  Petch Gibbons made it three in a row for the Hurricanes at 138.

Bob Nagy
Chuck Alley Brings Bob Nagy to the Mat (Photo Courtesy of The Morning Call)

Saucon Valley had back-to-back champions at 145 and 154 as Bill Danyluk and Bob Nagy both scored decisions.  At 165, Dieruff’s Jim Doster avenged a late season dual-meet loss on a refeee’s decision over Allen’s Bob Alpha.  Scott Barker repeated for this 2nd District title at 180, and George Barkanic won the heavyweight title over Minersville’s Pete Walsh 5-3.

Back-To-Back District Champs (Photo from Bethlehem Globe Times Courtesy of Cathy Leibensperger)
District XI Wrestling Champions 1971
1971 District XI Wrestling Champions (Photo Courtesy of Dick King from Allentown Morning Call) Front Row – Ed Kovacs, Rocco Creazzo & Brad Weaver (all Easton), Dave Hammer (Lib), Don Rohn (SV), John Fritz (Lib); Back Row – Jim Richie & Petch Gibbons (Lib), Bill Danyluk & Bob Nagy (SV), Jim Doster (Die), Scott Barker (WA) and George Barkanic (Leh)
Saucon Valley Had 3 District Champs to Finish as Runner-Ups in the Team Race (Photo from Bethlehem Globe Times Courtesy of Cathy Leibensperger)

The Hurricanes would go on to win their first District XI title in 10 years with seven finalists including 4 champions.  Saucon Valley placed 2nd.  Final team standings were as follows:

Team Scores
Saucon Valley67Palisades5
William Allen41Pottsville3
Easton40Blue Mountain2
Dieruff31East Stroudsburg2
Lehighton28Panther Valley1
Northampton24Pen Argyl1
Freedom21Pocono Mountain1
Nazareth17Schuylkill Haven1
Emmaus9Williams Valley1
North Schuylkill8
West Hazleton7

Northeast Regional Wrestling Championships

With four returning regional champions, competition figured to be tough at the regional tournament in Wilkes-Barre.  District XI’s Don Rohn and John Fritz joined Gary Walk of Mountersville (133) and Rick Muthler of Jersey Shore (138) as defending champs.  The local wrestlers had an outstanding semi-final round as 12 of 13 wrestlers won their matches.  Only Liberty’s Jim Ritchie was defeated in a close 6-3 loss to the aforementioned Walk.

Brad Weaver Won a Regional Title for the Rovers (Photo Courtesy of Easton H.S. Yearbook)

The first three wrestlers in the champions photo were from Easton for the 2nd straight week.  Ed Kovacs (88-Ex), Rocky Creazzo (95) and Brad Weaver (103) all won their finals match with Weaver extended to a referee’s decision over Mike O’Neil of Wyalusing.  Liberty’s Dave Hammer (112) was able to join John Fritz (127), who won his 2nd title, in the winner’s circle.  Liberty’s final wrestler, Petch Gibbons, dropped a 4-2 decision to Muthler.  Saucon Valley was able to go two for three in the finals as Don Rohn continued his march to a 2nd state title and Bill Danyluk won a 6-1 decision.  Bob Nagy lost an overtime decision at 154.  Dieruff’s Jim Doster followed losing another tough overtime decision at 165.  Scott Barker scored a solid 11-4 win to capture his first regional title, and Lehighton’s George Barkanic remained undefeated with a 7-4 victory on the strength of three takedowns.   Eight District XI wrestlers advanced to the state tournament and a 9th (Kovacs) captured a title in what was another very successful regional tourney for the area wrestlers.

L-R: Dieruff Coach Dick King, Rich King & Regional Runner-Up, Jim Doster (Photo Courtesy of Rita King)
Photo Courtesy of Tom Elling from PIAA Program

PIAA State Wrestling Championships

Four returning state champions were in the field as the state tournament returned to Recreation Hall at University Park.  WLVT Channel 39 broadcast  the event live for the first time ever via the State’s Public Television Network.

