1962 Northern Virginia Tournament aka Regions

Here’s a look back at the 1962 Northern Virginia tournament and it looks like it was a real barn-burner!

This was the 2nd ever “regional” tournament that qualified wrestlers to the state tournament.  The Arlington schools were the dominant teams in the area – Wakefield, Washington-Lee, and Yorktown, but going into this meet upstart Annandale was thought to have a chance to take the crown.  In all, there were 13 teams represented.

The championship came down to the last two weight classes of the tournament, 175lbs and HWT.  Wakefield had the lead and two W-L wrestlers would both have to pin to capture the team title.

As the article below states, in the short history of the tournament, there had never been even one pin in a championship bout.

1962 Northern Region 1 1962 Northern Region 2

Jim Spicer was up first in a head to head matchup against defending champion Tom Lamone of Wakefield.  An upset pin in the 2nd period, put the team race in a tie, going into the final match.

W-L’s defending champion Brian O’Donnell faced Tony Bennett (3rd in the state) of James Madison and pinned him in the second period to give W-L the go-ahead point to win the team title.

There are many other great and familiar names that were part of this event.  Vic Blue, the legendary Wakefield coach and Sherman Vandevender, Sr. the WL coach, among many others.

Coach Vandevender is part of the Granby dynasty and was a 3x state champ in 52, 53 and 54.  He’s also the father of some Robinson standouts in the early 80s including state placer, Sherman Jr. and state champ, Greg Vandevender.

One of the coach’s wrestlers, Larry Grove, produced another two generations of wrestlers at Yorktown.

Paul Wellstone went on to be a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, and the list goes on.

From father to son and generation to generation, wrestling makes champions in life.  Let’s keep it going.

Thank you Dick Rickbeil (McLean’s 1st state champ) for the article from the Northern Virginia Sun.

1962 Northern Virginia Tournament Results

Year Weight Region State First Name Last Name School
1962 95 1st 4th Dick Bowen J.E.B. Stuart
1962 95 2nd Bill Compton McLean
1962 95 3rd Bob Hetzer Washington-Lee
1962 95 4th Frank Wasuta Mount Vernon
1962 103 1st 3rd Paul Wellstone Yorktown
1962 103 2nd Mark Mugaas Annandale
1962 103 3rd 4th Neil Fink Wakefield
1962 103 4th John Shreves Fairfax
1962 112 1st 2nd Dicky Rickbeil McLean
1962 112 2nd 3rd Jeff Lipsey Washington-Lee
1962 112 3rd Donald Smith Annandale
1962 112 4th Bill Sunda Yorktown
1962 120 1st 1st John Soukey Mount Vernon
1962 120 2nd Clayton Takagi Wakefield
1962 120 3rd Don Ruths Annandale
1962 120 4th Jage Groveton
1962 127 1st Jerry Callahan Falls Church
1962 127 2nd Toshihiko Nobe R.E. Lee – Spr
1962 127 3rd 4th Dan Price Annandale
1962 127 4th John Eisenhart Washington-Lee
1962 133 1st Gary Misenheimer Groveton
1962 133 2nd Bruce Blatz Falls Church
1962 133 3rd Bud Reynolds Yorktown
1962 133 4th 3rd Tom Lamanna Washington-Lee
1962 138 1st Neil Smith Yorktown
1962 138 2nd Tom Swan Annandale
1962 138 3rd Keith Douglass Wakefield
1962 138 4th Larry Grove Washington-Lee
1962 145 1st 1st Vahan Khoyan Washington-Lee
1962 145 2nd 4th Michael McKelvie Mount Vernon
1962 145 3rd Ron Eld J.E.B. Stuart
1962 145 4th Karl Veit Wakefield
1962 154 1st 1st Jim Jenkins Mount Vernon
1962 154 2nd Robert Jacobs Groveton
1962 154 3rd 2nd Mike Chapman Wakefield
1962 154 4th Jerry Mullins Annandale
1962 165 1st 1st Bill Darnall Wakefield
1962 165 2nd Ronnie Coburn Yorktown
1962 165 3rd 2nd Dan Jones Annandale
1962 165 4th Ron Tankersley Fairfax
1962 175 1st 1st Jim Spicer Washington-Lee
1962 175 2nd Tom Lamone Wakefield
1962 175 3rd 2nd Bob White Fairfax
1962 175 4th Francis Oxley J.E.B. Stuart
1962 HWT 1st Brian O’Donnell Washington-Lee
1962 HWT 2nd 3rd Tony Bennett James Madison
1962 HWT 3rd Steve Sears Annandale
1962 HWT 4th Ned Garber Wakefield

Team Placement

Region School Points Coach
1st Washington-Lee 79 Sherman Vandevender
2nd Wakefield 78 Vic Blue
3rd Annandale 67
4th Yorktown 57 Chuck Harris
5th Mount Vernon 51
6th Falls Church 34 Charles Sherwood
7th Groveton 30
8th McLean 27
9th Fairfax 22
10th J.E.B. Stuart 21
11th James Madison 17
12th R.E. Lee – Spr 9
13th Osbourn 5

If you have updates or history on any of these wrestlers or coaches, please add it in the comments section.  I’m particularly looking for the first name of Jage from Groveton High School.

