Edwin Rakocy

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  • January 11, 2024
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In 1939, Edwin Rakocy stood atop the podium at Penn State’s Rec Hall as a state champion wrestler – Mount Carmel’s FIRST ever wrestling state champion.

Rakocy won the state championship wrestling in the 155 pound division, back in a time when winning a state championship was as tough as qualifying for the medal round. There was only one division back then and one loss – and you were done. The top four qualifiers in Districts didn’t move on – only the winner. He wrestled in a time where the point system was in its infancy. Edwin would decision Joe Manozi of Grove City in the 1/4 finals, defeat John Abraham of Canonsburg in the semi, and bested Art Foot of Lower Marion to win the gold.

Rakocy wrestled for Coach Alfred Morse and led the 1939 team to its most successful season since the sport was inaugurated with a 5 – 2 -1 record. Included was a 24-11 victory over powerhouse Shamokin. The Red Tornado matmen were also crowned District IV Champions in the first meet of its type to be held in District IV. In addition to Rackocy, Matthew Rakus, Chester Zukowski, and Aldo Cortellini won District IV Crowns. Rakocy would earn four varsity letters wrestling for the Big Red. Rakocy made it to Penn State in 1938 wrestling heavyweight, even though he only weighed 155. He would lose to the eventual state champion from Cannonsburg.

Rakocy would also play football for Mount Carmel and after the 1938 season was chosen, along with Sam Ososkie and Dink Duncavage, to represent Pennsylvania in an all star game in Florida

As it turned out, Rakocy lost his state championship medal as he moved through different parts of the country before settling back in Elysburg. Replacing it began with a chance meeting with Judge Robert Sacavage at the Northumberland County Law Library.

As Sacavage puts it, “I was in the library when this elderly gentleman came up to me saying he was looking for the wrestling match,” Judge Sacavage told him that ‘they were in Hershey, but the gentleman said he was looking for the judge who was the state champion, and wanted a match with him. In discussions with Rakocy, Sacavage discovered that his medal had been lost, so he, along with his brother Greg Sacavage, began the process of replacing Rakocy’s medal. The Mount Carmel Area wrestling boosters were nice enough to pay for the medal and had it presented to Rakocy along with a Citation.

Following graduation, Rakocy entered the Air Corps and was unfortunate enough to be in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. A carpenter by trade, Edwin moved about the country through Hershey, Cape Cod, and Florida before settling at his current home in Elysburg with his wife Vitalia. He is the father of a son, Dennis, and daughter, Brenda.

Categories: 2008 Hall of Fame