Redwood Empires Greatest High School Male Track and Cross Country Athletes
By Decade1900's | 1910's | 1920's | 1930's | 1940's | 1950's | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's | 1990's |
By Last NameBoys Dan Aldridge | Chris Barnsdale | James Burrell | Marvin Colter | Chris Day | Joe DeDora | Dennis DeSoto | Frank Freeman | Mel Gray | Steve Guerrini | Bill Hagans | Arthur Henley | Bill Hook | Dan Littlefield | Ryan Mack | Gabe Manville | Clifford Merritt | Tom Moore | Kaname Ono | Eric Richardson | Celedonio Rodriquez | Ralph Rose | Les Schwobeda | Jerry Siebert | Ben Steele | Wilburn Talbot | Todd Trask | Wayne Weeks Hey What About? What is the Redwood Empire? Adult All-Time Empire Top 10 list HS Track and Field Lists and Bests HS Cross Country Lists
Arthur Henley, Ukiah1898-99 Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of Year No state meet until 1915. State Track Leader 6-1 HJ 1898 22-0 LJ 1899 22-3½ LJ 1900 10-7½ PV 1900
Bill Hagans, Ukiah1901-02 Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of Year 22.6 220 1901 State Best, straightaway race.
Ralph Rose, HealdsburgShot put competition, Summer Olympics 1908 in London. Source: Illustration in the "Fourth Olympiad 1908 London Official Report" published by the British Olympic Association in 1909 At Healdsburg High School 1902-03 Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of Year 1903-04 Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of Year 49-6 SP 1902 State best 52-8 2/5 SP 1903, State best, Empire record lasted 37 years until 1940, Ben Steele, Santa Rosa 54-4½. He was born in Healdsburg, California March 17, 1885. A giant of a man at 6' 5½" and 250 pounds, Rose was the first shot putter, in the world, to break 50 feet. His world record of 51' 0", set in 1909, lasted for 16 years. In 1904, while at the University of Michigan, he won both the shot put and discus at the Big Ten championships. He subsequently competed for the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California and won seven National AAU titles in the shot, discus and javelin. A competitor in three Olympic Games, Rose compiled a medal total of three golds, two silver and one bronze. At the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, he won the shot, was second in the discus, third in the hammer throw and sixth in the 56-pound weight throw. Four years later, in London, England, he repeated as the shot put champion. At the opening ceremony Rose, the US flag bearer, refused (supported by a majority of his mostly Irish-descended US teammates) to dip the flag to the royal box, as other countries did. Martin Sheridan supposedly explained Rose's action with the terse statement, "This flag dips to no earthly king." According to legend, this caused acrimony between the United States and Great Britain. Several decisions by British judges went against American athletes during the games, and U.S. spokesmen felt they stemmed from bias, caused in part by the flag incident. However, there is no reliable evidence that the British spectators objected to Rose's action, nor