24th Season 16-2 (277-77-6 career record)
Team Captains Jack Muschlitz and Ken Werkheiser
From the yearbook:
The 1986-87 Blue Eagle Wrestling team was the center of attention and a special attraction for many enthusiastic fans. This year sparkled with many gold trophies and prestigious titles. The '87 Eagles ran away with yet another Colonial League Dual Meet Championship, making this the seventh consecutive year.
As well as team merits, our wrestlers copped a tremendous amount of individual awards. The honors began at the prestigious Christmas City Tournament, where Mike Miller won the crown at 132 and Brad Silimperi along with Jack Muschlitz placed second. The Eagles placed second in the team standings.
At the close of the dual meet season, Nazareth compiled a 16-2 record, tied with best record in Mr. Nunamaker's career at Nazareth. During the season the Eagles clobbered the Easton Red Rovers 41-16, the first time in 22 years that the Eagles defeated them. In the most exciting matchof the season, the Eagles came from behind to edge Liberty by a score of 22-21.
In post season tournaments, the might Blue Eagles really shined. First there was the Colonial League tourney, where Silimperi, Kerfoot, Miller, Herceg, Joseph, and Renner placed first and Vasko, Muschlitz, and Werkheiser earned seconds.
Competition was sought after and found between 24 teams at the District XI AAA meet. It was a total team effort that paid off. The Eagles came back from a slump on the first day and wrestled back to overtake Northampton and capture the District XI AA title, for only the second time in Eagle history. Placing here was Silimperi and Werkheiser with seconds. Locher, Kerfoot, Herceg, and Muschlitz came away with thirds.
These six wrestlers went to the next level of regionals where Nazareth finished 2nd. Silimperi and Muschlitz were honored and crowned champions and Ken Werkheiser took third. All three went on to "The Final Countdown" PIAA States at Hershey where Silimperi became Nazareth's 6th state runner-up. Jack Muschlitz set a new record with 145 takedowns.
Mr. Ray Nunamaker received many awards this season. He was the well-deserved District XI Coach of the Year and Express Area Coach of the Year. He upped his career record to 277-77-6 and is on his way to becoming one of the few to win 300 career matches.
The 1986-87 Eagles were led to their many united victories by captains Jack Muschlitz and Ken Werkheiser. They commented, "We enjoyed the time we spent wresting at Nazareth and we wish the best of luck to the guys next year."
Dual Meet Results:
- Nazareth 58; Lehighton 9
- Nazareth 41; Easton 16
- Nazareth 48; Bangor 12
- Nazareth 18; Quakertown 32
- Nazareth 66; Southern Lehigh 3
- Nazareth 35; Freedom 15
- Nazareth 45; Palisades 11
- Nazareth 15; Northampton 32
- Nazareth 52; Pocono Mountain 12
- Nazareth 49; Catasauqua 6
- Nazareth 42; Northwestern 15
- Nazareth 55; Wilson 12
- Nazareth 45; Saucon Valley 9
- Nazareth 37; Parkland 19
- Nazareth 22; Liberty 21
- Nazareth 56; Pen Argyl 9
- Nazareth 49; Salisbury 11
- Nazareth 43; Wyoming Area 14
"I think we have more intensity and enthusiasm this year than I've seen in most other years. It seems the kids have a great attitude and are pointing themselves for bigger and better things." Coach Nunamaker
In addition to Rob Albert as the JV coach and assistant varsity coach, Chuck Madson and Joe Silimperi were volunteer assistant coaches for the high school and Darwin Brodt and Jody Werner lead the junior high team.
Express staff writer Gene Beckner:
When they finally got around to beating Easton, Nazareth's wrestlers made sure nobody could call it a fluke.
With the help of an important pin by freshman Mike Miller, the Blue Eagles won nine bouts while routing Easton 41-16 Saturday night in an independent meet at Nazareth.
The victory was Nazareth's first over the Red Rovers since the '63-64 and 64'-65 seasons, Ray Nunamaker's first two years as the school's head coach. There were three ties during the intervening years.
"You can't imagine how great this feels after all those years," said Nunamaker. "I'm on cloud nine. With our schedule we can't really afford to relax, but we're going to enjoy this one for a while."
Nazareth finishes 2nd in the Christmas City Tournament (16 teams) with Mike Miller winning a championship, Brad Silimperi and Jack Muschlitz were 2nd, Jim Kerfoot, Preston Moritz, and Ken Werkheiser were 3rd, Ken Herceg and Ron Yeakel were 4th and Joe Vasko was 6th.
Nazareth wins the Colonial League Championship (7th consecutive) and individual league tournament with Brad Silimperi, Jim Kerfoot, Mike Miller, Ken Herceg, Andy Joseph, and John Renner taking 1st, Joe Vasko, Jack Muschlitz, and Ken Werkheiser were 2nd, Todd Scalvini was 3rd, and Jay Locher and Preston Moritz were 4th.
Nazareth wins the District XI Championship for the first time since 1968, and does so without a single individual champion, making it a true team effort, Northampton finishes second, also, without an individual champion.
Ted Meixell, The Morning Call
Friday night, in the quarterfinals of the District 11 Class AAA Wrestling tournament, Nazareth performed pretty much like Custers' gang at the Little Big Horn.
Yesterday, through an astonishing series of consolation rounds, Ray Nunamaker's Blue Eagles acted more like Sherman's troops en route to Atlanta.
