MUSTANG GLORY: THE ST. ELIZABETH ATHLETIC STORY 1921-2017

Bob Howard & Pat Coyne
Summer 2018

ONCE A MUSTANG, ALWAYS A MUSTANG

Edited by Bob Ratto, Sister Clare Fischer, Ray Troper and Sydney Howard
Contributors: Tom Rowe, Sister Barbara Larner, George Baljevich, Ray Troper, Brandon Garcelon, Dennis Fernandes, Ray Souza, John Ginty, Mary & Joe Cunningham, Gloria Figueroa, Hay Gonzalves, Julio Orozco; Roy Ching and others.

DEDICATION

Originally this brief history of St. Elizabeth High School sports was meant to be the foundation for motivating and inspiring future Mustang student/athletes. For almost 100 years our teams and athletes battled the same obstacles (small enrollment and limited facilities) but performed brilliantly. Since opening its doors in 1921, St. Elizabeth High School possessed a combination of student/athletes, coaches, staff, family, friends and fans who contributed to a rich tradition of athletic success and pride.

Sadly, St. Elizabeth no longer exists in a physical sense. A new high school opened this school year on the same campus.  It will maintain the same mascot and school colors as St. Elizabeth High School as well as have a few faculty and board members with Mustang roots. Perhaps this narrative will inspire and let new and future students know a little about those who walked these same hallways and performed so well and proudly on its athletic fields and gyms. Hopefully, the high standard of Mustang excellence will continue.

THE BACK STORY

This sports narrative was many years in the making. In the 1950’s, I played Young America League Baseball for Ken Kleven alongside several future St. Elizabeth student/ athletes. In 1961, I played for the Bill Erwin American Legion team coached by Bill Cox which was composed of players from St. Elizabeth and Oakland Tech. In 1968, I joined the St. Elizabeth staff as a teacher and coach remaining there until 2010. My knowledge of the early years is limited to yearbooks (many times lacking in the kind of detailed athletic information desired) and conversations with alumni.

Pat Coyne went to St. Elizabeth and never left. She attended the elementary and high school, and coached at the high school while attending San Francisco State. She returned to the high school after college to serve as teacher, coach and athletic director. In retirement, Pat was still very active with St.Elizabeth and its alumni. Much of the information she gathered comes from personal and/or anecdotal experience.

Many thanks to all those who contributed to this story. I invite former players, coaches alumni, staff, parents, friends and members of the Mustang family to contact me with comments, corrections, additions, or errors. Bob Howard contact: adbob@aol.com


The 1920’s – A Tradition Begins

Since St. Elizabeth High School was established in 1921, available sports news from the decade is limited and sketchy. The origins of St. Elizabeth’s men’s sports heritage can be traced back to four outstanding athletes: baseball player Ernie Sulik (1926), hoopster Russ Hamm (1927) and baseball and basketball standouts Raymond Grosse (1926-29) and Harold Ogden (1928-29). Sulik played professional baseball while Hamm played at U.C. Berkeley.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Frickie, The Girls Athletic Association was organized in 1927 with basketball as the major sport. There is occasional mention of volleyball and tennis, but the records are practically non-existent.

The 1930’s – The Building Years

During the Depression, sports at St. Elizabeth helped brighten an otherwise dismal social scene. The decade climaxed in 1939 when the men’s basketball team captured the California State Catholic Basketball Championship. Team members were seniors Bill Baatz, John Cunningham, John Farnham, Tom Monahan and Bob Simmons.

Other outstanding athletes were Joseph O’Hern (1930), a four sport letter winner and all-leaguer in the major sports; Eugene Walsh (1930-33), one of the school’s first great basketball and baseball players; Irv Lewis (1931-33), Laverne “Babe” Lewis (1931-33), Louis “Frenchy” Fouchet (1931-33) and Larry Laird (1932-36).                                                           ·

The highlight of the Girls Athletic Association program in 1938 was tennis. Margaret Fraser and Mary Soro were both East Bay semi-finalists. Also, in 1938 a varsity basketball team was selected and interscholastic games were scheduled.”Flo” Weishaart was the captain and outstanding player on that first women’s basketball team.

The 1940’s – The Battery

Although football made its first appearance on the Mustang campus in 1945, it was a pitcher-catcher combination that sparkled at St. Elizabeth. During this post -World War II period, this combo raised havoc across baseball fields in Oakland.

Pitcher Bill Cox (1944-48) and catcher Al Endriss (1945-49) led the diamond corps to many victories. Bill later became a championship coach (10 CAL titles) at St. Elizabeth and led Bill Erwin Post 337 to the National American Legion Championship in 1966. Endriss played briefly with the San Francisco 49ers before embarking on a successful baseball coaching career at Redwood High School in Larkspur. He later was head baseball coach at Santa Clara and College of Marin. Others on the Cox-Endriss led baseball team were:  Bill Walters, Dick Serrao, Herb Santos, Irving Meniatis, Herb Morgan, Johnny Smith, and Joe Bonne.

Jim McHugh was a five-sport athlete for the Mustangs playing football, basketball, baseball, track, and boxing. He continued playing football and basketball at St. Mary’s College before going into teaching and coaching. He retired from Alameda College after many successful seasons as basketball coach. Other members of the first football team included Al Endriss, Jack Kiely, Ray Gonsalves, Ralph Cossey, Al Cammozi, Tony Avelar, Jim Maffei, Norman Toly, Ed Berberich, Dick Serrao, Louie Jones, Herb Morgan, Tony Kasinski, Brian Radecke and Ned O’Connell.

In the early 1940’s the basketball team, coached by Tom Sheridan and Jim Kennedy, consisted of standouts Ray Gonsalves and Joe Cunningham as well as Bill Walters, Harold White, Emmett Fahey, Bill Gonsalves, Dick Serrao, Tony Avelar, Billy Cunningham and Ned O’Connell.  

