History of boys Redwood Empire 800

Last updated 8/9//2020
Boys 800m Top Performances

Ukiah’s Finnie ran the fastest time in the State in 1897 at 2:06.2.

Analy’s Roy Williamson won the 1917 North Coast Section Meet of Champions 880 yard run in 2:06.

Petaluma’s Les Schwobeda, as a junior, would win the 1921 NCS MOC in 2:04.6 followed by a 2nd place finish at state.
His senior year he would again win the 1922 NCS MOC in 2:02.4 followed by another 2nd place finish at state.

Les Schwobeda

Napa’s Jim Lytjen would take 5th at the 1940 State meet.

Willits’ Jerry Siebert would go on to take sixth in 1960 Olympic 800m final in 1:47.0.
As a junior in 1955 he would win the NCS MOC 880 in 1:59.0.
In 1956 he would win both the NCS MOC (1:57.1) and the state finals in 1:53.8, 2nd fastest time in California history.

Jerry Siebert in college.

Montgomery’s Geoff Ramsey was the 1973 NCS MOC champion in 1:55.0.

Vintage’s Mark Hadley would lower Siebert’s Empire record in 1974 with a time of 1:52.6.

Petaluma’s Dan Aldridge still dominates the Empires performance list with the top five times and nine of the 21 fastest ever.
He ran the 800 meter equivalent of 1:49.31 while winning the 1975 NCS 3A meet 880 in 1:49.7 before winning the NCS MOC 1:50.3, both were meet records.
He would take 2nd at state in 1:51.1.
His 800/1600 times make him our fastest combo runner ever in those events 1:49.7y, 4:16.7y

Dan Aldridge

The 4 x 800m Relay is still a very popular event.
In 1973 the Petaluma trojan team did a 4 x 880y in 8:01.6.
That would have been 7:58.95 for metric distance and an average of 800’s in 1:59.74 for each runner. Not sure of the members of that team, but if not the same foursome as the 1974 team than they also had a good miler in Mike Stauber.
The following year, 1974, was a dream team.
The Petaluma squad of Jim Judd, Dan Aldridge, Phil Bond and Jon Sisler turned in a blistering 7:52.7 for the 4 x 880y.
It would take a 4 x 800m in 7:50.10 to tie that, an average of 800’s in 1:57.53.
Only one team has come close to that, the 1990 Santa Rosa group of Joe Curran, Sean Fitzpatrick, Steve Guerrini and Dan Held, 7:55.0y 7:52.39m.
Honorable mentions go to the 4 x 800m teams of
7:56.88 Petaluma 2009 Cody Jinright 2:00, Devin Lockert 1:58, Hugh Dowdy 2:02, Sterling Lockert 1:56
8:00.53 Casa Grande 2010 Ben Tarrango, Spencer Hall, Phil Johnson, Tyler Harwood

The NCS & CIF finals changed from 880 yards to 800 meters for the 1980 season. Our local meets did not switch until 1981.

Montgomery’s Dave Rodriquez would place in the top eight in this event at state all three years.
In 1979 he would win the NCS MOC 880 in 1:54.6 then take 8th at State.
In 1980 he would medal at 5th in the State 800 meters in 1:51.87.
In 1981 he would finish in 1:51.54 for 7th at State,, only Aldridge has a faster time than this.
His 400/800 times make him our fastest combo runner ever in those events 49.75, 1:51.54.
He has seven of the top 50 marks all-time for the Empire.

Dave Rodriquez by David Nuss

In 1986 Montgomery’s Mark Spina won the NCS MOC in 1:53.85.
At the State meet he would medal in 5th in 1:52.36.
Spina is the only runner in NBL history to win this event all three years.
1984 1:55.7, 1985 1:57.7, 1986 1:56.5.
Rodriquez hardshipped thru NBL’s his senior year.

Santa Rosa’s Dan Held took 8th as a junior at the 1989 State meet in 1:54.26.
In 1990 he would win the NCS MOC in 1:53.05, then take 2nd at the State meet in 1:51.86, only Aldridge and Rodriquez have a faster time than this.
Watch races here. 1989, 1990
He has five of the top 50 marks all-time for the Empire.


Montgomery’s Blake McDowall was our next NCS MOC winner at 1:53.98 in 2007.
It’s all about proving the cross-country season wasn’t a fluke
He went on to medal in 5th at State in 1:54.49.

Blake McDowall

Petaluma’s Sterling Lockert is the only runner in SCL “NBL Redwood” history to win this event all three years.
2007 2:01.5, 2008 1:58.8, 2009 1:55.4-meet record.

Sterling Lockert

Maria Carrillo’s Dante Hay placed 7th in the 2014 State meet in 1:52.36. Watch the race here.
He has seven of the top 50 marks all-time for the Empire.

Dante Hay by Michael Lucid

18 of the 50 fastest runs have been since the year 2000 or the last 18 years, with 12 happening in the next 18 years (1982-1999) and largest amount 19 in (1964-81).
Montgomery has five different runners in the group accounting for 16 of the 50 marks with Santa Rosa and Casa Grande being the only other schools with more than one boy.
Perez who only has a single mark on the 800 list, he does have 6 of top 33 1600’s, has the only mark in the top 10 for the 800 in the last 27 years.

Evolution of Redwood Empire 800 Record
880 yds
2:06.2* Finnie, Ukiah 1897, also State Best.
1:53.8 Jerry Siebert, Willits 1956, 2nd fastest time in California history
1:52.6 Mark Hadley, Vintage 1974
1:49.7 Dan Aldridge, Petaluma 1975 = to 1:49.31 800 meters

Top 50 Empire 800 runners
Class records
NBL Champions
SCL Champions
CMC Champions
Best years for the event

State Meet Top Places
1st Jerry Siebert, Willits 1:53.8y 1956
2nd Les Schwobeda, Petaluma 1921
2nd Les Schwobeda, Petaluma 1922
2nd Dan Aldridge, Petaluma 1:51.1y 1975
2nd Dan Held, Santa Rosa 1:51.86 1990
5th Jim Lytjen, Napa 1940
5th Dave Rodriquez, Montgomery 1:51.87 1980
5th Marc Spina, Montgomery 1:52.36 1986
5th Blake McDowall, Montgomery 1:54.49 2007
7th Dave Rodriquez, Montgomery 1:51.54 1981
7th Dante Hay, Maria Carrillo 1:52.36 2014
8th Dan Held, Santa Rosa 1:54.26 1989
8th Dave Rodriquez, Montgomery 1979

North Coast Section Meet of Champions by school
1917 Roy Williamson, 2:06 800

1973 Geoff Ramsey, 1:55.0
1979 Dave Rodriguez, 1:54.6
1986 Mark Spina, 1:53.85
2007 Blake McDowall, 1:53.98

1921 Les Schwobeda, 2:04.6
1922 Les Schwobeda, 2:02.4
1975 Dan Aldridge, 1:50.3

Santa Rosa
1990 Dan Held, 1:53.05

1955 Jerry Siebert, 1:59.0
1956 Jerry Siebert, 1:57.1

compiled by Jim Crowhurst