Notable Coaching Changes:Lee Bolmer --> Steve Wolfe (Catasauqua)
Dick Baker --> Mike Davis (William Allen)
East Penn League:Added: Allentown Central Catholic
Left: Neshaminy & Pennsbury
Structural Changes:Class A Districts Eliminate Sectionals and goes to a single bracket format to be held on two consecutive Saturdays. Class B continues with a Sectional format but reduces from four to two tourneys. Consolation bouts for 3rd-4th in PIAA State Championships are dropped (they were reinstated one year later). Heavyweight 250 pount weight limit is eliminated.
East Penn League Champion:Liberty (8-0)
LVIAA League Champion:Lehighton (7-0)
Lehigh-Northampton League Champions:
North Division:Saucon Valley (6-0)
South Division:Pocono Mountain (6-0)
District Champion:
Class A:Easton (3 Champions)
Class B:Lehighton (4 Champions)
Class A:District XI – 9 Total Champs – Saucon Valley (4 Champions)
Class B:District XI – 8 Total Champs – Lehighton (3 Champions)
PIAA States:
Class A:Easton finishes 2nd in mythical state standings with 1 champion and 1 runnerup.
Individual State Champions:
Class A:Bob Weaver, 98, Easton; Rich McIntyre, 145, Freedom; Brian Statum,
155, Liberty and Gary Albright, 185, Saucon Valley
Class B:Bob Harris, 138, North Schuylkill

Regular Season


Easton lost two state champions and five other starters after the 1973-74 season, and Saucon Valley returned a strong group of upperweights.  The Rovers and Panthers had 34 and 17 match unbeaten streaks, respectively, as the season began.

Saucon Valley dropped the first two bouts against Freedom, but came back to win five of the next six weight classes to lead 19-9 including Rick Rodriguez’s fall at 138 and Jerry Rodriguez’s 9-2 win over Billy Williams.  Rich McIntyre and Dan Lechner battled to a 5-5 draw at 155 and Brian Feeley’s fall pulled the Patriots within five points.  Gary Albright’s fall at 185 clinched the match for the Panthers who won 30-17.

In other openers, Bethlehem Catholic crushed Archbishop Carroll 55-2, and Emmaus had four falls as they made Coach Ray Ferraro’s debut a happy one with a 36-16 win over Parkland.  Notre Dame clipped Salisbury 34-18; Pen Argyl topped Catasauqua 39-18; Northwestern had four falls in beating Palmerton 39-15; and Southern Lehigh whipped Whitehall 37-18.

A few nights later, Saucon Valley had seven falls as the Panthers crushed Allen 51-6 to spoil new coach Mike Davis’ debut.  Bethlehem Catholic traveled to Lehighton and had a very tough time with the Indians.  Lehighton had rallied to take an 11-9 lead after six bouts.  A clash of heads may have sealed the Indians’ fate as Todd Mertz got the worst of the exchange and Luke Cunningham won by default.  Mike Brown won by major decision at 185 and the Hawks had won a 22-21 nail biter.  In other matches, Liberty handled Northampton 37-12; Notre Dame defeated Wilson 40-12; and Jim Thorpe edged Palmerton 29-27

On December 12th the EPL season kicked off.  Coach Bob Zarbatany’s Rovers graduated much talent, but the Easton grapplers proved they would be contending again as they almost shut out Freedom 43-3.   Bethlehem Catholic won their 3rd bout of the young season by cruising past Allen 30-17.  Dieruff gave Allentown Central Catholic an unfriendly welcome to the EPL as they had five falls in a 48-3 route.  Non-league action saw Emmaus defeat Spring-Ford 30-20, Liberty trounce Notre Dame 42-6, Pocono Mountain pound East Stroudsburg 41-11 and Parkland beat Jim Thorpe 49-2.

In other matches, Saucon Valley easily beat Salisbury 48-11; Wilson finished strong to top Palisades 32-21; Nazareth handled Southern Lehigh 38-13; and Pen Argyl surprised Northwestern 33-28 as Morris Pagni had a fall at 185 and Rick Ede had the clinching decision at heavyweight.

Mike Brown
Mike Brown & Becahi Bench Taking in the Action (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Catholic Yearbook)

On December 14th, Bethlehem Catholic flexed its muscles in an early season match up with Saucon Valley as they ended the Panthers unbeaten streak at 20 by defeating them 26-18.  The Hawks had one several close bouts to lead 12-9 at the halfway point.  Rick Rodgriguez had a 16-0 lead over Luke Cunnningham at 138 but was disqualified for an illegal slam.  Jerry Rodriguez scored a fall at 145, but Becahi won the next two bouts.  Mike Brown then took the mat and won his first match in a series of four classic bouts with Gary Albright by a 7-4 score.

Dieruff’s young upperweights were unable to hold onto a lead as they dropped a 23-22 match to Wilkes-Barre Meyers; Easton won 10 bouts in route to a 37-6 win over Emmaus; Northampton whipped Wilson 34-9; and Southern Lehigh downed Catasauqua 36-21.

Nazareth held a 20-11 lead entering the final four bouts against Lehighton.  However, the Indians get falls from Bob Rhyder (167) and Glen Neff (185) and two decisions to triumph 30-20.  Catasauqua led Northwestern 23-16, but the Tigers rallied on falls by Dan Blose (167) and Rich Fritzinger (Hwt) to win 28-26.

