Record Keeping Ravenswood wrestling has had 19 state champs

Mark Martin

(Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series of articles on the history of high school sports at both Ravenswood High School and Ripley High School.) 

Ravenswood High School wrestling had to wait until its 14th season of the sport before a state champion in the program was crowned.

Once that happened, the flood gates opened with several others following in the path of Bob Mahan.

In 1980, Mahan made Devil wrestling history by claiming the Class AA-A 167-pound title.

The next season, the Devils, of the Hall of Fame head coach Dale Hinkle, produced not one, but two state champs.

Luke Schindler was crowned the AA-A 132-pound state champ and shortly thereafter Gene Morris registered a victory to capture the 155-pound state title.

Morris has for many years been a highly successful football coach at Nicholas County High School in Summersville, leading the Grizzlies to several playoff berths.

He’s also enjoyed success coaching wrestling and baseball during his career at NCHS.

In 1983, Pat Friend became the fourth Red Devil wrestler to put his name on the wall as a state champ. Friend was the title winner in the 138-pound division.

The Schindler family would add another state championship to the mantle in 1985 when Luke’s younger brother, Tom, became a state champion in the 167-pound weight class.

The following year, Mark Slaven garnered a state championship in the old unlimited weight class.

In the season of 1988, Jeff Corder wrapped up a sensational high school sports career by winning the 160-pound state championship. Corder also earned Class AA First Team All-State football honors and was the school’s valedictorian.

In 1989, Shane Weekley became a state champ for the Devil program by winning the crown in the 130-pound class.

Ravenswood had a state champ for a third straight year in 1990 when John Heath came away with the title in the 103-pound class.

In 1992, Heath became the first two-time state champ by winning the 112-pound championship.

Luke Salmons, a three-sport standout at Ravenswood, won the Class AA-A 275-pound state championship in 1998 as a junior. Had it not been for an injured hand, Salmons likely would have won it again the following season but unfortunately had to settle for runner-up.

Salmons, who was a First Team All-State football and baseball player at Ravenswood, would become a starter on the offensive line at Marshall University.

Since college, he has evolved into a top-notch high school football coach enjoying success in both Kentucky and West Virginia.

He’s led Cabell Midland, where he currently coaches, to two Class AAA state championship games.

In 1999, Ashley Gandee started his great state championship run by winning the AA-A 103-pound class.

Gandee would have company in the State Tournament of 2000. After winning the 112-pound title, teammate Adam Schindler, the nephew of former champs Luke and Tom, won the 145-pound state championship.

Schindler would win a title the following year as well but did so for Ripley in Class AAA’s 152-pound division.

Gandee would cap off his outstanding career in the 2001 State Tournament by again winning at 112. His three titles are the most in Ravenswood Red Devil wrestling history.

In 2003, Judd Billings won his first of two titles at 103.

He came back in 2005 for a second crown at 135.

David Dennis also became a two-time state champ for the Devils, winning back-to back crowns in 2006 and 2007 at 119 and 130, respectively.

More on the history of Red Devil wrestling in a future issue of Jackson Newspapers.

Ravenswood State Wrestling champions:

Bob Mahan, 1980 AA/A 167

Luke Schindler, 1981 AA/A 132

Gene Morris, 1981 AA/A 155

Pat Friend, 1983 AA/A 138

Tom Schindler, 1985 AA/A 167

Mark Slaven, 1986 AA/A UNL

Jeff Corder, 1988 AA/A 160

Shane Weekley, 1989 AA/A 130

John Heath, 1990 AA/A 103

John Heath, 1992 AA/A 112

Luke Salmons, 1998 AA/A 275

Ash Gandee, 1999 AA/A 103

Ash Gandee, 2000 AA/A 112

Adam Schindler, 2000 AA/A 145

Ash Gandee, 2001 AA/A 112

Judd Billings, 2003 AA/A 103

Judd Billings, 2005 AA/A 135

David Dennis, 2006 AA/A 119

David Dennis, 2007 AA/A 130