West Virginia High School Wrestling

27th Annual West Virginia State Wrestling Championship

Feb. 22-23, 1974 at Moundsville

The 27th State Wrestling turned into another nail-biter that wasn't decided until the last match was won. Pre-tournament favorites Huntington and Parkersburg South quickly fell from the pole position after the first two rounds. Huntington had qualified nine wrestlers for the two day affair with Parkersburg South close behind with eight grapplers. But when the smoke cleared on the first night, it was two-time defending champion John Marshall who took the early lead just ahead of Weir.

Heading into the finals, the two leading teams were neck and neck with John Marshall having a 2.5 point advantage and 4 finalists to Weir's 3 contenders. The tournament's outstanding wrestling, Chris Pryor, gave Weir the early lead by pinning his championship opponent in the third period of the 126 pound class and winning his second state title with a undefeated season. John Marshall was quick to reclaim their lead at the next weight when the Monarchs 132 pound entry, Ron Griffin, claimed his title with a pin in the second period.

John Marshall had a chance to extend their lead at the 155 pound finals but Ron Koontz lost a 2-1 lead in the third period when South's Steve Bosley escaped with 33 seconds left to send the match into overtime. Bosley then went on to claim his second state crown by building a 7-1 lead before the final overtime score of 8-4. Bosley also finished his high school career with his second consecutive undefeated season.

At the next weight class, John Marshall's Scott Lehasky gave the Monarchs a cushion by narrowing out a 4-2 championship win at 167 pounds. But the key match-up occurred at 185 pounds when John Marshall's Mike Cain meet up with Weir's Mike Kovalick. A win by Cain and the Monarchs would wrap up their third straight team championship but Kovalick would not be denied and put the Red Riders in position to pull out the Cinderella Story with his 7-2 victory over Cain.

This left Weir's undefeated heavyweight Eric Frankovitch a chance to pull off a double win by claiming not only an individual crown for himself, but also the team title for the Red Riders. He would have to go through Jefferson County's once beaten behemoth in 280 pounder Steve McDonough and was doing just that with a 3-2 lead in the third period and in control of the match. McDonough did not quit and caught Frankovitch riding to high and the Eastern Panhandle grappler was able to roll his Northern Panhandle foe and garner the pin and spoiled the coronation of a new team champion.

The 1974 tournament doubled the number of participants from the previous year by allowing Regional Runner-ups to qualify for the first time ever. This allowed for 192 wrestlers to showcase their stuff, representing 52 schools. The format used was a follow the leader style, meaning, if a wrestler lost their first round match, they could only advance through consolations if their victor won their second round match.

South's Jimmy Weatherholt joined Pryor and Bosley by claiming his second of three titles. Weir's George Kovalick was named coach of the year by his peers. Seventeen wrestlers entered the tournament undefeated and only four came out unscathed. Besides Pryor and Bosley, Brooke's Kevin Felton and Huntington's Richard Johnson both finished with 25 wins, 0 losses. A notable undefeated wrestler going into the tournament was Morgantown's Terry Bowden at 155 pounds with a 19-0-2 record. Terry, the son of then WVU football coach, Bobby Bowden, finished fourth in the tournament. Terry went on to become a successful college football coach at Auburn and would have a career in TV Broadcasting.

Sources: The Parkersburg News & Sentinel, "The Emergence of High School Wrestling in West Virginia" by George Nedeff.