On December 18th, Liberty established itself as a team to be reckoned with in the EPL as they handled Phillipsburg 32-17 in another December match.  The Hurricanes solid middleweight contingent of Bernie Fritz, John Unangst, Jon Bittenbender and Brian Statum vaulted Coach Frank Gutierrez’s team to a big EPL win.  Bethlehem Catholic was too much for Dieruff as the Hawks won 31-15 to go to 5-0 on the year.  Notre Dame surprised Freedom with an easy 33-10 win.

Saucon Valley and Nazareth were too much for their LNL Southern division opponents as they both cruised by Pocono Mountain 50-3 and Salisbury 39-14.  Wilson trailed Northwestern 21-6 but got pins from Willie Pulli (132), Chip Claus (138) and Rusty McIntyre (145) to win 33-27.  Parkland’s Glenn Schaeffer registered a fall at 167 to lead the Trojans to a 29-24 win over Southern Lehigh.  Easton easily defeated Neshaminy 44-11 for their 37th straight win. East Stroudsburg ended a long winless streak by topping Pleasant Valley 31-21.

On December 21st, Easton continued to dominate as it beat Nazareth by a much easier than expected 45-6 score.  Emmaus’ Scheffley brothers, Ray and Bill, had falls to set the stage for the Hornets 49-6 rout of Allentown Central Catholic.

Easton Wrestling
The Rovers Had a Strong Performance to Win the Holiday Tourney (Photo Courtesy of Easton HS Yearbook)

Holiday tournaments were again at the forefront during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Easton advanced 12 wrestlers to the semi-finals in their own tournament.  With 10 placers and six champions, the Rovers easily repeated as team champions.  Bobby Weaver (98), Henry Callie (105), Greg Shoemaker (112), Brian Lutz (119), Fred Stoelzl (132) and Steve Jordan (154) were the Easton winners.

Easton Holiday Tourney Champions Photo (Photo Courtesy of

In the Christmas City Tournament, Nazareth had the early lead with eight semi-finalists and a lead over the host Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks.  The Blue Eagles’ crowned Dave Tripp (98) and Bill Sandbrook (145) as champions as they topped Becahi 102-88 in the team race to win their 2nd consecutive team title.  Freedom was 4th and Allen was 5th.  The Patriots’ Rich McIntyre (155) was the outstanding wrestler.

Saucon Valley and Liberty finished 1-2 in the Millionaire Top Hat Tourney.   The Panthers had four champions in Dan Severn (119), Rick Rodriguez (138, OW), Dan Lechner (155) and Gary Albright (185).   Dieruff again competed in the Wall Township Holiday Tourney and finished 3rd with two runner-ups.

(Photo Courtesy of Tom Elling)


Easton extended their unbeaten streak to 39 with a much bigger than expected 35-14 win over Bethlehem Catholic.  Bobby Weaver and Henry Callie both had falls followed by Greg Shoemaker’s and Brian Lutz’s decisions.  The Rovers flew out of the gate 18-0 and led 33-3 after nine bouts.

Liberty stayed unbeaten by opening with four straight falls to whip Allentown Central Catholic 53-8.   Phillipsburg won the first five bouts and was never in jeopardy as they topped Freedom 33-10.

LVL action began with a big match between Lehighton and Northampton.  The Indians Alan Fronheiser (119) and Rick Brownmiller (126) had falls to pace them to a 30-13 victory.  Stroudsburg trailed Slatington 24-10 but won the final three bouts including falls by Bill Kohlmann (167) and Al Lewis (Hwt) to nip Slatington 25-24.  Emmaus handled Catasauqua 37-12, and Whitehall defeated Palmerton 30-17.

In the LNL North, Saucon Valley was too much for Wilson 49-5; Parkland beat East Stroudsburg 37-22; and Pen Argyl topped Bangor 43-18.  In the LNL South, Salisbury appeared headed for a victory over Southern Lehigh as they led 25-13, but the Spartans had four falls in a row from Randy Brown, Mike Harned, Kevin Murphy and Dan Kniffen to close the match and win 33-25.  Northwestern also finished strong in a win over Palisades 43-17, and Pocono Mountain shut out Pleasant Valley 51-0.

Salisbury Wrestling
Salisbury’s Joe Solenske Breaks Down His Opponent (Photo Courtesy of Salisbury HS Yearbook)

January 4th saw a full slate of non-league matches.  Lehighton continued to flex their muscles as they easily beat Allen 36-12.  Dieruff dropped a 29-21 decision to Neshaminy; Saucon Valley romped past Northampton 44-7; Stroudsburg nipped East Stroudsburg 26-23; and Salisbury’s Joe Solenske’s fall iced the Falcons’ 24-22 win over Catasauqua.

On January 9th, Easton, Bethlehem Catholic and Phillipsburg all easily won their EPL matches over Allen 41-3, over Allentown Central Catholic 40-9 and Notre Dame 48-2, respectively.  Dieruff trailed Freedom 24-9, but won the final three bouts including falls by Mike Marcks (167) and George Atiyeh (Hwt) to pull out a 24-24 tie.

Pocono Mountain rallied past Palisades 34-16 after winning the final five bouts including three by fall, and Southern Lehigh slammed Jim Thorpe 43-8 in the LNL South.  The LNL North saw Saucon Valley have no problem with previously unbeaten Pen Argyl 46-12; Wilson easily won over East Stroudsburg 51-6; and Nazareth beat Bangor 46-10.

