West York Wrestling

 

www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com

Feature Interview


Q&A with
West York Wrestling's
Justin Wilkins
▪▪▪ 1998

∙ 2008-09 West York Wrestling Coaching Staff
West York Wrestling Sr. High Coaching Staff '08-'09.
Kneeling in Front - '08-'09 Head Coach Brian Gross.
Standing
(L-R) Asst.'s Wade Ginter & Justin Wilkins
.
Photo by Kevin Drawbaugh of JK Images
 


 
West York Wrestling Alumnus '98 - Justin Wilkins Q & A.
     West York PIAA Qualifiers Governor Mifflin Tourney History West York Wrestling All-Time Team

 The Justin Wilkins Q & A



 A Foreword by Justin's WY Senior Year Coach - Chip Fissel:

 
 Chip Fissel

  "I have a lot of respect for Justin Wilkins.  Justin was the only senior on my first squad at West York ('97-'98).  At the time, the leadership role was bestowed upon him basically by default!  I am not really sure he wanted that responsibility, but over Christmas break, we had a heart-to-heart about what I expected from him and what he wanted from me.  From that point he became the perfect leader for what we named the "Great 8." 
He was always willing to give back and help others, often the first and last to leave elementary practices... and the kids loved him!  Justin was the man.  If you didn't know Justin at the time, you would have thought he was a cocky kid with no respect... as he had a swagger about him and he liked to have fun.  But, he was a very humble young man who wore his heart on his sleeve.  I will never forget watching him win his District III 3rd place match and qualifying for the PIAA State Tournament.  I have seen a lot of kids win matches, but Justin's was different.  You could tell that this is what he wanted and it was as if the world was lifted off his shoulders.  If memory serves me correctly - Justin beat Lampeter Strasburg's Josh Walker, who then wrestled at Penn State and became an assistant at UVA.  Justin rode him out with legs for the last full minute of the match - which was awesome!  That season, Justin also wrestled Doc Vecchio of Governor Mifflin (PSU All-American).  Justin had the stuff to go with all of them!  My single regret is I only had one season with Justin... who is a great kid!  I would love to have Justin Wilkins in my corner anytime!"
∙ submitted by former West York Head Wrestling Coach - Chip Fissel



WEST YORK VARSITY WRESTLING


1997-98 West York Varsity Wrestling Team
▪ Front Row (L-R) Josh Carter,
Justin Wilkins.
▪ Middle Row (L-R) Joe Bahn, Brock Mathison, Aaron Lippy, Todd Platts, Dave Lehr,
Jared Haas.
▪ Back Row (L-R) Juanita Allen, Monica Sheridan, Brad Markle, Corey Messinger,
Matt Fink, Assistant Coach Jerry Mathison, Head Coach Chip Fissel.
▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
'98 PIAA State Tournament Qualifiers - Todd Platts & Justin Wilkins.



WEST YORK VARSITY WRESTLING

Photo by Kevin Drawbaugh of JK Images
1995-96 West York Varsity Wrestling Team
1st Row (L-R) Ryan Wagaman, Jake Kotzman, Casey Brenner, Kevin Scheivert.
2nd Row (L-R) Rob Ludwig, Josh Klinedinst, Chad Luckenbaugh, Todd Platts.
3rd Row (L-R) Brandon Luckenbaugh,
Justin Wilkins, Matt Sheridan, Eric Lehman,
Jon Knotwell, Jason Chamberlain.
4th Row (L-R) Asst. Coach Jerry Mathison, Head Coach Bill Luckenbaugh,
Asst. Coach Kim Wilkins (Justin's dad).
'96  PIAA State Tournament Qualifiers - Brandon Luckenbaugh, Chad Luckenbaugh
& Eric Lehman.  (Chad Luckenbaugh placed 6th at the '96 PIAA's)




 The Justin Wilkins Bio
 
 
Justin Wilkins

  West York Wrestling's Justin Wilkins - graduated from West York in 1998...
was a 1998 PIAA State Wrestling Qualifier @ 160lbs. for Coach Chip Fissel, and had a career varsity record of 99-35 (30th on the West York winning % list).  Justin also finished 2nd at the very tough Governor Mifflin Holiday Tournament @ 171lbs. in 1997.  Justin played football at West York, where he had started as a freshman!  Justin was a 3-time District III Wrestling Championship Qualifier.  Justin's head wrestling coach from his freshman year to his junior year was Bill Luckenbaugh... with his dad, former
York Suburban Trojan standout wrestler - Kim Wilkins... as an assistant coach.

