20th Anniversary of the Dale Peterson Invitational Track Meet
By Vern Cahak
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Dale Peterson Invitational track meet which began with inauguration of Listle Field on April 18, 2002.
There is good reason why Antigo’s major annual track meet is named in honor of Dale Peterson. He is one of Antigo’s longtime good guys who was an inspiration to hundreds of Antigo High School student athletes for over three decades. His teaching and coaching skills motivated young athletes to perform at their best.
Dale coached some of Antigo’s best track teams in the 1960’s, which is one of the reasons for the Dale Peterson event. In 1964, a year after Jaycee Park was developed, Antigo fielded one of its best track teams in history. That spring, the Red Robins broke six school records and tied another. The record breakers included Dennis Kramer, Dick Hilger, Bill Johanek and Bob Hunter.
In 1965 and 1966 Dale’s teams recorded back to back third place finishes in the WIAA sectional meet, quite an accomplishment considering low numbers of participants. The ’66 squad also took second place in the Wisconsin Valley Conference meet, its highest finish in the history of the event.
Not only was Dale an outstanding track coach he was prominent as an Antigo football coach for 31 years. He was head coach of the Red Robin freshman teams and was varsity assistant under legendary Coach Gordy Schofield. He even served as interim head coach in 1965 when Schofield was on leave of absence to obtain his Masters degree at the University of Pittsburgh. He coached the Robins to a 6-2 record and barely missed the Valley championship with a 5-1 mark.
In a letter to the Antigo Journal, while he was in Antigo to be recognized as an honorary captain at Red Robin football game in 2014, Tom Schremp, who was all-State lineman of the Year in 1975, heaped much praise on the positive influence Dale had on him.
“He was one of the best line coaches I ever met or played for. He would open the weight room for me anytime I wanted to lift, night or day, even after I left for college. He sent me letters in college to encourage me.” Schremp wrote.