In the LVL, Lehighton won another key match as they won nine bouts and downed Emmaus 32-7.  Northampton had seven falls in beating Stroudsburg 54-6; Catasauqua’s middleweights led the way as they clipped Whitehall 27-21; and Slatington handled Palmerton 37-15.

Non-league action saw Liberty remain unbeaten as they beat Pennsbury 36-11, and Northwestern’s Rich Fritzinger won by decision as the Tigers nipped Parkland 26-24.

On January 11th, Allen’s Jim Karapelou won a 19-0 superior decision as the Canaries upset Hill School 28-21; Easton whipped rival Wilson 40-9; Notre Dame whipped Whitehall 36-5; Allentown Central Catholic rallied past Catasauqua 28-18; Bethlehem Catholic beat Parkland 31-9;

Coach Tom Ortwein was 0-6 lifetime against Nazareth, but that changed as the Billy brothers, Lee and Rick, topped the Tripp brothers, Jeff and Dave, to get the Kids off on the right foot.  Northampton won three of the final four bouts with a draw at heavyweight preserving a 23-22 upset win.

Easton Wrestling
Easton Was Riding a 41 Match Unbeaten Streak Before Losing to Liberty (Photo Courtesy of Easton H.S. Yearbook)

As they had done in seasons past, Coach Frank Gutierrez’ Liberty squad proved to be the “Streak Busters” on January 16th as they defeated the Rovers 21-15 ending the streak at 41.  No fewer than ½ of the bouts were decided by two points or less.  Easton won four of the first five bouts to lead 12-3, but John Unangst, Jon Bittenbender (on a takedown with five seconds to go), Brian Statum, Mike Vincovitch and Gary Martinez all won by decision to move the Hurricanes ahead 18-15 (only Tim DeVietro’s win at 145 interrupted the Hurricane winning streak).  Scott Schneider nipped Jim Palmer 2-1 at heavyweight, and the Streak Busters had done it again!

In other EPL action, Dieruff beat Notre Dame 30-17; Freedom won big in the middleweights to top Allen 31-16; and Phillipsburg had five pins as they routed Allentown Central Catholic 44-11.

In the LVL, Lehighton continued to roll by crushing Catasauqua 43-6; Whitehall beat Slatington 33-15; and Stroudsburg defeated Palmerton 36-19.  In a likely battle for 2nd place, Emmaus’ Bill Scheffley (105), John Lucik (112) and Barry Nonnemacher (126) scored falls as the Hornets edged Northampton 24-21.

In the LNL North, Parkland was too much for Wilson 27-19; Nazareth shut out East Stroudsburg 51-0; and Saucon Valley handled Bangor 52-6.  In the LNL South, Pocono Mountain defeated Jim Thorpe 31-12, and Northwestern kept pace by beating Salisbury 33-21.

Two days later in non-league action, Liberty won their 6th straight dual 51-3 over Wilson; Nazareth heavyweight Mark Schutts 6-0 win pulled out a tight 25-22 victory over Freedom; and Bethlehem Catholic easily beat Northampton 31-13.  In what The Morning Call dubbed “what could be its upset of the season”, Allen knocked off Emmaus 25-22.  Harry Riddick’s fall at 138 led the way.

Neither Pocono Mountain nor Northwestern was in the LNL South title hunt the prior year, but on January 23rd the two teams squared off in a match to likely decide the divisional title.  Northwestern took at 12-0 lead as Brian Billig and Chris Wentz both scored falls.  Over the next eight bouts, Pocono Mountain roared back to win five and tie three to lead 25-18 with two bouts to go.  Northwestern won the final two bouts but could not muster the needed bonus points and lost 25-24.

Southern Lehigh stayed in the LNL South title hunt by beating Palisades 35-7 while Salisbury easily beat Jim Thorpe 39-15.

In the LNL North, Saucon Valley hosted Nazareth and was without a couple of starters but still had too much firepower for the Blue Eagles.  Dave Quier (105), Don Thatcher (132) and Gary Albright (185) all had falls to lead the Panthers to a 37-12 victory.  Parkland remained undefeated as they defeated Pen Argyl 32-21, and Bangor beat East Stroudsburg 37-16.

The LVL saw Lehighton register five falls to pound Palmerton 46-6; Emmaus topped Stroudsburg 41-9; Catasauqua got by Slatington 32-21; and Northampton finished strong to whip Whitehall 33-15.

Phillipsburg built a 21-8 lead against Bethlehem Catholic after eight bouts.  The Hawks rallied and actually had a chance to win the match as they only trailed by three entering the final bout, but Monty Lobb decisioned Pat Brown 3-0.  The Stateliners won 24-18.  Liberty was too much for Allen as six Hurricanes stayed unbeaten in duals in a 40-1 near shut out, and Easton rebounded to crush Notre Dame 43-9.

Dieruff’s sophomore George Atiyeh edged District 2 champion, Bill Pfeiffer 4-2 as the Huskies beat Wilkes-Barre Coughlin 28-17.  Atiyeh and Pfeiffer would meet the following year in both the regional and state finals.  Two nights later, a tough Lehighton squad defeated the Huskies 33-11.

