West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... a Christmas Gift

Fifteen months of emotional apprehension, thank God, is over for Peggy and Bill Welker.

Our son, SSgt. Daniel Eric O'Keefe Welker, has finally returned to his home base in Germany after an extended tour of duty in Iraq. It ended his second tour of duty over there in less than three years.

Let me tell you a little bit about our youngest son, and why we are so proud of him.

"Dan-E." Welker had to work hard in grade school; things did not come to him very easily. But all his teachers loved him because of his "work ethic." He never stopped trying.

Dan-E. was also a very popular student in school. Anybody who knows Dan-E., loves him. I cannot begin to tell you how many people kept Dan-E. in their prayers during both his stays in Iraq. We thank all of them.

Dan-E. also had another situation to deal with growing up. He was quite small for his age. I did not think much of it because the Welkers are smaller in physical stature to begin with. However, his mother knew something was not right, and she was right on the mark.

A specialist determined that Dan-E. had a deformed pituitary gland, which was not secreting enough growth hormone. He was immediately put on synthetic growth hormones, and is now five feet and seven inches in height (taller than yours truly).

Had his mother not detected this physical aberration, Dan-E. would not have reached five feet as an adult. Thank goodness for loving and perceptive mothers the likes of Peggy.

Of course, being a Welker, Dan-E. wrestled. He started in elementary school, grappling in the Greater Wheeling Small-fry Wrestling League for the "Island Eagles," which practiced in the Madison gym. At Triadelphia Junior High School, Dan-E. was a two-time PAC-8 Champion, as well as a silver medallist in the OVAC Freshman Wrestling Championships.

Dan-E. wrestled two years for ultra-successful Coach Buzz Evans at Wheeling Park High School. During that time, he earned a varsity letter. However, Dan-E. then decided to hang up his singlet. He thought I would be upset when he told me he had lost his desire to wrestle. I was not.

Dan-E. graduated from high school in 1997. At that time, he tried his hand at college, but didn't care for it. So he began looking for jobs. After a couple of years, Dan-E. realized his life was going nowhere, and made a very mature decision. He opted to join the armed services.

Dan-E. would be the first to tell you; it wasn't easy. He has been away from home over three of the last five years with tours of duty in Bosnia, as well as Iraq. His young eyes have had to witness the atrocities and horrors of war. Sights Peggy and I could not begin to imagine. Nor do we want to know.

On the positive side, while in the U.S. Army, Dan-E. found time to earn an associate's degree, and even published a poem. He also moved up the ranks from Private First Class to Staff Sergeant by pure determination and the desire to better himself.

Things continued to get even better for Dan-E. While on leave to Wheeling in 1999, Dan-E. met his wife Mary Jo. They have three beautiful children - Aaliyah, Shanen, and Vander - with whom Dan-E. plans to spend lots of quality time, especially during the holidays. They're going to have their daddy home for Christmas, the first time in two years.

When Peggy and I think of what Dan-E. has had to endure, we are always reminded of his comrades in arms. So many of our young men and women in the armed services spend the holiday season away from home. We must never forget them; they and those before them are the reason we live in a free society. Believe it or not, only 20-percent of the World's population can say this. We must never take our freedom for granted.

So, this season of joy when you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, please put our men and women of the armed services in your prayers. They are the true American heroes. Dan-E. will not be with his mom and dad for Christmas, but he will be with his family. And that's blessing enough for Peggy and Bill Welker. Thank you, God.

Happy Holidays from the Welker Family!

The Sudden Death Overtime Procedure
Whether the competition is a dual meet, tournament or any other multiple-team event, if there is a tie at the end of an individual match, we go immediately to sudden death to settle the issue.

Sudden death consists of a one-minute overtime period and, if necessary, a 30-second tiebreaker.

In the one-minute overtime period, the wrestlers start in the standing or neutral position. The wrestler who scores the first point(s) wins the match.

If no points are scored, the wrestlers go directly to two 30-second tiebreakers, which start in the referee's (or down) position. The referee flips the disk to see who has choice the first tiebreaker. Each of these two tiebreakers goes the entire 30 seconds.

If the score is tied after the first two tiebreakers, we proceed to the final "Ultimate Tiebreaker." At this point in the match, the wrestler who scored the first point(s) in the regulation match will be given the choice of up, down, or defer by the referee. If the match is scoreless, the referee will flip his disk to determine who gets the choice.

Should the top man ride out his opponent, he wins by the ride-out point (RO). If the bottom man scores an escape, reversal, or penalty point(s), he wins.

In my opinion, this is the best advancement in wrestling since I have been involved with the sport. Everyone understands sudden death, and it makes the sport even more exciting.

Min-Mat Quiz
Q: In the overtime period, Wrestler A scores a takedown but uses an illegal headlock to do so. Does Wrestler A win the match?
A: No. Wrestler B would win the match with the penalty point he received for Wrestler A's illegal headlock. You can not score a takedown with an illegal hold.

OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior
Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Wheeling Central's Pat Neis. As a senior, he is wrestling at both the 135-pound and 130-pound weight classes. Pat's wrestling record is presently around .500, but that is only factor involving his "love for wrestling and work-ethic" story.

Last season, Pat was a West Virginia state qualifier. His grade point average is 3.80. Presently, Neis is taking extra college courses at WV Northern Community College. Pat is also involved in many activities including "Boy's State" and works at many different jobs as a high school student to help finance his college endeavors.

His coach Chick LaMotte, a multiple OVAC and District Coach of the Year who respects Pat so much, states: "Pat is the hardest working kid I have ever coached. He is always the last wrestler to leave my practice room. He is going to be a 'winner in life.'"

Congratulations are extended to Wheeling Central's Pat Neis, this week's Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior.

The OVAC Mark Gerrity Wrestling Fan of the Week is Louis Basich, a Wheeling Central High School supporter.

Mat Message
"You'll never find a better sparring partner than adversity"
- Walt Schmidt

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
Return to the West Virginia Mat Thoughts Index Page
Return to the WV-Mat front page