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1995 - 96 Season

33rd Season 20-3 (447-93-7 career record)

Team Captains Eric Kelly, Matt Kleinle, and Shawn McEntire

Season Outlook from the Program:

The Nazareth Blue Eagles look forward to another outstanding season. It is getting increasingly difficult to top the preceding season and this year is no exception. Last year, the Blue Eagles finished the season 17-3 against the best competition in the Nation. Nazareth finished fourth in the USA Wrestling poll and fifth in USA Today's Super 25. The Blue Eagles were second in the PIAA State Tournament to Northampton; although they beat Northampton 28-23 in the dual meet and also in the District XI tournament.

For the first time ever, Nazareth placed six wrestlers in the State Tournament. Travis Doto was the 145lb. State Champion and Brian Tashner the 125lb. State Runner-up. Rob Rohn placed fourth, Dave Cote fifth, and Andy Cote and Justin Hoff sixth.

The challenge is set for the 1995-96 Nazareth wrestling team. The schedule this year is perhaps the toughest of them all. Early in December, the Blue Eagles compete in the Elite Duals at Bethlehem. They will compete against Walsh Jesuit High School, the number one 1995 high school team in the Nation. They stamped themselves as the greatest team in Ohio wrestling history by scoring a state tournament record 203 points, but came up one shy of tying the state record for individual titles by winning five.

That same day, the Blue Eagles will face the number one prep school team in the Nation, Blair Academy from Blairstown, NJ. Blair has always been a prep power, but usually because of its postgraduates; recently, their strength has passed on to its undergraduates. As if that's not enough for one day's action, the Blue Eagles will also entertain Brookville, PA, a AA power. This is a team that has been building for years and wants to test it's "Dream Team" against the Lehigh Valley powers.

The following week, Nazareth will take to the road for the Ironman Tournament to once more face Walsh Jesuit. In addition to Walsh, other traditional powers entered include Bakersfield, CA; Blair Academy, NJ; St. Edwards, OH; and Northampton, PA.

Just before Christmas, Nazareth will meet traditional rival Easton in a battle of Pennsylvania and national powers. In February, in another big rivalry, Nazareth will host interstate foe Phillipsburg, NJ, under new head coach, Mike Rossetti.

The Blue Eagles return once more to Virginia to compete in the prestigious Virginia Duals. This year it will be a sixteen team tournament with an overall winner, and will be the strongest field ever. It will include Bakersfield, CA; St. Marks, DE; Phillipsburg, NJ; Highland, NJ (24-0 last year and ranked number one in NJ); Great Bridge, VA; Grundy, VA; and many more state championship teams.

The competition in our own Mountain Valey Conference will be very competitive. Northampton always fields a strong team, and this year will be no exception. Stroudsburg has many returning lettermen and will be very strong, and Pocono Mountain will haveseveral outstanding individuals returning.

Liberty High School, under Jody Karam, is rapidly improving and will be a challenge to anybody this year.

Now, what does Nazareth have to face this fierce competition...Coach Nunamaker feels he has the kids to make a run at anybody. Despite losing four State place winners, the cuboard is not bare.

For openers, Rob Rohn (34-9), fourth in the State Tournament, and Andy Cote (31-12), sixth in the States returns and they are just Juniors. Two other Juniors with outstanding reords return: Marc Aber (22-13), fourth in the Districts, and Chris Vitale (30-5), fifth in Districts.

The Seniors are led by Eric Kelly (1-1), who has waited patiently  for his chance to excel; Matt Kleinle (18-9), District runner-up; Shawn McEntire (17-12), sixth in the Districts; and Ben Rizzotto and Tony Vitale, who have vastly improved and plan to make some noise in the line-up.

The Juniors are a very strong class. In addition to Marc Aber, Andy Cote, Rob Rohn and Chris Vitale, you will hear plenty from Jason Bucchi (2-2), Bryan Duelley (0-2), Jarret Hoff (16-9) and Chuck Kimble (0-1). Also, Darren Danner and Jamie Rice are very talented and could break into the line-up, as well as transfer Dave Graham from Notre Dame High School. Three Sophomores saw Varsity action as Freshman and will be the leaders of the future: Andy Faust (3-7), Steve Rohn (19-14), and Pete Topping (2-2). Up from the 7-8-9- grade team, we have Nate Deutsch, Jim Irwin, JP Kleinle, Mason Messinger, Mike Miller and Mike Mularick. Dereck Steiner, a recent transfer from Florida will compete at the upper weights.

