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Two legendary Teams and five individuals who made their mark at Evanston Township High School have been added to the ETHS Athletic Hall of Fame after being selected by a committee of administrators, coaches and community members.
Eddie Cole (Class of 1954), John Dunkas (Class of 1979) and Tameeka McFarlane (Class of 1997) will join former administrators Shirley Nannini and Leo J. Samuelson along with the 1953 cross country team and 1954-55 swimming and diving team for induction. Individual hall of famers will be featured in the next issue of the RoundTable.
The annual HOF dinner was held on April 2 at ETHS.
1953 Cross Country Team
Louis Kujawinski and John Hitt were used to running side-by-side for most of the 1953 cross-country season.
But the two Evanston standouts accomplished something special in their last race against each other, and helped nail down one of just two IHSA State team championships earned by Evanston in cross country.
With a surge over the last quarter mile of the course at the Urbana Golf Course, Kujawinski beat out teammate Hitt for the first time all season and claimed the individual crown with a record time of 9:21.6. Runnerup Hitt – who had not lost either a dual meet or invitational race all fall – also broke the State record with a time of 9:21.8.
Remarkable as the upset was for Kujawinski, a junior, the 1-2 achievement by the two Wildkit harriers eventually earned legendary status. Why? Because in the history of the State meet – including the expansion to two and then three classes – two runners from the same school have only been able to match that finish three times. Moline in 1957, Lockport in 2000 and York in 2004 also had individuals place 1-2 in the finals.
Evanston’s performance at the finals in 1953 was a breakthrough of sorts for teams from northern Illinois. Paris, under legendary coach Ernie Eveland, had won the first four team titles when the championships were first conducted starting in 1946. Evanston outscored a small school, Toledo Cumberland, by a 111-119 margin and the team outcome was close because Cumberland also had runners placing 3rd and 8th, respectively.
Coach Heinie Schultz’s Wildkit squad earlier captured the Suburban League title for the third straight year behind Hitt, who clocked in 9:27.1, and Kujawinski, next in 9:27.3. Providing the necessary depth were teammates Chuck Eby in 4th place, Howie Brinton in 9th and Ron McPheron in 19th. Other team members were Van Tebbutt, Jack Beukema and John Sand.
Evanston’s only other IHSA team title came in 1966.
1954-55 Swimming and Diving Team
The members of the 1954-55 Evanston boys swimming and diving team did not just win. Their collective assault on Suburban League, IHSA and national records featured a breath-taking performance almost every time a Wildkit stepped into the pool.
Talk about knowing how to beat the clock. By the end of the season, Evanston swimmers held five national records led by two individuals already in the Hall of Fame, senior Dick Hanley and sophomore Tony Follett.
Evanston’s dominance during the regular season gave Coach Dobbie Burton’s squad something to build upon after back-to-back State championships in 1953 and 1954. At the Suburban League meet, ETHS blew away the competition. Hanley set a new mark in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 56.4 seconds that represented a 6-second drop for the Wildkit star.
Mike Farmer bettered his own league record in the 100 breaststroke, ruling in 1:00.4, and Skip McCallum was clocked in 1:01.4 in the 100 backstroke, another record effort.
The Wildkits were just getting warmed up. They went on to capture six first place finishes out of nine events at the IHSA State finals, obliterating the field and ruling the team standings with 71 points to 47 for runnerup New Trier.
Every lane that featured an ETHS swimmer was the fast lane on the final day of the season. Hanley earned firsts in both the 50 freestyle (23.3) and 100 freestyle (51.7), breaking the State mark in the shorter race and tying the record in the 100.
In the breaststroke, Farmer repeated as individual champ and broke his own mark with a time of 1:01.7. That performance stood as the State record until 1974. McCallum topped the field in the backstroke in 1:01.4, and Tom Alderson added another individual gold in the 200 freestyle, where he touched the wall in a winning time of 2:02.4.
Farmer and McCallum combined with James Stackhouse in a relatively new event, the 150-yard medley relay, in the years before the butterfly stroke was added to the medley. They tied the State mark at 1:20.2, just off the national record they established earlier in the season at 1:18.0.
Divers Wally Fort and future state champ Ted Snyder placed third and sixth, respectively, in their specialty. Also providing depth were Follett, 4th in the 200 freestyle; Eric McCaleb, 4th in the 50 freestyle; Alderson, 5th in the 150 individual medley; Bruce Soule, 5th in the 100 freestyle; John Fix, 6th in the backstroke; and the third place 200 freestyle relay team.