Toluca High School "Wildcats"

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Toluca High School
toluca2.jpg
Toluca, Illinois

The History of Toluca High School
 
Toluca (population 1,339) is located in north central Illinois in east central Marshall County. The town is located on Illinois Route 117 just south of Illinois Route 17. The AT & SF Railroad runs through town as does the North Branch of the Crow Creek. The town is located about 30 miles northeast of Peoria (as the crow flies). 
 
According to the web sites http://www.piperspages.com/Marshall/toluca.html as well as http://www.piperspages.com/Marshall/TolucaNow.html, the Santa Fe Railroad became the driving force behind the location of Toluca. The railroad began coming through the area in 1887 and the coal mines were established in the area in 1892. Soon the town of Toluca was "booming," becoming incorporated in 1893. By 1907, Toluca's population had swelled to over 6,000 residents! 
 
The town continued to flourish until 1924, when the coal mines closed. In that one year hundreds of families left town looking for work. Though two hills, known as "The Jumbos," in Toluca remain as reminders of the town's coal mining past, the population has declined to a steady 1,400 for the past few decades. Those from Toluca consider the hills a land mark they are proud of, just like two restaurants in town, Mona's and Capponi's, which were opened by the Bernardi family in the 1930's.
 
The residents of Toluca immediately recognized a need for higher education and established a high school in 1893. The first graduating class for THS was the Class of 1897. The school prospered and excelled in many areas for nearly 100 years. 
 
In the late 1980's/early 1990's, consolidation talks with nearby Minonk-Dana-Rutland and Wenona surfaced. The effort became a reality in 1993 when Toluca High was deactivated and the Fieldcrest School System was born. The high school remained in Minonk. Toluca residents built a "new" high school building in 1922, which served the school district as Toluca High until its closure in 1993. The Toluca High School building now serves as the Fieldcrest West Elementary and Middle School. 
 
Coming Soon two volume History Books of The Boy’s Basketball of Toluca High School. This 2 volume history of the Wildcats is packed with group, individual and action photographs and many articles from 1923 to the closing of Toluca High School in 1992. There will a special pricing if both volume’s are purchased at the same time. Don’t delay order your books today by emailing Terri at www.tntimage@mchsi.com.
 
Toluca High School Quick Facts
Year opened:                 1893
Year closed:                  1992
School nickname:           the "Wildcats"
School colors:                Purple, Gold, & White
School Fight Song:         "Wave the Flag"
                                                 FIGHT SONG LYRICS COURTESY OF TnT Photo
                                                 Music Played by the Potomac High School Alumni Band
                                     

TOLUCA HIGH SCHOOL SONG

Wave the colors of Toluca

The Purple and the Gold

Fighting ever for her Honor

Are Players Brave and Bold

The Boys will Fight Hard for

Their School’s Fame

We’ll Praise them to the Sky

While they Fight to win this Ball Game

We’ll Cheer Toluca High

 

 

TOLUCA HIGH SCHOOL SONG

Wave the Colors of Toluca

The Purple and the White, Rah Rah

Fighting ever for our Honor

Our Players they will Fight, Rah Rah

We know they’ll try to Win this Ball Game

We’ll Praise them to the Sky

Our Boys who fight to win this Ball Game

We will Cheer Toluca High

T-TOL-U-UCA TOL-UCA TOLUCA

(This song is repeated twice before you say Toluca)  

1983-84 Super Sectional - Pre-Game
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#42 Todd Rankin, Bernard Beoletti (background), Coach Chuck Rolinski, Mike DeRubeis

Athletics
 
The Toluca High School Wildcats have a VERY long and storied history in Illinois High School athletics. The boys basketball program was one of the premier programs in northern Illinois in the 1960's, 70's, and 80's. The boys' track team had some real nice success in the 1920s. Showing that they were well-rounded athletes, the baseball teams at Toluca also had some very good teams. Though there is no mention of girl's athletics on the IHSA web site (www.ihsa.org) we are confident there were many competitive teams forged by the Lady Wildcats as well. Toluca competed in the Tri-County Conference throughout its existence. If you have any information on the athletic program at Toluca you would like to share please e-mail us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.

