Posted 4/5/22

From Page B-1 tioned Traynor, who wrestled for Ellsworth from 1980 to 1984, was a conference champion in 1983, a twotime regional champion, a sectional champion in 1983 and earned a third-place …

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From Page B-1

tioned Traynor, who wrestled for Ellsworth from 1980 to 1984, was a conference champion in 1983, a twotime regional champion, a sectional champion in 1983 and earned a third-place finish in the same year. Mark Matzek spoke about Traynor’s induction to the Hall of Fame.

“Tom Traynor was a state place winner for the Ellsworth Panthers,” Mark Matzek said. “He has built a very successful business in southern California and has never forgotten his roots. He is still very involved with the wrestling program and supports it a great deal.”

The second inductee for the class of 2022 is Welch, who wrestled for the Panthers from 1984 to 1988 and finished with a career record of 80-10-1. During his time in an Ellsworth singlet, he was a three-time conference champion, a two-time regional champion, a two-time sectional champion and a three-time state place winner in 1985, 1986 and 1987. Mark Matzek spoke about Welch’s induction.

“Dion Welch will forever be remembered as one of the best lightweight wrestlers in Ellsworth history,” Mark Matzek said. “I remember when I was in youth wrestling seeing his name three times on the wall. No one else had their name on the wall three times, so that is what I wanted to accomplish.”

While Traynor and Welch go into the Hall of Fame as historically great wrestlers, the final 2022 inductee, Dave Kastberg, is enshrined as one of the most influential coaches in the program’s history.

After spending time in the United States Army in the early 1970s, Kastberg began teaching social studies at Ellsworth in the fall of 1975. He spent time coaching girls’ basketball for three years until a coaching position with the wrestling team opened up in 1978. He spoke about his time working with the wrestling program.

“I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a great group of junior high coaches over my 24 years of coaching,” Kastberg said. “We always had 30 or more wrestlers in the practice room every day in the old junior high and the middle school. We were often challenged to get matches for all of our wrestlers, but we worked with the WIAA to allow more multi-school meets in the schedule, in the hope that all wrestlers would get matches. I had so much fun working with the junior high and middle school wrestlers over the years.”

While many have coached at Ellsworth, few have been as influential as Kastberg. His service to the program has impacted hundreds – if not thousands – of young men who developed into great wrestlers, but more importantly, men of high quality and integrity. Mark Matzek spoke about Kastberg’s selection to the Hall of Fame.

“Dave Kastberg was a longtime teacher and coach in the Ellsworth School District,” Mark Matzek said. “He was a teacher of mine in junior high and was a very influential presence in the school getting kids to come out for the sport. He’s a very special guy, the kind that you can’t help but smile when he comes into a room. I have only met a handful of people like Dave (Kastberg), which is why it was so beneficial for the wrestling program to have him on staff for over 20 years.”

The Ellsworth wrestling Hall of Fame class of 2022 is as star-studded as any previous class of inductees. Now, Kastberg, Traynor and Welch are forever honored as Ellsworth Wrestling Hall of Fame members.

(Back row, from left) Bill Hamilton, Bill Lewis, Mark Melstrom, Joe Kind, Jack Radabaugh, Dick Culver, Gary Langer, Keith Johnson, Ron Foley, and Mike Traynor; (front, from left) Dion Welch, Dave Kastberg and Tom Traynor. Inductees from various years gathered to celebrate the newest additions to the Ellsworth Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Mark Matzek.