Team Scores

1.John Marshall 60.50
2.Weir 58.00
3.Huntington 42.50
4.Parkersburg South 42.00
5.Warwood 32.00
6.Brooke 26.00
7.Morgantown 25.00
8.Big Creek 24.00
9.Parkersburg 23.00
10.Charleston 22.00
11.Milton 19.00
Buckhannon 19.00
13.Jefferson 17.00
14.Oak Glen 15.00
15.Nitro 14.00
16.Hurricane 13.50
17.Stonewall Jackson 13.00
Wheeling 13.00
19.Greenbrier West 12.50
20.Shady Spring 10.00
Universtiy 10.00
Phillip Barbour 10.00
23.Spencer 9.50
East Fairmont 9.50
25.St. Marys 9.00
Man 9.00
27.Fairmont Senior 8.00
28.Liberty 7.00
29.Keyser 5.00
Sissonville 5.00
31.Martinsburg 4.00
Petersburg 4.00
Wirt County 4.00
34.Herbert Hoover 3.00
Huntington East 3.00
Beckley 3.00
Berkley Springs 3.00
38.Elkins 2.00
DuPont 2.00
Barboursville 2.00
South Charleston 2.00
George Washington 2.00
43.St. Albans 1.00
Braxton 1.00
Point Pleasant 1.00
Buffalo 1.00
47.Greenbrier East 0.00
Ripley 0.00
Wheeling Central 0.00
Walton 0.00
Mannington 0.00
Dunbar 0.00

Place Winners

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Weight: 98

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1st: Kevin Felton BRK 25- 0- 0
2nd: Ron Finley MLT 25- 1- 0
3rd: Tom Lumadue NIT 34- 1- 0
4th: Sam Bonasso FS 21- 2- 0

Weight: 105

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1st: Keviin Messinger MRG 24- 1- 0
2nd: Jim Fluharty WAR 24- 2- 0
3rd: Chap Fay BAR 27- 4- 0
4th: Ron Sturkey HUN 24- 3- 0

Weight: 112

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1st: Duke Hanlin WHL 22- 4- 0
2nd: Jeff Felton BRK 17- 6- 1
3rd: Jeff Sole PS 22- 2- 0
4th: John Hastie CHR 25- 2- 0

Weight: 119

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1st: Jim Weatherhlt PS 21- 2- 0
2nd: Bill Cole PRK 16- 3- 0
3rd: Gary Dobbs JM 16- 8- 1
4th: Randy Golden GRW 31- 4- 0

Weight: 126

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1st: Chris Pryor WEI 29- 0- 0
2nd: Fred Pepper PRK 15- 2- 1
3rd: Dale Zopp BUC 23- 1- 0
4th: Doug Anderson LIB 22- 5- 0

Weight: 132

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1st: Ron Griffin JM 24- 1- 0
2nd: Roger Riggs HUN 22- 1- 0
3rd: Mike Jones BC 23- 4- 0
4th: Greg Justice MAN 24- 9- 1

Weight: 138

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1st: Richard Johnson HUN 25- 0- 0
2nd: Ron Jewell WAR 24- 2- 0
3rd: Mike Waldeck WEI 27- 6- 0
4th: Bruce Phillips UNV 20- 3- 0

Weight: 145

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1st: Dean Patterson OG 29- 1- 0
2nd: Harvey Morrell PB 22- 1- 0
3rd: Brian Brecht WEI 21- 7- 0
4th: Paul Finley HUN 23- 5- 0

Weight: 155

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1st: Steve Bosley PS 22- 0- 0
2nd: Ron Koontz JM 23- 1- 0
3rd: Steve Payne BC 27- 2- 0
4th: Terry Bowden MRG 23- 2- 2

Weight: 167

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1st: Scott Lehasky JM 24- 1- 0
2nd: Fred Starr CHR 25- 2- 0
3rd: Pat Knapanshue BUC 22- 3- 0
4th: John Holliday HUR 29- 6- 0

Weight: 185

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1st: Mike Kovalick WEI 28- 1- 0
2nd: Mike Caiin JM 19- 4- 1
3rd: Jim Grace HUR 34- 2- 0
4th: Robert Holley MLT 29- 5- 0

Weight: UNL

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1st: Steve McDonough JEF 28- 1- 0
2nd: Eric Frankovitc WEI 17- 1- 1
3rd: Dennis Haney WAR 24- 3- 0
4th: Mike McDonough EF 27- 4- 0

Finals Matches



Thanks to Brent Sams

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