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Feature Wrestler Interview

STEVE ELICKER


GametimePA

3/7/15 Matt Goul Article mentioning Steve Elicker of South Western



Q&A Interview with

South Western High School
East
Stroudsburg University
Wrestler - Alumnus
STEVE ELICKER




AAA

 
'89 DIII SC CLASS AAA Front (L-R) Troy Longenecker (G. Mifflin), Mark Eckenrode (Dover),
Scott Forry (Spring Grove), Joey Wildasin (South Western), Brian Willoughby (Red Land),
Jeff Witmer (Garden Spot).
Back Row
(L-R) Tom Stallings (McCaskey), Chad Pines (Cedar Cliff), Jeff Martin (Warwick),
▪Steve Elicker (South Western HS 160lbs.),
Terry Naugle (Juniata), Tac Thomas (Red Lion),
Jeff Hollenbush (Lower Dauphin).

 


                                                                                           

    Steve Elicker @ South Western High School

   ▪ 1989 PIAA State AAA Wrestling - 4th Place (160lbs.).
   ▪ 2-time PIAA State AAA Wrestling Qualifier ('88/'89).
   ▪ 1988 YCIAA Sectional AAA Champion.

   ▪ 1989 YCIAA Sectional AAA Champion.
   ▪ 1988
District III SC AAA Regional Champion.
   ▪ 198
9 District III SC AAA Regional Champion.

   ▪   All-Star Wrestling Team ('88-'89)
.
   ▪ 1989
YCIAA Officials All-Star Wrestling Match.
   ▪ 1989 District III AAA vs. AA All-Star Match.
   ▪ South Western HS Varsity Football Letterman.
 


Wrestling
 


                                                                                        
 

                                                                                            
                             NCAA DI WRESTLING
   Steve Elicker @ East Stroudsburg University

   ▪ Overall 4-Year ESU Varsity Mat Career Record (94-38).
   ESU 4-Year Letterman ('90, '91, '93, '94).
   ▪ 2-time NCAA Academic DI All-American.
   ▪ 2-time ESU Outstanding Wrestler of the Year.

   1993 East Stroudsburg ESU Open Tourney Runner-up.
   ▪ 1994 NCAA DI Wrestling Championship Qualifier. (167lbs.)
        Steve lost to Brett Colombini of Minnesota in the 1st round of the
1994 NCAA's
          by a 7-3 decision.  Colombini went on to finish 6th.

   ▪ 1994 EIWA 2nd Place & 1993 EIWA 5th Place Finishes.
   ▪ '94 PSAC 2nd - '93 PSAC 3rd - '91 PSAC 3rd. (Wrestling)
                    ▪ Steve Elicker also handed Olympic Gold Medalist - Brandon Slay,
 
                     one of his only 2 dual meet losses in the EIWA Mat League.
                      Brandon Slay's other EIWA loss was to Lehigh's
Rick Hepp!


                                             
 


                                                                                                        
                  
 1988 PIAA District III AAA Wrestling Championships

                                                   
                                   (L-R)  South Western's Frank Lecrone (138lbs-3rd), Joey Wildasin (119lbs-1st),
                         
       Steve Elicker (145lbs-1st) with West York's Don Lehman (Steve Elicker's cousin).


                                                                                                        

                  
 1988 PIAA District III AAA Wrestling Championships

                                                                               
                             ▪ Steve Elicker (right) - 1988 District III Champion w/dad, Bob Elicker (left).
 

      


Steve Elicker Interview by Don Lehman
                                                              
                                  WRESTLING

Mark Bowersox
 
A FOREWORD...
by Mark Bowersox
 by former South Western Head Coach, Mark Bowersox:
   "Steve Elicker wrestled in the South Western program from 7th grade through 12th grade
and graduated in the class of 1989.  Steve, along with co-captain Frank Lecrone, led the SW
"Mustangs" to their first Y.C.I.A.A. Championship in the school's history!  As a wrestling coach,
I learned about the importance of peer team leadership and how it affects the standards of
excellence in the underclassmen from Frank and Steve.  Besides his leadership abilities, Steve
was a true competitor and student of the sport and "art" of wrestling.  He was never satisfied with
anything less than excellence in the wrestling room.  He trained, drilled and scrimmaged with the
same intensity he displayed in his matches.  Steve was a multiple Y.C.I.A.A. Sectional Champion,
2-time District III SC Champion and placed 4th at the 1989 PIAA State Championships @ 160lbs.
I consider Steve Elicker to be amongst the best "all around" wrestlers I've ever coached."
∙ sent by Mark Bowersox, Global Perspectives Teacher - Emory H. Markle Intermediate School.




Gary Kessel...TheMat.com photo by Larry Slater
 ▪ 2009 NCAA DI Wrestling Championship 197lb. Finals...above photo.
 ESSC/ESU '77 Alumnus & NCAA Official - Gary Kessel (right - raises Iowa State's Jake Varner's hand).

 
A FOREWORD...
by Gary Kessel ESU '77
 by former East Stroudsburg University Asst. Coach, Gary Kessel:

 (Gary Kessel - is a NCAA Wrestling Official, a former 2-time PSAC Champion, an EIWA Champion,
 and a runner-up @ the 1975 NCAA DII's.)
  Gary sent this message as he was in a break at the
 2012 NCAA DIII's in La Crosse, Wisconsin... and will officiate at the 2012 DI's in St. Louis, MO.