  Justin has wrestled in the York College Alumni Tourney... and also MAWA's, where he again plans to compete this year in the open class.  Since his graduation in 1998, Justin has assisted with the Elementary/Youth program and most recently, the Senior High program.  Justin has helped form the Broken Cage Wrestling Club along with Coach Brian Gross.

  Justin lives in West York along with wife Carole (who he has known since his sophomore year at West York) and has been married 10 years.  Justin and Carole have 2 amazing children... Jaidyn (5 years old) and Kaiya (8 months old).  Jaidyn has been a staple on the wrestling scene since he has been able to walk.  Jaidyn practices with the "big" kids and takes a special liking to at least one wrestler a season.  Jaidyn plans to start wrestling this year in the youth program.  Justin and Carole hope that he starts out early and takes his wrestling skills to the next level.


  Justin works for Brown's Glass (note: Bob Brown was a 3-time District Champion and 3-time PIAA State Qualifier for West York!).  Justin likes to spend his spare time with his family... and anything outdoors, along with fishing & hunting - especially waterfowl!

  I asked 1998 West York Wrestling Alumnus and assistant coach, Justin Wilkins... to complete an interview for the West York Wrestling Alumni website and fans.

Don Lehman
Don Lehman
Webmaster, Archivist & Owner of westyorkwrestlingalumni.com




