33 PRINCETON SPORTS FIRSTS

Editor’s note: This is a draft of a list I am compiling. I had hoped to come up with 25 Princeton Sports Firsts, but it has grown! Please do not share this as “history” until the full list is confirmed. I am sending this to Princeton High School officials to see if their information matches mine, and I will post on Facebook to see if anyone has corrections or suggestions. Please let me know if you spot any errors or know of possible verifiable additions to the list, since my research extends only to the early 1990s at this point and I expect there might have been some firsts, especially in girls sports, since then. Thank you!

Here are 33 of the most significant accomplishments of Princeton athletes (state tournament level and above), as documented by the Princeton Republic and Princeton Times-Republic:

1. First male athlete to be invited to U.S. Olympic trials:

Ed Boguske, 1928, Los Angeles, 100-yard dash, did not compete due to illness

2. First male athlete to try out for Major League Baseball team:

Edward Krystofiak, 1938, St. Louis Browns, Belleville, Illinois

3. First male athlete to sign Major League Baseball contract:

Ron Sullivan, 1952, Pittsburgh Pirates, Class D, Brunswick, Georgia

4. First male athlete to receive appointment to U.S. military academy:

Jim Yahr, 1959, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado

5. First male athlete to compete at state track meet:

Unconfirmed Bill Eicklemann, 1960, 100-yard dash

6. First male athlete to score 1,000 points in varsity basketball career:

Jerry Lese, 1962-1965, 1,121 points

7. First male athlete to earn varsity letter at major university:

Kent Kautzer, 1967-1968, University of Wisconsin, men’s crew

8. First male athlete to place at WIAA state track and field meet:

Ken Disterhaft, 1971, 220-yard dash, second place

9. First male athlete to be named to an all-state team:

Jim Krystofiak, 1971, basketball, honorable mention, Queen of Apostles High School, Madison

10. First male athlete to receive college athletic scholarship (Division II):

Jim Krystofiak, 1971, UW-Milwaukee

11. First male sports team to win a state championship:

1974 football team, 9-0, No. 1 team in the Associated Press small school rankings (pre WIAA playoffs)

12. First male athlete to set a state record, any sport:

Paul Belke, 1987, track and field (shot put)

13. First male athlete to advance to WIAA state cross-country meet:

Jim Cook, 1978

14. First male athlete to place at WIAA state cross-country meet:

Jim Esten, 1979, third

15. First male athletes to win a state track championship:

Roy Manweiler, Greg Sondalle, Mike Weir, Todd Hudzinski, 1979, 880 relay team

16. First male athlete to win individual state championship, any sport:

Mike Weir, 1979, track and field (pole vault)

17. First male athlete to compete in WIAA state wrestling tournament:

Frank Sixt, 1981

18. First female athlete to compete at WIAA state cross-country meet:

Ann Meyer, 1980

19. First female athlete to compete at WIAA state track meet:

Ann Meyer, 1982, mile and two-mile runs

20. First female athlete to place at WIAA state track meet:

Ann Meyer, 1982, third place, mile and two-mile runs

21. First female athlete to be named to an all-state team:

Gail Polfuss, 1982, softball, second team

22. First male athlete to receive Division I college athletic scholarship:

Paul Belke, 1987, University of Wisconsin, track and field (shot put and discus)

23. First male athlete to place in WIAA state wrestling tournament:

Kurt Holland, 1988, fifth place

24. First male athletes to compete in the WIAA state golf tournament:

Gary Zuehls, Jamie Rataczak, Dan Moldenhauer, Doug Sauerbrei, Brad Gaffney, 1989

25. First male athlete to be offered full academic scholarship to major university:

Adrian Ryerson, 1990, Marquette University

26. First female athlete to score 1,000 points in varsity basketball career:

Jessie Davis, 1988-1991, 1,153 points

27. First male athlete to qualify for WIAA state golf tournament as individual:

Jason Lese, 1991

28. First male athlete to win a major college conference championship:

Paul Belke, 1992, Big Ten Conference Outdoor Championships (shot put), Minneapolis

29. First male athlete to compete in U.S. Olympic Trials:

Paul Belke, 1992, New Orleans, shot put, 12th place

30. First male athletes to advance to WIAA state cross-country meet as team:

Gregg Wheeler, Brad Brzozowski, Jeremy Jensen, Nate Lehner, Tom Treder, Sean Ellison, Darren Brzozowski, 1994, 10th place

31. First male athlete to compete in WIAA state swim meet:

Sean Gonia, 1996, Berlin Swim Team (Berlin, Green Lake, Princeton)

32. First male athlete to medal at WIAA state swim meet:

Sean Gonia, 1997, Berlin Swim Team (Berlin, Green Lake, Princeton), Division II, fourth in 500 freestyle, 6th in 200 freestyle

33. First female athlete to compete at WIAA swim meet:

Tara Gonia, 1997, Berlin Swim Team (Berlin, Green Lake, Princeton), Division II

If you share the list when complete, please include credit to princetonhistory.com.

Thank you for caring and reading about local history.

3 comments

  1. basketball career:

    Jessie Davis, 1988-1991, 1,153 points. “Dr. Jessica Davis graduated from Princeton high school in 1991. She completed her undergraduate degree in biology at UW Oshkosh and graduated from University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 2000. Upon graduation, she joined the Army Reserves and was honorably discharged in 2008.”

  2. Hi Roger, Ann Meyer went to state for cross country in 1980. I have the program if you’d like documentation.
    #33 is Tara Gonia (correcting first name)
    Paul Belke actually set the state record in both the discus & the shot in 1987. I believe the shot was first so that would be the first state record.

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