West York Wrestling


Heffner Funeral & Cremation®
John C. Bowser, Jr.
2/07/25 - 4/20/12

 ∙ 2007 District III Wrestling Hall of Fame.
2012 westyorkwrestlingalumni.com Hall of Fame.
3-time District III Wrestling Champion ('40, '41, '42).
 ∙ 3-time PIAA State Wrestling Qualifier...('40, '41, '42).
 * 1941 PIAA State Runner-up @ 85lbs.
     (*1941 typo - has brother Carl listed as 2nd - John is correct 2nd)

   1941 PIAA State Wrestling Finals:
    ∙ Jim Mohney (Clearfield) dec. John Bowser (West York) 6-6, 2-0 (ot).

     westyorkwrestlingalumni.com obit page

4/26/12 York Dispatch Article
by... Larry A. Hicks
of Fame West York Wrestler
to be remembered!"

April 26, 2012


April 26, 2012

Hall of Fame West York wrestler deserves to be

Author:  4/26/12 COLUMN By LARRY A. HICKS of The York Dispatch 

Section:  York Dispatch Sports Page - 4/26/12.

Many thanks to West York Wrestling Alumni webmaster, Don Lehman, for giving me a heads up about the death of John C. Bowser Jr., a former Bulldog wrestling great.

Bowser died last Friday at Manor Care North at the age of 87.

He was the husband of Ruthanna Phillips Bowser, to whom he was married for 67 years, and the father of two sons, Dennis Bowser, of York, and Gary Bowser, of Burke, Va.

He graduated from West York High School, where he starred in football and wrestling despite topping out at about 115 pounds in his senior year.

Bowser, a three-time District 3 wrestling champion and a state runner-up, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007.

I had no idea. The first West York wrestlers I recall knowing anything about were Glenn Amsbaugh in the early-1960s and Dana Luckenbaugh, the county's first state champion in 1965.

To be honest, had it not been for Lehman, I probably never would have recognized Bowser for being one of the early wrestling giants at West York, even though it's my alma mater, too.

There's a reason for that, I guess. For one, I didn't wrestle in high school. I played basketball. So I don't have the depth of knowledge about the history of the wrestling program that someone might have if they'd actually wrestled.

That's why I rely on Lehman and his wrestling website to educate me about the wrestling program, especially the early days.

That's the other thing: Bowser was a grappler in the early-1940s, which meant he was making a name for himself almost 10 years before I was even born.

So I don't recall ever hearing anything about John C. Bowser Jr. He was a wrestling legend in his own time, but well ahead of mine.

That being the case, I was pretty much ignorant of Bowser's wrestling accomplishments.

For three consecutive years -- 1940 to 1942 -- Bowser was a District 3 champion, the first two years at 85 pounds and the third season at 112 pounds.

For those same three years, he was also a PIAA state qualifier.

In 1941, Bowser finished second in the state at 85 pounds when he battled Clearfield's Jim Mohney to a 6-6 tie in regulation in the PIAA finals, only to lose 2-0 in overtime.

He wasn't West York's first District 3 wrestling champion -- there were four in 1938, the first year the district tournament was held -- but he was one of the first. All three district championships came under the tutelage of head coach Chuck Richards, the founder of the West York wrestling program in 1934.

Bowser was also selected to the West York Wrestling Alumni "All-Time" Hall of Fame team at 106 pounds.

It's a shame, but I suspect hardly anyone under the age of 60 would have known that Bowser was one of the first truly great wrestlers in York County. And that's saying something, given the excellence York County athletes have shown in wrestling going back 75 or more years.

We are a county with a fine history in high school wrestling. We are part of a district with a wonderful history in wrestling. And York-area athletes have been instrumental building a reputation for top-notch wrestling statewide.

And Bowser was one of the guys who helped get it all started.

That's worth remembering.

4/26/12 Sports Column by Larry A. Hicks - Larry A. Hicks Article Page 

www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com by Don Lehman

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run on Thursdays.
▪ Larry A. Hicks e-mail:  lhicks@yorkdispatch.com

(c) 2012 The York Dispatch. Column 20481278.  All rights reserved.