that Sheridan ever uttered his famous quote, which did not appear in print until 1952. At the 1908 Summer Olympics Rose competed in the tug of war but not successfully. In the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, he won the two-handed shot put (throwing a total of 27.70 m (90' 10½") with his right and left hands), took second in the regular shot, ninth in the hammer and 11th in the discus. At the age of 28 he died in San Francisco of typhoid fever October 16, 1913. 1910's
Clifford Merritt, Santa RosaState Champion DT 113-0 (2 kilo) 1915 over teammate Wayne Weeks, Santa Rosa 3rd (2 kilo) NCS Pole Vault Champion 10-3 1915
Wayne Weeks, Santa RosaState Champion SP 47-4½ 1916 State Champion DT 117-0 (2 kilo) 1916 State Champion SP 46-2 3/8 1915 3rd State DT (2 kilo) 1915 to Clifford Merritt. NCS Champion SP 48-10½ 1916 NCS Champion DT 117-3½ 1916 NCS Champion SP 45-2 1915 NCS Champion DT 112-8 1915 1920's
Eric Richardson, UkiahState Champion PV 11-6 1918 4th State PV 1920 4th State HJ 1920 NCS Champion PV 12-2 1920 , meet record NCS Champion HJ tied 1st 5-8½ 1920 NCS Champion HJ 5-9 1918 Empire record in PV 12-2 1920, record lasted 16 years until Ono 1936
Les Schwobeda, PetalumaState Champion Mile 4:40.0 1922, gale winds 2nd State 1922 880 2nd State 1921 880 NCS Champion Mile 4:44.0 1922 NCS Champion 880 2:02.4 1922 NCS Champion 880 2:04.6 1921, Meet Record
Wilburn Talbot, AnalyState Champion 440 51.6 1924 State 2nd 120CH 1925 State 4th 120CH 1924 NCS Champion 120 HH 16.4 1925 NCS Champion 440 51.4 1924 NCS Champion 120 HH 16.3 1924 NCS Champion 440 52.6 1923 1930's
Tom Moore, Petaluma2nd State 120 Hurdles 1932 NCS Champion 120 HH 15.7 1932 NCS Champion 220 LH 26.5 1932 At Sacramento CC Set a National JC high hurdle record of 14.5. At UC Berkeley Tied the world high hurdle record of 14.2 at the 1935 West Coast Relays in Fresno. AAU National Champion 440-yard intermediate hurdles 53.5 in 1935. Meet director of California Relays
Kaname Ono, Analy2nd State PV 12-6 1937 2nd State PV 1936 NCS PV Champion 12-9 1937 NCS PV Champion 12-7½ 1936 Empire record in PV 12-9 1937, record lasted 27 years until 1964, Dick Oliver, Montgomery 13-2½.
Frank Freeman, Sonoma2nd State long jump 1939 23-10 HS best lasted as Empire record for 26 years until Mel Gray. Jumped 23-11 in 1942 for Salinas Junior College. 3rd US Nationals 23-4¼ 1940. 1940's
Ben Steele, Santa RosaState Champion SP 54-4½ 1940 NCS Champion SP 53-11 1940 Held Empire record at 54-4½ 1940 for 18 years until 1958, Bill Hook, Ukiah 57-2. 1950's
Jerry Siebert, WillitsState Champion 880 1:53.8 1956 His time held up as Empire record for 19 years until 1975, Dan Aldridge, Petaluma 1:49.7. NCS Champion 1956 1:57.1 880. NCS Champion 1955 1:59.0 880. Adult Bests Sixth in 1960 Olympic 800m final in 1:47.0. US ranked #1 880 1960, 61, 62 & 64 1962 and 1964 National 880 Champion In 1958 ran on a Cal Berkeley relay team that broke the world record for 4x880y. In 1960 he again ran on a world-record setting 4x880y relay team. 800m 1:45.83 in 1962 from converted from 1:46.3 880. Mile 4:12.4 in 1960.