Toluca HS Gymnasium
tolucagym.jpg

Boys' Basketball
 
No reason to wait here. The boys' basketball program at Toluca High was extremely strong for many years. For over seven decades, the Wildcats consistently had teams vying for IHSA hardware. Even during the one-class system in Illinois, Toluca had to be reckoned with by the "big boys." Were it not for a couple of breaks and an unfortunate match-up, Toluca would have brought home some hardware from the big tournament.
 
Two coaches define the incredible success attained by the Toluca Wildcats on the hardwood. First came Anton J. (Tony) Kresl, who coached the "Cats" from 1932-33 to 1946-47. During his 15-year tenure at Toluca, Kresl's teams had eight 20+ win seasons (including three seasons of 27 wins) and brought home four Regional titles. His overall record of 294-122 rank him second on Toluca's all-time list. His teams also won five consecutive Tri-County Conference titles from 1941 - 1945. He led the boys of 1944-45 to the school's first Sectional Championship game (and a top-32 team finish). Great job Coach Kresl and the boys of the 1930's and 1940's.
 
The next name is known throughout the Illinois High School basketball coaching circles. Coach Chuck Rolinski was one of the premier coaches in northern Illinois during his career. His accomplishments are well-written about by Toluca fan David Gallianetti:
 
"Without question, the school's most well-known coach was state coaching legend Chuck Rolinski, a Toluca native who was named athletic director, basketball coach, and baseball coach in 1956. When he retired folowing the 1987-88 season, his 32-year basketball career ended with a 649-262 record, then good for 7th on the all-time wins list. Coach Rolinski is considered the "father" of the two-class Illinois state basketball tournament, as he was the driving force behind the creation of two classes. 
 
Toluca won 59 major championships under Rolinski. Included were 16 Tri-County Conference titles, 12 Regional titles, and three Sectional titles which resulted in three Sweet 16 appearances. Rolinski, an Illinois State University graduate, and his wife, Anita, still reside in Toluca. Coach Rolinski serves the Illinois Basketball Coach's Association as its secretary-treasurer. He is a member of the ISU, IBCA, and Greater Peoria Area Halls of Fame."
 
The former Toluca High School gymnasium (current Fieldcrest West Grade School gym) is named Chuck Rolinski Gymnasium (see photos below). 
 
Long game - One side-story involving the Toluca High basketball program involves the Freshman/Sophomore team. Playing their arch-rivals Wenona in February of 1930, the "Wildkits" were involved in one of the longest games in high school history. The game went 10 overtimes before Wenona prevailed 26-22.  Some coverage about the game was even received on a national level!  
 
The INCREDIBLE small-town high school successes of the Toluca High School Wildcats basketball program, according to the IHSA web site, are listed below.
 
1920-21            Marshall Co. Tourney Champions       Coach Swanson

Toluca "Wildcats" - 1920-21 Marshall Co. Champs
tolucahsbball192021dav.jpg
Courtesy of Terri Taylor - www.tntimages.com (Left Click for enlarged version)

1923-24            District Champions                              Coach Ed Foley    
1926-27   18- 2                                                             Coach Carl Megel
1927-28   20- 2                                                             Coach Carl Megel
1928-29   24- 4                                                             Coach Carl Megel
1929-30   21- 2                                                             Coach Bill Carlin
1930-31            Marshall Co. Tourney Runner-Ups          Coach Bill Carlin
1931-32   15- 9                                                             Coach Bill Carlin
1932-33   16- 8                                                             Coach Anton J. Kresl
1934-35   23- 5                                                             Coach Anton J. Kresl
1935-36   27- 3  Regional Champions                          Coach Anton J. Kresl
1936-37   21- 9  Regional Champions                          Coach Anton J. Kresl
1937-38   22- 6  Regional Finalist/Lost in Sectional     Coach Anton J. Kresl
1938-39   27- 6  Regional Champions                          Coach Anton J. Kresl
1939-40   24- 5                                                             Coach Anton J. Kresl
1941-42   27- 4  Tri-County Tourney Champs               Coach Anton J. Kresl
1942-43             Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups             Coach Anton J. Kresl
1943-44   14- 9                                                             Coach Anton J. Kresl
 
1944-45   27- 2  Regional Champions                          Coach Anton J. Kresl
                        Reached Sectional Champ. Game
                        Tri-County Tourney Champs

Toluca Wildcats of 1944-45
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Courtesy of Mark & Terri Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

