Racine Park 50th Anniversary Celebration; ’67 State Championship | August 4

TomM
By TomM July 31, 2017 23:48

Racine Park 50th Anniversary Celebration; ’67 State Championship | August 4

Racine Park 50th Anniversary Celebration; ’67 State Championship | August 4

Kleven recalls golden years

Peter Jackel | The Journal Times 

Nearly 50 years after he reluctantly left Racine following a brief but spectacular run as Park High School’s wrestling coach, Duane Kleven still retains a sharp, crisp tone in his voice, which easily cracks with emotion at unexpected moments.

The Panthers won WIAA state championships in 1967 and 1969. To date, they are the only county wrestling program to win a state championship trophy. They went 39-5-2 in dual meets under Kleven. And there were individual state championships by Rufus Johnson, Lonnie Woods, Frank Velasquez, James Abbott and Tom Adams during the time Kleven ran the show at 1901 12th St.

And now it’s time to re-live the memories. Kleven will be back in town Friday for a 50th anniversary celebration of the 1967 state championship team. The reunion will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at Mike & Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, 6214 Washington Ave., Mount Pleasant.

Wrestlers from throughout the history of Park’s program will be on hand and they’ll be coming from all parts of the country. Take Johnson and Woods, who remain best friends 50 years later even though they live 2,600 miles apart (Johnson in Ontario, Calif., and Woods in Randallstown, MD.)

“It’s the memories,” Kleven said, his voice cracking. “It’s going to be an interesting weekend. I hope I can maintain some type of composure. Those guys are pretty special guys.”

This article is abbreviated, read more HERE at the Journal Times

Peter Jackel is a reporter for The Journal Times. You can reach Peter by calling 262-631-1703 or by emailing him at peter.jackel@journaltimes.com

TomM
By TomM July 31, 2017 23:48

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