Jim Karapelou
Allen Hwt Jim Karapelou Helped the Canaries Win a Number of Matches (Photo Courtesy of Allen HS Yearbook)

In other non-league action, Pocono Mountain was too much for Stroudsburg 32-11;  Allen surprised Parkland 30-21 as Randy Schlener (132), Harry Riddick (138) and Jim Karapelou (Hwt) had falls; Freedom beat Northampton 28-15; and Slatington started fast and hung on to nip Allentown Central Catholic 25-24.

Facing its “final big test for an undefeated season” per The Morning Call, Liberty faced off against Bethlehem Catholic on January 30th before 2,200 fans in the Hawks’ gym.  The Hawks hung with the Hurricanes early, but Liberty ran off wins by Bernie Fritz, John Unangst, Jon Bittenbender and Curt Hoyak from 126-145 to take a 20-5 lead.  Pat Lawler was able to tie Brian Statum at 155, and Tom Dale had a draw with Gary Martinez in upsets. Mike Brown added a fall, but that was countered by Liberty heavyweight Brian Schneider’s fall at heavyweight as Liberty won 30-15.

Mark McCants
Mark McCants – Part of Dieruff’s Tough Upperweights (Photo Courtesy of Dieruff HS Yearbook)

In a late-January “shocker”, Dieruff beat Phillipsburg for the first time in 15 years 26-22.  The Huskies won early (Brett Harris, Dave Pizarro and Dan Hall), but then fell behind 22-11 with three bouts to go.  Mike Marcks scored a fall at 167, and Mark McCants followed with an 8-0 decision to pull the Huskies with two points.  George Atiyeh registered a 3rd period fall to give the Huskies a huge win.

George Atiyeh
Sophomore George Atiyeh Helped the Huskies Beat P-Burg (Photo Courtesy of Dieruff H.S. Yearbook)

In other EPL action, Easton dominated Allentown Central Catholic 45-6, and Notre Dame won five straight close decisions from 138 to 185 to beat Allen 27-16

Lehighton continued their march to the title in LVL by jumping out to an 18-0 lead on three pins to open its match against Stroudsburg on the way to a 41-15 win.  Emmaus beat Whitehall 41-8; Northampton clipped Slatington 29-18; and Catasauqua defeated Palmerton 34-18.

In the LNL North, Saucon Valley had falls in the first four bouts as they shut out East Stroudsburg 57-0.  Both Southern Lehigh and Parkland lost their first league bouts.  The Spartans, in the Southern Divison, were leading Northwestern 21-15 with four bouts to go, but the Tigers won three of the final four including two falls to triumph 30-25.  Parkland, in the Northern Division, ran into Nazareth and was unable to match the Blue Eagles as they lost 34-12.    Rich Ede’s fall in the final bout and a penalty point gave Pen Argyl a 29-28 win over Wilson.  Jim Thorpe won its first league bout by easily handling Pleasant Valley 42-10.


Easton and Lock Haven faced off in a rematch of last year’s battle for the #1 state ranking.  The Rovers roared out to a 30-0 lead as they won the 1st seven bouts including falls by Bobby Weaver (98), Greg Shoemaker (112) and Guy Weaver (126). Lock Haven would win the final five bouts but it was not enough, and Easton triumphed 30-21.

Bethlehem Catholic Wrestling
Bethlehem Catholic Was Very Tough in the EPL and in Non-League Action (Photo Courtesy of Bethlehem Catholic HS Yearbook)

Liberty won all but one bout as they routed Nazareth 35-6 to remain unbeaten.  Lehighton was trailing Freedom 21-9 with only three bouts to go.  Glenn Neff (167) and Rick Koch (Hwt) both scored falls and Jim Artuso had a draw at 185 to rally the Indians to a 23-23 tie.  Bethlehem Catholic cruised by Whitehall 40-9.

On February 4th, Northampton won the final three bouts, punctuated by Andy Pisulak’s fall, to come back to defeat Pocono Mountain 25-16.

One night later, Saucon Valley wrapped up its 8th LNL Northern Division title in 9 years as they easily beat Parkland 37-9.  Dan Lechner (145) and Gary Albright (185) both had falls for the Panthers.  Bangor led 13-0, but Wilson came back to win 23-22, and Nazareth handled Pen Argyl 37-17.

In the LNL South, Pocono Mountain clinched at least a tie for the division title by downing Southern Lehigh 29-19.  Northwestern stayed in the mix with a 45-7 win over Pleasant Valley.  Palisades had three falls as they beat Jim Thorpe 31-20.

Lehighton clinched at least a tie for the LVL title by hammering Whitehall 45-3; Emmaus slammed Slatington 36-14; Northampton defeated Palmerton 40-18; and Catasauqua cruised by Stroudsburg 30-16.

Easton won all the close bouts as they defeated Dieruff 34-9; Phillipsburg was too much for Allen 32-11; and Freedom tallied falls in the first three bouts from Bob Kern, John Hammersmith and Mike Zito on their way to a 40-12 win over Allentown Central Catholic.

Freedom HS Wrestling
1974-75 Freedom Wrestling Team – While the ’74-’75 did not have a winning record, the team included two eventual state champs (Rich McIntyre & Billy Williams) and a state runner-up (Mike Zito). Most of the team had been wrestling together since 8th grade, and all started for Freedom in 10th grade (’74-’75). By the 1976-77 season, they were one of the best teams in the Valley – going 13-2-1 (Photo Courtesy of Jim Fraivillig, Freedom HS Class of ’77).

