History of boys Redwood Empire Discus

In the Redwood Empire the only event for boys to take home more state meet medals than the discus (12) is the shot put (20).

Healdsburg High had it’s own Olympic discus medalist more than 90 years before Maria Carrillo even opened.

Ralph Rose was born in Healdsburg on March 17, 1885.
While competing for Healdsburg High School he was voted the Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of Year for both 1902-03 and 1903-04.
In 1904, while at the University of Michigan, he won both the discus and shot put at the Big Ten championships.
He subsequently competed for the Olympic Club in San Francisco and won seven National AAU titles in the discus, shot and javelin.
A competitor in three Olympic Games, Rose compiled a medal total of three golds, two silver and one bronze.
At the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, he was second in the discus, won the shot, third in the hammer throw and sixth in the 56-pound weight throw.

Shot put competition, Summer Olympics 1908 in London. Source: Illustration in the “Fourth Olympiad 1908 London Official Report” published by the British Olympic Association in 1909

1910 photo of Rose and other Healdsburg alumni competing in an alumni meet verses the current Healdsburg squad.
In the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, he was 11th in the discus, won the two-handed shot put (throwing a total of 27.70 m (90′ 10½”) with his right and left hands), took second in the regular shot and ninth in the hammer. Photo of Rose on the right at 1912 Olympics, more photos
More about Rose

At the beginning of state competition, the international or college weight discus (2 kilo or 4 lb, 9 oz) was used through 1950, though the event was completely abandoned for many years. In 1951, the high school weight (1.6 kilo or 3 lb, 9 oz) was introduced. Through 1960, one or both weights were thrown, often as non-scoring events. In 1961, the discus (high school weight) became a scoring event.

There was no California High School state meet for Rose to compete in but the Redwood Empire did just fine in the discus in the first state meet in 1915.
Santa Rosa High’s Wayne Weeks would win both the discus (112-8) and shot (45-2) at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions in 1915 but at state teammate Clifford Merritt would win the state title at 113-0 (2 kilo discus) with Weeks taking 3rd. Weeks was state shot champion and Merritt was Pole Vault Champion (10-3).

Weeks would be back the next year to again win both throws at NCS MOC (117-3½, 48-10½) and this time he would be the state champion in both throws with a 117-0 toss and 47-4½ for the 1916 title.

Ukiah’s Beverly Broaddus would take home the third place discus medal both 1917 and 1918.
He was the NCS MOC Champions in 1918 at 104-7.

Analy’s first state meet medal came in the discus as Glenn Winkler took 4th in 1919.

Beginning in 1920, special awards were presented to boys who placed in competitions with college weight throwing implements, including the 16 lb shot and 2 kilo discus. These events were most often non-scoring (exhibition) contests among those athletes who had already competed in the high school weight events. The event was discontinued in 1959.

Santa Rosa High’s Owen McCann set one of the earliest North Bay League meet records in the discus as a sophomore in 1927 at 125 feet.
In 1929 he would win the NCS MOC at 134-1¾.
At state that year the Redwood Empire would take home two discus medals as McCann placed 3rd and Vallejo’s Lloyd Piller was 4th.

St Helena’s Otto Beringer was our next NCS MOC Champion at 129-8 in 1932.

Sonoma Valley had a thrower named Mohr who broke the NBL meet record in 1936 at 136-5. No discus event at state this year.

Santa Rosa High produced their next NCS MOC Champion in 1937 when Sterling Bussman won the event at 137-6 3/8. No discus event at state this year.

Two years later Vallejo’s Bill Sweikert would reclaim the NCS title for the Empire with at 136-2½ throw in 1939. No discus event at state this year.

St Helena would again produce the NCS MOC Champion in 1944 as Lou Mozzini took the win at 119-1¾. There was no state meet to compete in that year because of world war II.

In 1951, the high school weight (1.6 kilo or 3 lb, 9 oz) was introduced.
Through 1960, one or both weights were thrown, often as non-scoring events.

