The Saratoga Sun -

By Dick Perue
Special to the Saratoga Sun 

Matman memories

Founder of Saratoga wrestling to be honored during mat invitational

 

Saratoga Sun photo by R.D. Martin

Coach Dale Federer, standing with tie, poses with the first full wrestling team at Platte Valley High School. Grapplers on the 1954 squad were: standing, left to right, George McIlvaine, Berwyn Brown, Cliff Hamilton, Coach Federer, Larry Picard, Dick Mowry and Teense Willford; kneeling, left to right, Lowell Sanders, Stan Hjerleid, Rod Johnson, Richard (Dick) Perue, Ron Perue, Con Allen, Jerry Ward, Jim Perue, Louie Bensen, Kay Ebbeka and Bob McIlvaine.

A tribute to the late Dale Federer, founder of the Saratoga High School wrestling program, will be heldthis weekend during the 2017 Carbon County Invitational held at the Panther Den in Saratoga.

Coach Federer passed away on Aug. 30, 2016 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Persons attending the invitational will be presented with a pamphlet featuring Coach Federer and his Saratoga Panther wrestling teams. His former students and wrestlers in attendance will be asked to relate memories of him.

Although in Saratoga for only seven years, the Cheyenne native and University of Wyoming outstanding wrestler left a lasting legacy on the Saratoga school and community.

He began his teaching career here in 1953 when he assumed the position of shop teacher, vocational agriculture instructor and Stewart McPhail Future Farmers of America chapter advisor. Platte Valley High School, as it was then known, did not have wrestling. He founded the local mat program in 1953 with one wrestler-Bruce Willford–who would later become the wrestling coach here.

In 1954 Coach Federer, members of the team, students, parents and fans held fundraisers and solicited donations to buy mats and uniforms. The uniforms consisted of tennis shoes and shorts, which at times proved embarrassing with a few exposed jock straps and occasionally more. His first full team in 1954 consisted of 17 grapplers, including Kay Ebbeka, the first Saratoga Panther to place at the state wrestling tournament. Ebbeka claimed that spot by winning second place in only his first year of competition for the newly-formed team.

Federer's team record after initiating wrestling here was 9th in 1954; 7th in 1955; 6th in 1956; state champs in 1957; 4th in 1958 and 3rd in 1959. During that period all Wyoming schools wrestled in the same division and Saratoga was the smallest school to win the "All Class State Championship".

Coach Federer produced 11 individual state champions during his Panthers tenure.

The Saratoga Sun of March 17, 1959, editorialized, "All in all, Saratoga's and Coach Federer's record adds up to an impressive one that any coach would envy and any school would be more than proud of".

 

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