Liberty had all but wrapped up its first East Penn League title ever and was seeking an undefeated season on February 8th.  Saucon Valley had other ideas and ruined the Hurricanes’ chances.  The match was nip and tuck the entire night.  Jim Zenz led off for the Panthers with a win, but Ron Cope beat Dave Quier 8-5 and Jose Martinez won at 112 to give the Hurricanes a 6-3 lead.  Dan Severn beat Jim Werner 7-2 at 119 and then Rusty Chunko and Bernie Fritz drew 3-3.  The team score stood at 8-8.  John Unganst put the Hurricanes back ahead with a decision at 132, but Saucon Valley would win the next two bouts to lead 15-11.  After a Brian Statum decision, Mike Vincovitch had a huge pin at 167, and Liberty regained the lead 20-15.  Gary Albright repeated his holiday-tourney win over Gary Martinez at 185.  Saucon Valley’s Bob Moran took the mat giving up 65 pounds to Scott Schneider.  Moran’s takedown with nine seconds to go sent the home crowd into a frenzy as he won 4-3 to give the Panthers a 21-20 win.  Liberty would go on to win the East Penn League and finish 12-1 overall.

In non-league action, Dieruff even its record by handling Pennsbury 39-9; Whitehall had four pins to beat Allentown Central Catholic 30-24; and Wilson crushed Stroudsburg 40-9.

In LVL action on February 10th, Emmaus clinched 2nd place by routing Palmerton 50-5 and Whitehall cruised past Stroudsburg 37-14.  In non-league action, Bethlehem Catholic won eight bouts and had draws in two more as they topped Notre Dame 37-10.  Lehighton won the Lehigh Valley League for the 2nd straight year.  The Indians had an outstanding 11-1-1  record.

Ed Watto
Pocono Mountain’s Long-Time Coach Ed Watto (Photo Courtesy of Pocono Mt. H.S. Yearbook)

On February 13th, Pocono Mountain wrapped up the LNL Southern Division title by winning five of the final six bouts to defeat Salisbury 33-18.  The Cardinals finished with a 12-2 record overall.  Northwestern had five falls as they beat Jim Thorpe 39-16, and Palisades pounded Pleasant Valley 34-15.  In the LNL North,  Pen Argyl crushed East Stroudsburg 54-9, and Parkland was too much for Bangor 29-13.

Saucon Valley closed their season by slamming Southern Lehigh 48-9; the Panthers again won the Northampton Northern Division going 6-0 in the league and finishing 13-1.  Notre Dame had three falls and upended Allentown Central Catholic 39-17.

1975 Lehigh-Northampton North Champs (Photo from Bethlehem Globe Times courtesy of Cathy Leibensperger)

In the EPL, Liberty won five of the final six bouts beating the Huskies’ tough upperweights to defeat Dieruff 32-14.  Bethlehem Catholic led Freedom 13-7 at the halfway point, got a fall from Mike Brown and close decision by Pat Brown to top the Patriots 26-17.

Liberty Wrestling
Liberty Hurricanes Broke Easton’s Streak & Won Their 1st EPL Title (Photo Courtesy of Liberty H.S. Yearbook)

In the battles of intercity rivals, Liberty won the EPL title by hammering Freedom 39-5, and Dieruff pulled ahead after the 3rd bout and handled Allen 32-17.  Easton easily defeated their top rival, Phillipsburg, 36-11 to finish 2nd in the EPL and 13-1 on the season.  Fred Stoelzl decisioned Jack Yost 6-2 to win the Brad Weaver Memorial Award.   The Stateliners would rebound a week later to upset Westfield, the #2 ranked team in New Jersey, 23-20.

Tom Ortwwein
Northampton Coach Tom Ortwein Crowned the Most Champs in the LVL Tourney (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

The LVL held their league tournament on February 15th.  Lehighton was the favorite to repeat, but the Konkrete Kids from Northampton had other ideas.  Lehighton advanced seven wrestlers and Northampton advanced six to the finals.  Northampton crowned five champions – Rick Billy (105), Joe Liskanich (112), Rick McCandless (132), Robin Farina (138) and Don Arndt (167).  Lehighton had four champions – Rick Kirkendall (98), Rick Brownmiller (126), Troutmam (145) and George Barkanic (155).  The Kids’ Arndt went into OT to beat Lehighton’s Roger Neff, but the Kids’ title hopes were dashed when when Emmaus’ Jeff Smith but Gen Tanzosh 4-3.  The Indians won the title 107.5-104.5.

Nazareth finished its LNL season by easily beating Wilson 39-11.  Notre Dame beat Palisades 45-3 to set a school record for dual meet wins with nine.  Pen Argyl beat Pleasant Valley 44-15 to finish “the most successful season in the school’s history” per The Morning Call with a final record of 11-3

Final League Standings were as follows:

Compiled Standings 1974-75PlaceW-L-D
East Penn
Bethlehem Catholic3T5-3
Notre Dame63-5
William Allen81-7
Allentown Central Catholic90-8
Lehigh-Northampton Northern Division
Saucon Valley16-0
Pen Argyl43-3
East Stroudsburg70-6
Lehigh Northampton Southern Division
Pocono Mountain16-0
Southern Lehigh34-2
Jim Thorpe61-5
Pleasant Valley70-6
Lehigh Valley

Teams with 10 or more wins included Easton (12-1), Bethlehem Catholic (11-3), Northwestern (11-3).  North Schuylkill again finished 14-0.