1946-47            Tri-County Tourney Champs               Coach Milo B. Watson
1947-48   16-11 District Champions                              Coach Milo B. Watson
                         Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups
1948-49   18- 8                                                             Coach Milo B. Watson
1949-50   17- 9  Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups              Coach Milo B. Watson
1956-57   17- 6  Tri-County Tourney Champs               Coach Chuck Rolinski
1957-58   23- 7  Regional Champions                          Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs
 
1958-59   30- 1  Regional Champions                          Coach Chuck Rolinski
                        Undefeated Regular Season
                        Tri-County Tourney Champs
                         Beat LaSalle-Peru, 68-67 in Ottawa Sectional Semifinals
                         Lost to Ottawa for Sectional Championship, 58-57

Toluca High School "Wildcats" - 1958-59
tolucahs195859bballdav.jpg
Submitted by Terri & Mark Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

1959-60   29- 4  District/Regional Champions               Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs
1960-61   23- 5  Regional Champions                           Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs
1961-62   26- 2  Regional Champions                           Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs
1962-63   27- 2  Regional Champions                           Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs 
1963-64   27- 1  Regional Champions                           Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Undefeated Regular Season
                          Tri-County Tourney Champs
1964-65   18- 7  Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups               Coach Chuck Rolinski
1965-66   25- 3                                                              Coach Chuck Rolinski
 
1966-67   16-10 Regional/Sectional Champions           Coach Chuck Rolinski
         *Beat Lockport Central in Streator Sectional Final in 3 OT, 68-67
         *Lost 77-64 to eventual State Champ Pekin in Sweet 16 game
         *Only Tri-County team to win Sectional in one-class System

Toluca Wildcats of 1966-67
tolucabball196667dav.jpg
Courtesy of Mark & Terry Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

1967-68   22- 5  District Champions                              Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups
1968-69   26- 4  District Champions                              Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs
1969-70   21- 6  District Champions                              Coach Chuck Rolinski
1970-71   21- 6  District Champions                              Coach Chuck Rolinski
1971-72   20- 7  Regional Champions                           Coach Chuck Rolinski
                         Tri-County Tourney Champs 
 
1972-73   22- 6  Regional/Sectional Champions           Coach Chuck Rolinski
              *Ranked #2 in State at beginning of season
              *Beat Wenona 91-72 & Peru St. Bede 62-58 to win Wenona Sectional 
              *Lost 81-62 to St. Anne HS & Jack Sikma in Sweet 16 game at Pontiac Super-Sectional
               Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups   

Toluca Wildcats - 1972-73
tolucahsbball197273dav1.jpg
Courtesy of Terri & Mark Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

1974-75   18-10  Regional Champions                          Coach Chuck Rolinski
1979-80                                                                        Coach Chuck Rolinski
1981-82   16-  9                                                             Coach Chuck Rolinski
1982-83   22-  5  Tri-County Tourney Champs               Coach Chuck Rolinski
 
1983-84   29-  1  Regional/Sectional Champions          Coach Chuck Rolinski
                    *Undefeated Regular Season
                    *Ranked in Top 5 all season
                    *Lost to Hoopeston-East Lynn in Sweet 16 game in OT 51-48
                    *Tri-County Tourney Champs

Toluca Wildcats 1983-84
tolucabball198384dav.jpg
Submitted by Terri & Mark Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

1984-85             Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups              Coach Chuck Rolinski
1985-86   19-  7                                                             Coach Chuck Rolinski
1986-87   18-  7  Tri-County Tourney Champs               Coach Chuck Rolinski
1987-88   18-  8  Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups              Coach Chuck Rolinski
1990-91             Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups              coach unknown
 
Incredible Job Toluca High!!

Toluca High School Gym
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Toluca High School
tolucahsgymmons.jpg
Chuck Rolinski Gymnasium

Boys' Track & Field
 
The Toluca Wildcats of the early 1920's had two athletes who brought the program fame on a state-wide level. One athlete, Joe "Joe Day" Dicenzo, won two gold medals in consecutive seasons to lead the Toluca thinclads to consecutive top-ten finishes at the State "B" Track Meet. The Wildcat coach of the 1921, '22, and '23 teams was Ed Foley. One other athlete, with only a last name of Hoswell, also brought home a medal (3rd Place) in 1921. The track accomplishments of Toluca High School on a State Meet level are listed below.
 
