Cicero Morton East High School “Mustangs”

(*School remains open, athletics combined with Morton West High School.)

Morton East High School
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Cicero, IL (courtesy of
                        The History of Cicero Morton East High School

Cicero (population 85,616) is located seven miles west of downtown Chicago, north of Interstate 55 and south of Interstate 290. US Route 34, better known as Ogden Avenue, and Cermak Road (aka 22nd Street) are also major roads in this near western suburb, which got its name from a city in New York State.

The community has its roots back to 1848 when the Galena and Chicago Railroad ran its rails thru the area, and it expanded from there. Other communities such as Oak Park and Berwyn also benefitted from this action as Cicero formed a township in 1857, and incorporated by 1869. Because of its prosperity, both the Chicago & Alton along with the Chicago & North Western Railroads also built shops there.

As the area grew, Cicero and Chicago were always trying to annex more land into their communities so that one didn’t swallow the other up. Finally in 1899, the final neighborhood was annexed into Chicago and Cicero’s borders were settled; however, Berwyn and Oak Park separated from Cicero Township two years later.

Cicero’s need to have a high school became official in the 1890’s when Morton High School (named for J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day) was built in 1894. The school was also known as Clyde High School, but no reason has been found for the name. Morton High School grew rapidly as the population boomed from 1910-20, largely on account of Western Electric’s telephone plant, which employed more than 20,000 at the time. In doing so, the school was forced by the 1930’s to hold classes for juniors and seniors in the morning, while freshmen and sophomores went in the afternoon. All the while, Morton Junior College was also holding classes in the same building!!

The enrollment continued to grow and finally in 1958, Morton West opened in Berwyn, while the original Morton location was renamed Morton East. Both schools had their own extra-curricular activities and athletic departments, but that changed in 1985 when in a cost-cutting measure, the schools merged their activities to just one school while keeping both schools open. The school is now referred to as Berwyn-Cicero Morton, and each location has its own boundaries for attendance purposes.

To view photos of Morton high school alumni check out the webaddress of, submitted to us by George Krejci!


Year opened as Morton or Clyde High School:                1894

Year it began operating as Morton East:                          1958

Year that school activities with Morton West merged:      1985

School colors:                                                                   Maroon & White

School nickname:                                                             the “Mustangs”

School fight song:                                                            “Mortonia”

(words courtesy of

                  In J.S.M., we have a school

                  A school for you and all

                  With Morton spirit back of us

                  We’ll do our best or fall.

                  With cheers and song we’ll rally ’round

                  With courage and with might

                  Due to the flag we’ll always hail

                  Dear old maroon and white.

                  Stand for the right and true

                  And all that’s best for J.S.M.

                  Fight, fight, for every game

                  Morton’s honor to defend

                  Rah, rah, rah!!!

                  Mustangs sis boom bah

                  And locomotives by the score

                  For we’ll fight with a vim

                  That is sure to win

                  For old MOR—-TON!!!!


A number of sports were offered for students at Morton East while it was known by that name. Baseball, basketball, cross-country, soccer, swimming, track, and wrestling were offered, according to the Illinois High School’s Association’s website (, but football is not listed. In researching another school’s history, there was a gridiron team at Morton East, and hope that an alum can provide more information about it. On the girls’ side, they competed in basketball, soccer, gymnastics, track, and volleyball. Being that the school had one of the bigger enrollments in the state of Illinois, it is possible that other sports such as swimming, tennis, soccer, or badminton may have also been offered.


The Lady Mustangs were known state-wide as one of the better schools in gymnastics as they placed in the top five of the state’s elite at the state finals on four occasions in as many years.

