Section Six Wrestling Team of the 1970’s Announced
The Pioneer Panthers have been selected as the varsity wrestling “Team of the 1970’s” by the “Teams of the Decades” Committee.
Since Section Six wrestling teams were not ranked in the 1970’s the committee assigned a tournament style point system to Sectional champions and place finishers. Points were then totaled to come up with a list of overall team point leaders from one to ten. As in the case of the 1980’s there is no distinction between divisions one and division two schools in the final rankings.
The top point total overall for the decade of the 1970’s was the Pioneer Central Panthers. The Panthers had a total of 126 points based on twenty-two Section Six individual weight champions. Included in that group are two-time New York State Champion Kyle Grunwald in 1976 & 77 and Keith Stearns who won a State Title in 1975. In 1974 Pioneer also had an unprecedented three State finalists in Mike Arnold (112 lbs.), Bill Fuller (119 lbs.) and Phil Roblee (132 lbs.). Other Sectional Champions for the Panthers in the 1970’s were Ed Keenan, Tom Lloyd Jones, Doug Keenan, Dale Rogers, Doug Tingue, Steve Arnold, Keith Floyd, Tom Bennett, Les Friend, Dan Mason and Daryl Rogers. Pioneer was coached in the 1970’s by Hall of Famer Dick Post and assistant Ron Brunner.
The second ranked team of the 1970’s was Olean High School. The Huskies had 106 points based on nineteen Sectional Champions including two-time State Champion Clar Anderson in 1979 & 80 and Chris Leichtweis in 1978.
The third ranked team with 86 points was Niagara Wheatfield with ten Sectional Champions including State Champions Bob Sloand and Paul Cianchetti. Fourth was Sweet Home (56.5 points), fifth Maryvale (46), sixth Portville (35), seventh Medina (32.5), eighth Tonawanda (30.5), ninth West Seneca East (26) and tenth was Iroquois (25.5).
The “Teams of the Decades” committee was created in 2009 to research and select the teams of the past six decades and members include Section Six Wrestling Hall of Fame coaches Walt Thurnau (Southwestern), and Dick Lange (Roy-Hart & Newfane). Members also include retired Niagara County Community College coach Eric Knuutila, a member of several national, state and local wrestling Halls of Fame and Bob Koshinski, Chairman of the Ilio DiPaolo Wrestling Scholarship Committee.
The team of the 1980’s was Falconer High School, 1990’s large school was Niagara Wheatfield, 1990’s small school was Newfane, 2000’s large school was Niagara Wheatfield and small school Fredonia. The committee will announce the team of the 1960’s just prior to the start of the 2012-13 high school wrestling season in December.