Parkersburg Big Reds 


The history of wrestling at Parkersburg High School had a modest beginning. On February 11, 1922 under Coach Harold Thomas, Parkersburg, defeated Morgantown in the first match in PHS history. Later that year, the Big Reds wrestled Huntington High School, but were defeated. Wrestling at PHS from 1923 to 1928 was only on an intramural level, and there was no interscholastic competition again until 1936.

The tradition of wrestling excellence was started at PHS when Ben Schwartzwalder took over as coach and guided the team from 1937 through 1941. In 1942, Joe Johnston coached for one year and was then succeeded by Jim Scott. Scott, along with Russ Pfalzgraf coached the wrestlers from 1943 to 1955. The Big Reds won their first state championship in 1948 to give the PHS tradition of wrestling excellence a solid foundation. The Parkersburg grapplers have been champions from the beginning and have dominated high school wrestling in the state for most of the years of its existence. The Big Red wrestlers have finished in the top ten 60 times in the 61 state tournaments that have been held with 43 of those finishes being in the top five and 21 as State Champions.

Bob Dutton took over the coaching reigns from Jim Scott in the fall of 1955, and headed the program for the next twenty years. During those years, the domination continued. Dutton's teams won seven state championships, and his wrestlers won 36 individual state titles.

In 1977, Joe Handlan, Jr., succeeded Dutton and guided the team to six state championships, as well as four runner-up finishes. Since 1977, 52 of his wrestlers were crowned as individual state champions, 6 were named the Outstanding Wrestler Award winner of the tournament, and 14 captured High School All-American Honors.

Scheny Schenerlein took over the coaching reigns in 2000, making him only the fifth Head Coach in school history. During Schenerlein's years, 2000 to 2009, the Big Red grapplers continued their dominance and won 4 State Championships, 2 runner-up finishes and crowned 15 individual state champions. In addition, 8 wrestlers won multiple individual state titles, 8 captured High School All-American Honors, 2 were named the Outstanding Wrestler Award winner and 2 went on to become National Champions.

Entering the 2010-2011 season the Big Red Wrestling program is guided under the direction of Head Coach Chris Way. Way, a former PHS wrestling champion, became the sixth coach in the history of the Big Reds wrestling program in 2009. Way served as an assistant wrestling coach for the Big Reds from 2001 to 2005 before becoming the head coach of the Parkersburg Cougars.  During his first season Way guided the Big Red program to its fourth place finish at the West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament and crowned 2 individual state champions, 1 state runner-up, 1 third place finish and 1 sixth place finish.  In addition, 1 was named Outstanding Wrestler Award winner, 26th Annual Robert Dutton Award winner and 2010 All American.      

2010-2011 Big Reds Wrestling Team

Parkersburg Big Reds Wrestling
21x West Virginia AAA State Champions