One ninth grader who will make an impact will be 6'2", 234 lb. Steve Itterly. Steve has the talent and desire to be an outstanding heavyweight in the future.

Coach Nunamaker feels that this year's team has really improved their strength, has a great attitude, and a desire to be the BEST. He is confident that this year's team will provide plenty of excitement for their fans! Bring on the Season!

Dual Meet Results:

  • Nazareth 41; Pen Argyl 22
  • Nazareth 49; Wilson 6 (District XI AA Duals Champion)
  • Nazareth 7; Blair Academy, NJ 37 (Top 25 in the nation, #1)
  • Nazareth 26; Walsh Jesuit, OH 28 (Top 25 in the nation, #2)
  • Nazareth 29; Brookville 17
  • Nazareth 23; Easton 30 (Top 25 in the nation, #3)
  • Nazareth 64; Freedom 0
  • Nazareth 41; Liberty 8
  • Nazareth 73; Hayfield, VA 6
  • Nazareth 35; Grundy, VA 15 (Top 25 in the nation, #13)
  • Nazareth 47; St. Mark's, DE 14
  • Nazareth 58; Woodford County, KY 6
  • Nazareth 47; Stroudsburg 4
  • Nazareth 64; Lehighton 0
  • Nazareth 34; Northampton 15
  • Nazareth 54; Pleasant Valley 6
  • Nazareth 42; Parkland 6
  • Nazareth 49; Pocono Mountain 6
  • Nazareth 28; Phillipsburg, NJ 16 (Top 25 in the nation, #16)
  • Nazareth 73; East Stroudsburg 0
  • Nazareth 50; Bethlehem Catholic 6
  • Nazareth 36; Northampton 6 (District Duals semi-final)
  • Nazareth 26; Easton 25 (District Duals final)

Valley Youth House Elite Duals

Walsh Jesuit High School (OH) came into the event as the two time defending top ranked team in the country (1994 & 1995). They were also #4 in 1993 and 16th in 1992. They returned 8 starters from the prior season. Six out of nine dual meets in 1994 were against top 25 teams.

Blair Academy (NJ) had won the national prep championship 15 out of 16 years and was coming off a 21-0 dual meet season. They returned 9 starters and had four blue-chip transfers.

Brookville HS (PA) returned 9 starters from a 14-3 team. The District 9 AA school finished 2nd to Ridgeway the prior year and is in pursuit of its first District title.

Shikellamy HS (PA) returned 11 starters from a 10-5 squad. The Braves won state championships in 1984, 85, and 91. They were also five time Northeast Regional champions and 13x District IV champions.

Ironman Invitational (12 teams plus selected individuals), Walsh Jesuit, OH.

Nazareth finishes 3rd behind Blair Academy and Walsh Jesuit the number 1 and 2 teams in the country (207-183-168). Easton is 4th, St. Edwards, OH is 5th and Northampton is 6th. Chris Vitale, Andy Cote, Rob Rohn and Jarret Hoff all finish 2nd, Eric Kelly, Shawn McEntire and Matt Kleinle are 3rd, Steve Rohn and Tony Vitale are 4th and JP Kleinle is 5th. Steve Rohn wins the pinner award with 4 falls in 18 minutes and 50 seconds.

From Tim Shoemaker of the Express-Times on the Ironman Invitational (excerpts):

Blair Academy removed much of the suspense Saturday morning.

The Buccaneers, No. 1 in the Express-Times region and soon to be No. 1 in the country, opened up a commanding lead after the semifinals and cruised to the Ironman Invitational championship.

That doesn't mean, however, that ticket sales were down for the finals of the second year event at Walsh Jesuit High School.

It was just the opposite.

Blair, with four individual champions, led the team scoring with 207 points, followed by host Walsh (183), Nazareth (168) and Easton 166.5), which had three individual winners.

Northampton, despite having only one finalist and champion in Rick Umstead, did a solid job by finishing sixth with an even 100 points.

Nazareth 23, Easton 30

Nazareth loses the dual meet to Easton, then ranked #3 in the country, but rallies for a 26-25 win in the District Duals.

