West York Wrestling
The John Reiber Family
(L-R) Mary, Ty, Angela & John Reiber
• A www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com feature... 5/30/11
I asked John Reiber, West York Wrestling Alumnus - 1977... to reflect on his days at West York, and to update the alumni on what he has been up to since his graduation.
Don Lehman, webmaster
Don – First, I would like to thank you for the great effort you have put forth in establishing and maintaining the West York Wrestling Alumni Website. It’s a great service you are doing for the alumni and the program.
Don, you asked me what the WY Wrestling program meant to me and if I could reflect upon that…and I’d be happy to. My first recollection of the WY Wrestling Program started back in the mid 1960’s when my father, who was the Scoutmaster of Troop 94 in Shiloh, would take me into the WY High School to watch some of the scouts in his program who wrestled. Wrestlers by the name of Tom and Jim Delong, Jack Kunkle, Steve Smith and Ron Emenheiser. By the late 60’s, my oldest sister, Sharon ‘70, was cheerleading for WY and we would go to the wrestling matches and watch some wrestlers by the name of Bill Luckenbaugh and John Sprenkle. At this same period of time, I was starting to play baseball for the York Baseball for Boys 8-12 program at Sunset Elementary School. As an 8 & 9 year old, my first baseball coach those two years was a young man from the Shiloh community named Mike Stambaugh. That winter, I then started to participate in the WY Elementary Wrestling program and the WY wrestler I was teamed up with was Kevin McCleary. Growing up with these experiences and being able to meet some future WY Wrestling standouts early on in my life, instilled a strong desire in me to want to become WY Wrestler and get a chance to wrestle “under the lights” in the West York Senior High Gym.
Looking back now on my experience of wrestling at West York, I just remember how much fun it was to be part of such a successful program. Granted, there were a lot of tough practices and some heart-breaking experiences along the way, but the overall experience was something that was truly wonderful and helped get me ready, and I believe all WY wrestlers ready... for the rest of our lives. I credit Coach John T. Toggas for creating that experience - as he set the tone for the WY Wrestling program early on. Not only was Coach Toggas running the program, but he was also that mentor/father figure who would talk with you about what you needed to be doing both on and off the mat to be successful. And, by now the program Coach Toggas ran was starting to give back to itself. '69 PIAA State Champion John Sprenkle had returned and was the assistant coach and he made sure we were in peak physical condition. With Coach Sprenkle, there we now had a living legacy we could see every day at practice to inspire us and some of us in the heavier weight classes were even "lucky" enough to have him as a practice partner every day. During this same time period, we were also blessed with many WY alumni who were wrestling in college and who would return and join our practice sessions over the Christmas break. Guys like Mike Stambaugh and yourself, Don... from ESSC, Kevin McCleary from F&M, Jeff Meckley from IUP, to name a few. All were championship caliber wrestlers who returned to help these WY teams mature and develop in the mid to late 70’s…and the results showed. In some ways, I have felt my senior high school years in the West York Wrestling Program were part of the golden years of West York Wrestling. We had 2 Championship Teams in my 3 year period and another Championship Team the year following my graduation. How could we not be good with such a great program created and guided by Coach JT Toggas - and that was now giving back to itself.
I’ve talked high school wrestling many times over the years with others from around the county who were familiar with my time period of wrestling at WY. They often asked what it was like to be part of the WY Wrestling program during that time period. I said in many respects for me, it was easy. We had such a talented group of wrestlers at the lighter weight classes, that until the matches got to me…as a team, we’d already won the match, so all I had to do was go out and wrestle! Guys like Rod Stough, Bob Gay, Bill Pope, Ken Shorts, Chuck Nace, Todd Reynolds, Steve Toggas, John Chiappy, Larry & Barry Gay, Bruce Stambaugh…those guys just dominated! What a great bunch of guys and teammates. This plan worked real well except for that one little match our Senior Year at Hanover...where everything was on the line for both schools, and Coach Toggas moved me to HWT. from 185lbs. to wrestle the final match. Fortunately, I only needed a tie or better in my match for the team to win the match and secure a part of the county championship, and I was able to deliver the tie and do my small part to help the team win. Not to say that Coach Toggas wasn’t a little inspirational at that last time-out for a nose bleed when I was still down by one point in my match with about 30 seconds to go in the third period!
Currently I’m a Quality Engineer for the Harley-Davidson Motor Co., where I have worked the past twelve years. My wife Mary is a buyer/planner for the Dentsply Co. in York. We have two children, both WY graduates. Our son Ty ’06 I had hoped would be another WY Wrestler. That was on track until he wrestled in the County Elementary championships in the 3rd grade and he had his arm broken while wrestling. He then took up the trumpet the next year and it served him well. After a very rewarding musical experience at WY, lead by WY Alumnus Tom Eyster, our son went to Penn State for engineering where he tried out for and made the Penn State Blue Band. This Blue Band experience took him to many great football stadiums all around the country, where on occasion my wife, daughter and I were able to join him. My daughter Angela ’09, also was in the band at WY and was also a member of the WY Field Hockey program. Angela is currently a student entering her junior year at Penn State...studying Biology and is also a member of the Blue Band. So, the past 5 years I have seen quite a bit of Penn State Football with a few more years to come.
Golf, Hunting, and riding my Harley are a few of my hobbies. I am also the Scoutmaster of Troop 94 in Shiloh where I have been active for the past 12 years. So, between following my children’s actives, my job, and my other interests, life has been rewarding and fast the past many years.
To me the West York Wrestling Program during my years at West York exemplified many key things: we had great leadership in Coach Toggas and Coach Sprenkle, great support from the WY Wrestling Booster Club, there was a great group of guys all willing to work extremely hard every practice and help each other get better, and...each time we went out on the mat, we each tried to do our best! That didn’t mean we all went undefeated individually, but it did mean as a team, we were good enough to be Champions. A formula I believe and hope we all learned from and have benefitted from in our lives since then.
Don, again Thank You...for giving me the opportunity to share my personal WY Wrestling experience and again to you for all the excellent work you do in keeping the WY Wrestling Alumni website going strong!
John Reiber '77 (you can e-mail John... firstname.lastname@example.org)
▪ 1976-77 West York Varsity Wrestling Team ▪
1976-77 West York Varsity Wrestling Team
▪ YCIAA League Wrestling Co-Champions!
Front Row (L-R) Rod Stough, Bob Gay, Bill Pope, Ken Shorts, Chuck Nace,
Todd Reynolds, Steve Toggas, Larry Gay, Barry Gay.
Back Row (L-R) Mark Harrington, Lynn Martin, Bruce Stambaugh,
Brett Spangler, Dave Stram, Bob Brown, Scott Luckenbaugh, John Reiber,
Perry Tallman, Randy Blasdell.