1978-79             5th in State!!!                              Coach unknown

Team Standings

1  Addison Trail                            112.575

2  Palatine HS                              111.275

3  Glenview Glenbrook South      109.7875

4  Park Ridge Maine East            109.70

5  Cicero Morton East                108.625  

6  Arlington Heights Hersey         107.6125

7  Skokie Niles West                    106.5125

8  Arlington Heights Arlington      106.5125

Individual Medalists

Sue Tonietto                All-Around Events—2nd place

                                                                 Balance beam—2nd place

                          Toni Niemiec               Balance beam—5th place


1979-80             3rd in State!!!                               Coach unknown

Team Standings

1  Addison Trai)                         115.46

2  Park Ridge Maine East          113.29

3  Cicero Morton East              113.04  

4  Skokie Niles West                  109.30

5  Arlington Hts. Forest View     109.23

6  Evanston Township               107.51

7  Northbrook Glenbrook N.       105.84

8  Tinley Park Andrew                101.15

Individual Medalists

Sue Tonietto                 All-Around Events—3rd place

                                                                    Balance Beam—3rd place

                                                                    Floor Exercises—2nd place

                                                                    Vault—4th place

                           Toni Niemiec                Balance Beam—5th place

1980-81             3rd in State!!!                                Coach unknown

Team Standings

1  Addison Trail                          116.37

2  Elmhurst York                        112.31

3  Cicero Morton East              112.05  

4  Park Ridge Maine East          111.92

5  Arlington Hts. Hersey             111.51

6  Glenview Glenbrook S.          111.05

7  Skokie Niles West                  110.57

8  Carol Stream Glenb’d N.        109.48

Individual Medalists

                             Laura Hicks                Balance Beam—2nd place

                             Sandi Thompson       Floor Exercises—5th place

1981-82             4th in State!!!                                Coach unknown

District Champions

                             Sectional Champions

Team Standings

1  Carol Stream Glenb’d N.        118.17

2  Arlington Heights Hersey       114.30

3  Deerfield                                 113.50

4  Cicero Morton East              112.53   

5  Addison Trail                          112.00

6  Elmhurst York                        111.76

7  Downers Grove North            111.17

8  Mundelein HS                        109.48

                            Individual Medalists

Debbie Leon              Vault—5th place

Laura Hicks               Balance Beam—6th place

1982-83             Regional Champions                     Coach unknown

State Final Medalist

Debbie Leon              Vault—3rd place


1983-84             Individual Medalists                      Coach unknown

                            Debbie Leon              All-Around Events—3rd place

                                                                  Vault—2nd place

                            Laura Hicks               Balance Beam—6th place



The Mustang diamond cutters made their school proud, winning two state championships in a ten-year period and showing that there was some baseball played in the Western suburbs of Chicago.

1961   23- 2 STATE CHAMPIONS!!!!                Coach Dick Kucera

                    Regional Champions

                     Sectional Champions

                      Beat Skokie Niles in quarterfinals, 10-3

                      Downed Peoria Central 12-2 in semifinals

                      Shutout East Alton-Wood River in championship game, 20-0

1965            Suburban League Champs        Coach Herb Salberg

1966            Regional Champions                   Coach Herb Salberg

1970   23- 4 STATE CHAMPIONS!!!                 Coach Doug Peterson

                    Regional Champions              

                     Sectional Champions

                      Edged Pekin 2-1 in quarterfinals

                      Defeated Chicago Lane Tech 5-1 in semifinals

                      Beat Bradley-Bourbonnais in 11 innings to win title, 7-3


1971             Regional Champions                  Coach unknown

1974             Regional Champions                  Coach unknown


When the IHSA began offering soccer as part of the state tournament experience, Morton East was in on the ground floor, advancing to the state finals twice in the 1970’s, including a second-place finish,

1973   17- 4    2nd in State!!                             Coach Klaus Kummer

                      District Champions

                        Sectional Champions

                          State Semifinalist

                           Beat Granite City South 2-1 by penalty kicks in semifinals

Lost to Chicago Harrison in championship match, 1-0

1977   11- 7-1  Elite Eight Finalist                    Coach Wayne Justman

                      District Champions

                       Sectional Champions

                        Lost to Chicago Schurz in quarterfinals, 3-0


Morton East had three all-staters in boys’ cross country and its’ 1971 hill & dale squad wound ninth in the state meet while the school offered the sport.

1968                   Individual Medalist                    Coach Hutson

Pat Mandera—-9th in state

1969                   Individual Medalist                    Coach Hutson

Pat Mandera—7th in state

1971                   9th in STATE                                Coach Hutson

Team Standings

1  Elmhurst York                         67

2  Centralia                               136

3  Park Ridge Maine East         137

4  Riverside-Brookfield             138

5  New Lenox Lincoln-Way      171

6  Hillside Proviso West           194

7  Arlington Hts. Forest View    265

8  Palatine Fremd                     266 (app.)

9  Cicero Morton East             291  

10  Chicago Lane                       305

Individual Medalist

Jim Lobianco—-25th in state


Could the Mustangs hoop it up? The answer was yes, and they were one of the top teams in the state during the winter of 1960-61 when they made it the Sweet 16 of the single-class tournament under coach Jim Vopicka.

1960-61   19-  5   Sweet 16 Finalist!!!               Coach Jim Vopicka

                           Regional Champions              

                            Sectional Champions

                             Lost to Harvey Thornton 48-36 at Hinsdale Super-Sectional

1962-63               Regional Champions            Coach William J. Hapac

1971-72               AA Regional Champions       Coach unknown


Morton East had a competitive track program in the western suburbs, and had two of its athletes come home with medals at the state finals in back-to-back seasons.