Ukiah’s Bill Hook was lucky enough to compete in one of the years were at state they had the chance to throw both the high school implement and college one. Hook would be the last athlete to to win with both implements in the discus.
He would place fourth with both weights in the shot put.
At state Hook threw the 2 kilo discus 145-0 and the 1.6 kilo (HS) 166-8.
His 166-8 mark was the 16th best in Nation for 1958, and a Redwood Empire record.
In 1958 Hook also had a 2 kilo toss of 152-1¼.
That same year Santa Rosa’s Andy Alkire would throw the 2 kilo discus 138-0.
Those two marks in 1958 are still the longest 2 kilo throws by Empire high school throwers.
Hook coached at Ukiah High for many many years.

Bill Hook receiving one of his first place medals at the State meet.

In 1961, the discus (high school weight) became a scoring event at state.

Field event relays use to be more popular at Invitationals than they are now.
In these events schools would enter three throwers and each ones best distance would be added up for the schools total.
The first known Empire record for this event was in 1962 by a Montgomery trio who threw 407-4.
The next year the Vikings up the record to 411-6.

Petaluma’s Ken Good would break the Empire’s sophomore record in 1960 with a 144-5 throw. It is still number nine on that list.
Two years later he would break the Empire record with a 168-2 mark in 1962.

Santa Rosa’s Mike Grace would not only take down the NBL meet record in 1965 but his winning throw of 169-0½, was also a new Empire record. Later he would coach the Montgomery team to three straight Boys NBL pennants (1977-1979) and the 1979 NCS 3A title.

Mike Grace

Over in the NBL II Petaluma’s Nordvold would erase that meet record in 1965 with a 153-0¼ toss.

Making 1965 an even bigger years Santa Rosa Junior High’s Chuck Meecham would break the freshman record throwing 135-10 that would last almost 30 years. In 1967 he posted a 158-0.

St. Helena’s Brian Smith took down both the CMC Finals record (159-6½) and the Redwood Empire Record of 169-10 at the state trials when he made the finals in 1971.

The Discus Throw Relay record took a big jump as Clear Lake extended it to 420-10½ in 1971 .

El Molino’s Wayne Catron broke the meet record in the NBL II meet in 1971 with a 157-6 throw.
The next year the leagues name was changed to the Sonoma County league and he increased the meet record to 160-2¾.

1972 is still the fourth best year depth wise with four throwers at 159-11 or farther
165-4 Jan DeSoto, Santa Rosa, NBL Champion, 2nd NCS 3A, 3rd NCS
163-3½ Wayne Catron, El Molino, SCL Champion, NCS 3A Champ
162-11 Jerry Riley, Sonoma Valley
159-11 Jeff Faulk, Montgomery

Jan DeSoto

Montgomery’s Jeff Faulk would win the NBL finals in 1973 at 156-2½. At the NCS MOC Faulk would be the first Redwood Empire thrower over 170 feet with a 173-9 toss. It is the oldest mark still in the top 40 throws ever.

Piner’s Dave Albritton would rule the SCL for three straight years.
As a sophomore he would win the 1974 SCL title at 135-11. That year he had a 144-7 mark breaking the sophomore class record.
In 1975 he threw 145-10 for the SCL win and had a 157-6 that year.
Senior year he would break the SCL meet record with a 162-5 mark.
His 170-9 toss for 3rd at NCS MOC has him still at the number ten performer all-time and is still the Piner record.

Dave Albritton

Vintage’s Doug Silcox popped an Empire record of 174-4 at the Antioch Relays in 1976. Story of an earlier 172-4 throw in March
He took the NBL title with a 157-9 throw.

Doug Silcox

1977 best year ever with five at 159-7 or farther
169-8½ John Balletto, Analy, SCL Champion, NCS 3A Champion, top 8 State Meet Shot Put
164-9 Chris Sorensen, Analy
163-0 Brian Lake, Casa Grande
159-7 Brent Finley, Montgomery
159-7 Ruben Plevney, El Molino
158-6 Rick Mohr, Analy, NCS 3A 2nd
156-0½ Rolf Frankenbach, Montgomery, NBL Champion
153-8 Larry Coombes, Santa Rosa
153-1 Ken George, Piner

John Balletto, Brent Finley

Analy’s Chris Sorensen breaks the junior class record in 1977 with a 164-9 toss.
The following year he would take down the SCL meet record with a 162-10 mark.

