All Century Team 1999

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Sentinel July 31, 1999
(Doc: Sentinel All Century)

Vote For Your Favorite Athlete Of The Twentieth Century. By David Kiefer

One reason for the fascination we have with sports is the chance to see athletes extend the boundaries of human potential. We love to see athletes accomplish things greater than what we thought possible. The fields and parks of Santa Cruz County have been proving grounds for athletes who have distinguished themselves far beyond this county’s borders. And as this century draws to a close, it’s time to recognize those who have done the most to raise the standards for all of us.

The Sentinel has compiled a list of 100 of the greatest athletes, which we call our Santa Cruz County All Century Team and even includes a few nineteenth century athletes that we couldn’t leave out. The Sentinel is asking readers to choose the top three and turn ithe form in. Feel free to send in your write in selection if you choose.

Based on the voting, 10 finalist will be selected. The finalist will be announced on a weekly basis during the Fall with the winner to be unveiled last.

To be eligible, athletes must have played high school or college sports in Santa Cruz County. Exceptions are those who lived in the county while attending high school. elsewhere or moved to the county and settled here while still in their prime.

Sentinel August 14, 1999

Readers Speak Out On Forgotten Names

The calls began the next day. “How could you forget Mark DiGirolamo?” It is inevitable that some deserving athletes would be inadvertently snubbed. DiGirolamo still gets recognized from his days as a wrestler at Harbor 69-70 and SC in 1972 as a senior. DiGirolamo was the only four time Northern California Invitational champion. The post season NCI was a forerunner to the state championships, which began in 1973. He set a national record for wins in a high school career with 143 wins, three losses and two ties, which has since been broken. In the Cal Hi Sports Record Book and Almanac, the unofficial state high school record book, DiGirolamo is second among the Best Career Records. His winning percentage of 98.0 trails only the 98.2 by Eric Guerrero of San Jose’s Independence high 224-4 from 92-95.

He is the only county athlete to win and NCAA Division I individual title in any sport. He did it as a junior 118 pounder at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1976. He was hampered from making the US Olympic Trials three times, the latest with near constant bleeding from his ear after surgery for a severe case of cauliflower ear and before that a broken jaw. DiGirolamo said, “My best shot at making the Olympic team was in high school. I was the best 105 pounder

n the nation.”

Craig Deane, wrestling, won Northern Cal titles in 1970 and 71 at 145 pounds. He went 39-1 with 23 pins as a senior and was the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 1971 Northern Cal tournament. Later wrestled at UCLA.

Eddie “The Monster” Dyslie, Football and baseball. Dyslie. A 5-9, 215 pound line backer “was a terror.” He was immovable on defense, there was nobody tougher. He used his head as a battering ram.” Dylsie played at SC in 1943-44 and the University of Nevada in 1945. He spent 1946-47 with the semipro Santa Cruz Seahawks before becoming one of four Californian’s to earn Junior College first team All America honors in 1948 as a right guard for Hartnell. He was in select company, the other Californians were future Hall Of Famers Hugh McElhenny, Ollie Matson and Burl Toler all NFL players. A neck injury prevented Dyslie from trying out for the San Francisco 49ers in 1949.

John Wilson, 1982. Another person mentioned in the paper is three sport man, John Wilson, quarterback in football, guard in basketball and pitcher and first baseman in baseball. John pitched for Cabrillo for two years and transferred to San Francisco State were he had an undefeated season and was named to the All American team and is in the schools Hall of Fame.

Rod Fleming, football, basketball, baseball graduated in 1969. University of Arizona baseball, drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and one of my first ten choices for his athletic ability and community endeavors with area athletes as a physical therapist and coach.

Other information. Led SC to two second place finishes in the CCS tournament, before playing for two seasons at Cabrillo and two at the University of Arizona. A shortstop was drafted three times and played briefly in the minor leagues. (coached the Harbor baseball team and ran many baseball camps)

Wayne Fontes best known for his community involvement in Capitola was a 1942 SC grad, who went on to become the NCAA boxing champion at San Jose State at 155. His achievement preceded DiGirolamo’s by 27 years. Boxing at the time was a big time collegiate sport and San Jose Sate was a powerhouse. Fontes boxed at SJSU in 1943 and from 1947-49 with a stint in the Navy in between. Fontes a hard puncher, compiled a record of 40-3-1. He also ran track at SJSU and while in the Navy played football on the University of New Mexico’s 1945 Sun Bowl team.

Some of the above are listed below with less information.

Out of the 100 on the list, the following are listed by name, the sports listed, some by year graduated, colleges played at, followed with short information. They are listed in alphabetic order.

Brendon Ayanbadejo, football, wrestling; 1994, Cabrillo and UCLA; first team ALL-Pacific 10 linebacker in 1998. (has made the Pro Bowl)

Olafemi Ayanbadejo, football, basketball, baseball; 1992; Cabrillo, San Diego State, NFL Minnesota Vikings as a blocking fullback in 1998. (played on more NFL teams)

Joe Brovia, baseball; 1935; Pacific Coast League 41-55, MLB Reds 1955; “Davenport Destroyer” hit the longest home run in SF’s Seals stadium history at 560 feet.