Sectionals / District XI Wrestling Tourney

The Class A District tourney had a new format in 1975.  Gone were individual sectional tournaments which were replaced by a combined sixteen man bracket held over two successive weekends.  The field contained four returning champions in Saucon Valley’s Dave Quier (98), Easton’s Greg Shoemaker (112) and Brian Lutz (119) and Freedom’s Mike Zito (112).  Saucon Valley lead all teams with an impressive six #1 seeds.

Class B New Sectional Groupings:

Class B – Section 1Class B – Section 2
BangorBlue Mountain
CatasauquaBishop Hafey
East StroudsburgJim Thorpe
Notre DameMahoney Area
Pen ArgylNorth Schuylkill
Pleasant ValleyPalmerton
Pocono MountainPanther Valley
SalisburyPine Grove
SlatingtonSchuylkill Haven
Southern LehighShenandoah

Class A District XI Wrestling Tournament

Scott Schneider
(Photo Courtesy of Liberty HS Yearbook)

The Class A Districts would see the regular season trio of Easton, Liberty and Saucon Valley battling each other.  Coach Frank Gutierrez’s Liberty grapplers took the lead after the first weekend by advancing 11 of its 12 wrestlers to the semi-finals and scoring 30.5 points.  Easton was in 2nd place with 25 points and eight wrestlers alive.  Saucon Valley and Bethlehem Catholic were tied for 3rd place.  Two top seeds were upset.  Freedom’s John Hammersmith defeated two-time District champ Dave Quier of Saucon Valley 4-4, 6-0 at 105, and Liberty’s heavyweight Scott Schneider upended Dieruff’s George Atiyeh 6-2.

Heading into the 2nd weekend, there were still quite a few undefeated wrestlers – Easton’s Bob Weaver & Greg Shoemaker (18-0 each) and Brian Lutz (17-0), Freedom’s Mike Zito (10-0), Saucon Valley’s Don Severn (18-0) and Northampton’s Rick McCandless (17-0-1),

The Rovers advanced six wrestlers to the finals while Liberty and Saucon Valley each advanced five.  The Hurricanes had six more wrestlers in the consolation finals, but only two were able to take 3rd place.  Easton matched the Hurricanes with two 3rd place winners of their own.  With 3,000 fans in attendance, the finals would feature six bouts decided by two points or less and a team battle that went down to the final bout.

With Liberty holding the lead in the team race as the finals began, Easton had a chance to narrow the gap quickly with wrestlers in the first three weight classes.  Bobby Weaver topped Saucon Valley’s Jim Zenz 7-2.  Northampton’s #5 seeded Rick Billy, who had upset #1 seed John Hammersmith in the semi-finals, edged Henry Callie 2-1.  At 112, in a battle between two wrestlers who already had five District titles between them, Freedom’s Mike Zito had two first period takedowns to win his 3rd District title by defeating 3-time District champ, Greg Shoemaker of Easton, 5-3.

Saucon Valley was already locked into 3rd place in the team race, but were able to tie with the most individual champions with three as they won three of the next four weights.  Don Severn remained unbeaten by pinning Liberty’s Jim Werner at 119; Rusty Chunko decisioned Bethlehem Catholic’s Mike Bold 6-2 at 126; and Jerry Rodriguez majored Easton’s George Santos 10-1 at 138.

Don Arndt
The Kids’ Tough Don Arndt Dropped a Close Decision to Liberty’s Gary Martinez (Photo Courtesy of Northampton HS Yearbook)

Easton took a ½ point lead in the team race when Fred Stoelzl nipped Liberty’s John Unangst 3-2 with a 3rd period escape and takedown.  At 145, Freedom’s Rich McIntyre beat ACC’s Ray Cash 11-1.  At 155, Emmaus’ Bob Rhyder, who was a Class B Regional Champ in 1974, held off Liberty’s Brian Statum 10-8.  Liberty was able to retake the lead in the team race when Gary Martinez scored a 3rd period takedown to beat Northampton’s Don Arndt 4-3.  Bethlehem Catholic’s Mike Brown beat Saucon Valley’s Gary Albright 7-3 in Bout #2 of their series.

The Hurricanes clung to a 2.5 point lead entering the heavyweight bout and had Scott Schneider, with a decided size advantage, facing Easton’s Jim Palmer. With a final score of 4-4, 3-3, referees’ decision, Palmer won the bout, and Easton won the District Team title by ½ point.  Final standings were as follows:

District Class A - Team Scores
Saucon Valley72William Allen12
Bethlehem Catholic45.5Allentown C.C.11
Nazareth22West Hazleton1
1975 Class A District Champs (Photo from Bethlehem Globe Times courtesy of Cathy Leibensperger)

Class B Sectionals & District XI Tournament

Lehighton and North Schuylkill each advanced nine men through the sectional tourneys to lead the way in the Class B championship.  The Indians suffered a setback when North Schuylkill’s Bob Gray pinned #1 seed Barry Troutman at 145.  Blue Mountain and Panther Valley each advanced five wrestlers to the quarterfinals.

The Class B Districts saw Lehighton ride very successful quarterfinal round to site in prime position to win the team title as they advanced eight wrestlers to the semi-finals.  Three top-seeded wrestlers were upset as Wilson’s Jim Nolasco beat Panther Valley’s Ted Fredericks 5-3 at 112; Lehighton’s Greg Neff defeated Catasauqua’s Keith Baatz 3-2 at 119; and Wilson’s Lee Clewell upended Shenandoah Valley’s Bernie Bruni 7-3 at 185.