▪ 1965 West York HS Football - *Larry Hicks #32 (3rd from left front row).


1/27/11 York Dispatch Article
by... Larry A. Hicks
"Website Worth A View!"

January 27, 2011


January 27, 2011

West York Wrestling website is worth a visit!
Author: COLUMN By LARRY A. HICKS of The York Dispatch 

Section:  York Dispatch Sports Front Page - 1/27/11.

I can't say for certain that it's the only high school alumni wrestling website in York County, but it's the    only one I've seen.

It's also the only one I've been receiving these last two years.

And it's a good one.

Maybe the best in the state. Or, at least, it's on the short list of those being considered the best. I've seen  a bunch of these over the years (in a variety of sports), and the West York Wrestling Alumni website is easily the best I've ever seen.

It's always up to date, and packed with all of the essentials of a website that will attract attention and keep people focused. It's also easy enough to maneuver through. That's not always the case.

I've been receiving updates, announcements, interviews with alumni wrestlers and more West York wrestling news than any wrestling junkie needs (to fuel his fire) every few weeks since the website was created in March 2009.

West York Area School District has a very long and distinguished history in the sport of wrestling -- my former history teacher, Chuck Richards, started the program back in 1934 -- and it's all covered in this website. The first individual wrestling win, for example, was a 25-second pin by Donald Gohn 77 years ago.

Hey, I'm a West York grad, class of 1966, and I'd never heard of Gohn or his pin. I know West York wrestling flourished when I was a student there. Lots of good wrestling; lots of good wrestlers, many of them in my graduating class -- Fred Lehman, Fred Callahan, Dave Carley, Tom Hoover, Jack Hershberger, for instance -- or in the classes that followed for a couple of decades.

When I was in high school my wrestling idol was Glenn Amsbaugh, the only four-time sectional wrestling champion in West York history and one of two Bulldog wrestlers at West York to never experience a loss in dual meets. He also wrestled at Lehigh University and went on to become a physician -- an ear, nose and throat doctor.

Some of that, I knew. But most of it I learned by digging around on this alumni wrestling website.

There's so much about Bulldog wrestling I didn't know or had forgotten. Thanks to this website, I now have no excuse.

▪ I have to give Don Lehman the credit for that.

Lehman, a former standout West York wrestler, class of 1973, and a three-time YCIAA sectional wrestling champion, took the initiative to kick the alumni website into gear, and he's kept it there. He's the webmaster in charge.

It's been a monumental task, I'm sure. I hate to think of the countless hours he's spent putting the website together, collecting all the information and filling in all the gaps.

There's a wrestling history section covering 77 years. There are the alumni wrestling interviews. There are the wrestling photographs going way back, and I know Lehman had to beg, borrow and steal many of those from wrestlers, fans or family members.

There are statistics. And the team and individual records. More than 480 pages of West York wrestling history. There's the old stuff; there's the new stuff from the present season. There's the junior high wrestling info. There's the rundown on all the coaches going back to 1934.

There are the all-star lists and the all-time West York wrestling greats covering every weight class. There's news about this guy and that, what they're doing now, what they did when they were wrestling at West York or at college after graduating from West York.

It's just well done from start to finish, covering all or most of the bases as far as I can tell.

But don't take my word for it. Go to www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com  and decide for yourself. If you're a West York wrestling fan, enjoy the experience.

If you're a wrestling enthusiast, but are committed to a program in another school district, that's OK, too. Maybe it'll inspire you to start up your own alumni website. In wrestling, or in whatever sport floats your boat.

And if you're looking for a model to follow, I'd recommend Lehman's.

▪ It's good. Darn good.

1/27/11 Sports Column by Larry A. Hicks - Larry A. Hicks Article Page 

www.westyorkwrestlingalumni.com by Don Lehman

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run on Thursdays.
▪ Larry A. Hicks e-mail:  lhicks@yorkdispatch.com

(c) 2011 The York Dispatch. All rights reserved.  Reproduced with the permission
of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
▪ Record Purchase Number: 17206840 (D. Lehman)

▪ 1965 West York HS Football - *Larry Hicks #32 (3rd from left front row)


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