Easton Wrestling
Rocco Creazzo, Easton H.S. State Champ, at 95 Pounds

District XI had a very successful semi-final round for the second week in a row as seven of eight wrestlers advanced to the finals.  The only wrestler to drop his bout in the semi’s was Allen’s Scott Barker who lost to eventual champ Larry Suhey.  In the finals, Rocky Creazzo was crowned as Bob Zarbatany’s 3rd state champion as he won 9-4.  At 103, Easton’s Brad Weaver led the entire match, but lost a heartbreaking 3-2 decision on a predicament awarded at the buzzer.  No one knew at the time that Brad Weaver would not get a chance to win a title in the 1972 season as he was tragically killed in an auto accident during the summer of 1971.

Liberty’s Dave Hammer finished as a runner-up at 112 as he dropped a 7-2 decision.

Don Rohn
Don Rohn Won His Second State Title in 1971

Don Rohn became the first District XI wrestler to repeat as a state champion winning 9-3.  Liberty’s John Fritz had to settle for 2nd place again as he was pinned by Rod Tate of Penn Highlands.  Bill Danyluk tried to give Charlie Bartolet a 2nd state champion on the night as he finished locked in a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation, but dropped a decision in overtime – his first loss of the year.  Lehighton’s George Barkanic also suffered his first loss dropping a 5-3 decision.

With seven wrestlers in the finals and two champions, the 1971 tournament, while frustrating due to losing several close matches in the finals, certainly had to be considered a success for the District XI wrestlers.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Elling


Bethlehem Catholic started strong in their effort to defend their PCIAA Eastern Regional title by advancing nine wrestlers to the semi-finals.  The Golden Hawks had eight champions cruising to another title with 121 points to double up runner-up Kingston Catholic.  Champions for Becahi included Bob Cassidy (95), Pat Sculley (103), Marty Lynn (120), Jim Gaydos (133), Bill Kametz (138), Dennis Fenton (154), Jack Sculley (165) and Frank Seier (Hwt).    Notre Dame’s Jim Landrigan won the 145 pound title.

On March 5th, the PCIAA Championships were hosted at Notre Dame High School.  Bethlehem Catholic again dominated the action by advancing nine wrestlers to the semi-finals.  Notre Dame and Allentown Central Catholic advanced three and one wrestler(s), respectively.  The next day, Becahi won its fourth title in a row for Coach Tony Iasiello by crowning six champions – Pat Sculley (103), Marty Lynn (120), Jim Gaydos (133), Bill Kametz (138), Dennis Fenton (154) and Jack Sculley (165).  Bob Cassidy (95), Joe Cavote (127) and Frank Seier (Hwt) all finished 2nd.   Notre Dame’s Jack Golden (120) and Jim Landrigan (145) along with ACC’s Fred Fodok (127) were 3rd while ACC’s Leroy Steverson (133) was 4th.   The Hawks scored 103 points to almost double runner-up Bishop Caneven.

1971 PCIAA Champions (Photo Courtesy of

Phillipsburg Post Season

It was a different coach, but the same result for Phillipsburg in the NJ District 16 Wrestling Championships.  Coach Jan Dutt’s squad thrilled a sellout crowd at The Pit by crowning eight champions and amassing 117 points to easily win the team title.   So dominant were the Stateliners that in the only weights they didn’t win, they had runner-ups.  Rick Thompson (95), Bob Jiorle (112), Gary DeAlmo (120), Bill Cavanaugh (127), Joe Piro (133), Joe Minorics (154), Bill Kowalchuk (165) and Blair Miers (Hwt) all finished first.

In the regional tournament, Phillipsburg crowned three champions.  Rick Thompson, Bob Jiorle and Joe Piro won Region 2 titles.  Defending state runner-up Bill Cavanaugh was unable to advance.

In the NJ State Finals, Rick Thompson won his semi-final bout and went on to win a NJ State title at 95.  Joe Piro (133) finished third, Bob Jiorle (112) was 4th.