Bill Hook, UkiahState Champion DT 166-8 1.6K 1958 State Champion DT 145-0 2K 1958 4th State SP 57-2 12lb, 4th State SP 48-8¼ 16lb NCS Champion SP 56-6¼. Empire Record in shot 57-2 1958, record lasted until 1966, Dan Hook, Ukiah 58-8½. Empire Record in discus 166-8 1958, record lasted until 1962, Ken Good, Petaluma 168-2. Still holds Empire record for the college discus 152-1¼. Only Dennis DeSoto, Santa Rosa 1981 52-11¾ has thrown 16 pound shot farther than Hooks 48-8¾. 1960's
Mel Gray, MontgomeryShown here on left winning State 220 yard dash in 20.7 in 1967, that time still stands as the fastest Empire 200 ever at a converted 20.82. The time broke the National High School record that he had co-held at 20.9 with four others. State Champion 100y 9.4 1967 Gray ran four 100 yard races of 9.4 in 1967. All equaled the National High School record and the last, at State, broke the California State Meet record. Those times are still the fastest 100 ever in the Empire at a converted 10.54 for 100 meters. 2nd State LJ 24-1¼ 1967 7th State 880 Relay 1:27.7 1967 His points placed Montgomery to 2nd as a team in State for 1967. 4th State LJ 24-4¼ 1966 5th State 220 22.0 1966 NCS Champion 220 21.7 1966 NCS Champion LJ 24-1 1966 Indoor 60yd 6.2 at All American Games, Cow Palace 1967 Ran 21.1 or faster five times for 220. Had five meets at 24-1¼ or farther. Jumped a still standing Empire record at West Coast Relay at wind aided 25-7¼. At State trials had a wind legal 24-11. By the end of 1967 the National Long Jump All-Time list looked like this. All wind aided. 26-5¾ Jerry Proctor, Muir, Ca 1967, the boy who beat Gray at State. 25-7¾ Eli Myers, Tolleston, In 1965 25-7¼ Mel Gray, Montgomery, Ca 1967 25-6¾ Bob Beamon, Jamica, NY 1965, went on to hold world record. In NBL Had most individual NBL wins in a Career at eight; 100 1965-1967, 220 1966-1967, long jump 1965-1967, also added 880 Relay 1966 & 1967 Had three individual NBL wins plus relay twice. 1966:100y 9.8, 200 21.0a, LJ 22-6 1967:100y 9.5, 200 20.8a, LJ 24-7, = 10.65 100 meters, still NBL meet record. Broke NBL meet record in 100 in 1965 at 9.9, then lowered it to 9.8 in 1966 before 1967 race. In 220 broke NBL meet record in 1966 at 21.1 then ran wind aided 20.9 in the trials of 1967 to hold what is still today the record of 21.02 converted for the 200. Won NBL long jump all three years at 23-1½, 22-6 then 24-7 in 1967 for the still standing record. Gray’s Relay teams usually ran the 880 Relay which they still hold the Empire record at 1:27.7. They won the NBL 880 Relay in the last year the event was run in meet record 1:28.4. Gray’s team of Wes Dickison, Ken Graham, Joe Stender, Mel Gray did have the chance to run the 440 Relay which they ran in a time of 42.6 which still stands as the Empire record with Newman’s 1971 team at a converted 42.50 for 400 Relay. In College Though just 5-9 and 170 pounds, Gray came to Missouri from Santa Rosa, Calif., as MU's first "speed merchant," lettering in football and track from 1968-70. Was all-Big Eight in 1969, when he caught 25 passes for 705 yards and a school-record nine TDs. Held the school record for career receiving yardage - 1,491 -for 20 years, and still holds the MU career record for receiving TDs (14) and an eye-popping 27.1-yard average-per-catch. He was chosen to MU's all-century team in 1990. Gray was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, and was an all-pro receiver during a career that lasted from 1971-82. In track, Gray was an all-American once indoors and twice outdoors. Was a Grand Slam winner in the 100-meter dash in '70, taking titles at the Texas, Kansas, and Drake Relays. Won seven of nine 100-yard crowns on the Drake-Kansas-Texas relay circuit. He was named the outstanding performer in the 1970 meet with first-place finishes in the 100- and 220-yard dashes, first in the long jump, and added a third place showing in the triple jump to personally account for a record 38 points. He was a five time Big Eight Conference sprint champion, winning the indoor 60-yard dash (1970), and the 100 and 220-yard dashes outdoors in 1969 and '70. He is the co-holder of the MU records in all three races, with respective times of 6.0 seconds, 9.3 seconds and 20.4 seconds. 