Blast from the Past: March 29-April 4

April 3, 1915
The very first State Championship was at Fresno High School on this date.
Santa Rosa High’s Wayne Weeks won the shot put at 46-2 3/8 and placed 3rd in the 2 kilo discus.
Teammate Clifford Merritt won the discus at 113-0 (2 kilo).
Santa Rosa’s John Russell took 4th in the 220 yard Low Hurdles.
Santa Rosa placed 4th as a team.

March 2nd, 1977
Piner’s Tony Barton blazed the 120 yard high hurdles in 14.2 vs El Cerrito at SRJC.

Tony Barton, 1976

April 4th, 1984
At two different meets Empire athletes broke the then Empire record in their events and set what is still to this day the best ever marks in a dual meet.
Santa Rosa’s John Gash ran the 300 hurdles in 39.0 vs Montgomery at SRHS.
36-6 Tammy Wessendorf, Piner 4/4/84 vs El Molino at Piner, Former Empire Record dual record

March 29th, 1995
15-0 Petaluma’s Rene Loraine cleared 15 ffet in the vault for the Empire’s dual meet record vs Analy at Petaluma.

Rene Loraine

April 1st, 1995
The Oakland Relays used to be one of the best Invitationals around and the Empire had a big day this date.
Petaluma’s Rene Loraine broke the Empire and the Meet record in the vault clearing 15-6½.
Rancho Cotate’s Corey Nelson also won in the 400 at 47.70.
Other winners included a school record by Piner’s Pat Leonard in the high jump at 6-11, Santa Rosa High’s Distance Medley team breaking the meet record in 10:23.3, and Panther Marissa Wilson taking the discus at 118-6.

Corey Nelson

March 29th, 2003
Elsie Allen’s Whitney Leachman ran 12.51 +1.2 in the 100 at the Stanford Invitational to set the Empire FAT Record.

Whitney Leachman

April 3rd, 2004
Huge day for the Empire at the Oakland Relays.
Montgomery Viking twins Matt (15-6.75) and Mike Tillinghast (15-0) went 1-2 in the pole vault as Matt broke Loraine’s meet record.
Also winning gold medals were Cardinal Newman’s J.K. Withers taking the 800 in 1:54.36, Sonoma Valley’s Melissa Van Paris in the shot at 42-1.5, Santa Rosa’s Emely Flores in the vault at 11-0, Maria Carrillo’s boys 4×800 Relay in 8:18.65 and their girls team taking the 4×400 in 3:59.81 for the fastest pre-league finals time ever.
And to top it all off Elsie Allen’s Whitney Leachman broke the Empire 100 record in 12.17 +1.9.

Matt Tillinghast

March 30th, 2012
Cardinal Newman’s Bryan Nunez ran the 200 in 21.6 at Sonoma Valley HS.

April 4th, 2015
El Molino’s Lani Gaspar finished the Stanford trials in the 100 at 10.81 +1.6 for the #3 (10.91) wind adjusted time ever.

Lani Gaspar by Michael Lucid

April 1st, 2017
Maria Carrillo’s girls 400 relay team ran the Empires fastest ever time in an Invitational at 49.24 at the Stanford Invitational.

Habibah Sanusi, Assata Polk, Olivia Nicholes, Amani Baker by Herbie Polk

March 31st, 2018
The Stanford Invitational produced two fast sprint times for the Empire.
Santa Rosa’s Kirsten Carter blazed the 100m prelims in 11.90 +1.2.
Carter also won the 400 hurdles at 62.18 for the 2nd fastest 400 hurdles time in the nation and she did it from lane 8.
Maria Carrillo’s boys 400 relay team ran 42.53 in the finals.
(Demetrie Coffey, Cameron De Latorre, Tyler VanArden, Severin Ramirez)

Kirsten Carter at the meet by Eric Taylor

April 3rd, 2019
Two All-Time wind legal dual meet records happened at Justin-Siena.
First Justin-Siena’s Landon Mispagel ran the 110 High Hurdles in 15.59 -1.2.
Later in the meet American Canyon’s Croix Stewart finished the 200 in 23.27 -1.4.

March 29th, 2022
Santa Rosa’s CoCome McKamey broke the 100 High Hurdle wind legal dual meet record at Analy in 15.25 +2.0.

In this new weekly tidbit column, “Blast from the Past”, I’m going to take a look at some special performances that happened during the week we are on.
Other Blast from the Past stories