SMWC's Great Pennsylvania Contingent

By Bruce Gabrielson
SMWC Head Coach
May 1999

Shown above is a picture from the SMWC team at the 1992 AAU Grand Nationals. Between 1989 and 1998, a large number of Pennsylvania wrestlers joined and actively competed for Southern Maryland Wrestling Club youth teams in tournaments or matches on a regular basis. Many of these individuals participated full time on our league teams and faced long drives to practice, often two to three times per week. They also traveled with the club all over the Mid-Atlantic Region, and to many major far-away events. Many, but not all of these wrestlers were also members of SMWC's sister clubs, Road Warriors and Lebanon Valley.

So many Pennsylvania wrestlers started competing with the club, which had become dominent in tournament and league events during those years, that the CAWL passed a rule, known as the "Gabrielson Rule" which prevented anyone living over 50 miles from a club's practice site from participating. This rule didn't really slow SMWC down as many other out of state wrestlers still chose to join SMWC. Even in-state wrestlers who lived over 50 miles away continued to compete and practice with SMWC, much to the displeasure of their local coaches. However, the rule was clearly intended to help other teams, and was one of the reasons why SMWC pulled out of CAWL events for several years.

With Mike Waite (shown in club picture wearing black sweater at left from 1999 St Alban's Tournament) beginning Blair High School in the fall of 1998, the last of SMWC's original Pennsylvania contingent has now graduated from the youth league ranks. Therefore, in an effort to recognize these members, most of whom have had very successful careers, the following list of great SMWC Pennsylvania wrestlers has been compiled. Note that this list is very incomplete since some of those pictured haven't been involved for many years. It will be updated as more names are provided from coaches and those who remember.

Chris Ballincia
Josh Boger
Basil "Dobby" Dobbins
Zack Doll
Steve Hoffer
Mark Hoffer
Ryan McCallum
Kevin Meier
Jeff Rusak
Mark Rusak
Eric Sheffield
Derrik Sola
Evan Sola
Mike Waite

SMWC's Pennsylvania Coaches - Mike Sola, Dave Boger, Mike Rusak

SMWC's 1995 AAU Grand National Team

SMWC's 1989 AAU Grand National Team
Note: Five eventual SMWC Hall-of-Fame Members: Todd Beckerman, Jason Gabrielson, Robert Alexander, Steven Hoffer, and Kevin Gabrielson are all standing near the middle of this picture as well as eventual NCAA Champion Eric Siebert.

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