All but given up for dead after losing seven of nine quarterfinal bouts Friday, Nazareth straggled (literally) into Memorial Gym yesterday. And they won. And won. And won somemore.
Incredibly, even before the consolation finals for third place and a bert in regionals was over, Nunamaker's kids had overtaken favorite and first-day leader Northampton and CLINCHED their second District 11 team title. And SIX of them were eagerly anticipating the next (regional) challenge from Districts 2 and 4.
When the dust had finally cleared at a most interesting and intriguing tournament, neither the Blue Eagles nor the runner-up Konkrete Kids could boast an individual champion. But Nazareth held a 134.5-118 advantage over the K-Kids where it counted most - on scorekeeper Jim Kennedy's worksheet.
Not surprisingly, his peers later voted Nunamaker as the district's coach-of-the-year. "Never," said the stunned and deliriously-happy coach when asked if he'd ever experienced such a complete turnabout.
Scott Barr, Wrestling Country:
"This is the only tournament in which the team champion, Nazareth, produced no individual champions! And get this...team runner-up Northampton didn't either! The Blue Eagles obviously won this one on team balance. Two finalists helped, but it was in the earliest rounds that the team title was decided. Coach of the Year Ray Nunamaker and rival Don Rohn both draped medals on three third-place finishers and one fourth-placer. The final tally, however, favored Nazareth by 134.5 to 118."
Brad Silimperi drops a 2-1 decision to Pat Tocci of Liberty at 98 to finish his freshman season as District runner-up.
Ken Werkheiser is also a District XI runner-up falling to Freedom's Craig Katynski 7-0.
Jay Locher, Jim Kerfoot, Ken Herceg, and Jack Muschlitz finish 3rd and Mike Miller is 4th.
Ray Nunamaker is voted Coach of the Year.
Nazareth is runner-up in the Northeast Regional Championship with Brad Silimperi and Jack Muschlist finishing 1st and Ken Werkheiser placing 3rd.
Brad Silimperi is Coach Nunamaker's 5th PIAA State Runner-up at 98
Graduating in 1987 for the Blue Eagles with (40 or more career wins):
- Jim Kerfoot 58-28 with 32 pins
- Jack Muschlitz 57-27-2 with 25 pins
- Jay Locher 40-17-1 with 15 pins
- S. Beltz: 1-3
- R. Buss: 0-2
- M. Coopersmith: 0-3
- S. Engler: 0-3
- K. Herceg: 27-8
- M. Herceg: 1-0
- A. Joseph: 10-10
- J. Kerfoot: 25-9
- J. Locher: 23-9-1
- M. Miller: 23-7
- P. Moritz: 21-10
- J. Muschlitz: 31-6
- R. Nunamaker: 2-0
- J. Renner: 15-3
- T. Scalvini: 10-10
- J. Shimer: 8-4-1
- B. Silimperi: 31-4
- K. Werkheiser: 26-9
- B. Wright: 0-1
- R. Yeakel: 11-15
Jim Kerfoot graduates with the 13th most career wins (58), Jack Muschlitz is 14th (57), and Jay Locher is 28th (40).
Jim Kerfoot is tied for 9th (32) all time for falls and technical falls in a career. Brad Silimperi and Jack Muschlitz tie for 4th (31) for wins in a season and for 3rd in team points in a season (90). Ken Werkheiser is 6th (86) for team points per season. Jack Muschlitz sets the takedowns per season record (145), Brad Silimperi is 3rd (99), and Ken Herceg is 6th (80).
Ties for most wins in a season. Sets the team record most points scored in a season (773), most falls including technical falls (125), and most takedowns (735)
Ray Nunamaker's "Program Evaluation":
The Nazareth Wrestling Program is probably as strong as it has ever been, and the future looks promising. All three levels of the wrestling program; Senior High, Junior High, and Community Wrestling are successful. The programs are products of excellent coaching, extensive participation, teaching fundamentals, and operate under a sound "value system."
This year's squad was just an outstanding team, both in terms of accomplishments on the mat and type of individual. It's no small wonder that the two often go together.
Nazareth was runnerup in the prestigious 16 team Bethlehem Catholic Christmas City Tournament. The Blue Eagles had eight place winners out of the 12 weight classes. Nazareth also won the Colonial League Dual Meet Championship for the seventh year in a row. The last time the Blue Eagles lost a Colonial League Dual Meet was January 10, 1980. Nazareth won the Colonial League Tournament for the fifth consecutive year.
Nazareth finished the dual meet season at 16-2, tied for the most dual meet wins in the school's history. The Blue Eagles beat East Penn Powers; Easton, Liberty, Freedom, and Parkland. Although Nazareth and Easton had tied in two of the last three years, it was the first time Nazareth had beated Easton since the 1964-65 season.
The highlight of the year had to be winning the District XI AAA Tournament for the second time ever. The turnabout after a disastrous quarter-final round to clinch the title before the finals even began was truly amazing. It was truly a team effort as seven wrestlers placed and six advanced to the Regional Tournament.
The Blue Eagles were runnerup to Shikellamy in the Northeast Regional Tournament. Brad Silimperi and Jack Muschlitz won Regional Championships and advanced to the States along with third place finisher Ken Werkheiser.
Brad Silimperi had an outstanding tournament and advanced to the finals, losing to another freshman, Ty Moore of North Allegheny.
The Junior Varsity Team coached by Rob Albert had a 13-1 record, and was undefeated in the league.
The Nazareth Junior High Wrestling Team finished 15-0 and extended their consecutive win streak to 37 straight matches.