1920-21    ??   Hoswell    50 Yard Dash      3rd Place
 
1921-22    Team Placed 4TH Overall at the State "B" Track Meet  Coach Ed Foley
 
                Individual Medalist
               
                Joe "Joe Day" Dicenzo      50 Yard Dash      STATE CHAMPION!!
                Joe "Joe Day" Dicenzo     100 Yard Dash     STATE CHAMPION!!
 
                Final Team Standings   
 
                1.)  Forrest HS                       19.5
                2.)  Elmwood HS                    15.2
                3.)  Greenfield HS                   12
                4.)  TOLUCA HIGH SCHOOL  10
                5.)  Monticello HS                    9
 
1922-23    Team Finished 6TH Overall at the State "B" Track Meet  Coach Ed Foley
 
               Individual Medalist
          
               Joe Dicenzo      50 Yard Dash        STATE CHAMPION!!
               Joe Dicenzo     100 Yard Dash       STATE CHAMPION!!
 
                Final Team Standings
 
                1.)  White Hall HS                   20.2
                2.)  Bridgeport HS                   15.5
                3.)  Hinsdale HS                     15
                4.)  Carlinville HS                    12
                5.)  Havana HS                       11
                6.)  TOLUCA HIGH SCHOOL  10
                      Olney HS, Pickneyville HS, and Wheaton HS
                      all tied for 6th with 10 points also.

Baseball Field
tolucabaseballfield.jpg
Toluca High School

Boys' Baseball 
 
The Toluca High School boys were a multi-talented bunch and proved this on the baseball diamond. They won two District Titles and two Regional Titles. It was even said they at one point won eight consecutive Tri-County Conference Championships, going an incredible 72-1 during that span. The years of the State winners are listed below. Unfortunately, the team records of these and other great Toluca baseball teams are not available at this time. 
Toluca Baseball Team - Conference Champs
tolucabaseballconfchampsdav.jpg
Courtesy of Mark & Terri Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

Toluca HS Baseball Team of the 1950s (8 - 3)
tolucabaseball50sdav1.jpg
Chuck Rolinski Batting Average - ,558 !! Photo Courtesy of Terri & Mark Taylor (www.tntimages.com)

1941-42       District Champions                                 Coach Anton J. Kresl
                    Lost to Streator in the Sectional 
1949-50       District Champions                                 Coach Milo Watson 
1958-59       Regional Champions                             Coach Chuck Rolinski
1969-70       Conference Champions                         Coach Chuck Rolinski
1981-82       Regional Champions                             Coach Chuck Rolinski

Toluca Baseball Team of 1970 - Conference Champs
tolucabaseballconfchamps1970dav.jpg
Courtesy of TnT Images - Mark & Terri Taylor (www.thtimages.com)

The following articles were sent to us by Terri and Mark Clark:
 

"1951 Fall Baseball Season – The Toluca Wildcats breezed through their 7 game schedule without a defeat, to win the Tri County Championship. The 1st game was at Wenona. The Wildcats 9 scored 31 runs before Wenona in the last inning could get a run across. Final score 31-4. The following game was with Sparland at home. The local boys weren’t hitting well but managed to pull through a 5-3 Victory. The next game was at Lostant & the boys got back in the stride to roll over the opposition 18-6. The Henry team was the next victim, with Joe Gabrick, the regular hurler, pitching a fine 7 hit game. Final score 13-5. Our next game was at Tonica. The boys played their usual good brand of baseball & won 10-5. At Swaney, Gabrick turned in a beautiful game. He gave up 4 hits, 5 walks & struck out 12 men. It was another massacre 16-1. The final game was against the highly touted Hopkins of Granville team. Our boys had no trouble at the plate & turned in some real fielding gems that were worthy of more experienced teams. They took the championship 16-2. A very successful season for a fine bunch of ball playes.

 

Courtesy of TnT Images
tolucahsbaseball195758.jpg
Terri & Mark Taylor

This article appeared in the Toluca Star Herald, Volume 62, No. 41, Thursday, Oct. 10, 1957 -

 

