West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker
National Wrestling Hall of Famer

Memories and Advice from a Former Wrestler, Part Two

Last week we left off with yours truly planning my strategy for winning a second Pennsylvania State Championship. Let's now continue part two of my interview with West York's (PA) Don Lehman.

Don Lehman - As a senior, you reached the 1965 112lb. PIAA State Wrestling finals... and your opponent was West York High School's Dana Luckenbaugh. What did you and your coaches know about Dana before the match... and, walk me through your mental approach?

Bill Welker - Coach Paul and Coach Weaver were exceptional when it came to scouting our opponents. Their analytical abilities in evaluating our adversaries mat skills were nonpareil.

I don't remember the specifics of our strategy for wrestling Dana Luckenbaugh, but I do know my general "game plan" for the match. I was aware that Dana was an exceptional pinner, strong and very aggressive. My strategy was to slow down the pace of the match to get Dana away from his style of wrestling. In other words, I wanted to keep him off-balance regarding the tactics he normally felt comfortable with during a match. My goal was to keep the match close until the third period and then let loose. Everything worked as planned when Dana and I reached the final period of the bout. In fact, the score was tied 3-3 at that point. Victory and a second state championship was mine for the taking since I was down the third period, and escapes and reversals were my forte.

Don Lehman - OK, I know from memory that the score was tied 3-3 with Dana assuming the "top" position for the 2-minute third and final period. What was your thought process?

Bill Welker - I had the match in the grasp of my hands. I knew I previously escaped from Dana, and all was going according to my plan. Being in the down position was perfect; rarely has an opponent ever held me down. But then I made the fatal mistake that all great wrestlers dread happening during a match, I HESITATED! As I mentioned before, Dana was strong. He rode me out, acquired one-point for riding time, winning 4-3, and was crowned the 112-pound PIAA State Champion in 1965.

I was devastated. For years after the bout, I lamented the mistake I made in my final high school match. But as time passed, I became more philosophical regarding my scholastic career. In fact, I now count my blessings. God was so good to the Welker brothers (Floyd Welker won states in 1959), giving us physical abilities and the opportunity to experience a state championship in one of America's most respected scholastic wrestling states - Pennsylvania.

Don Lehman - Dr. Welker, I appreciate your time and insight into this great sport of wrestling which you are a huge part of! Thanks again, Bill, for your very candid and informative interview.

Bill Welker - Don, it has been an extreme pleasure. I attribute any success that I have had in my life to being surrounded by people of strong religious character and positive ideals - my parents, my grandparents, my teachers, my coaches and my devoted wife Peggy. Without them persistently guiding me in the right direction, I don't know what might have happened to me.

Finally, I thank God for all His blessings. Though I don't deserve His "Grace," I thank Him everyday. I think my mom's total devotion to God has also had a lot to do with it.

The entire interview can be found at www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com. I think you will find it very interesting and thought provoking.
The Fall

The fall (or pin) terminates the match and no individual match points are necessary. In a dual meet, the winner's team receives six points and during tournament action the victor's team receives two additional points.

A fall occurs when both shoulders are forced to the mat for a period of two seconds in high school and one second in college bouts.

Normally, the offensive wrestler (the man in control) scores the fall but if the offensive wrestler's shoulders are somehow forced to the mat for the required time, his opponent would win with a defensive fall. It's rare, but it does happen.

A fall may be indicated when parts of both shoulders are in-bounds, or one shoulder is completely in-bounds. Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A, the offensive wrestler, catches Wrestler A in a cradle pinning combination. However, as Wrestler B attempts to fight off his back, Wrestler A rolls completely out-of-bounds. Only the tops of Wrestler B's shoulders remain in-bounds on the mat. What's the call?
A: If Wrestler B was held in that position for the required time, Wrestler A would secure a fall. The match would not be stopped because Wrestler B's shoulders (now considered his supporting points) are in-bounds.

OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior

Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Bishop Donahue's junior 160 pounder - Bobby Richmond.

Richmond is a three-year letterman for the "Bishops" wrestling team with an over-all record of 81-26. As a freshman at 152 pounds, Bobby qualified for states. Last year, as a junior 160-pounder, Richmond place 8th in the OVACs and again qualified for states.

This year Bobby Richmond was the 160-pound champion at the Union Local Doan Ford Invitational, undefeated at the Cameron Duals, runner-up at the Wellsville Invitational, and second place at the OVACs. His record this year is 25-3.

His coach, Joel Sansone, states, "Bobby's not only a hard worker in the wrestling room, but also an outstanding student. He made all-state academic honor roll as a wrestler the last two years."

Congratulations are extended to Bobby Richmond - this week's OVAC Wrestling Warrior.

The OVAC Mark Gerrity Wrestling Fan of the Week is Bishop Donahue's DEBBIE AND LEW RICHMOND. They attend all of the "Bishops" wrestling events. Lew also helps record the stats as well as taking action photos of the team members.

The Deaton-Regis Weekly Dual Meet Predictions

Larry Deaton and Jack Regis, two of the Valley's finest officials are competing with each other this season, picking the winners of selected weekly matches.

This week's dual meets featured matches are Wheeling Park at John Marshall 6:00 p.m. and Bellaire at Martins Ferry 7:00 p.m., both on Wednesday.

Deaton picks Wheeling Park over John Marshall 31-28 and Bellaire over Martins Ferry 32-15.

Regis calls John Marshall the victor over Wheeling Park 35-33 and Martins Ferry over Bellaire 38-35.

Mat Message
"Really we create nothing. We merely only plagiarize nature.
-- Jean Baitaillon

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
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