History of boys Redwood Empire Shot Put

Ralph Rose held the Empire shot put record for 37 years and did things no other Track & Field athlete from around here will probably ever do. Three athletes won state championships in the shot put before World War II but as far as our current performance list goes no one compares to Santa Rosa’s Dennis DeSoto.
Oldest marks on the Non-DeSoto list go to Ukiah’s Bill Hook (57-2 1958) and his brother Dan Hook (58-8½ 1966).
Then in 1977 came our next great thrower in Analy’s John Balletto who destroyed all the local records.
His best of 59-10 was more than a foot farther than anyone had ever thrown and he finished with the ten best throws ever all over 58-10, eight of which are still among the 50 best ever.

Then along came DeSoto. As a junior he became our first 60 footer twice breaking Balletto’s record with a best of 60-7¼ in 1980. During his senior year he opened with a 63-1 monster toss on March 3rd 1981 and continued destroying fields through out the year with what is still the 16 longest throws ever and a best of 63-10½ at the NBL Finals. He held the NCS meet record until 2016 and earning second (63-6¾) at State in 1981.
No one would break into his top 30 throws, all over 59-10¼, until 1995 when Cardinal Newman sophomore sensation Brian Chase would shock DeSoto’s class record of 54-3½ with a best of 61-2.
Chase would improve to 61-8 his junior year and end his prep career with a total of ten throws over 59-1½. Only a single throw since then would make the top 50 throws ever that being by Daniel Erdman of Healdsburg in 2007 with his 59-5½ best.
He may be small for the event, but his shot put tosses are enormous
Chase would have 22 marks over 56-6 with Balletto at 14 and Erdman at 7.
No one since then has come close to any of those marks except Cardinal Newman’s Nolan Nagle in 2013 with his 56-5 best.

Best years for the event

compiled by Jim Crowhurst