Sports of Santa Cruz County (Images of America)
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Its inviting climate, enticing rugged mountains, and welcoming beaches have always made Santa Cruz County a haven for athletic activities. A wide variety of sporting endeavors, some beyond the norm, have called Santa Cruz home over the decades. In the 19th century, Santa Cruz served as a springboard for modern surfing. It was an early bastion for organized baseball, too, beginning in the 1860s, and it was home to a series of professional teams as early as the 1870s. Other colorful athletic activities took place here (including fire hose teams, long-distance walking, and bicycling), along with more traditional American sports like basketball, football, boxing, and tennis. The region boasts of a strong tradition of women athletes as well, in particular Marion Hollins, perhaps the greatest all-around woman athlete of the early 20th century.
and will be ready for use by both girls and boys.” Three months later, the Trident reported that the girls’ team was practicing at the Armory, courtesy of “Lieutenant Willey of the Naval Reserve,” with games being scheduled against teams from the Business College and the YWCA. Anna Wheeler was named the captain. The team was coached by William A. Stillwell, secretary of the YMCA. (Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.) The Santa Cruz Alerts basketball team of 1910 featured top athletes from Santa
many who would later become area coaches. The squad, however, had a less-than-sterling record in league play. The players are, from left to right, (first row) Jack Knight, Lou Costa, Dave Giggy, and Jerry Neuman; (second row) Leo Malaspina, Tom Curtiss, Casey Moore, Phil Netto, Bill Cleveland, Leroy Cross, and Bobby Vega. Netto finished the season with a team-high 235 points, and Cross had 196. Cross was named senior player of the year, while Netto was named to the All-CCAL team. Vega, a local
won the Catholic Athletic Association tournament before a packed house at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, beating archrival Palma in the championship game. The players shown are, from left to right, (first row) Jeff Burda, Ken Lamb, and Gene Ryan; (second row) Denis Tambelini, Terry Bernard, Mike Mekis, and Tim Kelly; (third row) Phil Schneider, Gary Allyn, Phil Bargetto, and Kim Allyn. (Mark Violante..) 81 One of two great Soquel High basketball teams over the past half century, the Knights’
Stagnaro Fishing Corporation took pride in making its vessels accessible to anglers with disabilities, particularly for military veterans returning from World War II. Here, a couple of lucky fishermen display some king salmon they caught on the party boat Old Tom. Estrella C. Stagnaro (left) was the belle of the ball at Old Timers fishing tournaments. She carefully weighed-in and documented each catch in the 1952 contest. Malio Stagnaro and Fredo Castagnola look on, while the king and queen
commencing the following spring with its first league schedule, featuring 10 teams. One of the first was this County Bank GALS squad coached by Santa Cruz High star athlete Kathy Wilson Pappas. Players include Chris Celayeta, Shauna Schaeffer, Cathy Latocki, Cathy Rodoni, Anna Castillo, Lori Vajretti, and Kelly and Kristy Netto. (Netto family.) 47 No one personified Santa Cruz High athletics from the 1950s through the 1980s more than Bill Dodge, pictured here coaching the Santa Cruz High