25th Anniversary and History of the NOVA Classic

This weekend marked the 25th anniversary of northern Virginia’s best seasonal wrestling event – the Northern Region Classic aka the NOVA Classic.  At the helm of it all is Dick Adams, longtime Annandale wrestling coach, football coach, Athletic Director and everything else that involves getting kids moving in the right direction.  Coach Adams is again serving as the Tournament Director of this great event.
Continue reading

Updates to History of Virginia Wrestling

As illustrated by the recent near-loss of wrestling in the Olympics, our beloved sport is under attack and has been for a long, long, long time.

I know that coaches sacrifice everything to keep the sport alive and work hard to get more kids, parents, fans, and supporters involved and to buy into to what you are doing.

Then we need to run this sport like a real sport.  To start we need a complete and verified record of all those that have gone before us and celebrate and build on what they have accomplished.  They should be the biggest advocates and supporters of wrestling and your programs.

We are committed to establishing this record.  We published the first edition of the results from all the AAA state tournaments, from 1949-2012 last February.  Here’s a link to a document with the updates we have made to that record since then – History of Virginia Wrestling AAA Updates 2013.  It includes the following:

  • Added first names for many wrestlers, especially the early years
  • Corrected spelling of last names
  • Added 5th and 6th placewinners from the 1976 state tournament
  • Corrected names and places of placewinners for 126lb weight class for 1977
  • Removed some names due to DQ
  • Corrected a few school names
  • Added results from the 2013 state championship

We have updates to the team finishes as well, but will post that separately.  There are still questions to be answered:

  1. What the heck is the “Unclassifed” state tournament?
  2. Where are the results for AA, A, Unclassified and private schools?
  3. Is every name, school, and place complete and verified?

Folks, we are knee-deep in answering these questions, but simply put, WE WILL NOT GET THERE WITHOUT YOU.  We need more data to work with – brackets, programs, newspaper clippings, etc.

To get this done, we ask you to please do the following:

  1. Like us on facebook – this will help us share data and communicate updates
  2. Look for the records that you have and send them to us info@vachamps.com
  3. Find your alumni and former coaches and ask them to do the above

Thank you for everything you do for the kids.  You are building champions in life!

In Search of Bobby Burnette, Dan River and the 1960 Virginia State Wrestling Tournament

If you recall, we put out an All-Points-Bulletin for one Bobby Burnette, the 165lb 4th placewinner from 1960.  The school listed in the official records was “DR”.  However, none of the schools listed as attending the tournament had the initials DR and Deep Run was not a Virginia high school until 2002.

So we started searching through the yearbooks with Douglas Freeman (DF) being the obvious choice – a simple typo.  Alas, he wasn’t in any of their yearbooks.  So we went through the yearbooks of ALL the OTHER schools and again – no Bobby Burnette. Continue reading

The History of Virginia Wrestling Weight Classes

One of the things that makes it hard to follow wrestling are the different weight classes – no other high school sport has them and they change from time to time and are different in youth, middle, high school and college and in international competition the weights are in kilograms not pounds.  Even just the idea of “making weight” is foreign and unappealing to many kids. Continue reading

Virginia Wrestling and the Miami Dolphins

Football goes hand in glove with wrestling.  The techniques learned in wrestling are directly transferable to football – like handfighting to get your opponent out of position or lowering your level and penetrating for a takedown or tackle.  Even more important is learning responsibility.  In football everyone has an assignment, plays work when people handle their assignment.  Responsibility is a core tenet of wrestling, because it’s just you against someone else.  The work you do will show up in your match and the work you don’t do will show up in your match and that is in no one else’s control but your own. Continue reading

1996 VA AAA Team Results


I double checked my sources on the 1996 team results and have a correction to report.  The way our wrestling history has been recorded, some kind soul posts results on the web and there they sit for years… and become FACT.  Well, in this case I should have compared it to the VHSL record, because they at least report the top two teams (though points for 2nd place are not correct). Our mission is to gather, report, and verify a complete record of the history of Virginia wrestling.

So to set the record straight, here’s the full list of team finishes – from 1st to 71st for AAA in 1996 – with thanks to Mike Johnson. Continue reading