100yd Dash 9.2 Apr 27, 1970 Drake Relays Des Moines, Iowa 220yd Dash 20.4 May 15, 1970 Big Eight Championships Lawrence, Kan. Long jump 25-11¾ May 17, 1970 Big Eight Championships Lawrence, Kan. In NFL The Cardinals' 1971 draft class will long be remembered for the selection of future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Dan Deirdorf in the second round, but sixth-round pick Mel Gray left his mark as one of the finest players in Cardinal history and among the most talented at his position during 12 seasons in the NFL as a dazzling game-breaking wide receiver. In the early 1970s the Cardinal offense featured quarterback Jim Hart, tight end Jackie Smith, and running back Johnny Roland; the next step was to upgrade the wide receiver spot. The club selected Jim Livesay, a record-breaking receiver from the University of Richmond, in the third round, but then looked into their own backyard for the next receiver, Gray from the University of Missouri. It proved to be a selection that paid impressive dividends as Gray was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the league during the Cards' run of success under head coach Don Coryell in the mid 70s. A native of California, Gray selected Missouri with the intention of pursuing his career as a track standout, and squeezing in football as time permits. Armed with a 4.3 clocking in the 40-yard dash, Gray authored a brilliant rookie season with the Cardinals as he averaged 24.7 yards on 30 kickoff returns and 29.7 yards receiving with 18 receptions for 534 yards, including long- range scoring plays of 80, 64, 60 and 57 yards. After injuries limited him to just seven games in 1972, Gray bounced back in 1973 with 29 catches for a 17.7-yard average and seven touchdowns, including three scoring grabs in a 35-27 win over the N.Y. Giants on Oct. 28 in Busch Stadium. In 1974, "Air Coryell" hit new heights as Hart, Smith, Gray, and running back Terry Metcalf carried the club to a 10-4 record. Gray's team-best 19.7-yard receiving average and six touchdowns helped secure the club's first NFC East title and his first of four consecutive Pro Bowl selections and a pair of all-pro honors. The 1975 season saw the Cardinals post an 11-3 record and Gray enjoy career-bests with 48 receptions for 926 yards and 11 touchdowns, but perhaps the trademark of the season was his "Phantom Catch" in a win over the Washington Redskins. Though it was the shortest scoring catch of his career—one yard—it caused the most furor, as officials huddled together for several minutes before declaring the controversial reception a touchdown as the Cards won the game 20-17 in overtime. Ironically, that reception involved a former Cardinal, defensive back Pat Fischer, who played in St. Louis from 1961-67 before ending his career with George Allen's "Over-The-Hill-Gang" in Washington. Gray again posted impressive receiving statistics each of the next two years with 36 catches for a 19.1-yard average in '76, 38 catches for a 20.6-yard average in '77, adding five touchdowns each season. By the time he finished his career with the Cardinals in 1982, Gray's production placed him among the leaders on the club's all-time receiving list with 351 receptions (third) for 6,644 yards (second) with 45 touchdowns (second) and an impressive 18.9-yard career average-per-catch. In addition, he departed the NFL with a streak of 121 consecutive games catching a pass, at the time second in league history to 127 games by Harold Carmichael. 1970's
Joe DeDora, Santa Rosa5th State 440 48.7 1970 ?7th State 440 47.3 1971 NCS Champion 440 48.0 1971 NCS Champion 440 48.6 1970 Fastest all-around sprinter with conversions at 10.76, 21.72, 47.17 Had five 400’s at a converted sub 48. Anchored fastest ever Mile Relay at 3:17.6 with Carl Sagon, Wayne Praeder, Ken Borbe. 1971 NBL won 100y 9.6, LJ 22-8, Mile Relay 3:26.3 and 440 at a converted 400 of 48.06, which still stands as NBL meet record. 1970 won NBL 220 21.6 and 440 49.1 Before DeDora Empire 440 record was 49.7 Charles Keturakat Santa Rosa 1968. In 1970 DeDora lowered that all the way to 47.9. 1971 ran 47.3 which converts to a 47.17 400m which lasted as record for 24 years until Corey Nelson, Rancho Cotate 1995 ran 46.89 . His mark was also fastest ever run in the NCS and held up until 1976.
