MONDAY 12-03-2012

Dec 03, 2012 -- 5:18am

FIND BILL'S PODCASTS on, Past show information and commentary is on my BLOG ARCHIVES. To E-Mail Bill Meyer, Click HERE.



7:10 Kathleen Kinsolving, author of "Dogs of War".  As the 75th anniversary of World War II approaches, Kathleen's new book reveals the hidden history of some of America's most powerful leaders. Amazingly, it exposes the unknown backroom drama of Western Civilization's darkest hour through an unlikely source - the faithful pets of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General George S. Patton, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

7:35 Dan Kirschner - Executive Director of the Northwest Natural Gas Association, and he discusses the grand opening of Oregon's largest Compressed Natural Gas station this Wednesday, 12/5, 11:30 am at the RVTD offices.

8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers - "Visiting Past and Present"

The Best-Kept Valley Sport’s Secret--Wrestling

By Dennis Powers

Whether looked at now or twenty-five years ago, wrestling is the most successful sport of this Valley--whether at the high school, collegiate, or national level--and the best kept secret. A prime reason is Southern Oregon University’s (SOU) program and that dates back to Bob Riehm, SOU’s head wrestling coach from 1969-1994.

Bob Riehm turned the wrestling program into one of the top ones in the country with NAIA National Championships in 1978, 1983, and 1994. During his 25-year run as head coach, twelve of his teams won NAIA regional championships and 18 finished in the top eight at the national championships. Riehm coached 13 NAIA national champions, 100 NAIA All-Americans and twice earned National Coach of the Year honors. The SOU Sports Arena in 2012 was formally dedicated as Bob Riehm Arena for his successes.

Riehm turned the coaching reigns over to Mike Ritchey in 1995, a four-time All-American on his teams, who continued the tradition of winning with scholar-athletes and grooming responsible individuals. Last season (2012), Mike Ritchey’s Raiders (10-3) extended their consecutive winning season streak to 42 years, competing against Division I, II, and III teams and dating back to 1970-71. During this streak, the Raiders are 409-135-2 in dual meets. With a fourth national championship in 2001 under Ritchey, these are the most for any Raider sports. And last year, the team achieved 2nd place in the Nationals, 3rd place in the National Duals, with six All-Americans and three national champions.  

What Bob Riehm and Mike Ritchey accomplished, moreover, was setting up a network of past wrestlers, alumni, and coaching connections that continue to bring exceptional student-athletes into this program. For example, Dan Speasl was a three-time, All-American under Reihm, and after graduation had a 30-year career at Crater High School. “Speas” was a teacher and not only the wrestling coach (among other coaching responsibilities), but later the Athletic Director and put wrestling on the map there.

Greg Haga followed Speasl, also played for Bob Riehm, won a national championship in 1985 at 190 pounds, and is the current Crater High School wrestling coach. He guided this local program to eight state championships in 20 seasons (four consecutive years from 2003 - 2006). One of the most successful coaches in Oregon history, his 2012 team placed third, behind 6-A champion Roseburg. Other area high schools with excellent wrestling teams are Eagle Point, Phoenix, and Grants Pass, to name a few.

Nationally-recognized wrestling names start with Les Gutches. Winning three state high school titles at South Medford High, Gutches went onto Oregon State and won NCAA titles in 1995 and 1996. He received the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation's top collegiate wrestler in 1996, was a three time Academic-All American, and the 1997 world champion at 187 pounds. An OSU MBA graduate, he now is an executive with USA Wrestling.

Nick Amuchastegui is a 2007 graduate of Phoenix (Ore.) High School and a 4-A state championship winner. He wrestled for Stanford, placed second for two consecutive years at the NCAA wrestling tournament (174 pounds), and won the NCAA Elite 88 Award for the second straight season as the wrestler at the NCAA Championships with the highest GPA (grade point). And there are more individuals, but we don’t have the space.

As to the future we’ll start with the 2012-13 season. SOU’s team is rated first in the initial NAIA wresting poll with three Raiders ranked on top: two-time national champion and Oregon Athlete of the Year, Mitchell Lofstedt (Roseburg, Oregon, 125-pound weight class); Jimmy Eggemeyer (Kodiak, Alaska, 149 pounds) who came in second last season; and Brock Gutches (Central Point, Oregon, 174-pound class) who won Nationals last year. Gutches was a two-time state champion at Crater and the 2009 Greco-Roman National Champion at his weight class.  

Among others, you’ll also want to keep up with three-time state champion Eleazar De Luca of Phoenix (Class 4-A) who earned All-American status in 2012 with a 3rd-place finish at the USA Junior Nationals, is taking one year off to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and committed to attend Iowa State (another great wrestling school) for the 2013-14 season, once his Olympic training year is completed. 

SOU Athletics Hall of Fame: Bob Riehm at SOU Athletic Hall of Fame; see SOU-Wrestling, “Three Raiders Ranked No. 1 as SOU Wrestling Tops Preseason Poll” at SOU Wrestling: Number One. Henry, Kris. “Crater Catches Magic of Yesteryear.” Mail Tribune, February 26, 2012 at Crater High School 2012 Wrestling

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