There were several other outstanding athletes from the decade: Ray Gonsalves (1945) was a three sport starter as a senior and all league in basketball; Tony Rosinsky (1948), was an all league running back. Other athletes of note were Rick Berthello, who pitched in the Cincinnati Reds organization; Bill Olsen, Dick Day and Tom Sheridan Sr.

The GAA sports were half court basketball, volleyball and tennis. Since it was the only sport in which there was league competition, women’s basketball dominated during this time at St. Elizabeth High School. Standout players included Rosetta Bovo, Mary Ellen Martin, Rita Lynch, and the future Mary Cunningham. Other women who participated were Lorraine Moura, Kay Morrisroe, Consuelo Herrara, Joyce Nunes, June Beckman, Helen Bierman, Kay Morrisroe, Mary Cormier, Marge Goetsch, Jean McCormick, Rosemarie Ovalle , Anna Krieg and Mary Brennan.

In 1940 Bernice Boschert and Ann Cunningham were East Bay Tennis champions.

1948, graduate Kathy O’Hara became St. Elizabeth’s first professional female athlete as a member off the pro bowlers’ tour.

For further exercise, students were also able to use the tennis courts across the street and the bowling alley in the school basement. The women were also encouraged to participate in drama, choral, the Elizabethan, orchestra, Red Cross and Sodality – a Roman Catholic society organized for devotional and charitable purposes.

The 1950’s – A Special Time
One of St. Elizabeth High School’s best male athletes became famous after leaving the campus on 34th Avenue because he participated in an individual sport.

Tony Lema joined the professional golf tour in 1957. Between 1962 and 1966 Tony won 12 PGA tournaments, including the British Open. He also finished second 11 times and played on Ryder Cup teams. In 1965, he was second to Jack Nicholas in tour money earnings. At the top of his game his life and career ended suddenly and tragically.  In July of 1966, a private plane he was in crashed in Ohio on the seventh hole of a golf course.

At the school team level, the football team won its first league championship. At the individual level, a parade of talented young men marched through the halls. Among them:

  • Paul Lamont (1948-52) – winner of seven letters and the first St. Elizabeth student to win a college basketball scholarship.
  • Mel Lawrence (1949-53) – may have been one of the top two or three athletes in the history of the school. He won twelve varsity letters in four sports and was all league three consecutive years in three sports.
  • Carl Bosque (1949-52) – played basketball and ran track. Carl was all-league in basketball his last three years and in his senior year was named second team all Northern California after leading his team to a 20-4 record.
  • Tom Davis (1950-54) – winner of nine letters in football, basketball and baseball. After college, Tom became a teacher and coach at St. Elizabeth·and Livermore before  going into administration.
  • George Baljevich (1952-55) – played basketball and baseball at St. Elizabeth before earning a basketball scholarship at St. Mary’s. George would later coach and teach at St. Elizabeth, coach at St. Mary’s, and teach at Foothill High School while embarking on a career in sports journalism on television.
  • Willie (Billy) Furlong (1951-55) – lettered in football, basketball, and baseball before playing Division 1 ball at the University of Virginia.
  • Dick Williams (1951-55) – primarily a baseball player, an outstanding pitcher who was drafted, but chose to play for Santa Clara.
  • Don Promes (1952-56) – earned nine letters and earned all league in football three consecutive years
  • Dennis McGrath (1953-57) – followed in the all-around tradition by lettering eleven times and earning all league two consecutive years in football, basketball, and baseball. McGrath, later a Santa Clara hoops standout, holds the Catholic League single game scoring record of 56 points against St. Joseph in 1956.
  • Ron Seitz (1954-58) – an outstanding left handed pitcher and basketball player who earned seven letters.
  • Joe Panella (1954-58) – a three sport letterman who played professional baseball. Joe later was a successful baseball coach at Skyline High School before becoming an an administrator in Clovis near Fresno.
  • Tom Sheridan, Jr. (1955-59) – winner of nine blocks in basketball, baseball, and track. In 1959, Tom set the school long jump record of 22ft.,8in. He later became a well-known college basketball official.
  • Ernie Fazio (1959) – excelled in baseball receiving eleven letters. Ernie helped Santa Clara (39-8) make its first ever College World Series appearance in 1962, losing to Michigan in the title game. Ernie was named first team All American that year. He played several years of professional baseball with the Houston Colt 45’s and, briefly with the Kansas City Athletics.
  • Jack Hansen – a successful long-time basketball coach at St. Elizabeth who compiled a 20-4 record in 1952 making this the best record since 1943.

The 1950’s were also a very successful time for the women of St. Elizabeth. The women, known as “Mustangettes”, participated in CYO basketball and volleyball leagues as well as class and intramural sports. In 1952, the women’s basketball team captured first place in the CYO league and won the “A” division in the San Francisco league.

The GAA officers of 1953 were represented by Dolores Farias, Claire Smith, Marlene Brown and Marilyn Ginty. These women sought and obtained a more organized and competitive sports program for women at St. Elizabeth. In 1954, the volleyball team entered the CYO league for the first time and basketball expanded to include a JV team.

Although the Catholic Athletic League soon replaced the CYO as the high school sports organization, women’s sports were not initially included. Undaunted, the female athletes rose to the occasion.·

June De Santi (’55) excelled in volleyball and basketball, while Barbara (’55) and Pat Langtry (’56) were an outstanding basketball duo. Under the direction of Lourdes Ganare, the volleyball and basketball teams fared well despite their limited experience and exposure. The 1959-60 volleyball team completed its five game season with four wins and one loss.

As early as 1956 Pat Coyne (’57) became a key figure in the story of women’s sports at St. Elizabeth High School. As the Girls’ Athletic Manager Pat began the struggle to attain financing for the girls’ athletic program. Pat was also outstanding in volleyball and basketball. In 1963 she returned to St.

