1959-1969 Decade of Wrestling to be Honored at Intrasquad Dual
By Wade Schlotter
Since the establishment of wrestling at Redfield HS in 1958, the Redfield program has made significant contributions to the history of the sport in South Dakota. Last year the Redfield program celebrated the 60th year of wrestling at RHS. The wrestling team invited members from the original 1958 team to the Intrasquad Dual. This year the Pheasant wrestlers and coaches would like to invite any former wrestlers who wrestled for the Pheasants from the years 1959 to 1969 to be honored at this year’s Intrasquad Dual on Dec. 1st at 7pm in the Greeno Building.
One year after hosting the first state tournament in 1958, Redfield wrestlers traveled to Rapid City to win the 1959 State Wrestling Championship. Over the course of the next decade Redfield would remain one of the dominant teams in the state. Redfield would win one state title, four 3rd places, and three other top 10 finishes at the state tournament.
Many Pheasant wrestlers would find individual success in the sport during this span. In the decade (1959-1969) Redfield would have 15 individual state champions, 10 runner-ups, 16 third placers, and 9 fourth place finishers. Keep in mind there was only one classification for wrestling in the state until 1971 and only awarded the top 4 place winners in each weight class.
Redfield had a few of the wrestlers make significant marks on the record book. Greg Schmidt, a three time state champion (1964, 1965, and 1966) would go on to wrestle at SDSU to be a 3-time All-American for the Jackrabbits in the NCAA College Division. In his senior season he became the first native South Dakotan to become an All-American at the NCAA University Division when he placed 5th in 1970. He would go on to coach the SDSU program in 1974 and 1975.
Other notable wrestlers were Darrold Morey, Norm Neu, and Gene Roth. Darold Morey was a two-time state champion and two-time 3rd place finisher. Norm Neu was a three-time state champion (1958, 1959, and 1960). And Gene Roth would win the state championship at 154 pounds with one leg.
Another notable figure was RHS athletic director Ken Greeno Sr. He was instrumental in having Redfield host the 1958 state tournament and in the following years would continue to be an advocate for wrestling state wide.
The 2018-2019 wrestling team is encouraging any of the former wrestlers to be honored on December 1st. There will be a ceremony acknowledging the alumni before this year’s team will wrestle in an Intrasquad Dual. Please have any of the wrestling alumni from 1959 to 1969 contact Wade Schlotter at 472-4520 ext. 1063 or by email at [email protected]