The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

December 9, 2012

Collins’ Harris carrying on family’s deep wrestling tradition

It was a special privilege for me to watch Tanner Harris of Collins Middle School wrestle last weekend. Years ago, I watched his dad, Joel, and his uncle, Chad, in their formative years wrestle in junior high and high school. Both were quite good.

Tanner’s grandfather, Toby Harris, started the wrestling program at Greenbrier West High School in 1968. He also started the junior high program in Rainelle as well as the youth program. To my knowledge, he was the first person to host a summer wrestling camp in the southern part of the state. It was in the mid 1970s when he brought in Rob Waller and Tommy Cox for a week of instruction.

In his 23 years of coaching at West, the best performing team he had was in 1977. That wrestling season was hampered by lots of snow and extreme cold weather. School cancellations were common and it was difficult to have a wrestling practice with a full squad. Tournaments and matches were canceled or rescheduled and most wrestlers had a difficult time maintaining their weight.

To top off those problems, the state tournament was delayed a week and rescheduled to be held in Parkersburg instead of Fairmont where it was originally scheduled. Fairmont was experiencing severe water problems so the site had to be changed.

Greenbrier West took only four wrestlers to the state tournament that year. A few of the guys I can remember who did not qualify were C.E. Stroud, Johnny Walker, Keith Eagle and Charles Surbaugh.

All four of the qualifiers placed high in their respective classes. Mike Golden won the 98-pound class and Rod Stidom won the 167-pound class. Dean Jones was second at 126 pounds and Steve Lindsey was fourth at 105 pounds. Remarkably, those four wrestlers scored high enough to enable the Cavaliers a second-place finish among teams in the AA-A classification and reward Coach Harris with the AA-A Coach of the Year award.

In 2006, he also received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling honor from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

n n n

In 1977, I was the head coach at Woodrow Wilson High School and we had a respectable top 10 finish in Class AAA. Kenny Bradley was second at 119 pounds and Richard McGraw was fourth at 185 pounds for the Flying Eagles.

Also, Richwood crowned its first state wrestling champion in Steve Cvetnick at 132 pounds, and Donnie Ray won the unlimited class, giving Independence its first state champion.

One very rare occurrence took place in the tournament when Shady Spring did not score a point.  Of course, they corrected that situation later by winning state titles in 1980, 1981 and 1987.  They were runner-up in 1986.

n n n

This week a squeeze of the water bottle goes to Kim Dotson, a new wrestling fan and avid reader of this column.

Text Only
Other Sports
  • Herd staffer completes Boston Marathon

    As Travis Epling watched the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as they were unfolding, he couldn’t help feeling a connection.

    April 23, 2014

  • Beckleyan completes Boston Marathon

    Of the more than 32,000 people who ran in Monday’s Boston Marathon, 59 were from West Virginia.

    April 22, 2014

  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba VIDEO: Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • McClung moving from mound to dugout

    Seth McClung was getting his daughters Madison and Fallon inside and ready for their baths when his phone rang. He’s said before that he enjoys the role of “daddy day care.”

    April 15, 2014

  • First stop Waffle House; next stop The Greenbrier

    Bubba Watson decided to keep his post-Masters victory more low key this year. Instead of going to New York for a media tour, he headed home to Orlando, Fla., and kept plans for a five-day vacation with his wife.

    April 15, 2014