  • In the dual meet Eric Kelly wins over Willie Saylor 9-7. Saylor would flip the result in the duals picking up an overtime win.
  • Chris Kelly defeats Chuck Kimble 8-0 in the dual and pins Ben Rizxotto in the Duals.
  • Tom Ferraro pins Chris Vitale in the dual, but Vitale wins the Duals 6-3.
  • Bryan Snyder defeats Steve Rohn 18-8 and 11-5 in the duals.
  • Gary Rute edges Andy Cote 3-2 in the dual and Rute defeats Pete Topping 16-3 in the Duals.
  • Jamarr Billman pins Andy Faust in the dual and defeats Andy Cote 5-3 in the Duals.
  • Rich Morris defeats Tony Vitale 1-0 in the dual, but Vitale defeats Morris 2-1 in the Duals.
  • Jason Bucchi defeats Angel Ramos 5-4 in the dual and Nick Morris 3-2 in the Duals.
  • Eric Greshko defeats Marc Aber 13-4 in the dual and pins him in the Duals.
  • Shawn McEntire defeats Mike Rosado 12-6 in the dual and 3-2 in the Duals.
  • Rob Rohn tech falls Joe Burgey 21-6 in the dual and pins him in the Duals.
  • Jarrett Hoff decions Kyle Geiger 6-4 in overtime in the dual and 11-3 in the Duals.
  • Matt Kleinle pins Brian Gaumer in the dual and wins 13-4 in the Duals.

During the season Easton posts wins over Canon-McMillan (36-23) Shikellamy (43-14), Phillipsburg (40-21), Liberty (42-12), Northampton 37-12), and Parkland (30-15 and 42-13). They lose on criteria to Walsh Jesuit (OH) 29-29. They win the Reno Tournament 188 over Walsh Jesuit 181. Choctaw, OK is 3rd (176.5), Blair Academy (163), Calvary Chapel, CA (136), Wasatch, UT (132) and St. Edwards, OH (127).

The Virginia Duals.

Nazareth wins the National High School Award at the Virginia Duals. The National High School Teams include: Bakersville, Cox, Grundy, Great Bridge, Hayfield, Herndon, Highland Regional, Lake Taylor, Nazareth, Overton (TN), Poquoson, St. Marks (DE), Tallwood, Tri-Valley (PA), Western Branch, and Woodford (KY).

From Tim Shoemaker of the Express-Times:

Nazareth's four match stampede through the high school division of the 16th annual Virginia Duals at Hampton Coliseum over the weekend was easy.

Well, at least it looked easy.

"It may have seemed very easy," said Nazareth coach Ray Nunamaker, whose Blue Eagles are the No. 4 ranked team in the nation, "but not on the bench, it wasn't."

Nazareth (9-3) followed up its 47-14 victory over Delaware state power St. Mark's with a 35-15 win over Grundy, the best team in Virginia, by a 35-15 score in the Saturday night championship round.

It was the Eagles' third successful trip to the Virginia Duals, where they have won eight straight against the best the duals have to offer.

"They're a pretty tough bunch," said Grundy coach Kevin Dresser, whose team is ranked No. 10 (in the nation) and beat New Jersey's No. 1, Highland, in the semifinals.

Source unknown:

Easton and Nazareth went into the past weekend ranked No. 3 and 4, respectively, among the nation's scholastic wrestling teams.

Following long journeys in opposite directions and by different means of conveyance, there's an outside chance they'll rank 1-2 when the next issue of Prep Wrestling Coast to Coast arrives in subscribers' mailboxes.

The Red Rovers and Blue Eagles traveled to and came home from Reno, Nev. and Hampton, VA the proud possessors of two of the most impressive trophies since Northampton's mythical national title in 1992-93 first introduced the Lehigh Valley's mat powers to national prominence.

Easton placed eight of its 14 wrestlers in the top six, including 130 pound champion Jamarr Billman and runners-up Chris Kelly, Bryan Snyder, and Eric Greshko, to outdistance Ohio nemesis Walsh Jesuit 188-181 for the team title at the prestigious 32 team Tournament of Champions in Reno.

Back on the East Coast, Nazareth did its part by romping through four dual meet opponents - two of them nationally ranked - to capture the title in the 16 team National Championship bracket at the 16th annual Virginia Duals.

By what rationale might Easton and Nazareth ascend to the top of the national rankings? Simple: Not only was Walsh Jesuit (2nd) ranked just ahead of Easton in the most recent issue of PWCTC, but the erstwhile No. 1 team, Blair Academy, finished fourth in Reno, 24.5 points behind the Red Rovers. Choctaw, OK. wound up third.
 

Nazareth vs. Parkland, from Bill Hronis of the Express-Times (excerpts):

Parkland won a school record 16 consecutive dual meets without a defeat this season.

That was before Saturday night's encounter against Nazareth, the No. 3 team in the Express-Times region.

The Blue Eagles ended the Trojans' undefeated streak with a 42-6 non-league victory before a large crowd at the Nazareth High School gym.

