On Sunday April 9h, the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association will induct eleven (11) former wrestlers, coaches and/or contributors into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2017.
For the ninth consecutive year, the banquet and induction ceremonies will be held at the Ramada Inn and Convention Center in State College beginning at 12:30 pm with a hospitality hour. The banquet will follow beginning at 1:30 pm and induction of new members will start promptly at 2:30 pm.
As has been the case for the past eight years, the official ceremonies will be held separate from the PIAA State Wrestling Championships, but inductees will be recognized in the PIAA State program.
Tickets to attend the Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremonies can be obtained by contacting Hall of Fame chairman Norm Palovcsik by phone (570-295-3795) or by mail to 151 Bathgate Drive, State College, PA 16801. Tickets cost $35 and can be reserved for pickup at the registration table at the Ramada Inn on April 9th.
The PWCA Class of 2017 marks the 48th consecutive year that the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association has inducted a class of deserving individuals since 1970.
The Class of 2017 consists of the following individuals (in alphabetical order):
Fletcher Carr (Wrestler – District 10) - Fletcher Carr was the first of the famed wrestling Fletcher family from Erie, Pennsylvania. He was a two-time District 10 and Central Northwest Regional champion in 1967 and 1968 while competing for Erie East High School In 1967, Fletcher dropped a 3-2 decision in the PIAA180-pound state finals to Allentown Allentown’s Goeff Baum and, in 1968, Fletcher lost a 7-2 decision to Allentown Dieruff’s Dan Newhard in the 180-pound state championship bout. He attended Tampa University where he was a two-time College Division national champion in 1972 and 1973 and, in 1973, he placed third in the NCAA Division I championships at 190 lbs. He was undefeated in dual meets at Tampa and in 1972-73, he was named Tampa University’s Athlete of the Year. In 1970, he finished second in the Pan American Games trials at 198 pounds and placed second in the 1971 National AAU meet. He place fourth in the 1972 Olympic Trials. In 1975, Fletcher was named head wrestling coach at the University of Kentucky, becoming the first Division I head coach of color. He coached the Wildcat program for 10 years where his team won a pair of Southeast Conference team titles and Carr was named SEC Coach of the Year twice. In 1983, Fletcher Carr was inducted into the Tampa Spartans Hall of Fame.
Chris Fleeger (Wrestler – District 4) – Chris Fleeger is a 2000 graduate of Loyalsock High School and a 2006 graduate of Purdue University. While in high school, Fleeger won four District 4 and Northeast Regional titles and was a four-time PIAA placewinner, claiming two PIAA Class AA state championships in 1998 and 2000. Fleeger finished sixth as a freshman in 1997 and fourth in 1999. His high school won-loss record was 134-5. Fleeger competed for Purdue from 2002 to 2006 and is one of three wrestlers in school history to earn All-Amerca honors three times. In 2002, he placed third in the NCAA Championships before finishing as NCAA runner-up in 2003, both at 125 pounds. In 2006, Fleeger finished second in the NCAA Championships at 133 pounds. He was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Championships in 2003 after capturing the conference title at 125, putting together the second best single season record in school history (32-1). His success was not limited to the time as a Boilermaker, as he had impressive showings on the international scene. He earned bronze medals at the 2002 World University Wrestling Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and at the 2001 Pan American Championships. He also won the 60 kb/132 lb. weight class at the 2006 Sunkist Kids International Open in Tempe, Arizona. Fleeger is enterin his second year at head coach at the University of the Cumberlands.
Bob Gano (Coach – District 3) - Bob Gano is a 1982 graduate of Greenville High School and a 1986 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In high school, he was a two-time sectional champion while competing for the Trojans. He coached wrestling at Delone Catholic and Biglerville High School for 24 years with a 357-151-1 won-loss record. His teams won three sectional team titles and one regional team championship. He coached 21 state placewinners, 52 sectional champions, eleven District 3 champions, seven Regional champions and one state champion. He was named the 2013 District 3 Class AA Coach of the Year. Gano has served as the Team Pennsylvania national coach and is a USA Wrestling Bronze Certified Coach.
Gary Gerber (Coach – District 9) -
Lee Hall (Contributor – District 7) - Lee Hall is a 1960 graduate of Hughesville High School where he was the 1960 PIAA state champion at 165 lbs. He is a 1965 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He coached wrestling at Charleroi HS from 1967-1984 amassing a 142-149-4 career record. He coached 25 sectional champions and 5 WPIAL champions. He served as the Charleroi HS athletic director from 1984-1997 and was a member of the WPIAL Wrestling Steering Committee for more than 10 years. Individually, he coached 25 section champions and 5 WPIAL champions. He was a PIAA-certified referee in the WPIAL for 23 years. In 2004, he was inducted into the Southwestern Pennsylvania wrestling Hall of Fame.