If not for Sorensen then Casa Grande’s Brian Lake would have been the junior class record holder. His 163-0 throw made him the number two junior ever at the time. Lake had the longest throw of 1978.

Brian Lake

1978 2nd best year with five at 159-6¼ or farther
167-8½ Brian Lake, Casa Grande, 2nd NCS 3A
164-3 Chris Sorensen, Analy, SCL Champion
162-3 Steve Jones, Calistoga, NCS 1A Champion, 3rd NCS
160-4 John Harpe, Laytonville, NCL II Champion
159-6¼ Dave Troppy, Santa Rosa, NBL Champion

1978 Santa Rosa’s Dave Troppy would take the 1978 NBL Champion title at 152-2¼ as a junior.
He would repeat in 1979 this time at 162-3½.

1979 started one of the best three year discus battles.
Montgomery’s Chris Day would break the sophomore class record that year with a 160-0½ mark.
Santa Rosa’s Dennis DeSoto moved to number two All-Time sophomore with his 150-9½ throw.
To this day they are still 2nd and 3rd sophomore’s All-Time.
As you read about what was going on in the discus don’t feel bad for DeSoto because he was setting all kinds of records in the shot put.

Days junior year something else.
He first erased the Redwood Empire record in early April at a dual meet in Ukiah. Gone was Silcox’s 174-4 as Day spun to 175-1½.
Three days later he would extend it to 176-4½ by winning the Santa Rosa All-City meet, still the meet record.
At the NBL finals Day would break Mike Grace’s meet record with a 170-3 throw. Grace was Days’ head coach at Montgomery that year.

Chris Day winning the 1980 NBL finals.

At the NCS 3A finals Day would yet again beat his own Empire record with our first ever 180 foot toss at 180-4½.
That mark still stands as the junior class record. No other junior has ever broken 170 for us.
At state Day would be our first discus medalist since Hook in 1958 with a 6th place finish at 174-4.

Santa Rosa’s Dennis DeSoto had the 2nd longest throw ever as a junior with his 169-10 in 1980.

1981 Senior Year
Day shows he is ready for the season at Fairfield in March with a 173-10 toss.
Mid April major battle at the Santa Rosa Relays as Day goes 174-5 to DeSoto’s 172-6.
Then on April 29th Day would toss his record toss (181-6¼) that would last just over 39 years at Rancho Cotate
Chris Day’s big day hardly noted
DeSoto would respond the next day vs Newman at the SRJC with a 176-11 throw.
Day would win the Montgomery vs Santa Rosa dual with a 171-10 throw.
Over in the SCL finals Healdsburg’s Jim Bailey would set a new meet record there at 164-11.
Day lengthened his NBL meet record to 173-8.
Day would dominate the NCS 3A meet at 175-10.
The NCS MOC would be one of the rare times DeSoto would beat Day.
Northgate’s John Berry would win with a huge 187-6 mark.
DeSoto would take 2nd with his All-Time prep best of 178-7.
And Day threw 174-7 for third.
At the state trials DeSoto would only make the finals in the shot while Day qualified with a 176-11 throw.
In the finals Day would throw 179-1 for second behind Burrough’s Antonio Dobbins throw of 180-10. Berry was 3rd.
So far this is the Empire;s last boys discus throw medal at state.
Day would finish his prep career with 27 throws over 167 feet.

Best Brothers 343-11 DeSoto’s
178-7 Dennis 1981
165-4 Jan 1972

Jan & Dennis

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Montgomery did not have to wait for their next superstar.
While Day was crushing it in 1981 the Vikings had a junior named Larry Plinski who was doing well at 151-4 yet not looking like he would touch Days’ marks.
Guess no one told Plinski because March of 1982 he was out to 171-4½.
He had a 171-10 mark at the Santa Rosa Relays.
Then, after Day only holding the NBL meet record for one year, Plinski took it down with the current 175-0 record.
Plinski then won the NCS 3A meet at 172-4.
Plinski then threw 180-9 to miss the Empire record by a mere 9¼ inched to win the NCS MOC, something Day never did.
He would come up short at the state meet trials to make the finals.
He did come away with one Redwood Empire record as his Discus Throw Relay team destroyed the old record by over 17 feet.
438-9½ Montgomery 1982 Larry Plinski 154-4, Chris Dumbadse 147-9, David Miles 136-8½.

