(Northlake) West Leyden High School “Knights”

(*School remains open, athletics combined with Franklin Park East Leyden High School.)

Northlake West Leyden High School
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As Viewed at http://www.franklinparklibrary.org/index.php?q=212history (Franklin Park Library)
From the Leyden Township High School Website
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The History of Northlake West Leyden High School

Northlake (population 11,888) is located in far northeastern Illinois in western Cook County.  U.S. Routes 12, 20, and 45 pass through town as does Illinois Route 64. Interstate Highway 294 passes on the west side of Northlake. Downtown Chicago is 12 miles east of Northlake.

According to the Northlake official website, http://www.northlakecity.com/history.htm , the town was incorporated in 1949, making it a fairly new city in Illinois’ history. The town name comes from a combination of the two main streets that pass through it, North Avenue and Lake Street.

The history of West Leyden High School and its sports program, according to the Franklin Park Library website (http://www.franklinparklibrary.org/index.php?q=212history) is as follows:

The children of Northlake attended Leyden Township High School in Franklin Park from about 1924 through 1959.  Due to the population increase in the suburbs surrounding Franklin Park and Northlake, it was decided in 1958 to build a new high school in Northlake.  The high school in Franklin Park would be renamed East Leyden High School and the new school in Northlake would be named West Leyden High School. Both schools would assume their own identity, including their own athletic programs.

For financial reasons, it was decided after the 1980-81 school year that the two high schools, who were under the same school district, would combine their athletic programs.  The separate athletic programs were merged beginning with the 1981-82 school year.

The arrangement of the separate high schools continues today.  West Leyden High School and East Leyden High School still exist today as separate and distinct high schools.  This page will focus on the now defunct athletic program of West Leyden High School that existed from 1958-59 through 1980-81.

West Leyden High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                                1958

Status:                                         High School Still Open

Athletic Program Merged:              1981

Merged to:                                    Franklin Park-Northlake Leyden Township

West Leyden HS team nickname:   the “Knights”

School Team Colors:                     Blue & Gold

School Fight Song:                        unavailable


The Knights and Lady Knights of West Leyden High School had their share of successes on the courts and fields of Illinois high school athletics.  Below are those sports mentioned on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org).  If you have information on any other sports offered or accomplishments attained, please do not hesitate to write to us at eganann@sbcglobal.net.


Only three of the 22 seasons that the Knights competed on the grid iron are listed by the IHSA.  Those three seasons are, in turn, listed below.

1978-79    3 – 6    Coach Pete Ventrelli

1979-80    6 – 4    Coach Pete Ventrelli

1980-81    5 – 4    Coach Pete Ventrelli


The most successful overall sport for the West Leyden sports program on a state-competition level.  The grapplers of 1968-69 earned a fourth place finish in the state finals meet. In addition, a total of eleven individual medals were earned by Knight wrestlers.

1968-69   Team Placed FOURTH in IHSA Finals!!

Final Team Standings

1)  Moline                                33

2)  North Chicago                     32

3)  Maywood (Proviso East)       28

4)  Decatur (H.S.)                     24

4)  Northlake (West Leyden)      24

Individual Medalists from the West Leyden Wresting Program:

Individual            Year        Class     Finish

Duffy Knott          1962        HWT       4
Richard Agness   1963        165         4

Phil Janteas        1968        112         5
Mark Kyrias         1968        154         2
Glen Couture      1969         103        4
Carl Fritz             1969        127         5
John Gann          1969        HWT       2
Ray Greeley        1971        185         4
Rick Almada       1973         105        1     (STATE CHAMPION!)
Joe Gron             1977AA    HWT      4
Mark Hedstrom   1980AA     185        3


Two teams made their mark on the history of athletics at West Leyden.  The lady netters of 1975-76 and 1978-79 both earned titles in their District Tournaments before falling in Regional play.

1975-76   District Champions
1978-79   District Champions


West Leyden High School’s best finish in IHSA competition was in the Chess Match competition.  The team from the 1975-76 school year finished in SECOND place!!

1975-76   Team Placed SECOND in IHSA Finals!!

1)  Chicago (Lane)

2)  Northlake (West Leyden)

2)  Downers Grove (South)

2)  Hillside (Proviso West)

2)  Winnetka (New Trier East)

Special Gratitude

Thank you to Mike Lewter for providing the information for this page!

If You Have Information to Share…

…regarding the many successes and accomplishments of West Leyden Township High School athletic program please write to us at the address provided.  We are especially anxious to share the records and memories of the great teams and coaches of WLTHS.  Photos and information can be e-mailed to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.  You can write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.    60631


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