50 Years of Lutheran West Wrestling
Lutheran West High School started a wrestling program in the 1967-68 school year. The first season consisted of afternoon practices in the gym, with the goal of wrestling against other schools the following year. The new sport was led by Coach Nick Matthews who would coach the team for the first five years of it's existence. The yearbook states, "Wrestling has become a challenge for the guys, giving opportunity to use mind and muscle." The team grew to 14 wrestlers in the second season (see team picture). By the 1969-70 season the team had grown to 20 wrestlers and competed in seven matches. New mats were also purchased for the team although many of the practices were in the hallway outside of the gym.
The 1970-71 season saw the team grow to 26 wrestlers and Wally Senney recorded the first home win in school history. The 70-71 team also had the first dual meet win in school history with a defeat of Cleveland Central Catholic. In the Oberlin Sectional Tournament of 1972, Dave Wise (145) became the first Longhorn wrestler to qualify for the district tournament by placing 6th at sectionals and becoming a district alternate. The next week at the Nordonia District, Wise was able to compete as the alternate and went 1-1 in the tournament. Wise's loss came at the hands of the eventual state champion Ralph Graham of Kenston. The 1972-73 team opened the season with a 45-25 win over sister school Lutheran East under new head coach Geoffrey Eckrich. Coach Eckrich would lead the team for four years. The first Longhorn wrestler to qualify for the district tournament outright was Bill Parobek (Hvy) in 1974. Mark Hosko finished in 4th place at the Cuyahoga Hts Sectional at 185lbs to qualify for the district tournament in 1975. In 1976-77 the team was led by Coach Gary Fitzler who was able to inspire the team to a 4-5 record and senior Mark Novak qualified for the district tournament at 138lbs. In 1978 Lutheran West had two district qualifiers in Paul Moses (145) and Roland Sundermann (175), the team was led by new head coach Dave Kemp. The 1978-79 season saw the fourth head coach in as many years. Coach Dave Wolter led the team to it's first winning season (7-3). Coach Wolter would remain head coach for three seasons and compile a 16-10 dual meet record. Lutheran West would qualify three wrestlers to the 1979 district tournament with John Berghaus (185) becoming Lutheran West's first district placer (4th).
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