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1975: Tops in the State (unofficially)

A year away from PIAA awarding an official team title, pundits (and Raider fans) added up the points anyhow. And guess who would have won.

1975 Seniors

This episode is based on the notes from someone that may know a thing or two about the Raiders. Brian Hills, the most Reynolds-flows-through-his-veins person I know, chimes in with some thoughts about the team of his senior season in 1975. In his typical unassuming, unpretentious style, Brian slightly understates how good this team was, and his scaled-down assessment is still impressive. (my comments look like this)

“1975 was a continuation of the precedent set by teams of prior years’ striving for excellence and remaining unbeaten after the one loss in 1972 (the class of 72 eternally apologizes for that loss). We had 7 State qualifiers (Jerry Diehl 98, Jeff Shipton 105 Champion, Leroy Sample 132 Runner-up, Rick Haws 138, Brian Hills 167 Runner-up, Doug Shaffer 185 and Dave Kress Unl), that year with 3 making the State finals.

1975 Team

“I forgot we had 7 qualifiers that year which was very impressive back then (and is still very impressive). We always discussed that when I was coaching as to which team had sent the most to Hershey.

We claimed the mythical Class B championship with 62 team points and Coach Lineman was named the Class B Pennsylvania State Coach of the Year. This was probably the initial team to prioritize winning team State championships in addition to the prized individual titles.

1975 Starters

"We beat Greenville that year 31-19 in front of a packed house (over 4000 fans!) at Edinboro University.” (My story of that match. A massive snowstorm hit that evening and the state police eventually shut down all interstate 79 & 80 traffic. However, busloads of Raider fans still made it to the match to pack the gym. My Clarion teammates and I tried to go, but traveled only 7 miles after two hours and were turned back by the police! I always wondered how many, if any, regular season high school match attracted that many spectators.)

Mark Bartolo pinning his Greenville opponent in match at Edinboro

What accomplishments did Brian overlook?

  • How about a record setting 10 wrestlers (out of 12 weights) winning section titles including Dave Krumpak,Mark Bartolo and Tom Collins to go with the 7 state qualifiers listed above.

  • Three claimed District gold: Diehl, Sample & Hills.

  • Two won Regions: Sample & Hills.

  • Reynolds came soooo close to claiming three state champs. In addition to Shipton’s title, Sample lost by referee's decision in overtime and Brian lost a one pointer on a takedown at the final buzzer.

  • The Raider win streak extended to 51 matches by season’s end.

  • The depth of the team was incredible. A few people not mentioned above but with post season trophies from before or after 1975 include (with highest level won) Steve Langiotti (section), Dan Morrison (state runner-up), John Urmson (district), Matt Smargiasso (state champ), Tim Morrison (state runner-up), Dennis Gibb (state 3rd) and Bill Arbanas (state 3rd). Also, Bartolo (2nd) and Kress (3rd) went on to place at states the following year. Impressive.


Based on the unofficial State Championship alone, 1975 deserves to be in the conversation of great Reynolds teams. But its whole body of work and the makeup of its wrestlers puts an exclamation point to their side of the argument in the great Raider debate.

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