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1973 – On the Edge of Greatness

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

The 1973 team was just another great Raider team: yawn.

Here is the next installment covering teams of the 70's

as we get very close to our picnic date.

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The 73 Raiders suffer the same indifference of reputation as the many other fabulous undefeated teams. First, the standard for scheduling competition was for teams to compete locally. Rarely did we venture out of District 10 for competition and that was decades before a team dual tournament existed. Only the team and loyal supporters knew we had a premier, state level quality team.

Second, although, starting in 1973, the state allowed the 1st and 2nd place finishers from tournaments to advance, it still fell way short of the current full bracketed tournaments of today and left many worthy wrestlers off the charts of post-season accolades.

In the end, the accomplishments and talents of this very good team blend in with all the other others. So unfortunate.

From the Lineman Collection

By now, the effects of a long running intramural program (as junior high and elementary teams were called back then) reached through all classes on the team. Several of this year’s team began wrestling in elementary school while most everyone started by 7th grade.

With the Reynolds tradition firmly established to accompany all this experience, the Raiders were prepared to take the program to a higher level of achievement. It was a very Classic Reynolds team: an extremely solid lineup without any single superstar in its lineup that year (but see next few paragraphs about underclassmen).

Varsity Wrestlers shown in the Crest yearbook

The senior class already had three former Section champs in John Fry, Denny Emph and Walt McClimans. They were joined by several successful returning lettermen including Brian Hills and Bill McNeish. As in the previous season, this team was about to elevate many former JV and new freshmen Raider stars to the varsity level.

In all, the ’73 team had eight underclassmen achieving sparkling careers and finished in the top three at states during their tenure. And another underclassman was an eventual regional champ, losing in the state quarterfinals. More on that when their respective graduating classes are reviewed.

JV Wrestlers shown in the Crest yearbook

The Raiders ran through their dual match schedule with three shutouts and six matches with just one person losing. Their average match score was a very impressive 47-8. As a recurring theme throughout the 70’s, Greenville was the only real test for the team but Reynolds still won eight of the 12 weight classes in that contest.

Reynolds capped off the season by defending their Section crown and put 4 wrestlers on top of the podium: Steve Langiotti, LeRoy Sample, Bill McNeish and Dale Hills. While none of the Raiders advanced to states that year, the solid senior leadership, and deep talent of the underclassmen was an indication of what was to come.

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