Dave Karpenske - Glenwood City - 2015 (Small).jpgDavid Karpenske was born and raised in Amery, Wi. One of nine children of Andrew and Nellie Karpenske. He enjoyed participating in all sports, and excelled in wrestling. During his high school years he had four different head coaches: Don Athman, Paul Bengston, Bob Johnson and Henry Yetter. In those years of Wisconsin wrestling, many Amery grapplers learned their moves from pictures that hung on the walls in the make-shift wrestling room. Each night before and after practice, mats had to be stacked and mat covers folded and stored for classes the next day.
Wisconsin wrestling had only one division, and the WIAA was very strict on the number of matches individuals and tournaments teams could have. There were no elementary or junior high wrestling programs at Amery Public Schools. At the state tournament his sophomore year, Dave was defeated in his first match, and there were no wrestle-backs. In his junior year, he won the 133 lb. state championship and the 138 lb. weight class his senior year. His high school record was 87 and 3.
Former Wisconsin wrestling coach George Martin recruited Dave to wrestle for the Badgers. He was on the team for one year, and as a freshman was 9 and 1. Unfortunately other circumstances forced him to quit school and move on with his life.
In August of 1962, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Dave was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Delivering morning reports to military headquarters, he met his wrestling coach for the next 3 years. Lt. Col. Felix Salvador, the Inspector General of the 25th Infantry Division. In addition to Dave’s regular duties, wrestling freestyle and Greco-Roman filled much of his time in the military. The U.S. Army was also instrumental in starting high school wrestling in Hawaii. In 1963, SP4 Fred Lamb, PFC Lorne Nordahl, PFC David Karpenske and coach, Capt. Courtney Fritz put on clinics and demonstrations at Baldwin High School on Maui , for future high school wrestlers and coaches.
Dave also gained international experience. As Japan’s National traveling teams were on their way to and from cultural exchange tours on the mainland of the U.S. , matches were arranged with the 25th Infantry Division.
Dave wrestled in many AAU tournaments and in the 1963 National AAU tournament which was held at the Presidio in San Francisco. He was selected to the All-Army team in 1963 and trained for the 1964 Olympics at the West Point Military Academy in New York. Dave’s wrestling record was 120-13. He received an honorable discharge in August 1965.
In 1965, Dave continued his college education at UW Superior and wrestled for Americo “Mertz” Mortorelli. It was here that he established life-long friendships with several of his teammates, including Dick Kuzminsky, Hall of Fame member and former Mosinee High School wrestling coach. Dave graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in English and minor in Physical Education. His UW Superior wrestling record was 36 wins and 7 losses.
In 1972 Dave took the head coaching job at Glenwood City High School. His team’s 10 year record was 83 wins and 17 losses. Dave earned his Master’s Degree in Education at UW Eau Claire in 1978.
From 1990 until 2012 Dave worked for the WIAA Minimum Weight Control Program.
Dave retired in 1998 after teaching and coaching for 29 years. He and his wife Jean live on Scott Lake in Comstock. They have 3 children: Damian (Master Plumber), Jessica (UW La Crosse graduate), her husband Daryl and their three children, Alexandra, Isabella and Carter, and Kara (owner and CEO of Kamaron Design an International interior decorating company).
In 1999, Dave was asked to take the head wrestling coaching position at Cumberland High School. He did that for two years. The team’s record was 16 wins and 4 losses.
Throughout Dave’s coaching years his teams won numerous conferences, regional, and sectional championships. Each of the schools had many outstanding and dedicated athletes and wrestlers.
In 2001, Dave was inducted into the UW Superior Wrestling Hall of Fame and in 2008 the UW Superior1966-1967 Team Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Dave would like to thank his family, his friends, his former teammates, wrestlers, coaches and mentors. Amery coaches, Don Athman, Paul Bengston, Bob Johnson, and Henry Yetter. U.S. Army coaches, Lt. Col. Felix Salvador, Capt. Courtney R. Fritz, Capt. John P. Doyle, and PFC Loren J. Nordahl. College coaches and teammates, Mertz Mortorelli, Dick Kuzminsky, Dick Tressler, Tommy Thompson, Herb Schutt, Dennis Kosloski, Charlie and Bill McCreary, Mike Garside and Jim Stephenson. Green Bay West coach, Lou Marchetti, Glenwood City coaches, Dave Miller, Dan Vormans, Parker Vivoda, Richie Narges, and Dan Bonte. Cumberland coaches, Joe Hegenbarth, Jim Reidy, John Peterson (Olympic Silver and Gold Medal champion), Bob Erickson and Chad Olson. Your help and your friendship was very much appreciated.