Dan Aldridge, Petaluma2nd State 880 1:51.1 1975 NCS Champion 880 1:50.3 1975 Still holds the Empire 800m record after 35 years at 1:49.21 from his convered 880 yard mark of 1:49.7. Ran 1:51.29 or faster for 800m five times. Broke the Empire Mile record in 1975 running 4:16.7. 1975 NBL Track 880 1:51.79a, still NBL record Mile 4:26.9a NBL Cross Country 1974 Champion Dan is the father of Jenny Aldridge: 2000 State 1600m Champion 4:49.63 and Ryan Aldridge: 2005 NBL XC Champion He also coached Santa Rosa's Julia Stamps during her National and State HS Championship career (1994-97). Adult Bests Dan’s current blog (heartnsolesantarosa) 1500m 3:38.70 Team Sub 4 TC at Sacramento 6/21/81 Mile 3:58.2 Athletics West at Eugene, OR 5/81, ?3:58.24 Eugene 6/5/82 Aldridge first broke the 4 minute mile on April 11, 1981 in San Jose becoming the 111th American to do so. THE U.S. SUB-4:00 CLUB (trackandfieldnews) 2000m 5:04.41 Sub 4 TC at Edinburg 6/26/85 3000m 7:48.02 Athletics West at Oslo, Norway 7/9/83 2 Mile 8:31.8i Athletics West at San Diego in 1983 5000m 13:30.95 Asics Tiger TC at Eugene, OR 6/1/85 10,000m 28:28.7 Asics Tiger TC at Eugene, OR in 1984
James Burrell, Piner3rd State 220 21.45, w+4.8 1977 6th State 100 9.86, w+4.4 1977 7th State 100 10.3y, w-7.6 1976 NCS Champion 100y 9.7 1977 NCS Champion 220 21.8 1977 NCS Champion 100y 9.9 1976 Empires fastest ever FAT 100m 10.69 1977 200m 21.0 and 21.60 1976 SCL Champion 1977 100y 9.7, = 10.87 100 meters. Still SCL record 1976 100y 9.8, SCL record 1977 220y 22.2 1976 220y 22.1
Marvin Colter, Piner5th State TJ 48-4½ 1978 NCS Champion TJ 47-2 1978 Bests of HJ 6-4½, LJ 23-0, TJ 48-7: Best all-around jumper until Dan Littlefield, Sonoma 1999 Had four jumps of 47-11 or farther in TJ. Indoor 47-6½ at Examiner Games, Cow Palace 1978 NBL Champion 1978 TJ 47-0, still NBL Meet record 1977 TJ 45-0 Broke Empire Record TJ at 47-11 in 1977 then 48-7 in 1978. 1980's
Chris Day, MontgomeryHas held the Empire record at 181-6¼ for almost 30 years. 2nd State Discus 179-1 1981 6th State Discus 174-4 1980 Only Empire discus thrower to place in top six since 1958. Had four throws at 179-0 or farther. Broke NBL Finals record in both 1980 170-3 and 1981 173-8.
Dennis DeSoto, Santa RosaHas held the Empire and NCS shot record at 63-10½ for almost 30 years. 2nd State SP 63-6¾ 1981 4th State SP 59-2¾ 1980 Only Empire shot put thrower to place in top two since 1940. NCS Champion SP 63-5¾ 1981, still NCS meet record. NCS Champion SP 58-10 1980. Five throws at 63-2 or farther. Still holds NBL Finals record at 63-10½ 1981 after breaking it in 1980 at 60-1. Empires best combo thrower 63-10½ 178-7. Threw 16# shot 62-1¾ for San Jose State at Stanford Invitational on 3/29/86 Threw 2k discus 160-7 for SRJC in 1982. Scottish Games Association Records Dennis DeSoto set an amateur record in 1991 with a throw of 58' 2.5" in the open stone, with a stone weighing 17 lbs. John Davis threw a lighter, 16lb stone 60' 3 1/2" in 2002. Since no heavier stone has been thrown as far or further, Davis' throw is an absolute record for a 16lb stone. However, since no stone heavier than 17lbs has ever been thrown as far or farther than DeSoto's throw, his record remains intact as an absolute record for a 17lb stone.
