This is a rewrite of a post I made years ago because I just made contact with one of the participants.
It was the greatest wrestling match I ever saw. In 1974 (some of you younguns won't remember) there was a
gas shortage because OPEC cut off the oil spigot. I was wrestling 177 for Millersville.
The annual state conference tournament was being held at Slippery Rock on the other side of the state.
Fortunately our coach Jerry Swope was from Lock Haven so we had connections to get gas for our two vans going and coming.
The state conference was a tough tournament as there were three national champions from the previous year competing.
Our 190 pounder Jim Zosch told me he thought two time national champion Wade Schalles was at 177. I scoffed at him Schalles
won nationals at 150 and 158. Surely he would not be foolish enough to up his weight for his last tournament. Zosch was adament
claiming he saw him and he appeared to be heavier than usual. I dismissed this as poppycock. Never in my wildest dreams did I
envision Schalles at 177.
This was the end of Schalles college wrestling career. Due to some NCAA technicality he could not compete
in the nationals that year because he had transferred to Clarion from East Stroudsburg. He wouldn't jeopardize the end of his career by
ballooning up to 177. However at the weigh-ins Zosch's frightening premonition came true. I pinned the first guy I wrestled and won the
next match by decision. That put me in the semi-finals against ....Wade Schalles. I knew the John Chatman story. Chatman had won states
in high school with an undefeated sophomore season. He was undefeated his junior year until he reached the state finals where he was
pinned by ....Wade Schalles. Chatman went undefeated and won states his senior year. High school coach Ivan Steele took me and
John Little to the national championships at Maryland in 1972. The most valuable wrestler ....Wade Schalles.
At the state conference tournament final in 1973 Schalles defeated the guy in the finals by a score of 30 - 6. The match wasn't that close. Schalles went on to win
nationals again. He pinned a guy named Kilgore in 38 seconds,.. Kilgore went on to take third. In the 73-74 season Schalles broke Dan Gable's
record for most pins. On the night he broke the record he put an X on the mat and then dragged his opponent to pin him on that spot. My teammates
did not inspire my confidence. They looked at me, gave a brief low laugh and said "You have to wrestle Wade Schalles." They would then give a brief
low laugh and shake their heads. Coach Swope told me my wrestling style might enable me to defeat Wade Schalles. When I told Rick Zink (our 150 pounder)
he got a good belly laugh at that and said, That sounds like something Swope would say." I had a night to sleep on the fact that the next day I was going to wrestle....
Wade Schalles. Wade had 104 pins when I stepped on the mat with him. I wasn't foolish enough to try something stupid like trying to take him down. We
maneuvered a little then almost in slow motion he took me down. He put on a near cradle, I used the block Coach Steele taught me- the backhook on the arm
that would insure I wouldn't get pinned.
My shoulders were six inches off the mat when the referee called me pinned. Coach Swope was incensed. He screamed at the referee, You should be ashamed
of yourself!" Wade came up to me after the match and told me I wasn't pinned. He may not have realized that the referee did me a great favor - saving my
energy for the consolations. In the finals Wade faced Shorty Hitchcock of Bloomsburg. They had a sharp contrast in appearance.
Schalles looked like the kind of guy a bully would slap around and take his lunch money. He had a passing resemblance to Alfred E. Newman of Mad magazine fame.
Hitchcock looked like the bully who would easily take that money. His shoulders were about as wide as he was tall. It was a contrast of style - sheer power
against magnificent finesse. The first period had lots of action but no score. In the second period Wade started out on top. Hitchcock reversed him. That was a
mistake. Schalles reached around and got him in a front headlock. I knew the match was over. It was only a matter of time. Hitchcock fought off the inevitable with
all his strength. In about ten or twenty seconds Schalles got two points for a reversal. The referee got down on the mat. A few seconds later he began to count.
Then the counting was over and only one thing more remained. A few seconds later he slapped the mat. Schalles jumped up and threw his headgear into the crowd.
A mob of his fans picked him up and carried him around the gym. It was the greatest wrestling match I ever saw. Schalles ended his career with a record of 106 pins.
He was first. Hitchcock second. I was third. Hitchcock won nationals that year and was named the outstanding wrestler. Also winning nationals that year was Kilgore.