1970      Individual Medalist                                 Coach Don Ritchie

                Pat Mandera                2-mile run—2nd place

1971      Individual Medalist                                 Coach Don Ritchie

               Allen Stanczak             880-yard run—3rd place


The Lady Mustangs were able to get into the state tournament the first year it was played, and continued their competitive spirit thru the time that Morton East & West came back together. When they did combine forces in 1985-86, Morton won the state softball title.

1976        11- 3     ELITE 8 FINALISTS                  Coach Fran Balla

                              Regional Champions

                               Sectional Champions

                                Lost to Machesney Park Harlem in quarterfinals, 9-7

(1st state softball tournament)

1977        13- 2     Regional Champions               Coach Fran Balla   

1978         8-  7                                                        Coach Fran Balla

1979         6-  5                                                        Coach Fran Balla

1980-83                                                                   Coach Fran Balla

1984-85                                                                   Coach Karen Hodel


Morton East was represented at the state AA meet on the medals’ podium in the early 1980’s when Janet Bertkowics was in the shotput finals. Here’s a look at how she did at the state finals in Charleston in those years.

1982AA   Individual Medalist                              coach unknown

Janet Bertkowics    shotput—2nd place

1983AA   Individual Medalist                              coach unknown

Janet Bertkowics    shotput—5th place


In the entire time that Morton East was open, they were represented in the state swimming finals on one occasion in an area that is considered one of the better prep swimming hotbeds in the nation with schools such as New Trier, Hinsdale, and others not too far away from Cicero.

1967       Individual Medalist

                 Dan Jamros                 50 free—6th place


Not to be left behind, the Mustang wrestling program left an impression in the schools’ final year with its own individual medalist at the state meet.

1985AA Individual Medalist                                    coach unknown

Rudy Banuelos             145 pounds—5th place


Morton East offered basketball to its’ female students before there was a state tournament, and they were competitive during the time that the school had its’ program.

1974-75               First season                                   Coach S.J. Peterkin

1975-76                                                                      Coach C. Eukovich

1976-77     9-  5                                                         Coach S.J. Schleim

1977-78     8-  5                                                         Coach S.J. Schleim

1978-79                                                                     Coach H.C. Kalcsits

1979-80   10-10                                                         Coach H.C. Kalcsits

1980-81                                                                     Coach H.C. Kalcsits

1981-83                                                                     Coach W.H. Johnson

1983-85                                                                     Coach D. Poprowski


Football was also offered at Morton East HS. Several records were found on the IHSA website ( and forwarded to us by Douglas Greger.

1962-63                   Coach William Vohaska

1963-64                   Coach William Vohaska

1964-65                   Coach William Vohaska

1965-66                   Coach William Vohaska

1970-71    0 – 9       Coach Ken Geiger

1971-72    3 – 6       Coach Ken Geiger

1972-73    0 – 9       Coach Salerno

1973-74    0 – 9       Coach Ken Geiger

1974-75    2 – 7       Coach Bob Vashinko

1975-76    2 – 7       Coach Bob Vashinko

1976-77    3 – 6       Coach Bob Vashinko

1977-78    2 – 6       Coach Bob Vashinko

1978-79    1 – 8       Coach Bob Vashinko

1979-80    1 – 8

1980-81    0 – 9       Coach John Underfrantz

1981-82    0 – 9       Coach John Underfrantz

1982-83    0 – 9       Coach John Underfrantz

1983-84    2 – 7       Coach John Underfrantz

1984-85    2 – 7       Coach John Underfrantz


The drama club at Morton East was one of the sources of pride within the school as it was one of the top ten schools in the state four times in 11 years in state competition. Here’s a listing of their finishes.

1974                 6th in State                                  sponsor unknown

Team Standings

1  Homewood-Flossmoor       7

2  Dolton Thornridge              9

3  Normal University             11

4  Peoria Richwoods            12

Naperville HS                   12

6  Cicero Morton East        15  

7  Lincoln                              24

8  Bloomington HS               26

9  Waukegan HS                  27

10  Sparta                               28

1977                 8th in State                                  sponsor unknown

