For the first time in the rich history of the Duncan Athletic Hall of Fame, a whole team received honors as the 1980 State Championship Wrestling team was officially inducted.
Coached by Mike Reding and assistant coach Art Wheeler, the 1980 Wrestling team had 11 consecutive dual victories and an undefeated streak of 67 victories.
The team had nine state qualifiers and six state placers and won the Class 3A State Championship as the only team to win a title in the sport history at Duncan High School.
A couple of the members on the team previously received individual induction, including Coach Reding, who is on cloud nine that the whole team received the honor this year.
“It made me tremendously happy … after all I was selected a few years ago to be in but really, when you get in you have the help of your friends,” Reding said. “I was put in because of all the wrestlers over the years and I had so much help and these guys made the exclamation point when they won that State Championship. I was so happy for them — it is for all of the wrestlers.”
They had 35 kids out for the team and Reding said all of them contributed in their own way and praised the members of the team who started and contributed by helping all of the wrestlers gain momentum.
One of the other teams honored during the weekend was the 1945 State Class A State Football Champions and Reding loves being enshrined with them.
“For our team to be selected when there has been so many great teams — it was such an honor,” Reding said. “I had such a wonderful time and I’m not over it yet.”
Troy Stevenson, the most recent Hall of Fame inductee from the team back in 2020, attended along with a large returning party of other wrestlers. Stevenson gave the speech during the ceremony .
The team came up on stage and reunited. Reding said he felt blessed to see everyone he could and knows it was a great weekend to reflect.
“It was so great. It really was,” Reding said. “Those kids worked so hard and you can tell them so much and a lot of it, over the years, it kind of sinks in both for me and them, too. You just see how fortunate I was to have such wonderful kids who had the backing from the parents. Their parents were 100% for them.”
With all of the team now formally inducted, Reding said the credit goes to everyone, including his assistant coach and all of the wrestlers and family members involved.
“When we were driving up there, my wife and I were talking — at the end of 20 years I think I made $8,000 for coaching two sports extra above my salary,” Reding said. “I thought that wasn’t a whole lot of money, but there is nothing I would trade. If I had to do it again, I would do it again. It was worth it.”
Members of the 1980 State Wrestling team inducted included Perry Brake, Matt Dowhower, Kelly Smith, Riley Newberry, Timmy York, Bobby Alexander, Bruce Ridely, Greg Ogle, Chris Gamblin, Kevin Atkinson, Kenneth Mettler, Matt Graves, Jack O’Conner, tony Richardson, Troy Stevenson, Mark Gourney, Kenneth Attaway, Craig Finley, Cliff Thurman, Jim “Cleats” Hammond, Carl Don Hurley, Brian Russell, Blake Russell, Jeff Dixon, Greg Wilkinson, Leon Ferguson, Dan Wagner, Ron Hudson, Bobby Bowers and Eddy Winiger.