Elizabeth to become a great coach and athletic director. Under her leadership, the women’s sports program at St. Elizabeth eventually attained equality with the men’s program and was already well ahead of most other schools when 11tle IX was implemented in 1972.

Another standout was Sara Hellwig (Galloway) who lafer was a respected teacher and coach at Moreau. Her daughter, Colleen Galloway, is still the top scorer in Cal women’s basketball history and had her number retired and hung in Haas Pavilion.

Female athletes worthy of recognition during this time include: Maria Castro, Evelyn Wright, Maureen Smith, Marlene Brown, Beverly Farra, Marilyn Ginty, Olivia Mayagartia, Betty Nordstrom, Claire Smith, Mary Ann Cena, Barbara Garske, Marlene Gonsalves, Myrna Kelly, Elsie Rosas (Lucero), Geraldine Theis and Elizabeth Whalen. Other notables include: Barbara Berberich, Yolanda Ceballero, Gloria Del Chiara, Mary Lou Emig, Anne Marie Fitzpatrick (Crater), Sharon Forrest, Hermona Garcia, Cecelia Loya, Lynette Nelson, Rose Sleuin and Donna Udell.

The 1960’s – The Success Continues

The enrollment of St. Elizabeth exploded in the 1960’s to over 900 students and with it came unsurpassed team success that carried over into the early 1970’s. In 1968 and 1969 the football team captured the McMagnus Trophy- symbol of Catholic school supremacy in the East Bay. The

basketball team won league titles in 1962 and 1963. The track team won the league title in 1968. The baseball team won nine straight Catholic League championships from 1962-1970.

In 1961 Ron Pierceall took over a football program that had not won in two years and led the Mustangs to three winning seasons.

With Tom Rowe and Jack Radisch at the helm along with standout gridders Don Thomas, Larry Banks, Eddie Jackson, and Dave Fernandez, the football team captured the McManus trophy in 1968 and 1969 which was the first time since 1951. Banks and Jackson were named to the Alameda County All Star team, co-coached by Mr. Rowe.

In 1968, Mr. Rowe (who had competed in the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic Track Trials in 1952) led the track team to the only league title in school history.

In the sixties the St. Elizabeth basketball teams were a powerhouse. Russ Vrankovich (1958-1960) was an all league guard who led the team in scoring and went on to star at Santa Clara University.

In 1962, St. Elizabeth fielded one of their best teams ever. Led by the prolific scoring of Pat Furlong (1959-62) and coached by Jack Hansen and Bill Cox, the Mustangs won the Catholic League round robin and playoff titles. Because the Catholic League was not part of the Tournament of Champions structure at the time, the Mustangs went on to participate in the prestigious Peninsula Basketball Tournament. The Mustangs lost in the finals to Ravenswood 63-61 in five overtimes, one of the longest high school games ever played (see Sports Illustrated-Faces in the Crowd of April 1962). Furlong was superbly assisted by Kevin Hardy, Tom Hansen, Dan Sheridan, Mike Wall, Jim Bauder, George Kenetzger, Jim Martin, Wayne Bauer, Jim Brown, Bob Devengenze, Stu Baatz and Jim Brennan.

In 1963, coached by John Higgins, the St. Elizabeth basketball team won the Catholic League title by capturing the league playoffs and winning the Peninsula Tournament. The Mustangs finished that year with 27 wins and 9 losses. They were led by Kevin Hardy and a  great supporting cast that included Tom Hansen, Mike Wall, Wayne Bauer, Craig Sobrero, Dan Sheridan, and Bill Sheridan. Other members of this quality squad were Bob Gianinni, Gary Miller, Pat Moskiman and Xavier Mariscal.

In 1968-69, coach Bob Dold took the basketball team to the league playoffs thanks to the fine play of Jim Jones, Buddy Carter, Eddie Cotton, Fred McDonald, O’Dwyer Haskins, Joel Mitchell, Cliff Liggins and Brian McCalla.

The 1969-70 basketball team was led to the league playoffs by Fred McDonald, Steve Allgower, Al Woods and Cliff Liggins.

Baseball dominated the scene the entire decade winning nine straight league titles. Under the leadership of Bill Cox and later Bob Howard, the Mustangs were nearly unbeatable. From 1964-1967, the baseballers led by Steve Brye, Mickey Babier, Bernie Williams, Albert and Alvin Strane dazzled on East Bay fields. Seven members of these teams were drafted by professional baseball teams. In the summer of 1966 this group led Bill Erwin Post 337 to the National American Legion championship.

In 1969, the baseball team won the Catholic League round robin and playoff championships led by seniors Tom Gainey, Gary Key, Larry Banks, Roger Volz and Larry Youman. The underclassmen on that team gained valuable experience for the championship season of 1970.

Women’s athletic success continued into the 1960’s. In 1962 the volleyball team boated a 5-1 record, while the JV’s were undefeated. Although no basketball records are available, no one from that time will forget Sharon Barrett’s amazing “hook’ or Marty Purdy’s outside shot.                                                              

Dolores Prince (1962-1965) and Kathy McCuHum (1963-1964) were all-around athletes and strong leaders in the advancement of women’s athletic progress. Following their lead, GAA officers of 1966-67 which included Mary Doherty, Mary Barale, Linda O’Hara and Monica Millis laid the groundwork for the establishment of an even more competitive league for young women. The establishment of the Girls’ Catholic League took place in 1967. In the fall of 1968 the newly formed Catholic League (of the East Bay) included women’s athletics. With this, 1968 was a golden year for women’s sports at St. Elizabeth high School. In that first CAL Volleyball season under coach by Pat Coyne, the varsity volleyball team finished first with an 8-0 record, while JV  was second at 7-1.