The Indians continued their domination in the semi-final round by advanced five wrestlers to the finals to take an insurmountable lead.  The finals saw Northwestern’s “Super Soph” Chris Wentz go to 20-0 on the season and be crowned the Outstanding Wrestler as he hammered Bangor’s Jay Pensyl 21-0.  Lehighton crowned four champions and won the District team title as well as the Coach of the Year award for Roland Alger.  George Strohl (105), Rick Brownmiller (126), Glenn Neff (167) and Charles Bachert (185) were all crowned champions.

Wilson’s surprise-package and #8 seed Jim Nolasco continued his winning ways scoring a 3-1 semi-final win which was followed by a 4-1 finals decision over Palmerton’s Dale Kuehner.  Jim Miller (145) and Doug Cawley (155) also won titles for the Warriors.  Palisades’ Warren Hope (119) survived an overtime semi-final thriller to repeat as a District champ, and North Schuylkill’s Bob Harris (138) also repeated.  Pen Argyl’s Mike Cesare (132) and Rich Ede (Hwt) were the final two champions for the Green Knights.

Final team scores were, as follows

District Class B - Team Scores
North Schuylkill40.5Jim Thorpe6
Pen Argyl39Salisbury5
Notre Dame28Pine Grove4
Pocono Mountain23Bishop Hafey1
Southern Lehigh22East Stroudsburg1
Palmerton21Schuylkill Haven1
Panther Valley15Shenandoah Valley1
Blue Mountain13.5Stroudsburg1

Class A Northeast Regional Wrestling Tournament

District XI had an outstanding quarterfinal round and won 30 of 36 bouts during the opening night at Liberty’s Memorial Gym.  The only District XI champ to lose was Easton’s hero from the prior week, Jim Palmer at heavyweight.

The semi-finals saw some very interesting matches and some challenges for the local contingent.  Saucon Valley went six for six in the semi-finals including Jim Zenz’s 4-3 revenge win over Easton’s Bobby Weaver at 98 and district 3rd place finisher, Dan Lechner, who beat both all three District champions during the tourney, wining 7-1.  Liberty’s Brian Statum avenged his finals’ loss to Bob Rhyder by winning 9-2.  Statum was Liberty’s only winner in the semi-finals while Easton advanced five wrestlers to the finals.

Liberty bounced back in the consolation round to go 5-for-5 and lead the District XI grapplers to claim ten 3rd place winners and tickets to the state championships.

Steve Albanese
Nazareth’s Steve Albanese Went from 3rd in Districts to Regional Champ (Photo Courtesy of Nazareth HS Yearbook)

The finals were also thoroughly dominated by District XI which crowned nine champions and nine runners-ups.  Saucon Valley crowned 4 individual champions, but had Jim Zenz lose the night’s opener 12-3 to Jersey Shore’s Kurt Nagle.  Easton had finalists in the next four bouts but all of them had to settle for 2nd place.  Northampton’s Rick Billy repeated his close win over Henry Callie at 105, and Freedom’s Mike Zito did the same over Greg Shoemaker at 112.  Saucon Valley’s Dan Severn (119) and Rusty Chunko (126) also defeated Rovers, and Jerry Rodriguez (138) repeated his win over Easton’s Santos.  Two 3rd place district finishers, Nazareth’s Steve Albanese (132) and the aforementioned Lechner (145) both won regional crowns.  Liberty’s Statum (155) and Bethlehem Catholic’s Mike Brown (with his 3rd win over Gary Albright) were the final two champions for the locales.

1975 Northeast Regional Champs
1975 Northeast Regional Champs: Front Row – Kurt Nagel (Jersey Shore), Rick Billy (Northampton), Mike Zito (Freedom), Don Severn (Saucon Valley), Rusty Chunko (Saucon Valley), Steve Albanese (Nazareth); Back Row – Jerry Rodriguez (Saucon Valley), Dan Lechner (Saucon Valley), Brian Statum (Liberty), Butch Snyder (Shikellamy), Mike Brown (Beth Catholic), Bill Pfeiffer (WB Coughlin) Photo from PIAA State Tourney Program Via Tim Kuhn
Cover of the Class A Northeast Regional Program (Photo Courtesy of Cathy Leibensperger)

Class B Southeast Regional Wrestling Tournament

Bill Sopko
Bill Sopko – Regional Champ (Photo Courtesy of Pocono Mt. HS Yearbook)

In Class B, Lehighton continued its strong performance with three champions to lead the District XI contingent who won 8 titles and advanced a total of 21 wrestlers to the PIAA State Championships.  Three of the Indians’ four wrestlers won regional titles as George Strohl (105), Rick Brownmiller (126) and Glenn Neff (167) all triumphed.  Charles Bachert took a 3rd place at 185.  Northwestern’s Chris Wentz (98) remained unbeaten and repeated his win over Bangor’s Jay Pensyl in the finals.  Wilson’s upsetter Jim Nolasco took 2nd place at 112 while Palisades undefeated Warren Hope lost in the semi-finals, but battled back to take 3rd place.  Pen Argyl’s Mike Cesare (132), North Schulykill’s Bob Harris (138), Pocono Mountain’s Bill Sopko (145) and Wilson’s Doug Cawley (155) were also regional champions.