Chris Mary (Wrestler/Coach – District 7) - Chris Mary is a 1982 graduate of Chartiers Houston HS and a 1988 graduate of West Virginia University. In high school, Chris Mary was a three-time WPIAL champion and three-time section champion. He was a three-time state medalist, finishing third twice and second once. He was a three-time WPIAL champion and a three-time section champion and a three-time finalist at the California Christmas Tournament, later renamed Powerade Christmas Tournament. Mary was part of the 1982 Chartiers-Houston team that won the PIAA Class AAA Team Tournament despite having a Class AA enrollment.He finished his high school career with a 98-6-3 record and was named Outstanding Wrestler in the 1984 Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic. In college, he competed for Hall of Fame coach Craig Turnbull and was an NCAA qualifier in 1988 for the Mountaineers.
Mary is best known for his success as a high school wrestling coach at Canon-McMillan High School. Mary took over as head coach in 2001 – 2002 where he successfully coached or 13 years until 2013. His overall team record was 214-12. In his tenure at Canon-Mac, Mary’s teams accomplished quite a list of team honors including twelve sectional titles, four WPIAL team championships, five PIAA team titles including a pair of Team Dual Meet Championships and three PIAA Class AAA team championships (2011, 2012 and 2013). Individually, Mary coached 72 sectional champions, 20 WPIAL champions, 34 PIAA Class AAA state placewinners including three wrestlers who won six state championships (Colin Johnston – 2006, Connor Schram – 2010 & 2013 and Cody Wiercioch (2012 and 2013 and Solomon Chisko – 2013).
Justin Nestor (Wrestler – District 10) - Justin Nestor is a 2001 graduate of Reynolds HS and a 2006 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. At Reynolds, Justin was a four-time PIAA state placewinner and a three-time Class AA state champion (1999, 2000 and 2001). He was a four-time section champion, three-time District 10 and Northwest Regional champion and was voted Class AA Outstanding Wrestler at the state tournament. He compiled a 153-11 high school won-loss record. He attended Pitt where he was a four-year starter and amassed a 118-57 record with 35 pins (4th in Pitt wrestling history). He was a four-time NCAA qualifier, placed three times in the EWL Championships and was named Pitt’s Outstanding Wrestler in 2005-2006.
George O’Korn (Wrestler – District 7) - George O’Korn is a 1973 graduate of Canon-McMillan HS and a 1978 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. degree in Communications. O’Korn was a nine-time letter winner at Cannon-McMillan in three sports: football, wrestling and baseball. O’Korn captured a pair of PIAA state titles, winning the 1965 championship in 1972 before repeating at state champion in 1973 at 167 pounds. He compiled an 81-5 scholastic record and was named Scholastic Wrestling News’ High School All-American team as a senior. He also won a WPIAL title at 165 pounds in 1972. In football, he was Western Conference MVP, All-WPIAL, and Honorable Mention All-State as a quarterback. At Pitt, he played quarterback and defensive back and was a two-year letterman. O’Korn was also a three-year letterman in wrestling at Pitt, qualifying for the NCAA Division I Tournament twice. He also made the Pitt baseball team, but an injury kept him from lettering.
Jesse Rawls (Wrestler – District 3) - Jesse is a 1991 graduate of Susquehanna Township and a 1996 graduate of the University of Michigan. Rawls was a three-time District 3 Class AAA champion from 1989-1991, He was also a three-time PIAA state placewinner, winning the PIAA state championship in 1991 and placing 3rd and 5th in 1989 and 1990 respectively. In the state finals, Rawls rebounded from an early five-point takedown and nearfall to post a 14-13 overtime victory over Nazareth’s Dan Madson. Jesse followed his All-American father’s lead by attending Michigan University where he posted a 103-41 won-loss record and was a two-time All-American for the Wolverines, finishing 7th in 1994 and 4th in 1996, both at 177 pounds. Rawls was named captain of the Michigan team in both 1994 and 1996.
Rob Rohn (Wrestler – District 11) - Rob Rohn is a 1997 graduate of Nazareth High School and 2002 graduate of Lehigh University. Rohn was a three-time PIAA placewinner while competing for Hall of Fame head coach Ray Nunamaker. Roh finished 4th in 1995, 3rd in 1996 and copped the PIAA state championship in 1997 with a perfect 38-0 record. In the finals, Rohn drubbed Cedar Cliff’s Coy Wire (9-4) to win the 189 lb. championship. While at Lehigh University, Rohn set his goals on becoming an NCAA champion for Hall of Fame coach Greg Stroebel. In his senior season in 2002, Rohn advanced to the 184-pound NCAA final at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., Rohn went up against Oklahoma's Josh Lambrecht, an opponent he had defeated 4-2 earlier in the year. However, early in the third period, Rohn found himself down 14-3 before using his patented cement job to deck his Sooner opponent with 13 seconds remaining in the match to capture the 184-pound crown. Rohn scored five consecutive pins in the 1982 NCAA Championships, including the championship finals comeback pin.