Bill Clemenson, baseball and football; 1934; MLB Pirates 39, 41, 46; “Whipper Bill” pitched a three hitter vs. Reds to close out the 1941 season.

Mark DiGirolamo, wrestling; 1972; Cal Poly 74-76; Won four Northern Cal high school titles and compiled a 148-3-2 high school record before winning the NCAA Division I title.

Eddie Dysle, football, baseball; 1945; U of Nevada, SC Seahawks, Hartnell College; “The Monster” was a defensive terror on SC’s ‘44 CCAL title team and was a JC first team ALL-American.

Rod Fleming, baseball, basketball, football; 1969; Cabrillo College and U of Arizona; Shortstop led SC to three runner up finishes. Was drafted three times and played briefly in the minor leagues.

Wayne Fontes, boxing, football, track; The ”Capitola Sandman” won the 1949 NCAA boxing title for San Jose State compiling a 40-3-1 record, when boxing was a big time collegiate sport and at SJS was a powerhouse. Fontes boxed in 1943 and then went into the service. When he returned in 47-49. He also ran track. While in the Navy, he played football at U of New Mexico in the 1945 Sun Bowl.

Gary Ghidinelli, basketball, baseball, football; 1969; San Jose State; Greatest point guard in county history. Vital member on six SC championship teams. All League in all three sports and MBL, MVP in basketball.

Larry Griffin, basketball, football, track; 1965; Cabrillo ALL Conference and Oregon Tech. Played on pro teams around the world. Had try-out with Dallas Cowboys; (In 2009. Larry is still participating in seniors track) City of Santa Cruz celebrated Larry Griffin Day on January 21, 1970.

Leo Harris, football, 1922; Stanford; a stand out under Pop Warner. Played on two Stanford Rose Bowl teams in 1925 and 27. (Coached Fresno High to Valley championships in football and basketball. Later coach Fresno State and athletic director at Oregon)

Clyde Hawthrone, swimming; Overhand sidestroke specialist was state high school swimmer of the year in 1896.

Steve Hendren, auto racing; 1980’s; NASCAR regional champ trying to earn way to Winston Cup Series.

Glenallen Hill, baseball, football, basketball; 1983; MLB Toronto 89-91, Cleveland 91-93, Cubs 93-94 and 98-99, SF 96-97, Seattle 98, helped NY Yankees win the world series. First major league hit was grand slam against Minnesota.

Zak Ibsen, soccer, UCLA; MLS Revolution 1996, Burn 96, Galaxy 99. Fifteen full international appearances with the US national team 92-96.

Johnny Johnson, football, basketball, San Jose State, NFL, Cardinals 90-92; Jets 93-94. NFL offensive rookie of the year and NFL Pro Bowl player 90.

John Kirby, football, basketball, baseball; Cabrillo, Oregon State; Star of SC’s perfect 1958 football season was regarded as counties greatest ever high school player. A mental as well as physical player in all sports. Team player.

Pete Likins, wrestling, football, Stanford; State high school wrestler of the year 1953 and Stanford Captain. (President of the U of Arizona)

Al Marshall, football, track. Boise State, NFL Patriots 74; WR caught one pass in NFL a TD in Oakland against Raiders. Went to state track meet.

Gene Mazzei, football, basketball; Forged birth certificate to play varsity basketball as a sophomore in 1951.

Daryl Price, cycling. Has been one of the county’s premier mountain bikers over he past decade, having finished as high as second on the prestigious NORBA tour. In 1992 was sixth in the world championships the same year.

Jermaine Robinson, football, basketball, track; Cabrillo and Rutgers on football scholarship. Led SC and Cabrillo to greatest football seasons in years.

Richard Schmidt, surfing, World-renowned big-wave surfer.

Terry Schneider, cross country, track, cycling, triathlon, adventure racing. Third in 1990 Hawaii Ironman, now elite adventure racer.

Chris Sharma, climbing: One of the worlds best sport climbers and at 14 was the youngest ever to win a national competition in 1996.

Charles Smith, wrestling, football; San Jose State, Pacific Theater bombadier was wrestling champ at SJS in late 30’s.

Steve Smith, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf; UC Berkeley. Two sport letterman at Cal in mid 60’s.

Gary Venturini, surfing. One of great surfers to come out of Santa Cruz.

Darryl Virostko, surfing, “Flea” is innovator of the dynamic new Santa Cruz style of surfing.

Kirk Waller, football, basketball, baseball; Quarterback at New Mexico State and three years at San Francisco State. Scored on QB sneak to beat Soquel before 7,000 to win 1967 MBL title.

Aaron Woliczko, basketball, football, baseball; University of Pacific. Often over shadowed by the spectacular talent around the county in the early 90’s, he was a three sport All League athlete who went on to contribute to outstanding teams at West Valley College and UOP.

As a 6-5 small forward was a deadly outside shooter helping UOP to a NCAA tournament. (Now an assistant basketball coach at UOP and in 2010 became the head coach at Montana Tech)

Addition on back of previous page. Former Card lineman, Rob Truhitte played at Cabrillo and is now on scholarship at Cal as an offensive lineman at 6-5, 290 pounds.

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