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Top wrestlers of the century
December 31, 1999

Past Washington State Wrestlers & Team Champions - Copyright 99,00,01 Washington State Wrestler all rights reserved.

Lamoin Merkley, Moses Lake, Class of '62
Won consecutive high-school state titles, first at 130 then at 136 when there was one tournament for the whole state. Won three straight NAIA titles while at Central Washington.

Gerald Conine, Fife, Class of '57
Won a state title at 175 pounds as a senior. He attended Washington State, placed sixth in freestyle as a 214-pounder at the '64 Olympics and was two-time national Greco-Roman champion.

Dwayne Keller, Kennewick, Class of '66
Won state high-school titles at 115 pounds in '65 and '66 and at 134 pounds in college. Wrestled at Oklahoma State where he won two NCAA titles; was named NCAA's outstanding wrestler in 1968.

Darrell Keller, Kennewick, Class of '66
Won high-school state title in '66 at 123 pounds, also wrestled at Oklahoma State where he won consecutive NCAA titles first at 134 than at 142 in '71 when he was named NCAA's outstanding wrestler.

Dan Strode, Moses Lake, Class of '68
Three-time state champion, who won a state title at Grays Harbor Community. He was killed in a motorcycle accident while at Oklahoma State.

Bill Murdock, Kent-Meridian, Class of '69
Won a state title at 178 pounds as a senior in 1969, and was one of two Washington wrestlers to ever win an NCAA Division I title. Won the title at 177 pounds.

Jamie Wise, Moses Lake, Class of '80
The second wrestler from his school to win three state championships. Won at 101, 108 and 115 and earned a scholarship to Oregon State.

Dave Orndorff, Kent-Meridian, Class of '82
Second in the state tournament in 1982. He won two national junior-college championships at Ricks, and after a two-year Mormon mission placed second in the NCAAs as a heavyweight for Oregon State.

Randy Couture, Lynnwood, Class of '81
Three-time All-America at Oklahoma State; won Pan American Games title in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1991. He is a world champion in the Ultimate Fighting and can be seen him at the beginning of the Nike ad featuring scarred athletes. He's the one missing part of his ear.

Dave Olmsted, Sumner, Class of '84
Won three straight state titles in the big-school classification, starting at 129 pounds as a sophomore. He won a junior world championship in Greco-Roman wrestling and was a national high-school champion in Greco-Roman and freestyle.

Jeff Gotcher, Spanaway Lake, Class of '87
Believed to be the first wrestler to go undefeated in three-year high-school career. Won Class 3A state title at 148 pounds in '85, and Class 4A titles at 148 in '86 and '87. Brother Larry enjoyed more success in college, placing fifth in the NCAAs while at Michigan.

Brian Peterson, Auburn, Class of '90
Big-school state champion at 135 pounds in 1990 and won Pacific Lutheran's only NAIA national title.

Pat Connors, R.A. Long, Class of '94
First Washington wrestler to win four state titles. Run started at 101 pounds as a freshman and ending with his senior title at 129. Was an All-America wrestler as a freshman at Minnesota.

Kirk White, Curtis, Class of '95
Won an NCAA title in 1999 at 157 pounds for Boise State. Won one high-school state title as a senior at 141.

Otto Olson, Everett, Class '96
Won three straight big-school state titles and was a national freestyle wrestling champion. Now at Michigan, he was second as a junior in last year's NCAA tournament and is ranked No. 1 at 178 as a senior.

Ben VomBaur, Evergreen (Vancouver), Class of '98
The third Washington wrestler to go undefeated in three years of high school. Was 102-0 in three years, winning three titles.