In the same year three great athletes brought pride and success to the school. Although they all played a variety of sports, each stood out in one particular sport. Cindy Thomas’ major sport was volleyball. Barbara Hardy (sister of pro footballer Kevin Hardy) was super on the basketball court, while Ginny Jones reigned supreme on the softball diamond.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest hoopsters in St. Elizabeth history, Ann Sheridan (1967-1970), led the Mustang varsity women’s basketball team  during her four years with her excellent scoring, ball handling and rebounding.

There are several St. Elizabeth athletes who deserve special mention during this time as well:

Kevin Hardy (1959-1963) – the best all around athlete of the decade and, perhaps in the school’s history. Kevin earned letters in three sports and led the Mustangs to basketball and baseball championships in 1963. He went on to Notre Dame where he lettered nine times in football, basketball, and baseball. He was named All American in football and MVP of the East-West game. He was a first round pick in the NFL draft. Unfortunately, his professional career was cut short by a knee injury.

Tom Hansen (1959-63) – floor leader of the 1963 championship basketball team and an infielder on the baseball teams. Tom later became a celebrated successful basketball coach and athletic director at Foothill High School in Pleasanton.

Chuck Cecil (1961-1965) was a seven-time letter winner and a standout on the football team.

The 1970’s – CAL Champs

Despite a smaller St. Elizabeth High School student body due to the opening of Moreau in Hayward, the athletic program was still able to produce excellent results.

1970-71, Al Woods, Fred McDonald, Bruce Fernandez, Michael Bradley, John Evans and Warren Jordan led the basketball team to the league playoffs.

Coached by John Phillips, the 1972-73 basketball team had an outstanding season finishing 29-2 and ranked tops in the East Bay most of the season. An upset loss in the league playoffs ended their season much too early. Standout players included Wolfe Perry, Northern Shavers, Kenny Barnes, Louis Woods, Kenny Winston, Glenn Williams and Jeff Cunningham.

After a drought in the middle of the decade the Mustang hoopsters rebounded in 1977-78. The team finished 25-7 winning the prestigious Drake Tournament and making the league playoffs. Key players were Michael Harris, David Manuel, Dwayne Herman and James Logan.

Several newcomers joined the squad in 1978-79 helping the Mustangs win the Catholic League Championship by defeating Bishop O’Dowd twice in the playoffs at Cal State Hayward. Joining Dwayne Herman and James Logan were Bobby Davis, Jeff Manning, Andy Fisher, Greg Brannon, Radell Johnson, Nate Hill, Steve Lovato, Terrence Walton, Ralph Zamora, Andrew Wadsworth, John Thompson, Kirk Washington and Gerald Harlan.

Although the baseball program struggled in the middle of the decade, the 1970 team was one of the school’s best. The horsehiders continued to roll, highlighted by a 31-4 record and third place finish in the Tournament of Champions. This squad would produce six first team all leaguers: Don Thomas, Jim Thomas, Randy Veasey, Mark Gehrig, Charlie Dyson, and Chuck Fross. In addition, Wilner Ash earned a scholarship to attend Cal. Al Woods (injured most of that season) was drafted by Toronto and played with the Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins. Don Thomas, Gherig (who also played at Cal) and Dyson were also drafted. Other key contributors were Bob Romero, Kenny Williams, Brook Vasconcellos, Steve Ramsey and Glen Beckham.

There were also a number of outstanding individual performances:

  • Dave Stewart (1973-75) – led the Mustangs to the !975 playoffs. He began his major league career in 1978 and played for the Dodgers, Rangers and Blue Jays before winning 20 games four years in a row for the Oakland A’s and being named MVP of the 1989 World Series. In 1990 he pitched a no­ hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Albert Richmond was all league as a junior and was signed to a professional contract by the San Diego Padres
  • Andre Collins was a St. Elizabeth standout and made the all league team at St. Mary’s College as a freshman.

Female athletes sparkled in the 1970’s. The volleyball team captured the GCAL ih 1971 and 1972. Many fine volleyball players passed through the St. Elizabeth halls, including Kathy (’69) and Sandy Figoria (’70). The dynamite duo of Mary (’71) and Nikki Denobriga (’74) were active members of the U.S. Volleyball Association as was Yvette Biancalana. Yvette coached the Mustangs for several years.

Other Outstanding athletes in the early 1970s were Cathy Miller (‘71) who participated in three sports and was sensational in volleyball;  Kathryn Warren (’72), a basketball standout for four years and Rebecca Rosales (’72), one of the greatest “all around athletes” in St. Elizabeth history.

In the mid and late 1970s basketball reigned supreme. The class of 1975 had two great players in Barbara Kelly and Phyllis Sheridan. Barbara’s jump shot gave opponents fits while Phyllis dazzled opponents and fans for four years with her amazing shooting, rebounding and defense. Barbara continued her basketball career at San Jose State while Phyllis played briefly at Cal State Hayward before going into restaurant and hotel management. Linda Fischer (’75) was another great multi-sport standout as a starter on the basketball team as well as a very fine tennis player. She ultimately attended USF on a softball scholarship.

The late 1970’s were dominated by two outstanding athletes. Gina.Richardi (’76),  was GAA President, Thuringian sports editor and editor of the sports magazine “Overtime”. She was a four sport athlete playing­ volleyball, basketball, softball and tennis. After graduation from college, Gina returned to St. Elizabeth to help coach three of the above sports while continuing to play in adult leagues.

No one who is familiar with Mustang athletics from 1975-78 will forget Patty Harmon. Patty was the other “do it all” athlete. Patty received more awards fn her four years in high school than most people receive in a lifetime. She played volleyball, basketball, softball, ran track and cross country excelling in all of them! Patty continued her basketball career at San Francisco State where she was NCAA Division II All American, All Tourney at the AIAW Region 8 Playoffs, and first team All Golden Gate Conference.

Upon completion of her eligibility, Patty held the SFSU women’s record for assists and steals as well as the school record for points (women and men). Over 30 years later, Patty is still second in the women’s record book for points and assists. In 2002, Patty was inducted into the SFSU Sports Hall of Fame.

