Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Ronan High School prepares to honor first Hall of Fame class

by Lake County Leader
| December 2, 2021 12:15 AM

The School District #30/Ronan Community Hall of Fame Committee is preparing to honor its inaugural Hall of Fame class in February. A community induction celebration will be held Feb. 4 at the Ronan Community Center. A short recognition ceremony will take place during the Ronan/Polson basketball games later that day in the Ronan Event Center.

The following individuals and teams will be honored:

Distinguished Alumni

Laverne Parrish

Technician Fourth Grade Laverne Parish of Pablo was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on Aug. 2, 1945 in the Ronan City Park. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award the nation can bestow upon its heroes. Sgt. Parrish was a medical aid man with Army Company C during fighting in Luzon, Philippines on Jan. 18 and Jan. 24, 1945. On the 18th he observed two wounded men under enemy fire and immediately went to their rescue. On the 24th, while under heavy fire, he carried five men to safety and treated nearly all of the 37 casualties suffered by his company before being mortally wounded himself. Mr. Parrish was born in Knox City, Mo. in 1919 and moved to Montana with his parents in 1934. He entered the service in 1941 following graduation from Ronan High School in 1937. Parrish is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Ronan.

Distinguished Athlete or Coach

Marvin Camel

Camel became boxing's first Native American world champion in 1980 when he defeated Mate Parlov in Las Vegas for the World Boxing Council cruiserweight belt. In 1983 Camel added the International Boxing Federation’s cruiserweight title. Camel is the only world boxing champion to come out of the state of Montana. When he retired from professional boxing in 1990, he had compiled a 45-13-5 record. He also fought as an amateur, and in 1971 defeated eventual Olympic gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales. The seventh of 14 children, Marvin graduated from Ronan in 1971. He also excelled in football, basketball and track for the Chiefs, once scoring 34 points in a varsity basketball game.

Jim Darlington

A farm boy from the Round Butte community west of Ronan, Darlington received more postseason athletic honors than any other RHS athlete. From 1973-76 he notched four state championships in three different weight classes in wrestling, winning his first title as a 145 pounder and finishing his junior and senior seasons as champion in the 185-pound class. He was the second Montana wrestler to accomplish this feat. He was named a High School All-American in wrestling his senior year. A member of the RHS state champion football team in 1976, Darlington was named to the all-state teams on offense and defense. During his senior track season Darlington set a new state record of 57 feet, 1 inch in the shot put and still holds the Ronan record. Darlington attended the University of Oklahoma on a wrestling scholarship and in 1979 was the Big Eight champion at 177 pounds his sophomore season. Injuries ended his collegiate wrestling career, but he did earn a degree from the university.

Jana (Smith) Streitz

Smith graduated from Ronan in 1998 following a stellar three-sport career as a Maiden. An all-state selection in three sports, Smith was also an academic all-stater 11 times. She holds the Ronan career basketball scoring record with 1,289 points and the single-game scoring mark with 37 points. In 1999, Smith was selected to participate in the Montana/Wyoming Basketball All-Star Game and the ABC All-Star Volleyball Classic. A high jumper in track, Smith still shares the school’s high jump record. Following graduation, Smith played collegiately at Northern Montana College and Montana State University. While at MSU she earned Big Sky Conference “All Academic Team” recognition in 2003 and 2004, and was named the Lady Bobcats’ “Best Defensive Player” in 2003.

David Edington

Edington began his teaching and coaching career in Ronan in the fall of 1968, and that winter became the first head coach of boys wrestling at Ronan. During the 20 years he headed the program his teams produced 59 individual champions and eight team championships. His teams won 225 dual meets, which ranks seventh all-time in the Montana High School Association’s record book. He was selected as the Montana Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year seven times. Additional honors for Edington include induction into the AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Montana Indian Hall of Fame. Edington contributed to our country’s Olympic wrestling efforts in 1976 as a member of the wrestling coaching staff and in 1984 as a member of the administrative hosting staff. While in high school in Saratoga, Wyo., Edington was a four-time state champion and a member of the school’s first state wrestling championship.