During this period, over in the SCL, Piner’s Mike Aronson was making waves of his own.
In 1981 as a sophomore he threw 146-1, which at the time was 3rd soph. and still #5.
Aronson would win both the 1982 SCL title (148-0) and in 1983 (149-1).
But his big win was taking the NCS MOC in 1983 at 165-7.

Everyone around Sonoma County involved in the throws knows coach Paul Troppy at Santa Rosa High.
I was lucky enough to coach with him during ours days at Montgomery.
But before all that he was a star at Santa Rosa High.
NBL champion in 1984 (152-0) and going all the way to state for a 7th place finish at 161-8.

Paul Troppy

Time for a little family action.
2nd Best Brothers 338-6¼ Troppy’s
173-1 Dave 1979, NBL champ
165-5¼ Paul 1984, NBL champ
Durands are a discus-throwing family
Paul & Dave 2013

2nd Best Father/Son, was 1st 321-10½ Grace’s
169-0½ Mike 1965
152-11 Josh 1989, both were NBL Champions
Father, son are graceful competitors in Scottish games

Mike Grace
Josh Grace

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Best Husband/Wife 269-11 Durand’s
147-9 Joe Durand 1990
122-2 Alycia Yacoboski 1990
Durands are a discus-throwing family

1994 had “An amazing group of Junior Highers“.
Of the boys the best was Brian Chase.
Chase was at Rincon Valley JH and broke the Empire’s freshman records in both the discus and the shot. Chase still holds that shot record and is still number two in the discus with his 145-2 mark from 1994.
As only a sophomore at Cardinal Newman Chase would win the NBL discus title at 146-0 and \the shot at NCS MOC.
1996 at the Viking Classic Chase would throw farther than an junior other than Day with his 169-11 win.
That year he was NBL champ (167-3, 61-3) and NCS MOC Champion in both throws (167-1, 57-11).
Senior year, in March, he would launch his longest throw at Newman at 175-4.
He would continue to dominate both the NBL ( 164-8, 58-8½) and NCS ( 167-6, 58-7½) with double wins at both.
At state his two medals would both be in the shot put.

Time for a little family action.
Best Father/Daughter
300-0 DeSoto’s
165-4 Jan 1972
134-8 Tia 1999

Jan & Tia DeSoto

El Molino’s Dane Krogstad had big marks over three years.
In 2001 he threw 141-8 as sophomore and won the SCL title at 130-2.
He repeated in the SCL as a junior at 156-1 and had a seson best of 164-5, still 5th best junior ever.
Senior year he unleashed a 2003 173-9 throw.

Krogstad at Oakland Relays

Cardinal Newman’s Austin Davis was a 2008 co-Athlete of the Year.

Davis won a number of Invitationals including the Logan Top 8 meet at 165-1.
He would win NBL (151-0), NCS Redwood (151-3) and was the NCS MOC champion at 158-3.
Finished at state in 14th (159-7).

Santa Rosa’s Travis Baker took 2nd to Davis at the 2008 NBL finals.
He would crush the Empire’s freshman record that year at 158-0 and go all the way to 8th at NCS MOC.
He would take down the sophomore record the next year while winning a number of Invites and the NBL title (153-0).
His big meets in 2010 and 2011 were at the NCS Redwood meet were he would win his junior year (164-0) and take 2nd in 2011 (158-1).

Travis Baker

Time for a little family action.
Best Mother/Son 256-1 Yacoboski/Durand
122-2 Alycia Yacoboski 1990
133-11 Chris Durand 2011
Durands are a discus-throwing family

Best Brother/Sister 313-5 Scranton’s
164-1 Teddy 2013, SCL champ
149-4 Alison 2015, Empire Record

Willits’s Will Smith would dominate both the CMC 2014 (130-10), 2015 (142-9), 2016 (162-10) and the NCS 1A (144-10, 150-10, 140-5) his final three years.
It would earn him the 2016 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR with a best of 165-5.