Other standout female athletes of the 1970’s were Sue Eirstedt, Judi Cecaci, Diane Santos, Leora Smith, Gloria Woodson, Clare McCormick, Wendy Hayles, Beverly Detiege, Berta Furger, Cynthia Myatt, Pauline Williams, Rhonda Bigelow, Lisa Johnson and Lala Biancalana.

The 1980’s – Title IX Kicks In

Although Title IX was passed in 1972, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that St. Elizabeth began to really experience its benefits.

In 1979-80 the women’s basketball team, coached by Lee Conboy, won the Catholic Athletic League Round Robin Championship and went on to place third in the NCS playoffs. Key performers were Nadine Johnson (all league and all East Bay), Rhonda Bigelow (all league) and Phyllis Bell.

The women’s hoopsters were solid and successful the rest of the decade thanks to the excellent play of Kecia Kemp, Yvette Williams, Pam Stevenson, Tina Nolasco, Missie Johnson, Andrea and Ametrius Sidney, Margaret Lewis, Lola Salcedo, Erin Godfrey, Marjorie Watson, Stella Luluquisen and Letty Gomez.

Despite numerous coaches, the volleyball and softball teams were competitive in the 1980’s. Much of the success was due to the fact that many of the talented women who played basketball also participated in volleyball and softball.

Men’s cross country was a force in the early 1980’s. Coached by Robert Padilla, the 1981 team tied for the Catholic League round robin championship with De La Salle and Moreau and advanced to NCS. The 1982 team was even better finishing fifth in the NCS meet. School record holder Robert Gomez and Francisco Deleon made all league, but they had solid assistance from Tony Deleon, Miguel Gomez and David Vallejo.

The men’s basketball team made the playoffs seven times in the decade. The 1983-84

Mustangs coached by Bob Howard, highlighted the 1980’s with a 26-8 record. The team advanced to the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions at the Oakland Coliseum. The biggest win of the season came in a NCS Semi-Final upset over Amador Valley who was 28-0 and ranked number one in the East Bay. The Mustangs featured a strong, well-balanced roster that included Lamont Kelly, Al Lewis, Derrick Knockum, Chris Logan, Steve Sumner and Glendell and Cardell King.

There were many outstanding players on other playoff teams in the 1980’s that included Greg Brannon, Steve Lovato, Scott Ferris, Terrence Burns, Bobby Davis, Marvin and Kirk Washington, Tony Hamilton, Archie Hart, William James, Lawrence Whitt, Robert Shorter, Marlon Adams and Jerry Jenkins.

Others were John Gamello, Dotwan Wilson, Ronnie Knighten, Tate Guice, Lamarr Allen, Lorne Barbosa, Michael Avery, Lamont Domengeaux, Robert Nelson, Jorge Covarrubias, Schegrun Clay, John Henry, Eric Davis and Damien Edwards.

The 1980’s were a roller coaster ride for the football program. The sport was dropped in 1981 and reinstated in 1987. Tom Rowe came out of retirement to coach the Mustangs and get them headed in the right direction. Standout players on either side of the shutdown include John Luluquisen, David Jones, Billy Hawkey, Jodie Blanton, Mike McCormick, Tim Thomas, Dion Frank, Tony Hamilton, Ronnie Skidmore, Archie Hart, Brian Cravanas, Lamont Domengeaux, Vincent Perez, Dannie LaBrie, Michael Avery, Eric Davis and Sylvester Youngblood

The men’s soccer team won ten games in 1989-90 and was competitive throughout the decade. There were several outstanding players including Froilan and David Martinez and Tony and Francisco De Leon.

Late in the 1980’s the baseball program which had struggled for a while, received a talent boost from standout players such as Lamont Domengeaux, Jesse Moore and Vincent Perez. In separate years, Lamont and Jesse were awarded the Kevin Hardy award for the best multi-sport senior when the graduated. Both Jesse and Vince played community college baseball at Laney.

It was a decade of historic league change. In 1986 the NCS realigned and the Catholic Athletic League of the East Bay was disbanded. St. Elizabeth was placed in the East Shore Athletic League (ESAL), a new league consisting of both public and private schools.

The 1990’s – State Champions

The men’s basketball team of 1996 was the highlight of the 1990’s by virtue of winning the school’s first state championship in any sport. Playing at Arco Arena the Mustangs defeated defending state champion Montclair Prep 72-67 after trailing by 16 points in the second half. The young men finished with a record of 31-4, winning the ACCAL playoffs along with NCS, NorCal and State titles.

The team was coached by Bob Howard, Russ Bettencourt, Anthony Geddins, and Arnold Sloan. Team members were Marqus Coleman, Rene Gonzalez, Dynell Morgan, Roberto Nuno, Paul Norris, James Preston, John Edmond, Torrence Spencer, Michael Sloan, Keith Johnson (First Team All ACAL), Sean-Alan Dulan and Romacio Fulcher.

The entire decade was a strong one for men’s basketball. In 1990-91 the Mustangs, led by Damien Edwards, John Henry, and Usani Phillips finished 25-6. They defeated Bishop O’Dowd twice winning the ACCAL playoff championship and advancing to the NCS and NorCal championships. The Mustangs repeated their ACCAL playoff win in 1991-92 and 1998-99.

Roy Ching was named women’s volleyball coach in 1991. In 1992 his team finished second, the first of many successful seasons for the program in the decade. Key performers in the 1990’s were Courtney Jones, Adeline Araynado, Sunday Shields, Rebecca Torres, and Priscilla Esparolini.

Outstanding players later in the decade included Areceli Cervantes, Mary Jennings, Shayla Jamerson, Bridgett Ross, Briana Jones, Jessica Jasso, Heather Lopez and Gabby Gomez.