   "Don, I remember when you brought Steve up to East Stroudsburg University in 1989 for
a visit, and Steve put on his practice gear and rolled around with us.  Steve caught me in a cradle
and put me on my back... that's when I knew he was going to be good and it caught my attention!
I knew Steve was going to be special and was thrilled he was going to wrestle for us at ESU.
What I remember most about Steve after his enrollment at ESU, was what a hard-worker
he
was, and also, what a great person he was.  Steve was a low-key type of person and led by example.
Steve was again, a hard worker... and one of the better captains we have had here at ESU!"
∙ sent by Gary Kessel ESSC/ESU '77 - co-owner of GAK Construction, East Stroudsburg, PA.




∙ 2011 - Steve Elicker with his mom... Bonnie.



Steve Elicker... graduated from South Western High School in 1989... and East Stroudsburg
University in 1994.


Steve Elicker is President of SRE Building Associates in Vail, Colorado.
SRE Website - (970) 376-1536




∙ 2011 - Steve Elicker with wife, Shannon.



The Steve Elicker Interview... by Don Lehman

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


   "DL" - Interviewer Don Lehman with... "SE" - Steve Elicker.

DL - Thanks, Steve... for agreeing to do an interview with me!  First, how are things in Colorado and how is
your business doing?  And... congratulations on your marriage to Shannon!
SE -
Thank you for having me.  Things are great in Colorado!  I moved to Vail, Colorado in the fall of 1994 following my graduation from ESU.  My plan was to move to Colorado for a year to ski and then move back
to York County & pursue a career in teaching and coaching.  I didnít think I would like it as much as I did
and here I am - 18 years later.  I did the ski bum thing for 4 years before starting my construction business
in '98, after working construction in the summers since I was 15.  I have been steadily growing my company since and we just had our 2 best years in 2010 and 2011.  Socially, I was enjoying my bachelor life until this beautiful woman from Denver popped into m
y life.  That was 4 years ago and we have been enjoying our life together in Vail ever since!  We are expecting our first child in July.  A boy, that we have decided to name Clay... in honor of my grandfather who was a big wrestling fan.
"Colorado" - STEPHEN STILLS
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - When did you start wrestling... and, why did you choose the sport?  Who were your early mentors
and influences when you started the sport of wrestling?
SE -
I didnít start my wrestling career as early as many of my South Western teammates.  In fact, with the urging of my Mom, I joined our YMCA program in the 4th grade and wrestled for a year before moving on to play basketball for 2 years.  I then decided to get back into wrestling my 7th grade year.  Basketball just wasnít my thing... and I needed more of a challenge.

To be honest, my Mom was the biggest influence in those early years.  Without her, I may be a retired NBA star.  I think you and Ron had a big part in her decision to start me in wrestling.  After I got the start... I remember you being a person I always looked up to in the sport.  You were always involved in some degree throughout my career.  Thanks Mom and Don!
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - I know you always talked about football being a huge part of your days at South Western.  What did
the sport of football mean to you, and... how did you fit football into your schedule while training
for wrestling?
SE -
I loved to play football for the Mustangs!  It was really a great process to start in elementary football wearing my Baresville Jersey, with pride, to the Friday night high school games and then coming full circle to play under the lights in front of the fans and all those SW Mustang prodigies.

For right or wrong, I separated the seasons and enjoyed each while in the moment.  This is why I almost didnít go out for football my senior season.  After winning the Regional title my junior year and stepping on the floor at Hershey - going a disappointing 0-2, I was determined to become a State Champ.  My opponent, Jeff Martin, (Regional finals match) ended up 2nd in the state that year so I figured I was on the right track.  However to reach this goal, I decided to forgo my senior year of football to train for wrestling full time.  After hearing about this, our legendary coach Don Seidenstricker, pulled me aside to talk about my decision.

He convinced me that I should not throw away the 8 years of hard work I put into football for what should
be the high point of my career.  He was right!  We only ended up 5-5-1 that year, but it was as memorable
as any title I took in wrestling.  Maybe I could have beat Hopkins in the semi's, and met NA's Ray Brinzer

in the finals that year...if I would have trained for wrestling all year.  I will never know, but one thing
I am sure about is that I had a story book senior year because I was involved in both wrestling and
football.
  I donít think I ever thanked Coach Seidenstricker for that, so if anyone reading this knows Don...
tell him Steve says - Thanks!

note: SW Football Coach Don Seidenstricker is an ESU Alumnus!

