Friday, January 13, 2023

Legends of Spartan Wrestling Return to North Schuylkill

A special event was held Thursday evening that brought some of the legends of North Schuylkill's wrestling program back to their alma mater.

Prior to their Varsity Wrestling match against Mount Carmel, North Schuylkill held a "Wrestling State Championship Night" that invited the members and coaches of the 1983, 1989, and 1995 Teams and All the Individual Wrestlers that went on to become State Champs.

"These teams combined with excellent coaching along with outstanding wrestlers that worked hard day in and day out and took pride in making North Schuylkill, not just a wrestling team, but turning North Schuylkill into a wrestling program.  A program that would be respected in the League, District, across the State of Pennsylvania and beyond." Athletic Director Jim Gross said.

Wrestling against North Schuylkill for any team in the coal region was a big deal, especially in the 80's and 90's.  With head coaches like Joseph Cesari and Rick Edwards, the Spartans created a powerhouse that was nationally well known that even led to a story in Sports Illustrated.

40 years later, since their first team championship, now under Head Coach Corey Fetterolf, the team continues to have winning seasons.

Thanks to the District and the Team's Boosters, they wanted to look back at those State Championships years.

Coach Cesari and Edwards both returned with those 3 state championship teams as well as 5 of the 8 individuals that went on to win a singles state championship.

Members attending from the 1995:

  • Volunteer Assistant Coach:  Randy Reidler
  • Michael Peleschak
  • Kevin Rentschler
  • Head Coach:  Rick Edwards
  • Todd Houser
  • Rick Bolinsky
  • Chris Edwards
  • Score Keeper:  Dave Mitten
  • Manager:  Jennifer Mitten Rau
  • Dave Howard
  • Todd Reismiller
  • Mike Stauffer
  • Note Present: Ryan Bolick, Mike Smith, Matt Peleschak, Bill Fetterman, Asst. Coach Dave Brown

Members attending from the 1989 team:

  • Tommy Edwards
  • Randy Reidler
  • Chris Rickard
  • Asst. Coach Rick Edwards
  • Score Keeper:  Dave Mitten
  • In honor of Bill Houser:  Laura Houser and Alex Doritis
  • Head Coach:  Joe Cesari
  • Not Present:  Mark Cesari, Paul Hummel, Bill Klotz, Bill Fetterman, Asst. Coach Dave Brown, and Volunteer assistant Scott Webster

Members attending from the 1983 team:

  • Albert Razzis
  • John Miller
  • Rick White
  • Asst. Coach:  Rick Edwards
  • Kent Lane
  • Head Coach:  Joe Cesari
  • Not Present:  Bill Fetterman, Ray Reichwein, Rob Wehry, Jeff Grove, Glenn Giest, Dave Brown, Joe Cesari Jr., Asst. Coach Tom Dando
Single State Champions
  • 1989 - Randy Reidler
  • 1989 - Chris Rickard
  • 1996 - Rick Bolinsky
  • 1982 - Kent Lane
  • 1975 - Bob Harris
  • Not Present:
    • Joe Cesari Jr. - Champ in 1982, 1983, 1984
    • Mark Cesari - Champ in 88, 89
    • Steve Cesari - Champ in 85

Coach Cesari then called down approximately 30 to 40 more wrestlers that were in the crowd, who were all a part of the wrestling program over the past 57 years.

"All these guys that are standing here, you were part of every one of those banners up there.   When you go out into the lobby, you were part of everything that happened in that trophy case.  When I look at them, I can tell you the stories about the guys that I coached.  The memories were just great.  We got a little fat and everything else, but.  You guys did one hell of a job."  Coach Cesari said.

Cesari added that he has been recently working on his memoirs and writing about wrestling from 1965 to 1989.  He said still has all the records of those that wrestled for him through those years.  Cesari said "After I finished that chapter, I sat back in my chair and actually cried.  I thought about all these guys that were so close and here we are.  Thank You!"

Coach Edwards said "This is not just about State Champions and Championships.  It's about the whole shebang. It's about North Schuylkill Wrestling. The bottom line is, it's fantastic."

Edwards also recognized the District's Superintendent Robert Ackell, who was also a part of the program in the late 90's.  

With a capacity crowd in attendance, the current Varsity Team went on to win their match over Mount Carmel 52-12.