The football team had several coaches (Tom Rowe, Jeff Stewart, Mark De Luca, and Anthony Geddins) in the decade and still competed well. De Luca led the Mustangs to Bay Football League championships in 1993-94 and 1994-95. Solid performers for the Mustangs in the decade included Marcus Scott, Dannie Labrie, Yohance Clay, Wayland Lewis, Ryan Porter, James Howard, Marqus Coleman, Rolando Campos, Irish Smith, Al Jacko, JaTron Williams, Andre and Tony Bowman, Xavier Casillas, Steve Nunes, KO Wallace, Tim Harris, Chris Shelton, Brad Jones, Robert Daniels and Pipo Tungohan.

The women’s basketball program was strong in the 1990’s and made several postseason appearances. Coach Dave Weber led the team to the playoffs in 1992-93. Shana Youngblood, Mya Paul, and Trinity Bellows were team standouts. Mark Deluca took the Lady Mustangs to the NCS and NorCal playoffs in 1993-94 and 1994-95. Key contributors were Mya Paul, Priscilla Esparolini, and Terina Hopes. In 1999-2000 Coach Leroy Hurt led the team to the league playoffs and the second round of the NCS tournament. Key performers were Toya Paul, Briana Jones and Erin Vinson.

Men’s soccer was a competitive force in the decade despite having a new coach every one to two years. In 1990-91 under the coaching of Marcelo Tergor, the varsity soccer team won ten games and played for the BSAL Championship. Standout players for the Mustangs in the decade were Marcos Nuno, Victor Banuelos, Luis Casillas, Efren Padilla, Julio Banuelos, Rolando Campos, Carlos Duenas, Marcos Banuelos, Alejandro Nuno and Lorenzo Macias. Since there was no women’s program at the time, a few young ladies were on many of the men’s teams. Cicely Ferlatte was even named to the all league team in 1994-95.

Baseball and softball struggled but had some fine individual performances. Charles Lewis, Aaron Devers, and Marcus Flentroy went on to play college sports, while Chalra Hayes, Bridgett Ross, Stephanie Cruz, Tracy Rosalia and Veronica Villanueva had fine high school softball careers.

Men’s volleyball was initiated in 1997-98. Coached by Roy Ching, the team’s most solid players in the last few years of the decade were Bobby Perez, Jeff Elchico, Alfredo Villapando, Xavier Casillas, David Nettles and Steve Nunes.

2001- 2010 Golden

Over the years St. Elizabeth has been blessed with many outstanding individual and team athletic performances. The decade of the 2000’s stands out for its wide range of exceptional results.

Track has been part of the athletic program for decades, but it wasn’t until the mid-2000’s that the program brought the school such local, state and national attention. In 2005, freshman Julian Purvis became our first female to reach a State Meet final- in the 100 meter hurdles. In 2006, Julian won the event and earned a gold medal. In 2007 and 2008 Julian finished second.

ln 2006 Julian was joined by Jamillah Wallace, Monay Wadsworth and Jazzine Munson to win the BSAL 400 meter relay title.

In 2007, younger sister Ashton Purvis joined Julian. From 2007 to 2010 Ashton had four first place and three second place finishes at the State Meet in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Highlighting Ashton’s career was her selection in 201O as the Gatorade State and National Female Track Athlete of the Year and her appearance at the ESPY’s.

In 2009, Julian and Ashton (coached by Fred Sims and trained by Curtis Taylor) were joined by Teiler Jones and Gabrielle Davis to set NCS Bay Area Conference records in the hurdles, sprints and relays that will probably never be broken.

Men’s track also had a resurgence in the mid-2000’s. Adam Barnes made it to the State Meet in the 100 meter dash. Adam, joined by Ronald Dixon, Joel Barnett and Lawrence Chew won the BSAL 400 and 1600 meter relays. Joel won the 400 meter dash and Bakari Grant captured the triple jump.

Football also experienced an outstanding decade. The Mustangs, coached by Fred Sims, made the NCS playoffs six times, advancing to the final four times and winning NCS titles in 2007 and 2009. The gridiron gang amazed everyone by being so competitive despite having small roster numbers. Sims was aided by longtime assistants Quentin Moore, Terry jackson, Steve Nunes, Ryan Porter, Eddie Russaw, Ray Espana and Fred Woods.

There was considerable talent for the Mustangs as many standouts made first or second team all Bay Football League during that playoff run that included Larry Allen, Phong Nguyen, Miguel Daggs, Nick Benevidez, Jonathon Benjamin Nichols, Lance Harrison-Brown, Manuel Landaverde, Donald Jacko, Lee West, Xavier Casillas, Aaron Kingdom, Aaron George, Vandy and Jason Keobounheung, David Douglas, Evaristo Laron, Damario Robertson, Bakari Grant, Ronald Dixon, Frankie Rodriguez, Bobby Fulmore, Shawn Fanney, Terrel Nelson, Tyler Woods, Ramon Becerra and James Shorter.

In 2001 the men’s basketball team, coached by Bob Howard and Russ Bettencourt, returned to the state championship game. Led by Bakari Altheimer and Alejandro Nuno, the Mustangs went on an amazing 7-2 playoff run (mostly on the road) and surprised many by winning the Northern California Championship. In the state final, the Mustangs battled national power Price of Los Angeles (game tied at halftime) before falling in the second half.

From 2003 to 2010 the men’s basketball teams coached by Warren Winters.Torrence Spencer, Brian Flores and Fred Sims were in the league, NCS, and NorCal playoffs on a regular basis. The Mustangs were led by such all-league standouts as Joe LaChaux, Charles Dunn, Marlo Johnson, Chioke Walker, Adam Barnes, Jeff Henry, Artie Davis, Sam Blackmon, Jevon Flowers, David Douglas, Ed Thomas, Damon Jones, and Charles Johnson.