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Did you experience any success at the elementary level and junior high level per your early days of
wrestling at South Western?  Do you remember your first trophy or medal?
SE -
That first year in wrestling I remember winning several awards.  Later in life, I now realize what motivated me in those early years.  I was motivated to try and win as many tangible awards as I could get my hands on whether it be ribbons, medals, trophies or even paper awards.  I look back on those days and realize I wasnít much different than my dog.  Dangle a treat in front of me and I would respond.  Maybe I should let my wife in on this secret!
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Your high school years at South Western High School... saw some huge successes and great times!
What did Mark Bowersox, your head coach at South Western, mean to you and the team as you won YCIAA
Championships and experienced multiple successes in the post-season?
SE -
Mark was not only a great coach, but was an even better person.  You could ask Markís family or ask
any of the many students that were lucky enough to have him as a teacher...or, someone he coached what qualities they saw in Mark.  I am sure you would get many different answers, but I would be surprised if anyone would have one negative thing to say about Mark Bowersox.  For me, the quality that stood out the most was that he simply cared.  It didnít matter if you were JV or Varsity, he wanted to see each kid get better.  After being in many wrestling rooms over the years, I have learned that not all coaches feel comfortable bringing in outside coaches and individuals to help.  Mark realized that he had a lot of talent in his wrestling room and he needed to bring in help from different places to bring out the best in all of us.  I know for a fact that I would not have been the wrestler that I was if Mark didnít bring in the likes of Don Lehman, Bruce and Pete Riley, Jack Day, Dean Geiman and many others.  I even remember he was all for
me working with Tom Toggas after we finished Sectionals and began getting ready for Regionals and
States.  In wrestling, we all have our strengths and weaknesses and things that work for us and things that donít.  Not everyone is good at a high crotch or tilts.  The more qualified people - that can show different
types of moves, the more the kids can pick and choose what works for them.  There are a lot of coaches out there that need to put their egos aside and sometimes let others teach...for the betterment of their kids.  Personally,
I am grateful that Mark realized this.  Thanks Mark!
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Can you tell us a story or two about some memories either in the wrestling room, or on a trip to a
school or tournament that stands out?  I ask this because I know your mat team had fun off the mat before
getting serious on the mat!
SE -
As I read this question, I have a huge grin on my face.  Do I have stories??  I could write a book on the stories I have.  If any past teammates are reading this - your secrets are still safe with me, except one.
Sorry Brandon!  We gave our 103lb'er, Brandon Wingert, a hard time his sophomore year.  I know
Brandon is still mad at us for those types of jokes, but I feel it made him a tougher wrestler in the end.  He ended up capturing 3rd at the í91 PIAA State Tournament and went on the wrestle Division I at Franklin & Marshall.  We were a pretty confident bunch during the '89 dual meet season.  I forget the team we were
wrestling that night, but as most of you know, you had to walk into our gym and next to our mat to get into
the visitor's locker room.  We used about 20 roles of mat tape to tape Brandon, spread eagle, to the corner
of the mat closest to the visitor's locker room.  I wish I would have had a video camera filming the visiting team walking past Brandon into their locker room!  Some didn't know if they should look, some couldnít help but to stare, some I think wanted to help him!  Whoever it was, I am sure that Brandon probably beat the snot out of their 103lb'er as he managed to do on most occasions.  We followed that one up on another
night by hanging him from the basketball rim with mat straps...as another visiting team walked on by.
Brandon wasnít the only one that got it, even the "greats"...such as Joey Wildasin and Scott Weismantle
werenít safe from some of our antics.  We even got Coach Bowersox on several occasions!

We did have a loose way with how we went about our business.   Coach Bowersox trusted Frank Lecrone
and I to handle the many different personalities we had in our own manor.  We knew when to have fun and when we needed to get serious.  It seemed to work for the most part, except when Weismantle got kicked
off the team in í89...which could have possibly cost us a Regional crown and a top 5 place at States.

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - What did you do in the off-season to prepare for wrestling?  Did you go to camps, and if you did, what
did you take from that camp that helped you when the season came around?
SE -
I was very fortunate that my Dad was able to send me to Dan Gable's camp at the University of Iowa during the summers of 1986 and 1987.  Both summers - I did the 2-week intensive camp.  As we all know at that time - Iowa was the Mecca of the wrestling universe.  I think Gable was going for his record setting
12th title.  It gave me a lot of confidence just being in that environment with all the college wrestlers and wrestling kids from all over the country.  As a camp,  we even went over to Dan Gable's house for a cook-out one night.  I thought I was cool coming back to PA listening to kids and parents talk about Dan Gable...and I could tell them "Oh Dan, yeah...I ate dinner at his house this summer!"   Thanks Dad!

One piece of information that may be interesting to the readers is the impact that Joey Wildasin had at
those camps.  Back then, I donít remember national rankings and there wasn't an internet that people could go on to and check who the best high school wrestlers were.  I think Wildasin was in 8th grade the first year we went out.  Even in 8th grade, all the Iowa wrestlers, including some big names, took notice to this 8th grade stud tearing up on some of the best high school wrestlers in the country!  The 2nd year we went...
Joey Wildasin definitely got special treatment and attention from all the coaches and counselors.

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - What was your favorite move in wrestling... (in high school), and was that move an integral part of
your college days at East Stroudsburg University?  Why?
SE -
If you ever watched me wrestle in high school, you know I relied way too much on mat wrestling.  I
could ride legs and throw a cradle from the stands if I needed to.  This is what greatly hampered my ability
to make any kind of run at a State medal my junior year.  I realized this, and with the help of my coaches, I worked on developing a low single leg that helped me greatly my senior year @ South Western.