Distinguished Team

1976 State Champion Wrestling

Team members: Don Gleason, Jim Anderson, Rick Clary, Mike Jore, Roger Jore, Randy Hakes, Dick Jungers, Dan Wadsworth, Randy Cote, Jim McCready, Jim Darlington and Pat Meagher. Coaches: David Edington and Chris Tyree. Managers: Dan Miller, Margaret McCready.

Ronan wrestling dominated Class A in 1976 despite the high school having one of the smallest enrollments in the class. In addition to a perfect 9-0 record in dual meets, the Chiefs took home first-place trophies from the Laurel Invitational Meet, the Tri-State Tournament and the Ronan Invitational. At the divisional tournament, Ronan advanced all 12 wrestlers to the state meet and had eight divisional champions. At state the Chiefs amassed 133 points, doubling the score of second-place Choteau with 66.5 points. Two members of the team, Roger Jore and Jim Darlington, were named High School All-Americans.

1960 State Champion Boys Basketball

Team members: Kent Dresen, Nels Jensen, Roger Cheff, Homer Courville, Ron Richwine, Don Hall, Duane Martin, Harold Fullerton, Leonard Schacher, Gary Bocksnick, John Lindburg, Jim Hurt. Head Coach Art Previs, Assistant Coaches Gene Boyles; manager Nick Nielson.

A 60-37 demolishing of Fort Benton in the state title game in Cut Bank in March of 1960 put the cap on a 24-3 season for the Chiefs. The Ronan squad was coached by Art Previs, who was in his fifth and final year at Ronan. After finishing third in the regular season, the Chiefs defeated Columbia Falls, Thompson Falls and Libby in the divisional tournament. The divisional championship game in Kalispell was viewed by 3,300 fans, and the Daily Inter Lake described the game as “the most exciting final game ever played in the Northwestern B tournament.” Ronan prevailed 76-69 and used only five players in the contest.

The Chiefs knocked off Forsyth and Havre Central on their way to the championship. Carloads of Ronan fans, as well as those who chartered a plane, flocked to Cut Bank for the contest. The Daily Inter Lake reported that the crowd of almost 5,000 fans who witnessed the final game was the largest ever to watch a game in a Montana high school gymnasium. Seniors Harold Fullerton, Jim Hurt and Leonard Schacher were selected to the state all-tournament team. The championship remains the only one in Ronan boys basketball history.

Distinguished Community Member

Dorothy and Keith Lundvall

Born in Massachusetts, Dorothy came to Ronan in the 1950s, and the family bought a farm in the Round Butte area before eventually moving to the city. Dorothy worked many years for the Ronan School District as lunchroom cook, ticket taker and as a teacher’s aide in the special education program. As the mother of a special needs child, she became quite active in Special Olympics, helping with events and fundraisers. A talented writer, she wrote news articles for the Ronan Pioneer and Mission Valley News and often submitted poetry for publication. The summer baseball program was of particular interest to Dorothy, and the Lundvall family donated land to be developed into ball fields next to the Lake County Fairgrounds. Dorothy passed away in 2013 at age 92.

Keith was the son of Dorothy and Godfrey “Bud” Lundvall, the youngest of seven children. Born with down syndrome, his parents were encouraged to place him in an institution, but the family was determined to rear him. Keith loved Ronan sports and bled orange and black. He was a fixture at all sporting events, cheering on the Chiefs and Maidens. During the summer he lived at the ball fields and as a youngster he enjoyed chasing after foul balls. In his honor, the north diamond in Ronan was named Keith Lundvall Field.

Keith graduated from Ronan High School in 1978. Following high school he served on the board of directors of Mission Mountain Enterprises and worked part time at the “Twice But Nice” thrift store. Keith passed away in 2014 at age 54.

Recent Headlines