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Off the Mat



Ray went out for wrestling for the first time in 10th grade at West View High School, now North Hills, in Pittsburgh. He competed at 88 pounds. The team was 7-6 that season. From the North Hills Press, "Ray Nunamaker, a sophomore, more or less grew into wrestling, as his brother Jay was on the team last year and is now one of the best on the freshman team at Pitt"

Another article from the North Hills Press, "This year's team centered around 4 key men - Hugh Cunningham, Frank La Valle, Jim Duncan, and Ray Nunamaker. Cunningham and Duncan were returning lettermen, while Nunamaker was a newcomer."

The team posted their best record since 1953.


The team finished 5-7-1 and Ray competed at 95 pounds.


The team finished 4-8 and Ray competed at 103 in his senior year. He had the second best record on the team at 7-4-1 and advanced to the District 7 finals. He finished as the District Runner-up. Ray was 17 when he graduated high school.

Ray went to Penn State University as an Engineering Major. He did not go out for the team in order to concentrate on school, but he did enter an intramural tournament. After the tournament Coach Charlie "Doc" Speidel asked him to come out for the team.


Ray is a member of the Penn State University wrestling program and competing for a spot at 123 pounds. Amateur Wrestling News has PSU rated as the top team in the country.

The team finished 9-0-1 and finished 7th in the NCAA tournament.


Ray participated in the District II Olympic Wrestling Tryouts held at PSU's Rec Hall on April 22 and 23. That season he again competed at 123. The team finished 6-4, but with two starters out against Michigan dropped a close 17-8 score, Lehigh defeated them 24-8, Navy did 17-11 and Syracuse had a 16-15 win.


It was a rough season for Ray as he broke his hand and then contracted mononucleosis to combine to miss the season in a year when the EIWA tournament was held at Penn State.


Ray was student teaching and while he was on the team he was working out at Franklin & Marshall while teaching in Lancaster. He entered the Metropolitan NY AAU tournament along with a teammate and both won to end their PSU careers.


Ray graduated from Penn State and continued his eastward journey from Pittsburgh to State College to Nazareth. Years later he wrote about the impact of Coach Speidel and PSU on his career. Read it here.


Ray marries Scherrie Mucha of Nazareth on Saturday, June 14th at the Holy Family Church in Nazareth, PA


Ray and Scherrie move into their first home and son Ross is born in May.


A second son, Ryan is born in June.


While "helping" the team after a match a rolled up section of wrestling mat is dropped on Ross breaking his left tibia and fibula. Ross was at the end of the mat and the guys didn't know he was there. They were carrying it from the gym back to the room and they dropped it intentionally as they didn't have it held right. Everyone got the memo except Ross. 


The Nunamakers move from Moore Township (in the Northampton School District) to Lower Nazareth Township (in the Nazareth Area School District), so Ross and Ryan can wrestle for their father.


On the day of sign-ups for wrestling in Ross' 9th grade year, the first he could wrestle for his father, he again breaks his left leg, this time in gym class playing flag football. He missed most of the season, but did get on the mat in February.


Ray's parents Jay and Helen celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary.


Ross graduates from high school and is accepted to attend the University of Arizona for college. In high school Ross letters two years in wrestling and plays tennis for a year. In his two seasons wrestling he places 3rd and 2nd at Districts and 4th at Regionals and in round of 5th & 6th his junior year. According to Scott Barr's Wrestling Country, All in all, 1989 provided one of th emost exciting final rounds ever wrestled." And, "Ross Nunamaker lost one of the most exciting bouts ever wrestled in the finals, 14-12 to Tony Rizzolino of Easton, and was one of seven Eagles to place second or third." You can watch it here. Ross moved up to 152 after wrestling the season at 145 when workout partner Mike Miller wanted to drop for the post-season. The two switched weights and Mike went on to become Ray's first and only two-time state champion.


Ryan graduates from high school and receives a full scholarship to wrestle at North Carolina State. In high school Ryan letters 11 times with four in tennis and wrestling and three in cross country. He opted not to go out for cross country his senior year. Ryan placed 5th, 2nd, and 1st at state in wrestling with his runner-up finish an overtime loss to eventual 4x state champion Bob Crawford. In wrestling, Nazareth won the District XI Tournament Championship all four years of Ryan's career, the first time that had happened since Easton from 1983-86. At NC State, Ryan regularly faced North Carolina's TJ Jaworski, a 3x NCAA Champion and Outstanding Wrestler.


Ross marries Jill Seip of Nazareth.


Ray and Scherrie become grandparents when Alexa Leigh Nunamaker is born in September roughly four months after Ray announced he was retiring from coaching.


Ray retires from teaching after 39 years and he and Scherrie become grandparents for the second time when Olivia Payton is born in March.


A Nunamaker reunion is held in Pittsburgh to celebrate Ray's fathers 90th birthday.


Ray and Scherrie celebrate their 45 year anniversary.

Ray, Scherrie, Ross, Jill, Alexa, and Olivia vacation at Watkins Glen along Seneca Lake to enjoy wine (those of age of course) and sports car racing as Nazareth's own Corey Lewis was competing at the famed track with Rebel Rock Racing.