When I began wrestling at the Division I level, it was obvious to me that if I didnít develop my stand-up
game, I might as well go back to my early years in basketball.  Not wanting to regress in my athletic career,
I began to work with my new coaching staff on the "neutral" position.  I still had some success riding opponents, for riding time...but, back points were always tough to come by.

I analyze things much more these days and the one aspect of my style that I wish I would have capitalized on more was on the defensive side of things.  I always felt I needed to rush things.  I wish I would have looked to score more off of other people's bad shots.  Especially - in high school.  Watch a match sometime and count how many bad shots are taken, you would be surprised!  One of the greatest overlooked tools in wrestling... is a good solid stance that you can stay with the entire match, even when you get tired.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - You had great teams at South Western... with teammates like Joey Wildasin, Frank Lecrone, Scott
Weismantle, Jim Novak, Matt Hladio, Doug Seidenstricker, and others... what team was the toughest you
faced in those championship years in the late eighties?  What loss stands out as a team in those days?
SE -
That 89í team was really tough.  I know you and I have discussed that it has to be in the conversation with some of the best teams to come out of York County.  It was unfortunate that we never had a State
team tournament like they have now.  I truly believe we could have competed for a State crown that year.  North Allegheny would have been tough to beat that year.  I think we went 16-1 that year with our only loss at the hands of Manheim Central.  I donít like to make excuses for anything in life, but I am going to make an exception on this one.  It was early in the year and we had to travel 2.5 hours to Susquenita in the middle of the week and we didnít have our full squad.  Plus, Lecrone lost, which didnít happen often.  I use his loss as a gauge for how the team did.  Everyone was flat including myself.  That is one instance, as a captain, I should have taken everyone aside and slapped them around a little and pumped some life into them.  All in all, we had a great year as a dual meet team.  That was the year we knocked off Dallastown to end their National record dual meet win streak at 90-something.  We beat them a 2nd time to win the league title.  Not only did we beat them, but we dominated them. 
I think the only 2 matches we lost were myself and Joe Geiman.  That shows what type of team we had and that we were peaking at the right time.
We won Sectionals,
then had a tough DIII Regional tournament.

We lost Frank Lecrone to a huge upset in the 1st round and we never had Weismantle due to a suspension.  At that time, you couldnít wrestle-back if you lost in the 1st round.  Frank was a returning State qualifier and was ranked in the top-3 in States at the time.  Because of his loss and another huge upset in my weight class - John Klingaman from Dallastown - upsetting the returning state runner-up Troy Minnich from
Ephrata in
the first round as well...I later heard a rumor that these two matches had an effect on the PIAA's
decision to make it a double-elimination tournament.   I am sure we still finished in the top 5, but probably could have made a run at the title if several things would
have went our way.

The sophomore class really gave us a boost.  Most of them came out of the feeder-program from Westminster, MD... ran by Jack Day.  We had seniors on our team that never had a chance to wrestle
varsity that would have started on most teams in the county.  Two of these seniors, Gabe Laurence and
Tony
Meckley...became great work-out partners for Lecrone, Geiman, and myself.  Most seniors wouldn't
have
stuck around if they weren't on the Varsity team, but these guys exemplified the type of character we had on that team.  I think we had 8 different State qualifiers on that team, 5 State-placers and had the
talent to have several more of both. 
I donít think we had a wrestler on that team with a losing record.  You forgot one important name on that list, Brandon Wingert.  Thanks to all my South Western teammates for
the great memories!
!
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Talk about Joey Wildasin, who spent a lot of time at my Aunt Bonnie's household while you were at
South Western.  What can you tell us about Joey's commitment to training and winning, and what did you
learn from being around a 3-time PIAA AAA State Wrestling Champion (132-1 career record)?
SE -
Joey and I spent a lot of time together my last 2 years of high school.  He was an intense competitor! Most people thought he was cocky, but actually...he was somewhat shy and always respected his opponents.  Wildasin was a winner and I believe winning is contagious.  I think he brought a winning attitude to me as well as the rest of our team.

It is a shame that he never finished his college career.  I never got to see him wrestle after high school.  He already wrestled like a Division I wrestler as a high-school'er!  I know he had the talent to be a multiple national champ, if he would have made some different school choices.  I am glad Joey finished college and
is doing well for himself.

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - You were a 2-time PIAA State AAA Qualifier in "88 & '89", and as a senior, made it to the 160lb. semi-
finals, only to lose a close 1-point decision to Greg Hopkins of Waynesburg.  Then, you lost to Rob Harris of
Abington Heights for 3rd/4th place in a not-so-close... 11-3 decision.  What did you experience in that
semi-final PIAA loss that you still think about?  If you had another shot at that match... can you pick out an
area that you could have improved on?
(note: Ray Brinzer, N. Allegheny won the '89 PIAA title 4-2 over Hopkins)
SE -
I really wanted to be a PIAA champ and was upset that I lost that semi-finals match.  To be honest, I
donít remember much about that match.  I remember being deep on a high-crotch with time running out
but I could not finish.  I donít know if you know this, but I lost to Hopkins earlier in the year at the
California,
PA Holiday Christmas Tournament.
 I would love to see a tape of our PIAA AAA '89 semi-finals match.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - You chose East Stroudsburg University as a school for a degree, and... to wrestle for at the NCAA
Division One level.  Why did you choose ESU and what was that initial season like in the wrestling room and
the actual dual meet and tourney clashes?  Did you ever think about giving it up?
SE -
I chose ESU for 3 reasons.  First, because you went there and you took me there on my first visit.  The second is ESU had just finished in the Top 10 at the Division I tournament the year before with Jack Cuvo
and Anibal Nieves.  Third was because Coach Bob Dalling showed me all the hot spots to hunt and fish at the Delaware Water Gap on my second recruiting trip! 
I know I should have included something about a degree or education in those first 3... but I have to be honest.  Sorry Mom and Dad!

