Denny Prescher had not been able to win an athletic letter in any sport until he went out for cross-country his senior year. He became the first good runner Wayne Feder had the opportunity to coach. Unfortunately he did not have the benefit of thousands of miles as the ones who followed him but he helped spark the New Richland-Hartland Cardinals to become the giant killers they became:
I recall after the CC season Wayne confronted me and informed me I would NOT be going to 4th hour Study Hall. When I asked where I was going,,,, he said to the locker room to suit up and run around the Hemp Plant block (3 miles). I did this like a mailman, every day M-F regardless of weather. Come spring I had somewhat of a base.
Back then the school mile record was 4:59. I think I broke it the first time I ran. The previous record holder was John Engesser class of 1965.
I ultimately ran a 4:41 mile, on grass, cinder, and dirt tracks that spring. We also set a record in the sprint medley relay that stood for a long time, and I ran a 2:06.5 880 yard leg in that race.
One memory of mine was of Lloyd Stussy, Wells coach coming over to me the first meet of the year at Wells to tell me his guy was gunning for me in the mile and was going to beat me. I came in 1st (New school record) David Liane NR-H, came in 2nd, and David Lyndgaard NR-H, came in 3rd. I looked up the Wells coach and told him not to give up!
There are lots of fun memories. Back then we didn't have uniforms. I wore a Winona State reversible gym shirt. It was black with Winona State on one side and white on the other. I stepped up to the starting line at a Wells meet. Feder, a Mankato alum, saw the Winona shirt and told me to turn it around. I tried to council him and tell him that he really didn't want me to do that. We argued a little and he told me to turn it around or get out of the race.
I agreed to do so, but reminded him that I had warned him. The white side had text that said, "Where the Action Is" with an arrow pointing straight into my shorts. This was in front of the Stadium seats and the crowd got a real kick out of it. Wayne told me to turn it back. I reminded him I had warned him! I really don't think he wants to remember that!"
When I saw Wayne loading up the "Woody" school station wagon with junior high kids, driving half way to Matawan and stopping and having them get out and run back to school, you sort of knew things were going to change. The distance was about four miles. I have told that story countless times.
I really think that when the kids saw a "NOBODY" like me do well, they thought maybe they could too. It gave them hope. Feder was also confident in his expectations, and I think the kids caught on to that and it resulted in success.
I have told many kids who did not have a letter jacket. If you want one, go out and run three miles a day all winter. Come spring you will be successful because not very many kids want to work that hard and you will be in better condition than them come spring.
I did it because back then you did what you were told.
Wayne worked us hard, but not as hard as my Rochester Junior College Coach Cy Champa. We ran 16 x 440 @ a 70 second pace with a 440 jog between each one. That is a total of an 8 mile run that we did not including the warm up before, and warm down afterwards. We could hardly wait for a day off. The meets were the day off!