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The All 1980's Morning Call Team

Wrestling's Team Of '80s Difficult To Put Together Four Area Coaches Lend A Hand In The Selection Process
January 28, 1990|by TED MEIXELL, The Morning Call

So, you think you've seen all the "Decade of the '80s" stories you can take.

Well, bear with a procrastinator for a minute. Given the fact that athletes from the 43 high schools in The Morning Call's circulation area have been a dominant force on the scholastic wrestling scene, the compiling of an All-Decade of the 1980s Wrestling Team seemed like a natural.

The whole thing start with the establishment of criteria:

- Given the fact that The Call reaches readers far and wide, it might be necessary to pick two all-decade teams.

One would be All-District 11, including schools in the outer reaches of the district but not within the paper's circulation area -- most notably powerful North Schuylkill, which produced numerous state champions in the '80s, most of them named Cesari (Joe Jr., Steve and Mark, who accounted for six crowns between them).

At the same time, it would NOT include either Phillipsburg or P'burg Catholic (New Jersey), Quakertown, North Penn, Souderton, Upper Perkiomen or Pennridge (District 1) or Brandywine, Fleetwood or Kutztown (District 3). Instead, they would be included on an All-Morning Call Area team.

- The team would be selected based upon the 10 seasons ending in the 1980s -- 1979-80 to 1988-89. The current season, then, would not count. This is not to say that current wrestlers would be excluded, but they would have had to compile their credentials by last season.

- It took only a quick glance to notice that the area was top heavy with superstar "little guys," but, at the same time, a bit thin in some of the upper weights. So, 14 weight classes were selected by adding the now-defunct 98-pound class to the 13 now in use.

- Groping for a starting point, it was first decided that a state championship would be considered the basic criterion for consideration. In other words, a wrestler would have had to win at least one state crown to be eligible.

After pouring through state tournament books and by juggling weight classes generously, All-District 11 and All-Morning Call Area teams -- two deep at each weight -- were picked.

The problem was, the results were not satisfactory.

One flaw became very evident. Limiting the teams to state champs automatically eliminated wrestlers who, despite the lack of that one credential, were patently better than some of those who were selected -- the two most obvious being Bethlehem Catholic's two-time NCAA champ Pat Santoro and Freedom's Scott Turner, who was not only an NCAA champ in 1988 but unscored upon in the tournament and its Outstanding Wrestler.

So, the state-champ requirement was scrapped. Almost as quickly, it became apparent that some professional help might lend more credibility to the whole thing. And who better to turn to than four of the area's premiere mat coaches -- Easton's Steve Powell, Nazareth's Ray Nunamaker, Northampton's Don Rohn and Parkland's John Toggas.


For whatever reason -- perhaps out of true sympathy with the task -- all four were eager to take part. So, on one of those rare evenings on which none of them had a meet, we sat down over refreshments to tackle the task at hand.

Immediately, one of the coaches -- he'll remain nameless, except to point out that his team's orange and black uniforms are the ugliest in captivity -- suggested that we abandon the idea of picking two separate teams, quite correctly pointing out that it made the task overly complicated.

We quickly agreed to go with only the All-Morning Call Area team and simply offer apologies to the folks far to the northwest, where people have to get their Morning Call at a newsstand rather than at their door.

We further agreed that, to resolve differences of opinion, the four coaches would vote --and my vote would come into play only as a tiebreaker -- after choices were narrowed down to two.

Amazingly, a tiebreaker was needed only once in 28 total selections. Even more amazingly, there was only a handful of arguments of any kind -- and most of those merely concerned placements by weight.

Readers will note that two Coaches-of-the-Decade were also chosen. The panelists had nothing to do with their selection; I picked them. By their identities, you should understand why.


- 98 Pounds -- Brad Silimperi, Nazareth (3A state champion).

- 103 -- Jack Cuvo, Easton (three-time 3A state champion).

- 112 -- John Likins, Bethlehem Catholic (3A state champion).

- 119 -- Matt Gerhard, Catasauqua (four-time 2A state champion).

- 125 -- Randy Ascani, Easton (3A state champion).

- 130 -- Bill Hershey, Saucon Valley (3A state champion).

- 135 -- Lee Todora, Salisbury (2A state champion).

- 140 -- Scott Hovan, Allen (two-time 3A state champion).

- 145 -- Scott Schleicher, Allen (3A state champion).

- 152 -- Sean Finkbeiner, Saucon Valley/Northampton (3A state champion).