I remember my first practice as a fight broke out between an upper classmen and a freshman.  I looked at the coaches and they turned the other way.  That is when I knew I was in a much different environment from my high school days.  I remember my first walk back to the dorm rooms after my first practice in which I had to stop "twice" walking up the stairs.  The next day, I actually called my mom and dad and said that I didnít know if I could keep this pace up.  However, I took one day at a time and eventually got accustomed to the much more intense schedule of a Division I wrestler. I came full circle and actually got into a small fight with a freshman my senior year - when he got the best of me on an off-day.  I realized then...that it is just a very competitive environment with all of the top kids from other high school programs in the same room.


ESU's Steve Elicker (5th from right standing - back row... 1993 ESU Photos.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Can you remember your toughest college match... and, your most satisfying win while wrestling for
East Stroudsburg University?  What loss still sticks out in your mind as "I should have won that one!"?
SE -
I didnít have a "lot" of easy matches at the Division I level.  I had many great wins over some great competition, but one sticks in my mind the most.  I lost to Rob Harris 4 times in my wrestling career - 2 in
high school for Abington Heights and 2 in college for Army.  We met for the 5th time in the semi-finals of the 1994 EIWA Tournament with a trip to the NCAA's on the line. 
I walked away with a 1-point win and a finals meeting with Rick Hepp from Lehigh... which didnít turn out well for me!
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - What were your thoughts as you walked into the North Carolina Fieldhouse for the 1994 NCAA Division
One Championships?  It had to be a very high point in your wrestling career... and, the last time you would
compete in high school or college!
SE -
I told myself that I would treat this as I have all the tournaments I had competed in before.  Just
another tournament!  I was doing pretty well until I was on the mat warming up with my teammate, Dave DiSora.  And, the announcer came on the loud speaker and started his commentary.  I remember he said "Welcome to the 1994 NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament where you will see 250 of the best wrestlers in the country competing for greatness!"  I looked around the Dean Dome and said "Wow!"  I regained my composure and reminded myself that I am competing in my last competition of my wrestling career.  I told myself that I didn't want to have any excuses and I needed to leave it all on the mat.  I did!  Unfortunately I came out on the wrong end of a 7-3 decision to 9th seeded Brett Colombini from Minnesota.  I was in a bad location in the bracket.  Colombini ended up losing to 8th seeded Rich Catalano and with that loss my career ended.  Colombini ended up wrestling back and placing 6th and Catalano placed 4th.  You can now wrestle back in the NCAA's with a first round loss no matter what.  It would have been nice to have one more match ...no matter the outcome. 
But I have no regrets.

Over the years I have come to realize that most wrestlers, except Cael Sanderson, wanted more out of
their careers.  Even a legend such as Dan Gable talks about how that loss in college haunted him.  JV wrestlers want to be Varsity, Varsity wrestlers want to be Regional qualifiers, Regional qualifiers want to
be State qualifiers, State qualifiers want to be State place-winners, State placers want to be State champs, State champs want to be "multiple champs!"  Then, if you are fortunate enough to wrestle in college, the
cycle starts all over again!  One more win is never enough - no matter what medal you ended up with.  It really haunted me for a long time that I was never a State champ and that I never placed at NCAA's.  To
be honest with you, I still think about it.  However, I have finally come to peace with what I accomplished.
I have come to realize I was fortunate enough to compete in a sport that not every person is tough enough
to do.  It doesnít matter if you were JV or Varsity or if you even had a winning varsity record,
we competed!
The most important award all wrestlers walk away with at the end of their careers, no matter how long
those careers last, is that we are all better people for having competed in this sport!
  All those tangible awards I coveted as a kid and later as a young adult, are all growing dusty in boxes under my house.  I recently took down my PIAA State medal and my NCAA Academic All-American plaques to make room
for the baby's new nursery.  That was the last of my awards and they are now packed away and I am all
right with it all.

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Who were some of your close friends at ESU, and how did they influence your life?  Do you still keep in
contact with some of your college and high school wrestling buddies?
SE -
Unfortunately, the only college friend I still somewhat keep in touch with is Angelo Borzio.
I did see that there was a DiSora from Easton HS in the PIAA State Tournament and was wondering if it was my ESU teammates son, Dave?

Two of my high school teammates, Frank Lecrone and Neal Kemper, joined me on a back-country archery
elk hunt.  I think I could still get to my high school weight, but those two would have to move up about 6 weight classes!  So, if you two are reading this...make sure you cut some weight for our 2013 hunt!  I donít want to wait 15 minutes at the top of each ridge while you 2 "flatlanders" huff and puff trying to catch up.

