New faces lead the way in Coach Mark Reichard’s 2nd season but many of the names seem very familiar.
Like the 1972 team, the ‘79 Raiders were in a serious rebuilding phase. Only 4 starters returned from Coach Reichard’s great inaugural season at the helm, just at the time when many District 10 teams stepped up their game.
Many teams and programs fall apart at this challenge but the 1979 team pulled together as a close-knit fraternity. That is the legacy of this team.
For today, we share recollections from the team’s senior captain and state champ, Kevin Klasic.
The class of ‘79 squad seniors were friends on and off the mat! If you take a close look at the last names, you'll see that this year featured the younger brothers of former Raiders: Stoyer, Dawes, Urmson & Klasic. This clearly reinforced that the Reynolds Wrestling "tradition" moves within and across generations. Says Kevin, “The squad was one that demanded the best effort from each other every time they stepped on the mat. I can honestly say every time one of us stepped on the mat they were expecting to come off as the winner, not only by their teammates but they also carried that expectation themselves.”
He continues, “Following individual and team losses the practice room atmosphere simply grew more intense. I could talk for hours about some of the antics that took place at the Clearfield and Williamsport tournaments from the host handing us the keys to their cars to teammates edging and cheering each other on after wins and losses. From 98lbs to heavyweight, there was no lack of camaraderie.” (Kevin has to share these anecdotes with us at the picnic!)
“We faced a few very tough teams during this season but not once did a teammate leave the mat with head hung low. Based upon the intense competition of eliminations between matches we knew the future of Reynolds wrestling would continue after we graduated. And of course, Coach Reichard was a huge part of our success by simply letting us be us!”
Proof of this can be found on this website by going to the Legacies->History page and drill down to the 1979 team within the “View Teams” section. For each match, click on the camera icon to see the scorebook entry of every match and you will see that different people picked up the slack for different events, a characteristic of a true team effort.
Reynolds basically stays at the top year after year, while other schools go through cycles of good and bad teams – our so-called down years are always pretty damn good by others’ standards.
1979 was not a “down year” but after so many undefeated teams earlier in the decade, expectations were based on the unfair assumptions that we would never lose. However, it was a time when many district teams were at one of their peaks which made a very tough schedule. The Erie schools had a surge of future college Division I stars, and Hickory joined Greenville as a local threat.
Thus, this team effort was necessary for Reynolds to achieve an impressive 12-2-1 record. The Raiders went on to win their 9th straight Section Championship with two champs, Keith Dawes and Kevin Klasic, and finished a respectable 11th at the state tourney. Individually, Kevin ran the board by adding District, Region and State titles.
1979 Coaches: Mark Reichard, Mr. McClelland & Bob Moats
When providing his thoughts on his senior year, Kevin asked, “Can you give credit to each and every starter by name because this squad was truly one that relied on each and every one to perform at their best to help this team succeed?”
Yes, we can, to the best we can identify them.
The starters included Kevin, Rick Stoyer, Keith Daws, Bob Emmett, Mark Scott, Ty Stewart, John Ferguson (who wrestled with a broken nose until he broke his collarbone just before sections), Gino Tofani, Bryan Scott, Mike Dudley, Barry Lang and Brick Stewart.
The 70’s decade ended with
A run of 9 straight section championships
7 undefeated teams (remember, we exclude the forfeits)
An accumulative record of 132-4-1 (again, forfeits excluded)
An official and unofficial state championship teams,
5 State Champs, 5 State Runner-ups and 5 Third Place medals
10 Region Champs, 20 District Champs and 65 Section Champs!
The Reynolds Raiders left the 70’s with an enduring reputation of excellence and dominance, to this day!