The other distinguished Class of 2012 honored

Aaron Krause • Nov 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

During his years at Norwalk High School, Robert Knoll (Class of 1964) broke the track mile time record of 4.22.9.

Almost a half-century later, that record still stands.

In Knoll's mind, it shouldn't.

"Somebody should break it every year," Knoll said during Sunday's Norwalk High School Banquet, honoring alumni in the areas of Academic, Distinguished Citizen and Athletic.

Knoll, a man with wide, enthusiastic eyes, was one of 13 alumni recognized as the induction Class of 2012.

"It was a good day for me," Knoll said about the day he ran the mile in a little more than four seconds.

So was Sunday.

"It's nice to be recognized for (having) the school record for 50 years," Knoll said.

During high school, football was Knoll's favorite sport, "because I liked to hit people," he said.

Knoll played on the football team for two years and on the track team for four.

Following high school, he attended Bowling Green State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in education in 1968.

Knoll taught Industrial Technology from 1969 until his retirement in 1997. He also coached cross country for 35 years and track and field for 42 years.

Knoll enjoyed success not just as a player, but as a coach. He coached three individual state track champions and as a cross country coach, reached the ultimate goal of a team state title in 1993 with the New London Wildcats. He coached 32 Firelands Conference Championship teams.

James Spettle , class of 1954, also was honored for his athletic feats. As a four-year member of the basketball team, Spettle played forward. During his senior year, he earned the league scoring honors as he averaged 21 points per game. He also broke the school record for most points in a single game with 37 against Galion.

"I thought it was an honor," Spettle said about his induction. He added the other inductees were good people "that meant more to society than I did."

In addition to Knoll and Spettle, the inductees are Richard Alleshouse (Academic), Russell Antrim (Distinguished Citizen), Wayne Babcanec (Academic), Stanley Borgia (Distinguished Citizen), Diane Tengowski-Connolly (Athletic), John Derrer (Athletic), Jerry Emmons (Academic), Robert Geer (Distinguished Citizen), Grace Hutchinson (Athletic), Wendell Rakosky (Athletic), David Rehnborg (Athletic) and John Tossell (Academic).

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