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.
sports legend, led the Santa Cruz cage team to a league title and a shot at the state championships at Berkeley in 1959. This Holy Cross football team was led by running back Warren “Aldo” Penniman (first row, third from left). Other players included Lawrence Tomasello, Mike Sinnott, Jerry Bradford, Steve Riccabona, Charlie Elmore, Wes Price, Eldon Ross Robert Kinzie, Sandy Hicks, Dennis Abma, Fred Pino, Gus Allegri, Brian Sinnott, Denny Keith, Mike Gray, Tom Stagnaro, Bill Kelly, and Dick
Bert Whidden at the Twin Lakes summer resort. It put an end to unsanctioned bouts locally for several years. 96 Yacht racing began in Santa Cruz for the haut monde in the 1910s on Monterey Bay (which was often referred to by locals as “Santa Cruz Bay”), primarily during the summer months, as Santa Cruz did not have a permanent harbor until 1964. The Santa Cruz Yacht Club, organized in 1928 and which sponsors a series of annual races and regattas, is today located at the Santa Cruz Small Craft
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
Bill Mitchell, John Bagnall, Lloyd Johnson, Bill Reese, Mike Tomas, Steve Schneider, Ivan Foote, Charlie Dellamora, and four of the Malley brothers—Randall, Bruce, Russ, and Brian. (Bill Starrs.) 123 Four stars from Soquel High’s championship girls’ volleyball team pose during their amazing 2011–2012 run for the state title. They are, from left to right, middle Alex Quinn, setter Ragine Graves, libero Camille Steber, and outside hitter Bria Morgan. Coached by Kamala Sipin, the Lady Knights
baseball team around 1978. Dodge is seen here in the thirdbase coaching box signaling “one out.” He coached the varsity baseball and basketball teams to numerous league titles and served as a mentor, both on and off the field, to several generations of Santa Cruz athletes. In 2013, he was inducted into the California Baseball Coaches’ Association’s Hall of Fame. (Photograph by Bill Lovejoy.) Bill Dodge was a star catcher on the Watsonville Wildcats 1946 baseball team. (Dodge family.) 48 The