Parkland head coach John Toggas expected a tough battle, since his club, ranked No. 6 in the E-T region, hasn't faced many ranked opponents.

"You've got to be realistic," Toggas said. "We didn't wrestle any competition close to what these guys (Nazareth) are. We wrestled close to that in the Hurricane Tournament, but that's on an individual basis. That's not on a team basis."

While the result was never in doubt, the fans were treated to a night of exciting bouts, including three overtime thrillers and two nail-biters.

Parkland (16-1) had many opportunities to come away with victories in those bouts, but the Trojans ended up on the short end each time.


"That's what you have to do," Nazareth head coach Ray Nunamaker said. "Sometimes it's not luck when that happens. Sometimes it's hard work and preparation. And sometimes, that's what you have to be able to do to win the big matches."

"The mark of a good team is winning the close bouts, and they (Nazareth) did" Toggas said. "They know when to score and they score when they have to. That's the mark of a well-coached team, and that's exactlly what you saw tonight."

In the Parkland match, Eric Kelley defeated Troy Minarovic, Chris Vitale defeated Jeremy Huddle, and Shawn McEntire defeated Jon Trenge.

Nazareth 34, Northampton 15

Northampton defeats Liberty 23-22 and Parkland 35-16, but falls to Blair (55-9), Walsh Jesuit (31-15), Shikellamy 30-21), Easton (37-12) and Phillipsburg (32-28). 

Nazareth would win the Duals re-match 36-6.

Nazareth 28, Phillipsburg 16

Phillipsburg wins its NJ Champinship with a 42-15 win over Brick Memorial. They also post wins over Shikellamy 39-19, Canon-McMillan 36-29, and Northampton 32-28.

Nazareth wins the Mountain Valley Conference (16th consecutive league title).

Nazareth wins the District XI Dual Meet Tournament with its 26-25 victory over Easton, then ranked number one in the country.

From Ted Meixell of the Morning Call (excerpts):

Staring a second straight 1-0 defeat to Rich Morris in the face, Nazareth's Tony Vitale managed a crucial reversal with 10 seconds left for a 2-1 victory.

The win, together with one by his brother Chris, and another by Jason Bucchi, turned out to be the turning point in the Blue Eagles' dramatic, come from behind 26-25 upset of Easton for the 1996 District XI AAA Team Wrestling Championship.

In addition to providing atonement - not only for a 30-23 regular season loss, but for a criteria loss to Easton in the 1992 District Duals finals - Nazareth's win put a serious crimp in the Red Rovers' hopes for a mythical national title.

The Rovers came into the Duals rated No. 1 by Prep Wrestling Coast to Coast and USA Today, the Blue Eagles fourth.

From Prep Wrestling Coast to Coast:

The District 11 Duals, held annually at Bethlehem, PA Liberty's monstrous gym, has been the site of some great wrestling thrills over the years - and some controversies.

Throw in the added factor of a national championship on the line and you have some high-level wrestling indeed.

Easton, which held Prep Wrestling Coast to Coast magazine's No. 1 national ranking for four weeks, built a 19-3 lead, then a 25-9 advantage over No. 4 Nazareth in the finals of the Class AAA District Duals Saturday night before another packed house of 4,000.

But Nazareth, which had lost 30-23 to Easton Dec. 22, came storming back, winning the final four matches and six of the last seven for a 26-25 victory and District Dual title.

District XI Individual Tournament

Nazareth is runner-up in the 50th District XI Individual Tournament. Coach Nunamaker coaches the most wrestlers (46) to a District XI title with Matt Kleinle's win at heavyweight surpassing Bethlehem coach Jim Harkins.

Nazareth is 2nd to Easton (238.5-212) and Parkland and Northampton tie for 3rd (117.5). Jason Bucchi, Rob Rohn, Jarret Hoff, and Matt Kleinle win district titles. Eric Kelly and Andy Cote are 2nd, Chris Vitale and Steve Rohn are 3rd, Shawn McEntire is 4th and Tony Vitale and Marc Aber finish in 5th place.

Northeast Regional Championships

Nazareth is runner-up in the Northeast Regional Championship, again to Easton (119-107) and Northampton is 3rd (85.5). Chris Vitale and Rob Rohn win titles and Eric Kelly, Andy Cote, and Jarret Hoff finish as runner-ups. Shawn McEntire is 3rd and Matt Kleinle is 4th.

PIAA State Championships

Nazareth is the AAA PIAA State Runner-Up to Easton (80.5-72) Andy Cote and Rob Rohn are state runner-ups, Jarret Hoff is 4th and Eric Kelly and Chris Vitale finish in 5th place.

