By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- For anyone who wondered what kind of an impact the late Shikellamy High School wrestling coach, Phil Lockcuff, had on the community, here is the answer.
On Saturday, not only will the school dedicate its gymnasium and name it in the late coach's honor, but the first event held in the newly christened fieldhouse will be the initial Phil Lockcuff Duals.
If that isn't enough, this six-team tournament, which will begin at 9 a.m., will include District 3's Kennard-Dale, coached by former Lockcuff wrestler Mike Balestrini. The Rams' lineup includes a three-time defending Class AAA state champion, Chance Marstellar. Oh, and by the way, Marstellar has never lost a bout in high school.
The plan to honor the coach in this manner was hatched shortly after his passing in January, according to former Braves wrestler and current assistant coach Justin Michaels, who is the tournament director.
"This (idea) was just a reflection on how he touched so many lives," Michael said.
Michaels said it was the influence of the late coach Lockcuff that led him to return to coaching at his alma mater, even though his own son wrestles in the Lewisburg program.
"I am volunteering once or twice a week with (Lewisburg coach) Jim Snyder and helping in the youth program but I wanted to see that this is an annual event and maintain the legacy of Phil Lockcuff," he said.
"What he has meant to me in my life and the thousands of lives that he's touched, it is so important that his legacy is carried on with the tradition of Shikellamy wrestling. This is one way to do it -- with an annual event, honoring him and honoring his family and what this family has meant to the community and to Shikellamy wrestling."