Ralph Dodge, class of 1942 @ St. Johnsbury Academy submitted the following about the beginning of high school wrestling in Vermont. Ralph was wrestler @ St. Johnsbury Academy & his coach was Elwin “Tex” Smith. Ralph recalls the coach as one the toughest men he ever met. Elwin was a very well recognized wrestler, having wrestled in the Olympic Games. The Academy wrestling team was the only high school wrestling team in Vermont at the time, so the team would travel to different colleges around New England to compete. On one occasion the team beat Tufts University 15-14 There is not any information available from the early 40’s until 1960 when Old Bennington H.S (now Mt. Anthony Union H.S.) started a program under Coach Art Gage. In order to fill their dual meet schedule, Bennington was forced to travel to high schools in Maine, New Hampshire, the Albany area in New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1964, Coach Gage took his undefeated team to Sanford, Maine, and won the New England Regional Team Championship. In 1965 the first New England Tournament was held, and a wrestler from Bennington named Eastman finished third at 127 lbs. The first two Vermont schools to actually compete in dual meet competition were Harwood Union H.S. and Stowe Prep. The year was 1966-67, and two men, Henry Huntington, Athletic Director at Harwood, and Jack Huntsman, the Harwood coach, were directly responsible for igniting the “real” spark for intrastate high school competition. Steve Miller of Montpelier officiated all matches that year and was to become solely responsible for organizing the Vermont Wrestling
The 1967-68 season saw St. Johnsbury and Lamoille enter competition. A “state tournament” was held with six teams competing (Mt. Anthony and Springfield) came up from the southern part of the state). Harwood won the tournament and Bruce Lackey of Mt. Anthony was awarded the Outstanding Wrestler trophy. The 1968-69 season saw the birth of the Green Mountain Wrestling League. Teams participating were: Harwood, Stowe Prep, St. Johnsbury, Lamoille,
Middlebury, Mt. Mansfield, BFA-St. Albans, and Winooski. Vergennes entered a full club team in the “state tournament” and, along with C.V.U. and Spaulding, would become part of the Green Mountain League the following year. The “state tournament” was won by Mt. Anthony with Roy Squires of Mt. Anthony receiving the Outstanding Wrestler award.
The 1969-70 season saw the Vermont Headmaster’s Association (now the Vermont Principal’s Association) sponsor the first official State Tournament. St. Johnsbury won both the Green Mountain League title and the State Tournament,which was hosted by Harwood. Harwood also sponsored the first annual J.V. State Tournament. Mt. Anthony, long-time “King” of wrestling in the state, slipped to last place in the standings, and Pat Livingston of Harwood won the Outstanding Wrestler award. In 1970-71, Vergennes and Middlebury tied for the title at the State Tournament, which was hosted by BFA-St. Albans. St. Johnsbury won the Green
Mountain League title, and Vergennes and St. Johnsbury tied for the eight-team Norwich University Holiday Tournament Championship. Greg Lyons, a junior from Middlebury, won the Outstanding Wrestler award at the state tournament. Vermont entered the New England Tournament as a state and traveled to Bowdin College in Brunswick, Maine to compete. The 1971-72 state tournament was hosted by Mt. Mansfield. Middlebury won the team title and Fred Edwards of Mt. Mansfield was voted Outstanding Wrestler. The first Coach of the Year award was presented to Mike Baker, coach at Mt. Mansfield. The New England Tournament was hosted by Essex Jct. H.S. and Willie Mitchell of Middlebury became Vermont’s first New England Champion at 126 lbs. Since the beginning of high school wrestling in Vermont, the number of schools that sponsor wrestling has grown from one to as many as twenty-two. In addition, over the years, several individuals have competed as independents. Mt. Anthony has solidified their claim to “king” of Vermont wrestling with a total of 30 state championship—29 in a row (seeking their 30th in a row February 23 & 24, 2018).
Their 2007-2008 championship set a national record for consecutive championships won in a row. The 2017-18 season will conclude with twenty schools being represented at the state tournament at Otter Valley Union H.S. The final event of the 2017-18 season will be the New England Tournament hosted by Providence Career & Technical Academy on Friday and Saturday March 2 & 3, 2018.