John Bonyata '50
John Bonyata '50 moved from Grinnell high school track stardom to two years of World War II military service before returning to his hometown college to become one of the Pioneers' finest short-sprinters of all time. Undefeated in all four years of Midwest Conference competition, the homegrown speedster was in a class by himself. (In the wake of WWII freshmen were declared eligible for varsity competition.) As a freshman in 1947 Bonyata broke school records in the 100- and 220-yard dashes and also anchored the conference-winning 440-yard relay team. He was the key figure on the 1948 Pioneer squad that won the conference championship by sweeping the short dashes and helping win the 440 relay. That year he also was a member of the 880-yard relay team that still holds the school record. As a junior, Bonyata used his speed on the football field, breaking the school season record for kickoff returns with an average of 35 yards. In his senior football season he shook off Central College tacklers and sped 98 yards for a touchdown in a 27-0 victory. By winning the dashes again in the spring, Bonyata finished his career as one of the most consistent, dominant sprinters the conference has seen. After graduation the chemistry major became a research chemist for Hercules Powder and eventually retired from the Olin Corporation as a manager of a research and development group.