HYDE — The District 9 Chapter of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association inducted its 19th class into the district’s Hall of Fame Saturday prior to the finals of the individual championships at Clearfield Area High School.
This year’s four-member class features three inductees with ties to the Tri-County Area in wrestler Tom Barger (Clearfield), contributor/referee Bob Peters (Clearfield) and the late Matt Brinker (Redbank Valley), who is the latest inductee in the Fallen Hero category for making the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military.
The fourth inductee is wrestler Mark Havers of Bradford.
Here is a closer look at the four new inductees:
Barger, a 2006 Clearfield graduate, was a four-time District 9 Class AAA champion (119, 125, 130, 130). He also was a four-time placewinner at the Northwest Regional Tournament and won a regional crown in 2005 before finishing as a runner-up as a senior. The Bison captured two state medals, placing fifth in 2005 and third in 2006.
After graduation, Barger went on to wrestler at Lycoming College during the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Divsion III seasons and compiled a record of 29-15.
Barger currently resides in Clearfield.
Peters, a 1969 graduate of Clearfield Area High School, taught science courses at Clearfield for 35 years before retiring in 2009. He became a PIAA official in 1984 and has continued officiating for the past 35 years.
Peters is most noted for his involvement with the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Program in Area V, which includes all of the AA and AAA schools in District 9. His involvement spans a period of 46 years during which he promoted the development of the youth in Area V.
He began coaching the Clearfield Junior Wrestlers in 1974 and guided them through sectional and state tournaments for more than 20 years. Peters became the Area V Alternate Chairman in 1980 under Chairman Ron Smith. He was later named the Area V Chairman in 1990 and still holds that position today.
His 30 years of serving as Area V Chaiman is the longest running term of any Area Chairman in the state and is the longest in the history of the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Program. During that time, he also organized the running of all the Area V Section and Final Tournaments being held at many schools in District 9.
In 1998, Peters created the Area V Scholarship, which has been given to a wrestler each year from District 9. The total amount awarded to area wrestlers will surpass $14,000 this year.
Peters resides in Clearfield with his wife Leanne, to whom he has been married to for 41 years. The two children, Andrew and Adrianne, and four grandchildren — Sloane, Kade, Drew and Deklan.
Brinker was a 2000 graduate of Redbank Valley and competed for the Bulldogs from 1997-2000. He was a District 9 Class AA champion at 140 pounds in 1999. He went on to place third at the Northwest Regional Tournament that year before placing seventh at states. He finished his Bulldogs career with a 98-27 record.
Following graduation, Brinker served his country as a scout sniper for four years and five months in the Marine Corps, with one deployment to Afghanistan and two to Irag. He then moved to the Navy, where he successfully completed Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal (BUD/S) training and became a Seal.
Brinker served six years and seven months as a Seal with one national tasking deployment. He was one of the highest trained and capable snipers in the Navy and Marines. In an Achievement Medal Citation, he was credited with a sniper shot that was over 1,000 meters.
Brinker was a member of the American Legion, Walter W. Craig Post 354 of New Bethlehem. His hall of fame plaque was accepted by his brother Burt Brinker, a retired Air Force Major.
Havers, a 2011 Bradford graduate, put together a stellar career for the Owls. He was a four-time District 9 Class AAA champion and named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler three different times.
He also was a four-time Northwest Regional champ and captured a pair of state silver medals in 2009 and 2011. Havers ended his career with a record of 130-10. Following his freshman season, Havers was a member of the 2008 National Freestyle Duals All-American Team.
Havers is currently an assistant coach for the Owls and resides in Bradford with his wife Jessica and their two sons — Beau and Bearen.