Lehighton Wrestling
Lehighton Won the Lehigh Valley League & District XI Class B Titles (Photo Courtesy of Lehighton H.S. Yearbook)

Class A PIAA State Championships

The first two rounds saw mixed results for the Lehigh Valley contingent of 28 wrestlers.  Eleven wrestlers were able to advance to the semi-finals.  While this was the most of any individual district, there were some heartbreaking losses along the way.  Saucon Valley’s Rusty Chunko and Dan Lechner both ended up on the wrong side of split referee’s decisions.  Nazareth’s Steve Albanese had a 15-2 lead, but was tied 16-16 and then lost 6-5 in overtime to Vertus Jones of Greensburg Salem.

Six of eleven semi-finalists moved on to the finals.  Freedom’s Mike Zito led defending state champ, Mike DeAugestino, 3-0 but was pinned.

The Morning Call’s Paul Reinhard summed the 1975 Class A state wrestling championship up best by writing District XI wrestlers won “an unprecedented four championships” topping all previous results.  Thus, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”!   Easton’s Bob Weaver (98) dominated his semi-final match and then won a close 3-1 decision in the finals. Both Freedom’s Rich McIntyre (145) and Liberty’s Brian Statum (155) won very close bouts in the semi-finals bout then won their final bouts 8-3 and 8-2, respectively.

Bethlehem Catholic’s Mike Brown and Saucon Valley’s Gary Albright (185) met for the 4th time this year.  Brown won the first three meetings.  After defeating the defending state champion in the semi-finals, Albright was ready to turn the tables on Brown.  He had a strong 2nd period to open up a 6-0 lead as he upset Brown 10-5.  Northampton’s Rick Billy and Easton’s Greg Shoemaker both lost very close decisions in the finals and finished 2nd.  Easton finished 2nd in the mythical team standings.

Bobby Weaver
Bobby Weaver Won His 1st of 3 State Titles (Photo Courtesy of Easton H.S. Yearbook)
Brian Statum
Brian Statum Became Coach Frank Gutierrez’s 2nd State Champ (Photo Courtesy of Liberty H.S. Yearbook)
Greg Shoemaker
Greg Shoemaker Placed 2nd for Easton (Photo Courtesy of Easton H.S. Yearbook)
Rick Billy
Rick Billy Capped a Great Year as a State Runner-Up for Coach Tom Ortwein (Photo Courtesy of Northampton H.S. Yearbook)

1975A First  row,  left  to  right:   Bob  Weaver  (98)  Easton  (11);   Angelo  Marino  (105)  Canon-McMillan  (7);   Mike  DeAugustino  (112) North  Allegheny  (7);   Dan  Perri  (119)  Mount  Lebanon  (7);   Shawn  Griffith  (126)  Mount  Lebanon  (7)  and  Dennis Merriam  (132)  Hatboro-Horsham  (1). Standing,  left  to  right:   John  Eichenlaub  (138)  Lock  Haven  (6);   Rich   McIntyre  (145)  Bethlehem  Freedom  (11);   Brian  Statum
(155)  Bethlehem  Liberty  (11);   Dave  Landis  (167)  Central  Dauphin  East  (3);   Gary  Albright  (185)  Saucon  Valley  (11) and  Paul  Suhey  (Hwt)  State  College  (6).     (Photo Courtesy of Bob Hower)

Class B PIAA State Championships

The local wrestlers in Class B were not nearly as successful.  Only five of 21 qualifiers won their first rounds bouts and then three – Northwestern’s Chris Wentz (95), North Schuylkill’s Bob Harris (138) and Wilson’s Doug Cowley (155) – were able to win their quarterfinal bouts.

Wentz won a high-scoring 12-10 match in the semi-finals before losing his first bout of the year by an 8-7 count to Jan Clark of Northern Beford.  North Schuylkill’s Harris became his team’s first Class B state champ with a 9-4 decision and fall in the finals to win the state title at 138.

Bob Harris
Bob Harris Won the Spartans’ First Class B State Title (Photo Courtesy of N. Schuylkill HS Yearbook)
Chris Wentz
Chris Wentz Went to the State Finals in His Sophomore Year (Photo Courtesy of Northwestern HS Yearbook)


First  row,  left  to  right:   Jan  Clark  (98)  Northern  Bedford  (5);   Jeff  Shipton  (105)  Reynolds  (10);   Greg  Hall  (112)  Jeannette  (7);  Rob  Bogo  (119)  Avella  (7);   Doug  Rhoades  (126)  Athens  (4)  and  Keith  Smith  (132)  Dover  (3). Standing,  left  to  right:   Bob  Harris  (138)  North  Schuylkill  (11);   Doug  Krebs  (145)  Susquehannock  (3);   Rick  Snyder  (155)  Montoursville  (4);   Jay  Hockenbroch  (167)  East  Juniata  (3)  and  Steve  Riley  (Unl)  Greenville  (10). Missing:  Bill  Bertrand  (185)  Burgettstown. (Photo Courtesy of Bob Hower)

Phillipsburg Post-Season

After a less-than-stellar dual meet season by P-Burg’s high standards, the Stateliners looked to win the NJ District 12 championship.  Phillipsburg had three champions – Charlie Ganguzza (98), Jack Yost (132) and Mike Kennedy (155) as they tied Delaware Valley for the team championship.

Yost would go on to win a regional championship and finish 3rd in the state tournament.

Jack Yost
Jack Yost – Regional Champ (Photo Courtesy of Phillipsburg HS Yearbook)