The women’s basketball teams, coached by Dwayne Homage, Greg Sims, and Yvette Williams were very competitive in the decade. Outstanding players included Toya Paul, Tracey-Hazel Rosario, Nicole Homage, Gabriela Gomez, Latanzia Brooks, Jelilah Hughley, Elisia Small, Claudia Gomez, Lacreasha Sellers, Teresta Gill, Rebecca Taylor, Shani and Nyiemah Hunter, Sophia Arteaga, Teiler Jones and Felicia Porter.

2001 was also the year that the women’s volleyball team had its best team performance in school history. The amazing Mustangs, coached by Roy Ching, defeated Northern California powerhouse Albany in league action. The women advanced to the league championship game and the NSC playoffs. Gabby Gomez (First Team ACCAL), Veronica Villanueva, Monica Rios, Briana Jones and Angelica Macedon led the Mustangs.

The volleyball team also made the BSAL playoffs in 2004 behind the fine play of Rostini Gomez (team MVP and honorable mention all league), Theresa Feezel and Marcela Maldonado. In 2009 Sofia Arteaga (2nd team BCL East) and Johana Pena (HM) led the Mustangs.

2006 was a special season for softball. The lady Mustangs featured the fine pitching of Gina Valenzuela and quality overall play of Rostini Gomez. In 2007 women’s soccer became a part of the athletic program when we joined the Bay County League. The women coached by Mauricio Cisneros, made the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Shani Hunter and Xiomara Fuentes made First Team All-League.

Baseball had some solid individual performances during the decade. The 2008 and 2009 teams coached by Fred Woods, made the BCL Playoffs. Marcus Flentroy, Orlando Crum, Nick Benavidez, Aaron Kingdom, Arthur Guess and Dante Skidmore went on to play in community college.

Coached by Felix Garcia for most of the decade, men’s soccer had several standout performers including Lorenzo Macias, Xavier Casillas, Alejandro Nuno, Jorge Arias, Victor Pena, Josue Mora, Joe Naranjo, and Juwara Adisa-Farrar, Nick Seales, Hector Ortiz-Rosales, Federico Mercado, Josh Rodriguez, Ben Ortiz, Wilmer Zavala and Jose Espinoza.

2010-2017- The Final Buzzer

If you believe that sports mirrors society, it is not a stretch to conclude that an athletic program can reflect a school’s health and viability. The announcement in the fall of 2016 that St. Elizabeth High School would be closing its doors permanently in 2017 was very sad, but not surprising. Student population decline eventually affects the number of athletic participants and the number of teams offered. In the spring 2013, St. Elizabeth shut down its storied baseball program. In the fall of 2013, only a few years after the football team had won its second NCS title in four years, the football program was also closed down. During the 2016-17 school year there were no teams participating in women’s soccer or track and field.

Despite the disappointing downward trajectory, athletic directors Ray Troper, Greg Brannon and Brandon Garcelon were still able to lead and assist coaches and players to several positive achievements in their new league affiliation with the BCL.

Even though football was on the wane, the teams were competitive. Greg Morris, one of the last Mustang football coaches, had several solid players to work with including Aaron George (1st team BFL), Devonte Henderson (2nd team BFL), De Andre Haynes, Juan Salcedo (1st Team BFL), Avi Maldonado (2nd Team BFL), Lorenzo Shelton, Aaron Nicholson, Frank Stephens (1st Team BFL), Justin Cuevas (HM), Eric Magana, Michael Branner, David Iniguez and Darius Powell.                                                                                                                            .

Veteran coaches Roy Ching and Eddie Winterstein were at the helm of the women’s volleyball program for the first three years which involved one playoff appearance. Standout players included four-year starter lmonie Lewis (Team MVP and 1st Team BCL East), Raquel Ross, Deajha Powell (HM), Angelica Pardo, Janette Estrada, Cierra Bivins, Vanessa Lucero (2nd team), Nadya Mendoza, Sylvia Barajas, Maiyra Gonzalez, Katherine Jimenez Jasmine Cuevas (HM) and Mariana Torres­ Hernandez. JC Casares coached for three years and Amanda Prieto-Lara finished up for the Lady Mustangs. Noteworthy players were four-year starter Emily Romero, Leslie Magana, Yessenia Salcedo and Nyla Jamerson.

The men’s basketball program continued its successful ride through the BCL. The team won the league title three times and was in the league and NCS playoffs almost every year, highlighted by an NCS runner-up finish in 2014-15. The first two years were coached by Greg Brannon and featured Derius Johnson (Co-Player of the year and 1st Team BCL East), Denzil Allison (1st Team), Michael Cunningham (HM), Dante Skidmore (1st Team), Lorenzo Shelton and Aaron George (2nd Team).                                                                           

The next five years saw a coaching carousel of Jon Ramirez, Jonathon Chirko (2 years), Justin Rollolazo and Cheo White. Standout players were four-year starter Ron Knighten (two-time BCL MVP and three-time 1st Team BCL), Cameron Jones (1st Team), Daniel Mitchell (two-time 1st Team), Jelani Ross, Lonnie Jordan (2nd Team), David Iniguez (HM), Eric Magana, Malik Coleman (2nd Team), Clinton Pugh (1st Team), Ryan Jones (2nd Team) and Miguel Hernandez.

Yvette Williams and Dwayne Homage were the longest tenured and most successful of the women’s basketball coaches. Yvette coached a very competitive team in 2010-11 featuring

four-year players Felicia Porter (1st team BCL) and Cierra Bivins (2nd team). Between 2011 and 2014 standout players included Karina Palacios and Veronica Zavala. Coach Homage led the Lady Mustangs the final three years making the league and NCS playoffs the last two years. Key players were four-year starter Nyla Jamerson (a Team MVP and three-time 1st Team BCL), Jasmine Cuevas (HM), Nia Williams (HM), Emily Romero (2nd Team), Veronica Zavala (HM) and Griselda Rodriguez.