Cote loses to Easton's Jamarr Billman in the District, Regional and State finals. Rohn loses to Hempfield's Vince DeAugustine. At HWT, Coy Wire of Cedar Cliff loses in overtime, he will return to the finals to face Rohn the following season.

Eric Kelly loses to eventual 2x state champion Mike Khan in the quarterfinals, then rallies for two wins before dropping a 3-2 decision to Easton's Willie Saylor who finishes 3rd that year.

Jarret Hoff lost in the quarterfinals to Steve Bucciero of Franklin Regional (then 32-0). Bucciero lost in the finals to Curt Reid of Shikellamy who defeated Hoff for the Regional Championship (13-7).

Post Season Honors

Coach Nunamaker is named the "Region 2" and "Pennsylvania Coach of the Year" by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. It is the first time that the award is made and was presented at the NCAA banquet in March following the Division I Nationals.

Voted #1 AAA Dual Meet Team in PA by PA Wrestling Roundup.

Ranked fourth in the nation by USA Today.

Eric Kelly competed and won in the AAA vs. AA "Challenge of the Champions" and the PA vs. NJ all-star meets. He lost 9-4 to Shaun Smith of Massillon Perry, OH in the PA vs. USA "Dapper Dan Classic" in Pittsburgh.

Graduating in 1996 for the Blue Eagles (with 40 or more career wins):

  • Matt Kleinle 58-29 with 20 pins
  • Shawn McEntire 53-26 with 5 pins

 

Individual Results:

  • M. Aber 14-13
  • J. Bucchi 21-12
  • A. Cote 30-7
  • N. Deutsch 0-2
  • B. Duelley 3-6
  • A. Faust 3-5
  • J. Hoff 31-8
  • S. Itterly 1-2
  • E. Kelly 34-6
  • C. Kimble 14-8
  • JP Kleinle 4-4
  • M. Kleinle 30-4
  • S. McEntire 29-9
  • M. Messinger 5-2
  • J. Rice 2-5
  • B. Rizzotto 7-12
  • R. Rohn 32-3
  • S. Rohn 21-11
  • P. Topping 3-4
  • C. Vitale 32-8
  • T. Vitale 25-9

Matt Kleinle graduates tied for 32nd in all time wins (58) and Shawn McEntire tied for 42nd (53).

 

Eric Kelly ties for 15th all time in wins per season (34), Rob Rohn and Chris Vitale tied for 26th (32), Jarret Hoff for 31st (31) and Andy Cote and Matt Kleinle 40th (30).

 

Eric Kelly ties for 3rd most takedowns in a season (145) and Rob Rohn is 5th (142). Andy Cote is 18th (93).

 

Matt Kleinle ties for 11th all time in team points per season (101), Rob Rohn ties for 14th (99), and Eric Kelly ties for 23rd (90).

 

From the Yearbook:

 

Nationally Ranked Once Again.

 

Once again the Nazareth High School Wrestling team had a successful season. Ranked 4th in the nation Nazareth took on the likes of Blair Academy, Walsh Jesuit, and Easton - the top 3 in the country. The team was coached by Ray Nunamaker and assisted by Rex Lutz, Adam Colombo, and Jason Magditch. The senior Captains this year were Eric Kelly, Shawn McEntire, and Matt Kleinle.

 

Nazareth competed in many tough tournaments, including the Ironman (3rd), Virginia Duals (1st), District XI Duals (1st), District XI Tournament (2nd), Northeast Regional Tournament (2nd), and States (2nd). Nazareth was also the #1 Dual Meet Team in Pennsylvania. Congratulations also go out to the JV team for winning the JV District XI Tournament.

 

Nazareth qualified six wrestlers to the PIAA State Tournament - Eric Kelly, Chris Vitale, Andy Cote, Shawn McEntire, Rob Rohn, and Jarret Hoff. Juniors Andy Cote and Rob Rohn were runner-ups in this tourney. Kelly, Vitale, and Hoff also placed. The season was grueling, but as always Nazareth experienced victory as a team and individuals experience success in their personal goals. This year the team kept the long standing tradition of Nazareth Wrestling alive.

For the 2nd annual Nazareth Wrestling Alumni Night held in December 2015, team captains Matt Kleinle, Eric Kelly and Shawn McEntire were all in attendance. Most surprising was Kleinle, head wrestling coach at Stroudsburg who's match was moved to an earlier date allowing him to attend.