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - What was the biggest difference between wrestling at a high level (AAA) in Pennsylvania @ South
Western High School... and wrestling NCAA Division One at the PSAC and EIWA level at ESU?  Is wrestling
a more physical sport... or, a more mental sport?  Would you say it's the toughest sport?
SE -
As I stated above, it is much more intense from the training - to practices - to the competitions.  I feel that wrestling in PA gave me a foundation to be successful at the Division I level.  It is no wonder that more PA wrestlers qualify for Nationals than any other state.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - While at East Stroudsburg University, you wrestled Penn's Brandon Slay, who went on to win a Gold
Medal at the 2000 Olympic Games (Freestyle) in Sydney, Australia.  Brandon and I shared some e-mails
about your match with him, and he told me that you really "kicked his butt!"  Tell me about that match and
how did you beat him?
SE -
Well, the one thing I had in my favor was that Brandon was a freshman and I was a senior!  However,
he was no normal freshman.  In fact, he also qualified for Nationals that year in my weight class, taking a 3rd.  As you know, he later became a 2-time NCAA finalist and an Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist.


We were wrestling Penn towards the end of the year...and they were ranked in the country.
We really wanted to win the dual meet!
They tried to move Brandon up a weight to get a "sure" win against our 177lb'er.
We caught it at the last minute and my coach pulled me back to send out our "back-up" 167lb'er.  Our
back-up 167lb'er had a great match and eeked out a win! 
I went on to beat Slay and ESU went on to win the dual meet.  We beat a ranked Syracuse team the following week to get our school record 16th win and
an honorable mention in the last Division I team ranking of the year.  Now that ESU went back to Division II,
I am guessing that was the last time ESU was ever ranked as a team.  This was a great accomplishment for me as the captain of that squad.  I went to ESU the year after we finished top-ten in the country.  It was nice to leave ESU with a healthy program.  It is unfortunate that ESU will never have a chance to compete
with the big schools again at the Division I level.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - You were a 2-time NCAA DI Academic All-American at ESU.  How does that rank with your many mat
accomplishments while in college?  I guess you knew where ESU's Kemp Library was?!?
SE -
I think I wanted to be a Division I Wrestling All-American more than I wanted to be a State Champ.  Unfortunately, that never happened.  But I am very proud of my success academically at ESU.  I was not a great student in high school, but I decided that I really wanted to earn a degree once I got into ESU.  I really had to focus on my studies and develop a system that worked for me.  This system involved going to
the
library after every practice and in-between classes.  Once I left the house, I never went home until
8:00pm or later.  I knew once I went home, I would never study.  Without the sport of wrestling...I donít
know if I would have been disciplined enough to reach my goal.

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Support is very important in the very tough sport of wrestling.  I know your mom (Bonnie), dad (Bob)
and your sister (Karen) were VERY supportive.  Share your thoughts on why this family support is an
integral part of success in athletics, both in high school and college.
SE -
I couldnít agree more, Don.  Wrestling can be a lonely sport and it helps to have people in your life that understand the ups and downs that come with the sport.  I was very fortunate to have a family that always followed my career and always supported - without criticizing.  It helps to look up in the stands and see support.  It makes the low time more tolerable and the highlights more enjoyable!  Support should not only come from your family, but it helps to get it from your coaches and especially your teammates, since they are the ones that know what you are going through.  I was lucky to have support from family, coaches and teammates.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - After ESU, you got into skiing, and became an instructor.  Did you get the urge to ski while at ESU and
its proximity to the Pocono Mountain resorts?  What do you do as a hobby now?  Are you still an avid
fisherman and hunter in Colorado?  And, do you still have the Harley Fat-Boy?
SE -
Actually, I started skiing in high school.  Joey Wildasin said he would teach me.  Boy, was that a big mistake!  After the initial 2 hours with Joey, in which I swore I would never ski again - I ditched Wildasin and went with some other teammates and managed to have a great time!  I was hooked from that moment on.  The unfortunate part was that wrestling never allowed time for skiing.  I did it from time to time when my schedule allowed and actually spent my Junior and Senior spring breaks in Colorado skiing.  After my senior trip, I decided to move "out" for a year after graduation.  I took skiing very serious for the first four years in Colorado.  I  became a fully certified instructor and actually taught skiing in Australia one summer.

I love to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors.  Hunting has been and still is a big part of my life.
I love to chase pheasant & quail with my German Shorthaired Pointers throughout the prairies of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.  I have also began to race mountain bikes.  I figured after turning 40, I needed to get back into some sort of competition.  It keeps me in good shape - ask Lecrone!  My wife and I have a camper that we love to take all over Colorado throughout the summers.


I traded that HD Fat Boy in for a Road King Classic.  My wife and I didnít get to ride as much last year as we normally do.  We always enjoy our annual pilgrimage to Sturgis!  You need to go on that trip with us one of these years!
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Do you still follow wrestling these days... and, if you could tell the young people of today a couple of things as they train for the sport of wrestling, what would they be?
SE -
I actually helped at a local high school for several years.  The head coach never seemed to appreciate
what I brought to the program so I quit helping out.  One of those coaches that thinks he knows everything.
I still check out what is going on in PA and on the NCAA Division I level.