- 160 -- Tom Marchetti, Easton (3A state runnerup).

- 171 -- Chris Kwortnik, North Penn (three-time 3A state champion).

- 189 -- Bernie Brown, Bethlehem Catholic (two-time 3A state champion).

- Heavyweight -- Greg Troxell, Phillipsburg (New Jersey state champion).

- Coach -- Ray Nunamaker, Nazareth.


- 98 -- John Cuvo, Easton (3A state champion).

- 103 -- Dave Boncher, Phillipsburg (two-time New Jersey state champion).

- 112 -- Dave Foley, Bethlehem Catholic/Freedom (two-time 3A state champion).

- 119 -- John Barna, Phillipsburg (three-time New Jersey state champion).

- 125 -- Larry Rehrig, Northern Lehigh (2A state champion).

- 130 -- Pat Santoro, Bethlehem Catholic (3A state runnerup).

- 135 -- John Rittenhouse, Quakertown (3A state champion).

- 140 -- Scott Turner, Freedom (four-time 3A state qualifier, three-time placewinner).

- 145 -- Mike Miller, Nazareth (3A state champion).

- 152 -- Duane Peoples, Bethlehem Catholic (four-time 3A state qualifier).

- 160 -- Jim Karch, Nazareth (3A state runnerup).

- 171 -- Darrin Evans, Northern Lehigh (2A state runnerup).

- 189 -- Andy Voit, Dieruff (3A state champion).

- Heavyweight -- Dennis Atiyeh, Dieruff (3A state champion).

- Coach -- Don Rohn, Northampton.


Listed alphabetically

Allen -- Jeff Roth; Jason Wagner.

Bangor -- Doug Comunale.

Bethlehem Catholic -- Blayne Diacont; Tony Iasiello, Jr.; Vince Stravino.

Brandywine -- Dante Desiderio; Bruce Herman.

Catasauqua -- Chris Gerhard; Jeff Miller.

Central Catholic -- John Connelly; Rich Evans.

Dieruff -- Buddy Maxwell.

Easton -- Andy Causa; Dave DiSora; Chip Easterday; Dan Goffredo; Moss Grays; Jody Karam; Tony Morello; Tony Rizzolino; Pete Stoelzl.

East Stroudsburg -- Ray Markulics.

Emmaus -- Glenn Kepic.

Freedom -- Barry Bartek; Craig Katynski; Rod Kessler; Jeff Reaser; Keith Venanzi.

Kutztown -- Rob Rarick.

Lehighton -- Dennis Semmel; Glenn Whiteman.

Liberty -- Jim Bresnak; Gino Capuano; Lance Morabito; Pat Tocci; Dan McIntyre; Mickey Torres.

Nazareth -- Jim Albanese; Ken Herceg; Mike Herceg; John Renner.

Northampton -- Mike Bartholomew; Brad Billy; Joe Billy; Matt Billy; Mike Recker; Kevin Smith; Don Suranofsky.

Northern Lehigh -- Don Evans; Jim Milot; Greg Parsons.

North Penn -- Dan Finacchio; Matt Finacchio; Kevin Gottshall; Jeff Kwortnik; Jim Kwortnik.

Northwestern -- Scott Derr; Tim Kelchner; Butch Padamonsky; Chris Shalbert; Greg Stewart; Kurt Wentz.

Notre Dame -- Mark Correll; Dave Spirk.

Palisades -- Rob Miller; Tom Socker.

Palmerton -- Ryan Heimbach; Dave Lucykanish; Frank Zelinsky.

Parkland -- Jim Best; Doug Billig.

Pen Argyl -- Rick Sterner.

Phillipsburg -- Mike Barna; Jim Crouse; Kevin Dilts; Jason Hawk; Kevin Kane; Mike Kocsis.

Pleasant Valley -- Mike Froehlich.

Pocono Mountain -- Barry Yocum.

Quakertown -- Bart DeRemer; John Hangey; Tom Hontz; Bill Murray; Jamy Ritter.

Salisbury -- Tony Buttillo; John Fidelibus.

Saucon Valley -- Tom Koch; Jim Severn.

Souderton -- Chad Clemens; Mike Salone; Marc Scotti.

Stroudsburg -- John Fisher; Dave Zettlemoyer.

Tamaqua -- Garth Lakitsky.

Upper Perkiomen -- Jason Marks; Brad Rozanski.

Whitehall -- Mike Levanduski.

Wilson -- Jim Bodai; John Handlovic; Troy Handlovic.