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A former teammate of mine posted a photo on Facebook of the 1979 Santa Rosa Junior College Men’s cross country team.
This was one of the great local teams for any sport made up of mostly locally grown talent.

Top left, Coach Pat Ryan, ?Zellers, ? George Bratsburg, Bob Luttrell, ?, Jim Noonan, Craig Johnson. Bottom left, Larry De Witt, Muskrat Nelson, Dave Royal, Greg Fogg, Dave Sjostedt, Kevin Jones, Rudy Balli.

This group won the 1979 Northern California Community College Cross Country Championships at Crystal Springs in Belmont along with many other victories, including the league championships.

The team was led that day at the NCCC’s by Dave Royal with an individual 4th place finish.
That happened to be the same place Royal finished at the CIF NORCAL high school finals the year before in 1978 while competing for Petaluma HS. Royal was a star for the Trojans in both XC and track. For the Trojans, he was the NCS 3A XC champ along with being North Bay League champion in XC in both 1977 and 78. In track he won the 2 mile in 1977, 1978 & 1979 plus the mile in 1978 & 79. Royal broke Dan Aldridge’s school and Redwood Empire records in the mile with a 4:15.0 time which remained the Empire record until 2004. It is still sixth on the All-Time list, as is his 3200m mark of 9:12.42.

Kevin Jones was the team member who posted it on Facebook.
Royal was first at this meet but Jones was team leader for all the other meets for them that year including winning the conference meet.
Jones had a SRJC 5000 at 14:41.0 in 1980 and went on to be the area’s first sub 9 minute Steeplechaser competing for Cal Poly. Jones also competed in the famous Penofin race in 1985.

Greg Fogg the current coach at Maria Carrillo was another member of the team. Fogg still holds the Rancho Cotate HS record for the 3200m at 9:30.72. Fogg went on to be the area’s second local to ever break the 9 minute Steeplechase mark while competing for Alabama.

Jim Noonan came from Montgomery with high school bests of 9:26.34 and 4:23.31.

Rudy Balli was another Petaluma product with high school bests of 4:19.93 and 1:55.77.

If memory serves me correctly Bob Luttrell was from Rancho, while I believe Larry De Witt was out of Santa Rosa High.

And how is it a JC could attract such talent to one team, three words COACH PAT RYAN.

The list of all the Northern California Community College Cross Country Champions since 1965 includes a couple of other SRJC greats.

Trina Cox won the Women’s race for SRJC in both 2002 at Sierra College, Rocklin & 2001 at Crystal Springs, Belmont.
Cox had a stellar career at Santa Rosa High but because of Julia Stamps and Sara Bei did not receive the press worthy of her own talents.
Cox was the 1998 6th place finisher at the Footlocker Nationals, 1997 XC State Division I Champion and 1998 track State 3rd 3,200m 10:33.75.

The other was Todd Trask who won the Men’s race in 1987 at Sierra College, Rocklin.
Trask was out of Healdsburg High in 1986 where he was the CIF/NCS MOC XC Champion.
In 1990 for SRJC he ran 1500 3:48.27, 3000 8:27.54+, 2 mile 8:59.84+, 5000 14:20.51.

Jim Crowhurst

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