Toluca won the Tri County baseball for the 2nd straight year. Toluca became the 1st team in history of the Tri County baseball league to go undefeated for 2 straight seasons. On Monday, Oct. 7 the Hornets of Hopkins forfeited the game to Toluca . Their winning streak in Tri County baseball now stretches to 18 games in a row. The 18 games in a row can be contributed to many different reasons. Hitting & pitching are the 2 main reasons. The hard hitting Wildcats in the 1957 season collected 106 runs & 97 hits while the pitchers allowed 12 runs & only 21 hits. The team batting average is a fantastic .371 as the Wildcats had 7 starters that had batting average of over .350. The scores of the 56 & 57 seasons follow. 1956 – Toluca 14, Hopkins 5 – Toluca 5, Mid County 0 – Toluca 5, Tonica 0 – Toluca 14, Henry 1 – Toluca 14, Lostant 0 – Toluca 15, Wenona 1 – Toluca 17, Sparland 1 – Toluca 3, Washburn 1 – Toluca 4, Swaney 3 – 1957: Toluca 6, Mid County 0 – Toluca 17, Wenona 4 – Toluca 11, Tonica 0 – Toluca 12, Henry 6 – Toluca 13, Sparland 0 – Toluca 11, Washburn 1 – Toluca 13, Swaney 1 – Toluca 9, Hopkins 0 (Forfeit) – Toluca Baseball Batting Averages: Mariotti, Jim .379 – Mariotti,  Jack .467 – Daghe, Joe .367 – Baker, Bill .440 – Burroughs, John .276 – Schubert, Jeff .391 – Fengolia, Chuck .324 – Guderjan, Jerry .091 – Fredericks, Don .565 – Hedrick, Chuck .300 – Rolinski, Jerry .600 – Imm, Ray .111 – Clark, Roger, Hemenway, Jerome & Haig, Terry all .000 & Rankin, Roger .250."

Noteable Alumni / People
 
*The following players were named to the Illinois All-State Basketball Team:
        
           Roger Rankin  (1960)
           Tom Gardner  (1961 & 62)
           John Bernardi (1963)
           Tony Vignali  (1964)
           Bob Pescitelli  (1966)
           Ray Heck  (1969) - Ray Heck continued his athletic career at Lakeland College in Wisconsin
                                           where he was named to the NAIA All-American Basketball Team.
           Mike Rinker (1973)
           Tom Fenoglia (1984)
           Todd Rankin (1984) 
           Erin Barisch (1988) 
 
*Coach Chuck Rolinski  -  Toluca Basketball Coach 1956-57 through 1987-88
                                        Member Illinois Basktball Coaches Association Hall of Fame
                                        Member Illinois State University Hall of Fame
                                        Member Greater Peoria Area Hall of Fame
                                        Member Bloomington - Normal Officials Assoc. Hall of Fame
                                        "Father" of the Two-Class System in Illinois
                                        Current IBCA Secretary-Treasurer
                                        Named to the All-Time IHSA Legends team in 2007!
                                        Check out his bio at
                                        http://www.ihsa.org/initiatives/legends/index.htm.   
                                        32 Year Career at Toluca High School
                                        30 Years and counting - IBCA Coach's Clinic Organizer
                                        17 - Tri-County Conference Championships
                                        16 - Twenty-plus games-won seasons
                                        12 - Regional Championships
                                        11 - Tri-County Conference Tournament Titles
                                          8 - Twenty-five-plus games-won seasons                
                                          6 - District Championships
                                          3 - Sectional Championships
                                          3 - Sweet 16 Appearances
                                          2 - Undefeated Regualar Seasons
                                          1 - 30 games-won season
 
                                          Baseball Coaching Record Unavailable 
 
*Coach Anton J. Kresl - Toluca Basketball Coach 1932-33 through 1946-47
                                          Toluca High School Graduate - Class of 1923
                                          294-122 Overall
                                          8 - Twenty-plus games-won seasons
                                          7 - Consecutive seasons of 20+ wins
                                          5 - Consecutive Tri-County Conference Championships
                                          4 - Regional Titles
                                          3 - 27 games-won seasons
                                              1  - Top 32 Finish in State Playoffs
 
*B.H. "Duffy" Bass (Class of 1942) - Played on the basketball and baseball teams of the early 1940's, Duffy went on to become the Head Baseball Coach at Illinois State University, leading the 1969 Redbirds to the college division championship.    
 
Need More Information
 
If you have any further information regarding the Toluca High School Wildcats and especially the Lady Wildcats' successes, please send us an e-mail. You can e-mail photos and information to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.  60631  

1983-84 Super-Sectional vs. Hoopeston-East Lynn
tolucabball2mons.jpg
Rankin vs. H.E.L.'s Dave Busch H.E.L.'s Thad Matta (current Ohio State head coach) in background