Todd Trask, Healdsburg1986 Cross Country NCS MOC Champion NCS 2A Champion SCL Champion 15:24 Woodward Park 1985 Cross Country SCL Champion 1990 SRJC Bests 1500m 3:48.27 3000m 8:27.3 2 Mile 8:59.6 5000m 14:20.51
Gabe Manville, Santa Rosa2nd State HJ 6-10 1989 NCS Champion HJ 7-0 1989, first Empire jumper to ever clear seven feet. Held Empire record until 7-0¼ Pat Leonard, Piner 1995 NBL Champion HJ 1989, first boy to win three HJ titles NBL Champion HJ 1988, NBL record 6-8 NBL Champion HJ 1987 1990's
Steve Guerrini, Santa Rosa5:43.9 2000m Steeplechase 1991, Still National H.S. Record 3rd State 1600 4:13.85 1991 NCS Champion 1600 4:16.07 1991 HS bests 1:58.34, 4:13.85, 9:25.33 NBL Track 1991 1600 1st 4:15.6 still NBL record 1991 3200 1st 10:08.7 1990 3200 1st 10:02.6 Cross Country 10th State Division I 1990 1st NCS Div 1 1990 1st NBL 1988 & 1990 College best: 8:48.20 3000m Steeplechase for Wake Forest at Madisom, WI 5/94
Chris Barnsdale, Montgomery7th State 300IH 38.05 1996 NCS Champion 300 IH 38.79 1996 Best combo hurdler 14.50-38.02 Ran five races at 38.89 or faster. NBL Track Champion 1996 14.70 1995 14.4, 40.11 1994 15.23, 41.09
Ryan Mack, UkiahCross Country State Division II Champion 1998, 6th III 1996, 19th III 1997 1st NCS Div 1I, 1st III 1996, 1997 NBL Champion 1996 & 1998 Course Record 14:50 Spring Lake, ran 15:23 Woodward Park Track 7th State 1600 4:17.73 1999 8th State 1600 4:17.36 1998 NCS Champion 3200 9:32.69 1998 HS bests 1:57.42, 4:13.81, 9:26.75 NBL Track Equaled most individual wins ever in a year at three: 1600 4:25.31, 800 1:57.42, 3200 9:42.23 1998 NBL Champion 1600 4:20.06 1999
Celedonio Rodriquez, Elsie AllenCross Country State Division III Champion 1998, also 11th 1997, 29th Division IV 1996 Ran 15:05 at Spring Lake and 15:25 at Woodward Park 18th Footlocker HS Nationals 1998 NBL Track 1st 3200 9:47.60 1999 Adult Bests 5,000m 13:36.76 Team Reebok 2006 10,000m 29:28.07 Adams State 2003
Dan Littlefield, SonomaTwo time SCL High Jump and Long Jump Champion 1997, 1998. Triple Jump SCL Champion in 1998. Two time Redwood Area Meet Long Jump Champion 1997, 1998. Two time North Coast Section Long Jump Champion 1997, 1998 Two time state meet competitor in the Long Jump 1997, 1998 4th Place finish Calif State Meet in 1998. 23' 9 1/4". School Records in the 400 meter 49.4, and Anchor leg 400 Relay 44.0. (SVHS record and top ten finishes as of 1999) Other Sonoma Valley Track and Field Top Ten places: 2nd High Jump 6' 9" 2nd Long Jump 23' 9 1/4" 3rd Triple Jump 43' 9" 7th 110HH 15.4 10th 100m 11.1, and member of the 4th place 1600m Relay team. Two time Track and Field MVP, Press Democrat Track Athlete of the year, Sonoma Track and Field Athlete of the Decade