 The Justin Wilkins Interview by Don Lehman
 


DL - Justin, thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me.  I know a couple of your leisure activities when you get the time are hunting & fishing.  Are you looking forward to deer season... and, which one do you prefer - hunting or fishing?  Why?
JW -
Yes, Don... I've been hunting deer with a bow since I was 14 years old!  I prefer archery over rifle season but my passion is actually waterfowl hunting.  I do this locally, but I've also ventured into waterfowl hunting in Maryland... and eventually would like to become a guide. I don't get the chance to fish as much as I used to!  I had to give something up in order to spend time with my family.
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DL - When I was in Junior High School @ West York... I knew your dad (Kim Wilkins) was a very tough wrestler @ York Suburban!  Back in those days, Junior High mat box-scores, as well as Senior High mat box-scores... were routinely printed in our local York, PA newspapers with team standings.  We all read the York papers to see the box-score results!  Also, I knew your uncle Keith Wilkins was a very good wrestler in his own right for York Suburban High School in the late sixties.  Then, we became High School wrestlers and your dad Kim was still a tough competitor.  I'll take a wild shot and say that, along with your grandfather... who was a PIAA wrestling official, wrestling ran deep in your family.  When did you realize that wrestling was in your blood due to the Wilkins family history? 
JW -
I think I was about 5 years-old when I began to wrestle.  Growing up, I remember watching videos of my Uncle Keith and my dad (Kim).  I don't remember the days of my grandfather (Pap) being a wrestling official, but I do know that wherever we'd go - he would see someone who knew or remembered him.  People still ask about my Pap when I see them.
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DL - I know you are also related to the Haas family... another great wrestling name from West York!  Was there ever competition and "ribbing" between the two families?
JW -
No, it was always a friendly atmosphere.  My dad actually ran around with West York wrestlers in his day!  As for myself, I've always been close to Jared Haas (Jim's son) and still am to this day.
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DL - Family support, in my mind, is an essential part of being successful in the tough sport of wrestling.  I don't think I was ever at a match whether it was you, your dad, your uncle, or your cousins wrestling... that I didn't see a huge Wilkins/Haas family throng in the stands!  How important was that family support while your were competing for West York?
JW -
Family support was huge for me.  My family never missed a match or football game when I played, except for when I broke my ankle during a football scrimmage against Susquenita... and neither my mom nor my wife were there!  Even when I compete today, my family still supports me - but now my kids are there for me as well.  They also support the current West York Wrestling team that is in a rebuilding process.
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DL - Justin, what do you remember from your early days at the Youth level and the Junior High level at West York?  Who were your coaches and who influenced you the most as a mat idol growing up?
JW -
Jeff Meckley ('75 PIAA runner-up) was my West York Junior High coach... and he was probably one of my biggest influences.  As for mat idols, I would have to say it was Jeff Wolfe.  During my 8th-9th grade years at West York, he would pick me up to drill, run and lift weights.  Jeff Wolfe really helped me become the wrestler that I was.  Thanks Jeff Wolfe!
                                                                            ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - During your freshman through junior years at West York, Bill Luckenbaugh was your head coach, along with assistants Jerry Mathison and your dad, Kim Wilkins.  What was it like to be coached by West York's most successful wrestler?  And, being coached by your dad?
JW -
Wrestling under Coach Bill Luckenbaugh was an experience!  He taught us a lot of great techniques... but, I just wish he had been more intense with our practices.  We played a lot of wall ball!!  As far as being coached by my dad (Kim), it was very nice because he was right there to support me (but he never really said much).  He left it to Coach Luckenbaugh and Coach Mathison.  I think I'll be the same way with my son, Jaidyn.
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DL - Then, your senior year brought a new coach, Chip Fissel.  Was that coaching transition tough for you?  What were the differences in practices and coaching styles between Coach Luckenbaugh and Coach Fissel?  What did Coach Fissel mean to you?
JW -
The transition was smooth.  It was definitely an adjustment with a lot more drilling and conditioning with Coach Fissel.  We had our differences throughout my senior season, but overall - I thoroughly enjoyed his coaching style.
                                                                            ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - You secured 99 wins in your career at West York... a 2nd place finish at the Governor Mifflin Tourney, a 3rd place District III Championship finish - and a spot in the 1998 PIAA State Wrestling Championships.  Coach Fissel mentions (above) that your District III 3rd place match with Lampeter Strasburg's Josh Walker was one of his most memorable matches in 1998.  What was it like to win that match and secure, along with Todd Platts, a spot at the state tournament?  And, what was it like to wrestle at the PIAA's?
JW -
It was an unforgettable moment... not only because I knew that I was headed to the state tournament in Chocolate Town (Hershey) but, because... just prior to that match my Uncle Keith promised me a trip to Montana if I won!  That particular match was 0-0 going into the 3rd period and I was on top.  I turned him with something like 15 seconds left and won 2-0.  It was by far one of my most memorable wrestling moments.  As for the '98 PIAA State Tournament, I didn't quite get the draw that I had hoped for.  I hit 1999 PIAA AA state champ - Mike Greenberg from Canton, for my first match (Greenberg was 4th in '98).  Had they given out medals for the top 8, (like they do now) I would have gotten a prized medal at states in 1998.
                                                                            ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - You also played football at West York.  What are your thoughts on a common trend these days to become a "one-sport" athlete and train year-round for that one sport?
JW -
I think if your goal is to become a standout in your sport, you have to focus solely on that sport.  If I had to do it all over again, I would wrestle year-round.
                                                                            ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Justin, what did you do in the off-season to train for your sport activities at West York?  Is there something you wish you would have added or done differently back in the day?
JW -
During the off-season... I would train by running and lifting weights, wrestling in tournaments and attending wrestling camps.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have wrestled a lot more freestyle and greco-roman tournaments.
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DL - What is the most difficult part of being a wrestler these days?  And, was there something you didn't like to do during your wrestling days?  Conversely, what did you like most about the sport back in the late nineties?
JW -
The most difficult part about wrestling these days is "still" the self-discipline it takes to be a successful wrestler.  It takes a lot of hard work and tears of pain.  Some kids don't realize what it takes to be a wrestler and they end up quitting - just when it starts to get tough.  There wasn't really anything that I didn't like about the sport and practices during my days as a wrestler at West York.  What I really did enjoy was meeting and making new friends in the wrestling circuit from other schools.  I guess you could say that something I wasn't real fond of was when I'd have to wrestle one of those friends!
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DL - It seems like you have been volunteering your time to the West York Wrestling program for years!  What drives you to be a coach and a mentor to young athletes these days?
JW -
I started out by volunteering at West York with the elementary kids.  I wanted to help try and make a difference at the youngest level in order to help build up our program.  I started helping out with the Senior High kids the year that Coach Brian Gross started.  I do this (volunteer coach) because I just enjoy helping the kids to become not only better wrestlers, but better people in general.  I can only hope that I can continue with this program while my son, Jaidyn, comes up through the ranks.
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DL - How does the West York Wrestling Team look this year?
JW -
It's going to be another rebuilding season... but, we've got a lot of potential for more wins than we've had over the past few years.  The kids have worked really hard in this off- season and hopefully it will pay off for them.
                                                                            ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - It sounds like you are getting your son, Jaidyn, off to an early start with the sport of wrestling!  Is there such a thing as "too early" to start this very tough sport?
JW -
Some people may think that starting too early may be detrimental.  My son (Jaidyn) has been going to wrestling matches before he could walk!  Even at that young age, he would sit attentively and watch.  He's gone with me to regular season practices as well as to open mat and Broken Cage Club practices... and his all-time wrestling hero is Billy Randt (which he blurts out as one word!!).  Jaidyn has started wrestling this year and at first was nervous because he "didn't know the moves."  After explaining to him that he would learn the moves by going to practice, he wanted to try.  Now, he always asks when it's time to go to practice again!  Neither my wife Carole or I would ever force him into any sport - but, we do encourage him to at least give it a try!
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DL - I just saw your dad (Kim) a month or so ago - and I always ask... "How is your dad doing?"  Your Grandpa Wilkins was such a staple part of the local wrestling scene and I don't see him as much as I would like to.  And, when I do see him, he always asks how my sons Eric and Todd are doing by name?  How is Grandpa Wilkins doing?
JW -
My Pap is getting old and has suffered a few set backs with strokes over the past few years.  He was always supportive of me in my day and I know that he would love to still come and watch, but things just aren't as easy for him as they used to be.  It is difficult for him to get around and it just keeps getting harder.  He was just recently hospitalized, but he always seems to bounce back.  He's a tough one!!
note:  We all pray and hope that "Pap" Wilkins gets better!
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DL - Justin, I want to thank you for sharing some great memories with the westyorkwrestlingalumni.com website readers!
JW - Don, thank you for this opportunity!


