“AWARD OF EXCELLENCE”
By Mark Petersen
In 1967 I enrolled at LHSN. When asked if I was interested in sports I said yes and was signed up to play football. According to ABC league rules, my stature of 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, meant I had to play varsity. We weren’t good back then, Coach Crisler and Coach Wallace knew their stuff, we just weren’t very good. You see, in grade school we played kickball and softball. That’s why schools like Country Day and Priory usually kicked our butts .
Coach Manion and Coach Holschen arrived at North during my sophomore year with new ideas and philosophies. We learned how to play the game we learned what was expected of us as athletes. We were lucky to have great coaches who cared about us on and off the field.
During my sophomore year my brother, Andy, was involved in a serious accident; we lost him 11 months later. I was honored to help my mom dedicate the new track at North in my brother’s memory.
I graduated LHSN with a three-year varsity letter winner in football, and two in varsity track, was all ABC League in football and track along with state honors in the shot put and discus. I received a football scholarship to the University of Illinois where I played defensive end. Over the next four years I worked with guys like Doug Deacon, Jim Grubowski, J.C. Caroline and played with and against Larry McCaron, Archie Griffin, Chuck Muncy, Sonny Sixkiller and Pete Johnson.
I graduated in the spring of 1975 as a three-time winner of the George Huff Certificate of Achievement for academic and athletic excellence and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten second team my senior year. I was fortunate to be asked to play in the East West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs.
In June 1975, I married Sue, my wife of almost 43 years. After the Chiefs, we returned to St. Louis and I began working for my Dad at Central Pattern Company.
Years later, my daughter, Andrea, started playing volleyball at LHSN. I worked with the volleyball program for several years. One of the days after volleyball practice, I heard a familiar laugh of my old high school coach, Jim Manion. He too, had returned to LHSN. It was a wonderful feeling to return to my roots and give back to those who had given so much of themselves. To Rich Wallace and Paul Crisler, Carl Holschen and Jim Manion, and to Wayne Vogelsmeier, I say thank you for all you did for us! Thank you to all who wore Maroon and Gold for showing your support and offering your friendship still to this day, this honor is for you!