In men’s soccer, Felix Garcia coached the team for five years while Julio Orozco coached the final two. During Felix’s tenure the men’s teams were very competitive and featured some very talented players including Efrain Guttierez (1st team BCL) Federico Mercado, Jeovani Zavala, Omar Aguilar (1st team), Omar Gallegos, Adan Torres (2nd Team), Ivan Flores, Jonathon Sil, Ramon Herrera, Juan Anaya (1st team), Nestor Nunes (1st team), Fernando Ramirez, Tony Pena (2nd team), and Fernando Ramirez (2nd team).    In 2016, under coach Orozco the men’s team reached the league championship game and

the NCS semifinals for the first time. Andrew Zavala was the team MVP, 1st Team BCL and leading scorer. Nestor Nunez (1st Team BCL), Diego Palencia Vallar (2nd Team), Erik Zavala (2nd Team), German Arechiga (2nd Team), Raymundo Rodriguez (Honorable Mention) and Omar Gallegos were also big contributors. In 2017, the men’s team led by Vallar (1st Team), May Garcia (1st Team), Zavala (2nd Team) and Cesar Serratos (HM) finished as NCS runner-ups losing the championship game on a last minute goal.

Felix Garcia coached the women’s soccer team for four years and Julio Orozco coached the final two. Key players for coach Garcia were Ana Laura Castro (1st Team BCL), Diana Rodriguez (two-time 1st Team BCL), Mayra Portillo (1st Team BCL), Sylvia Barajas (2nd Team BCL), Angela Hernandez, Jesenia Mendez (2nd Team BCL), Mariana Torres, Mary Madrigal and Emily Romero. The last two years of the program under coach Orozco featured top players Odalis Gallegos (two­ time 1st Team BCL), Alejandra Gallegos (2nd Team), Veronica Zavala (2nd Team), Karen Onafre (2nd Team) and Myrna Velazquez (HM).

Baseball’s last season was in 2012 under coach Ricky Pickens. Key players over the last two years were Dhruv Patel (1st Team BCL), Anthonie Pearson (1st Team), Federico Mercado (1st Team), Deundre Skidmore (1st Team), Emanuel Wiley (HM), Lorenzo Shelton, Denzel Allison and Jeovani Zavala.

Coach Roy Ching led the men’s volleyball program for three years followed by JC Casares and Julio Orozco for the final four years. Top players for coach Roy were Dhruv Patel (Team MVP and 1st Team All BCL), Junior Salcedo (HM), Eduardo Prieto-Lara, Emadgeawon Brewer, Eric Magana (HM) and David Lopez. Key players for JC and Julio were Salcedo, Patel, Lopez as well as Jerry Bosh, Sergio Salcedo and Cesar Serratos.

Greg Morris coached men’s and women’s track for two years before former football coach Bill Eskridge returned to St. Elizabeth to run the program. Under coach Morris, the Mustangs (2011) won both BCL relays featuring Aaron George, Louis Pegross, Derius Johnson, Avimael Maldonado and Devonte Henderson. Louis also won the 100m and Shelby Stamps was the 200m champ. During coach Eskridge’s tenure Pegross, Maldonado, Frank Stephens (NCS), DeDe Powell (2nd BCL & NCS 4th Shot Put), Jerry Ochoa, Alfredo Meraz, Malik Coleman, and Juan Salcedo displayed considerable talent and dedication.

KEVIN HARDY & PATTY HARMON Awards

Presented to the Outstanding Male and Female Senior Athletes

YEAR   KEVIN HARDY         PATTY HARMON
1988 Jesse Moore  Andrea Sidney 
1988 Margaret Lewis
1989 Lamont Domengeaux Cherise Davis
1989 Michael Avery
1990 Sylvester Youngblood Raquel Figueroa
1991 Charles Lewis  Camila Davis
1992 Pippo Tungohan  Dasha La Brie
1992 Danny La Brie
1994 James Howard  Shana Youngblood
1995 Bradley Jones  Rebecca Torres
1996 Marques Coleman  La Shonda Hicks
1996 Mya Paul
1997 Keith Johnson  Eugenia Young
1998 Sam Aguayo  Tannika Saunders
1999 Delonzo Jackson 
2000 Michael Garcia
2001 Bakari Altheimer  Ebony Ellis
2002 Leslie Barajas & Marciela Vazquez
2003 Angelica Macedon & Veronica Villanueva
2004 Karina Rodriguez
2005 Bakari Grant  Krista Benevidez
2006 Aaron Kingdom  Claudia Gomez
2007 Jacqueline Orozco
2008 Arthur Guess  Julian Purvis
2009 Evaristo Laron  Abril Solis Tinoco
2010 Jason Keobounheung  Ashton Purvis, Shanti Hunter & Adalie Villalobbos
2011 Federico Mercado  Cierra Bivins
2012 Avimael Maldonado  Deahja Powell
2013 Eric Magana  Ana Laura Castro
2014 Jerry Ochoa Jasmine Cuevas
2015 David Iniguez 
2016 Ronald Knighten  Odalis Gallegos
2017 Andrew Zavala  Emily Romero

IT’S A WRAP!
It’s been an honor to be part of the writing of this brief sports history of St. Elizabeth High School. It was a pleasure to talk to so many former athletes, coaches and alumni and listen to their stories. It was a challenge to go through yearbooks and do justice to the athletes and teams of past decades. The project would not have been possible without the help of so many other people who love St. Elizabeth High School.

Thanks again to the editors and contributors listed on the cover. They definitely deserve front page recognition. All possible gratitude to the student/athletes, coaches, staff, alumni, families, and friends of St. Elizabeth who created the history.

Finally, thanks to Bill Cox for having the trust and courage to bring me to St. Elizabeth to hopefully add to his legacy. My family and I are forever thankful to have been part of the loving community that is St. Elizabeth.