You can e-mail Don Lehman HERE!
__________________________________________________

WEST YORK WRESTLING YOUTH CLINIC 2010

∙ Coach Justin Wilkins (red shorts) teaching a "double-leg"
takedown.
__________________________________________________

Justin Wilkins is listed on an all-time WY team...
West York Wrestling Alumni.com All-Time Wrestling Team

__________________________________________________


The West York Wrestling
Governor Mifflin Tourney "Wall of Fame"
J. Wilkins - 2nd & 3rd.
__________________________________________________

Justin's "Uncle Keith Wilkins" - wins '68 Section Title!

1968 YCIAA Sectional Champions
▪ Front (L-R) Charles Vaughn (York High), John Rabenstein (York Suburban),
Larry Haas (West York), Bill Luckenbaugh (West York).
▪ Middle (L-R) Bob Gardner (York Suburban, Joe Knoch (York Suburban), Don May (Eastern).
▪ Back (L-R) Bill Thomas (York High), Glen Eby (West York), Hank Claiborne (York High),
Keith Wilkins (York Suburban), John Sprenkle (West York).   ∙ LARGER '68 PHOTO PAGE
__________________________________________________


1971 - Kim Wilkins (Justin's dad) - @ York Suburban High School...
@ (154lbs.) - '71 YCIAA Sectional runner-up to Spring Grove's Dave Bowersox.
▪ View the... '71 York Sunday News Article
by Larry A. Hicks
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PIAA State Finals '38-'73   PIAA State Finals '74-'10 A/AAA   PIAA State Finals '74-'10 B/AA
__________________________________________________

Other Archived Q & A Interviews by Don Lehman:
Billy Randt, Rod Stough, Jeff Wolfe, Keith "KRW" Warehime, Randy Blasdell,
David Maday & Jason Abel Turnbull, Mary Jane & John T. Toggas, Jon Trenge,
Wilmer Pressel, Dr. Bill Welker, Mike Stambaugh, Todd Reynolds, Gary Narber,
Fred & Matt Callahan, K.C. McCleary
, Brian Kuntz, Dr. Perry Tallman, Charlie Jacobs...
& more
!
 



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FROM THE WEBMASTER - DON LEHMAN!

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