As a member of the ‘72-’73 wrestling team, Brian Dougherty never learned to lose. Guided by Coach John Jones, the 141-pounder grappled his way to a spotless 18-0 record and then methodically outmaneuvered the competition at the National Prep Wrestling Tournament to bring home the ultimate prize. His crowning achievement against the best of his generation took place at Lehigh University, the center of our country’s elite high school wrestling contests since 1935. Pictured with Dougherty in the winners’ photograph is Mark Lieberman, National Wrestling Hall of Fame honoree and Blair Academy graduate. This proud family keepsake is a reminder of Brian’s immeasurable will to compete and prevail against the nation’s best.
During most of the 1950’s and 1960’s, scheduling conflicts with the New Jersey State Prep Tournament limited Peddie’s participation at Nationals. In a unique arrangement, Dougherty traveled to Lehigh with the Lawrenceville squad and represented Peddie as a one-man team. Undaunted by the pressures of the renowned tournament, he received a bye during the first round and then proceeded to mow down his challengers 15-0, 11-6, 3-1 and 9-2 in the final bout.
Brian’s great quickness, balance and coordination enhanced his efficiency as a wrestler, and his determination put him over the top. Co-captain Mark Hanna remembers Dougherty as “a bit of a rebel with a great athletic gift,” against whom opponents of virtually all sizes and skill levels “didn’t have a prayer unless they could avoid the vise of his extraordinary legs.” During Brian’s entire storybook season, few of his matches were even close. If scored with today’s ‘bonus’ points, his margins of victory would have been even more impressive. Although his unbeaten streak would end in college, he compiled a solid winning percentage of .800 in his career at Temple University.
Peddie is proud to acknowledge and memorialize Brian Dougherty’s achievements in wrestling. May his spirited and gritty performances continue to inspire the young Peddie grappler.