The one message that I can give to kids is that you will get out of if it what you decide to put into it.  To be successful in anything, you need to work at it.
The saying "Hard work beats talent when talent doesnít work" is very true.
We all can't be blessed with natural ability, but we all have the ability to work hard.  If you
work hard you will be rewarded.  Come up with a long term goal and use many short term goals to get to
that long term goal.  Remember that short term goals change on a daily basis.  Stick with the sport because
it prepares you for life. 
I win and lose every day in the business world.  The one thing wrestling has taught me is that when I lose, I have to stand back up and continue on.  I can sulk about it...or work to get better.
Most wrestlers will always choose to get better.  Be proud of  your accomplishments, whether it be one 
win or a State championship.  I promise that you will be a better person for having competed in wrestling!

                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
DL - Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts and also reminiscing about your past days in the sport!
SE -
Thanks for having me, Don.  These questions brought back a lot of great memories.  I hope everyone enjoys reading the interview!  I sure had a great time reminiscing.
                                                                                        ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪                                                                           



You can e-mail Don Lehman HERE!




1988 PIAA District III SC AAA Champions







Steve Elicker's South Western HS Teammate...
Joey Wildasin - - (above) was a 3-time AAA PIAA State Champion
and had a career overall record of 132-1...@ South Western High School!




ESU VARSITY WRESTLING '93-'94
Div. I

∙ 1992/93 - East Stroudsburg University Wrestling Captains.
(L-R) Dave DiSora &
Steve Elicker.  (NCAA DI Qualifiers)



1993-94 ESU WRESTLING



    ESSC/ESU PSAC Placewinners Page - CLICK HERE!
    ESSC/ESU "All-Time" Wrestling Letterwinners - 1970-2012
   ▪  ESU's DiSora & Elicker advance to EIWA semi's article...
HERE!





Annapolis, MD - Gardner Party

∙ 2011 - ESSC/ESU Wrestlers & Cousins - Elicker/Lehman (4-year lettermen).
(L-R ) South Western HS & ESU mat standout, Steve Elicker
... w/cousin Don Lehman.

photo by Karen Elicker Gardner



Mat Cousins! Lehman & Elicker


∙ Todd Lehman & Steve Elicker @ Chiapparelli's Restaurant... in
(Little Italy, Baltimore Inner Harbor w/Elicker-Lehman-Messinger family)



Annapolis, MD - Gardner Party

2011 - (L-R) Todd Lehman (WY '04), Eric Lehman (WY '96) with...
cousin Steve Elicker (South Western '89 & ESU '94).

photo by Karen Elicker Gardner
 

 

                                      
    A Look @ Class AAA Contenders
                1989 PIAA Picks for 160lbs.

        by Matt Schuman, Phila. Inquirer
(3/16/89)

 
1989 AAA PIAA 160 POUNDS:
 ▪ Ray Brinzer (North Allegheny) 32-0,
 ▪ Rob Harris (Abington Heights) 30-0,
 ▪ Greg Hopkins (Waynesburg) 28-4,
 ▪ Mark Brouse (Shikellamy) 25-5-1,
 ▪ Steve Elicker (South Western) 28-3,
 ▪ John Klingaman (Dallastown) 22-4,
 ▪ Guy Horton (Neshaminy) 23-3,
 ▪ Jim Richards (Springfield) 33-1,
 ▪ Dave Scarpill (Central Bucks East) 32-4.

   Brinzer, the defending champion at 155, may be better on his feet than any other wrestler in Pennsylvania.  Harris' perfect record speaks for itself.  Elicker nipped Klingaman, 2-1, in the South Central Regional.  Hopkins lost to Brinzer in the Southwest. Brouse does not have an impressive record, but he has competed as high as 189 pounds this season.  Richards' first loss was a shocker: Horton pinned him inside of a minute in the Southeast Regional final.
 
                           Pick: Brinzer.

 


                                                                                                                          
                                                                                 WRESTLING

                               
                    Lehigh, ESU Advance
                        Two Men Apiece

▪ March 05, 1994
  by TERRY LARIMER, The Morning Call


  Getting
to this central New York city was no fun for the contingent of local college and former high school
 wrestlers. Being here is turning out to be no picnic, either.

  Two dozen grapplers with local connections braved two- and three-foot snowfalls that virtually shut down Cornell's   campus and its surrounding suburbs Thursday. And when the experienced campus snow movers dug a path to Alberding  Field House, many of the local contenders wished they'd left their plows in storage.

Syracuse, the team that had the least distance to travel -- other than host Cornell -- took command of the team race with 39.25 points and seven semifinalists, Navy was next with 36.5 and six in the semis and Army and Brown each had five semifinalists and 32.5 and 30.5 points, respectively.

Lehigh and East Stroudsburg both came into the tournament hoping to have a say in the team race -- Lehigh hoping to have its best finish in five years and the Cavaliers their best finish ever.

But the two teams were only able to get two men each into the semifinals -- Brian Cipollone and Rick Hepp for Lehigh
and Dave DiSora and Steve Elicker for ESU. Lehigh was in seventh place after the quarterfinals with 16.75 points and ESU was a half point behind in eighth place.