Will Smith

Father/Son
335-0¼ Day
181-6¼ Chris 1981 2nd State
153-6 Brian 2018 NCS Redwood Champ

Casa Grande’s Alexander Azanon set the first Vine Valley Athletic League meet record at 131-9 in 2019.

Middletown’s Bryson Trask would have a year to rival Day’s plus taking the Empire record at 181-10.
Middletown senior throwing everything he’s got into discus, shot put
2019 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
I think his season record below describes his season best.
He was also the NCS MOC shot champ with a season best of 57-8 and another 11th place finish at state.

Bryson Trask by Michael Lucid

Trask’s 2019 Season
176-3 2/23/19 Honker 1st
175-4 3/2/19 Big Cat 1st
171-10 3/9/19 NCTE 1st
175-5 3/16/19 Hart 1st
171-6 4/6/19 Arcadia 13th
176-1 4/20/19 Viking Classic 1st
172-0 4/24/19 At Cloverdale 1st
175-7 5/4/19 CMC Finals 1st, meet record
175-2 5/11/19 NCS 1A 1st, meet record
172-10 5/18/19 MOC 2nd
181-10 5/24/19 State trials, Empire record
155-9 5/25/19 State finals 11th


Most Marks over 171-4½
181-6¼ 171-6 Chris Day (20), Montgomery, 12 as a senior, 8 as a junior
181-10 171-6 Bryson Trask (14), Middletown, 14 as a senior
180-9 171-4½ Larry Plinski (5), Montgomery
178-7 172-6 Dennis DeSoto (4), Santa Rosa
174-4 172-4 Doug Silcox (3), Vintage
175-4 Brian Chase (1), Cardinal Newman
173-9 Jeff Faulk (1), Montgomery
173-9 Dane Krogstad (1), El Molino
173-1 Dave Troppy (1), Santa Rosa

DISCUS 2k
201-4 Cameron Bolles, (Montgomery ’82, SRJC ’96) at Salinas 5/22/01
173-10 Chris Sorenson, Cal Poly (Analy ’78, SRJC ’80) 1981
171-0 Jeff Voorhees, SRJC (SSU) 1982
170-0 Dave Albritton, Cal Poly (Piner ’76, SRJC ’78) 1979
169-4 Steve Jones, Chico (SRJC ’80) 1983
169-1 Brendan Page, Chico (SRJC ’02) 2004
167-4 Jan DeSoto, Sac State (Santa Rosa H.S. ’72, SRJC ’74) 1975
166-9 Bryson Trask, Diablo Valley JC (Middletown ’19) 2/28/20
163-10 Tyler Guillory, SRJC 4/15/05
162-5 Mark Davis, SRJC 1996

All-Time Top 50 Performers

Top 50 Performances

Class Records

League Champions
NBL “Oak”
NBL “Redwood”/SCL
VVAL
CMC

Empire’s Best Throwers (over 1800)
shot put / discus / Total
63-10½…(1066) 178-7…(963) 2029 Dennis DeSoto, Santa Rosa 1981
61-8……(1024) 175-4…(942) 1966 Brian Chase, Cardinal Newman 1996
57-8……(948) 181-10..(984) 1932 Bryson Trask, Middletown 2019
59-10…(989) 169-8½..(906) 1895 John Balletto, Analy 1977
53-1……(862) 180-9…(977) 1839 Larry Plinski, Montgomery 1982
55-2½…(902) 173-1…(928) 1830 Dave Troppy, Santa Rosa 1979
57-2……(939) 166-8…(887) 1826 Bill Hook, Ukiah 1958
59-5½…(982) 157-0…(826) 1808 Daniel Erdman, Healdsburg 2007
56-5……(925) 164-10…(875) 1800 Nolan Nagle, Cardinal Newman 2013

16 lb SP 2 kilo DT
48-8¾..(780) 152-1¼..(795) 1575 Bill Hook, Ukiah 1958

By Jim Crowhurst