1968 Mile Relay Team
In the spring of 1968, four Patriot seniors – Tom Graham, Don Milinkovich, Mark Stiffler and Howard Watts set a goal to pull their individual track talents. The mission was to qualify to run in the high school state finals as a team, not as individuals.
Tom, Don, and Mark had been on the successful 1967 football team while Howard had run cross country. Coach Stan Parrish saw their potential to be a quality mile relay team. As the season progressed, they had a second place finish at the West Tech Relays, first place finishes in their event at the Berea Relays, Euclid Relays and Lake Erie League meet. They also placed first in the state qualifying effort at the regional meet.
In order to be fresh for the qualifying race, each runner bypassed earlier individual races to focus on the relay team race. It worked. Tom, Don, Mark and Howard ran in Columbus, finished fourth in the state and set a school record for the mile relay with a time of 3:20.9. The record still stands as of 2016.
(In the photo from left to right: Top: Tom Graham and Dan Milinkovich: Bottom: Mark Stiffler and Howard Watts)