Ed Moore of Franklin & Marshall and Phillipsburg High was the only one of four other wrestlers who did their high school wrestling in the Lehigh Valley -- all of whom were seeded -- to make it to the semis.

That comes to a total of only five of 24 wrestlers with local connections who beat both the blizzard and yesterday's opponents.

"You have to set your goals high if you're going to go forward with your program," ESU coach Dom DiGioacchino said, while noting he wasn't totally discouraged with his team's performance. "I didn't put pressure on the kids, though. I told them to just go out and go as far as they could."

DiGioacchino said he figured he'd need perhaps four semifinalists if his team was going to better than a fifth place finish, the best an East Stroudsburg has ever done in this tournament.

And even though he had several wrestlers left in consolations late last night -- as did Lehigh -- it didn't look as if either team was going to be near the top of the well-balanced team race.

"I figured if we got three or four wrestlers to nationals (the NCAA Tournament), it would be a successful tournament for us no matter what happened," Lehigh coach Tom Hutchinson said.

But he admitted the day was kind of a microcosm of his season -- one in which he has had more than half his expected starters sidelined by injuries. A case in point: His 142 pounder Chris O'Byrne spent all week on crutches with a sprained ankle, but somewhat miraculously healed in time for the tournament. But in his preliminary round win over Princeton's Brian Duckworth, he apparently caught a finger in the eye, tore his eyelid and underwent plastic surgery to repair a torn tear duct last night after forfeiting his quarterfinal bout.

East Stroudsburg had similar heartbreaks. Its 126 pounder Jason Kobrynich had a tie going late in his semifinal bout with Syracuse's Jeff Duque when Duque connected on a five-point move to win. Its 134 pounder Shane Hanna lost by a point to Moore in the quarters. And, heavyweight Angelo Borzio just missed a takedown with 20 seconds left that would have sent his bout with Syracuse's Jason Gleasman into overtime.

But DiSora, the No. 2 seed at 150, and Elicker, the third seed at 167, provided some consolation for ESU. DiSora, the Easton High graduate, coasted to an 8-1 win over Harvard's Ron Mitra in the first round, then hit two early takedowns and held on for a 10-3 win over seventh-seeded Mike Evans of Wilkes, a Liberty grad.

DiSora faces Cornell's Joel Torretti in the semis as Torretti upset third-seeded Jason Hawk of Rutgers and Phillipsburg
High in the quarters.

Elicker got a 16-1 technical fall over Syracuse's Steve Taylor in the morning session, then slowed down a bit
and "only" got a 9-0 major decision over Brown's Brian Bennett. Elicker meets Army's second-seeded Rob Harris in the semis.  note: Elicker defeated Harris of Army, 6-4, to reach the '94 EIWA finals - facing Lehigh's
Rick Hepp.   (Hepp defeated Elicker 13-4 in the 1994 EIWA Championship Finals @ 167lbs.)
The Full 1994 EIWA Final Brackets - HERE

Cipollone, the fourth seed at 158, decked Wilkes' Joey Hill in 1:54 in his first outing and used two early takedowns to knock off Rutgers' Mike Kwapniewski at night. He meets top seeded and unbeaten Vic Bernadino in the semis.

Hepp, Lehigh's lone top seed at 167, had a bye in the first round, then needed just five minutes to pile up a 19-4 lead in a technical fall over Navy's Ralph Conte. He meets fourth seed Brandon Slay of Penn in the semis.

Moore, the fifth seed at 134, had a bye before beating Hanna. He gets top seed Mike Yancosky of Cornell in the semis.

The other local wrestler who was seeded, Roger London of Penn by way of Parkland, lost in the first round despite his eighth seed at 158.
 


            
 Don's Q & A Interviews:
        Billy Randt, Rod Stough, Jeff Wolfe,
Bruce Stambaugh,
        Keith "KRW" Warehime, David Maday & Jason Abel Turnbull,
        Mary Jane & John T. Toggas, Jon Trenge, Randy Blasdell,
        Wilmer Pressel, Dr. Bill Welker, Mike Stambaugh,
John Reiber,
        Todd Reynolds, Gary Narber, Fred & Matt Callahan
,
        Brian Kuntz, K.C. McCleary,
Charlie Jacobs, John Reiber,
        Dr. Perry Tallman, Skip Martin, Justin Wilkins,
        Eric & Todd Lehman.

     
West York Wrestling Alumni Interview Page

 





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1976-77 - ESSC's 1st Year in the E.I.W.A.!


1976-77 East Stroudsburg State College
(Div. I)
Front (L-R) Sal Picone, Desi McNelis, James Vargo, Galen McWilliams.
Middle (L-R) Asst. Coach Rich Schumacher, Don Lehman, Gary Kessel,
Michael "Skip" Falcone, Billy Cuff, unknown.
Back (L-R) Asst. Coach Bob Dalling, Bill Katinowsky, ?, Wayne Carroll,
Greg Shoemaker, Don Blair, Head Coach Clyde "Red" Witman.
▪ (Not pictured: Kerry Ciatto, Harvey Freeman, Ken Magaro).

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