Sectional Champions

Team Standings

1  Homewood-Flossmoor       3

2  Mt. Prospect Prospect      11

3  Dolton Thornridge             13

4  East Moline United            15

5  Highland Park                   19

6  Quincy Sr.                         22

Pekin                                 22

8  Cicero Morton East         23  

9  Sparta                                25

10  Wheaton-Warrenville        27

1983                 9th in State                               sponsor unknown

Regional Champions

Team Standings

1  Homewood-Flossmoor        3

2  Wheaton Central                 7

3  Dolton Thornridge               9

4  Tinley Park Andrew           14

5  Pekin                                 15

6  Peoria Woodruff                20

7  Wauconda                         21

8  Normal University              23

9  Cicero Morton East         24  

10  Benton                               29

1985                 8th in State                               sponsor unknown

Team Standings

1  Harvey Thornton                      6

2  Dolton Thornridge                    7

3  Wheaton Central                      8

4  Lansing Thornton Frac. So.     9

5  Roselle Lake Park                  15

6  Pekin                                      20

7  Tremont                                  22

8  Cicero Morton East              25

9  Decatur MacArthur                 27

10  Charleston                             30


In one school year, Morton East made a name for itself by taking fifth in state in the group interpretation category at state, plus had two individuals medal in speech team events in its earlier years.

1974               5th in State!!!                            sponsor unknown

Sectional Champions

Team Standings

1  Peoria Richwoods                    6

2  Decatur Eisenhower                 8

3  Normal University                   10

4  Highland Park                         12

5  Cicero Morton East               13  

6  Murphysboro                           23

7  Dolton Thornridge                   24

8  Sparta                                     27

9  Bartonville Limestone             28

10  Normal Community                 29

1977               District Champions                  sponsor unknown

1982               District Champions                  sponsor unknown

1984               Qualified for State Finals      sponsor unknown


1962               Edrene Furman              Verse Reading—5th place

1967               Larry Baldacci                Serious—3rd place  


Even the chess team at Morton East had its moment in the sun when it tied for second overall in one of the first meets held in the sport. Nice work by the Mustang chess team!!

1977-78 AA –Tied for 2nd in State!!!                 sponsor unknown

1  Rock Island HS

2  Hillside Proviso West

East St. Louis Senior

Cicero Morton East               


From Mike Ciancio:

“Morton East offered a zero hour Boxing class. They also competed against other schools.”

From Glenn Sowa:

“I came across your site, re: History of Morton East Mustangs. I can fill in some of the sports facts you are missing. I played on the 1966 baseball team that was the regional champions. It was coached by Herb Salberg. We lost to Maine South 1-0, in our bid to go downstate. The 1965 team, also coached by Herb Salberg, was the Suburban League Champion. The coach of the 62-63 basketball team was William J. Hapac, who was a Morton alum, and also lettered in basketball at University of Illinois. There was football at Morton East while I was there, 1962-66, but the teams were not very successful. The Varsity football coach was William Vohaska during that time.”

From Janet (Phillips) Bartell (class of 1959):

“I attended Morton East from 1955 through 1959, and was in the last graduating class in June, 1959, to graduate from the one Morton before subsequent classes were divided between East and the new West in Morton.

“One of the most important aspects of Morton was its nationally-known music department. It filled three floors in the northeast corner of the building. The second floor held bank and orchestra rehearsal space, a music library room, and the offices of the music department. The third floor held individual practice rooms, and the fourth floor held rooms for choral rehearsing. An elevator accessed these floors that facilitated transporting instruments, music stands, etc. to the back of the large high school auditorium for concert performances.

“Robert J. Dvorak was the head of the entire department during my time, but our orchestra teacher/conductor was Mr. Radak, a wonderful of Czech heritage with whom we rehearsed every day during noontime “hours” in course schedules. The Czech heritage of so many in the town of Cicero (including my own) was well-represented in the value and prominence of music in the life of its children.

“Our orchestra was nationally-known in music educator circles. Our entire large orchestra travelled to National Music Educators conferences several times over the years a well as regional music contests. Mr. Dvorak also composed music for which he won awards.

“We had our own two-week summer music camp in Wisconsin, which was not only musical and educational, but a real blast of fun and high school mischief.

“For concerts, the girls wore very fancy formal dresses. There were many fine musicians among us who went on to engage in subsequent musical careers. In later years, my two sisters also went through the music department at Morton (East) as well. Just thought I’d add a very important piece to your fine history of music at Morton.”


go out to the following faculty members at Berwyn-Cicero Morton High School for assisting us with additional information. They include Cindy O’Boyle, Diane Minarick, and Dr. Pierce for providing us with information about the school’s history and fight songs.


then we want to hear from YOU! We want to make the information and history about the school as complete as possible, but we can’t do it without you. Please write to us about the additional details to us or at:


6439 N. Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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