Football and Wrestling
Chuck Machacek grew up in Northfield. A ten-letter winner, he is one of Northfield High School’s all-time athletic greats. He won four letters in track as a hurdler and shot putter, eventually winning the District 4 championship in the shot and high hurdles in the Big Nine meet. He qualified for the state meet twice in the shot and once in the hurdles. He was a three-year starter both ways at tackle, co-captained the football team his senior year, was twice named to the Big Nine All-Conference team and was named to the All-State team in his senior year. In basketball, he was a starter at center for two years, and game-by-game reports show that he was often the team’s high scorer.
Machacek entered Carleton following graduation and, after a year of strictly freshman competition, he became the bulwark of both the offensive and defensive lines on Carleton’s last undefeated football team in 1954. A durable two-way player, he started every game for three years at tackle. He co-captained the 1956 Carls, and was named to the first All-Midwest Conference team that year. He also won three letters in track as a shot putter and discus thrower.
Machacek gave up basketball for wrestling at Carleton and developed quickly as a strong heavyweight grappler under Coach Eiler Henrickson. He won three letters as the number one heavyweight, and capped his senior year with one of the great individual performances in Carleton sports history. He had lost a controversial 4-3 decision in the finals of the Midwest Conference meet in his junior year. The following March the Carls trailed Cornell 81-80 in the Conference meet with only the heavyweight finals remaining. Machacek decisioned his Grinnell opponent, who had beaten him during the regular season, by a 6-0 score, giving Carleton the Conference championship, and snapping Cornell’s consecutive Conference championship string at 15.