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Calaveras county sports through the decades
Thirty years ago

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

  • 10 min to read
The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Brent Boitano runs for a Calaveras touchdown.

Sure, 1989 seems like a lifetime ago, but things happened 30 years ago that are still relevant today. There were major talks of a wall, a movie about a mermaid was being discussed and Batman was perhaps one of the most popular figures around.

In 1989, you could buy a 12-pack of Pepsi for $2.99, but a Sony Walkman would still run $79. We believed that, “If you build it, they will come,” and that cotton was the fabric of our lives. Johnny Carson was still the host of The Tonight Show” and you could watch “The Cosby Show” without feeling bad. If you had a child, there was a good chance you named her or him Jessica, Ashley, Brittany, Amanda, Sarah, Michael, Chris, Topher, Matthew, Joshua or David, as those were the top-10 baby names in 1989.

We were introduced to the Energizer Bunny and learned that Pete Rose might have a gambling problem. The world lost Lucille Ball and Sugar Ray Robinson, but said hello to Cam Newton, James Harden, Rob Gronkowski and Taylor Swift. Thanks to an earthquake, the Oakland Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, but San Francisco got to celebrate as the 49ers won the Super Bowl.

Winning was also a big deal in Calaveras County, as both Bret Harte and Calaveras high schools enjoyed the final year of the ’80s.

Winter

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Bret Harte coach Jan Schultz congratulates Dwight Foyil at the end of a match.

Once 1989 officially became the year, all eyes turned to the Bret Harte High School girls’ basketball team. The Bullfrogs had dominated the Mother Lode League for the past decade and looked to continue the trend.

In their first matchup with Calaveras, the Bullfrogs handed their rivals a 62-35 defeat. Bret Harte was led by Dawn Miner, who scored 27 points, and teammate Viki Zanardi added 20. Lynn Little scored 14 points for Calaveras. Bret Harte later beat Calaveras 58-30 to keep its league record perfect.

The Bullfrogs finished the regular season as league champions with a 10-0 record, while going 25-1 overall. It was the Bullfrogs’ third-straight league title and seventh in 10 years. Calaveras ended the regular season 5-5 and 13-10 overall, but it could have been different had Kris Gleason not missed time with a knee injury.

Even though Calaveras finished at .500 in league play, the Redskins, who were coached by Barbara Bicocca, got a playoff date with Golden Sierra, but came up short 65-45. Jennie Little scored 16, followed by Megan Garamendi with 10 points and nine rebounds.

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Kris Gleason goes up for a layup against Bret Harte's Viki Zanardi.

In Bret Harte’s opening playoff game, the Bullfrogs beat Los Banos 65-38. Zanardi scored 21, while Miner had 14 points and seven rebounds. In the next round of the playoffs, the Bullfrogs knocked off MLL foe Linden, 70-40. Zanardi scored a career-high 33. With a trip to the section title game on the line, Bret Harte beat Golden Sierra 42-27. Miner scored 11 and Lynette Forbes added 10 in the win.

The Bullfrogs couldn’t clinch a section championship, as they lost to Colfax 45-42. In the loss, Zanardi scored 24 points, which gave her 1,015 career points and topped the old record held by Mimi Baker. Bret Harte got to play in the NorCal playoffs, and even with 23 points from Miner, fell to Anderson 76-59.

Bret Harte’s Miner and Forbes were the co-Most Valuable Players of the Mother Lode League. Calaveras’ Gleason and Bret Harte’s Zanardi shared Most Outstanding Player honors. Calaveras’ Garamendi made the first team, while Jen Little (Cal) and Kristi Kitching (BH) were placed on the second team.

Bret Harte’s boys’ basketball team couldn’t match the success of the girls’ squad. Bret Harte picked up its first league win with a 69-45 victory over Amador. Bryon Stewart scored 26, and Jason Quincy and Loren Bird each added 10 points. In the final matchup against Calaveras, Bret Harte was victorious 66-60. In the win, Bret Harte’s Jeff Smith and Bird each scored 18 points and had nine rebounds, while Stewart scored nine. For Calaveras, John Schmidt led the way with 22 points, and teammates Jerry Johnson scored 12 and Allen Moses had 10. At the end of the year, Stewart (BH) was placed on the first team and Bird (BH) and Schmidt (Cal) made the second team. Calaveras’ Kurt Gleason and Bret Harte’s Dusty Bach and Jeff Smith earned honorable mentions.

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Calaveras' Rusty Stevens jumps for the ball.

On the wrestling mat, both Calaveras and Bret Harte were at the tops of their games. In an early head-to-head matchup, Calaveras held on to beat the Bullfrogs 33-32 in Angels Camp. Calaveras got wins from John DeMasters, Chip Moreno, Greg Kirk, John Bartlett, Shaun Zahniser, Darrell Todd and Roger Kelley. As for Bret Harte, Cody Bray, Mike Wilson, Bryan Scott, John Orsetti, Mike Babb and Eric Griggs had their hands raised in victory.

Calaveras stayed perfect in MLL action for the fourth year in a row after defeating Amador 56-20. Bret Harte finished the league season 4-1 after beating Summerville 41-21. At the league tournament, Calaveras took first and Bret Harte placed second. Calaveras’ league champions were DeMasters, Moreno, Greg Kirk, Scott Kirk, Bartlett and Bo Foulks. Bret Harte’s individual champs were Todd Conrado, Orsetti and Dwight Foyil.

Calaveras went on to place second at subsections, finishing behind Tracy. Calaveras qualified six wrestlers to the section championship and the Bullfrogs qualified two. Calaveras’ Greg Kirk, 126 pounds, placed third at the section tournament and qualified for the State Tournament.

Spring

With the warm weather of springtime, sports returned to the great outdoors. Bret Harte’s boys’ golf team showed early in the season that it was the team to beat. In a matchup against Calaveras and Linden, the Bullfrogs placed first (226), followed by Calaveras (231) and Linden (241). Chris Redman led the Bullfrogs with a 39. Ken Salvi shot a 41 and Brian Lucas scored a 45. Calaveras sophomore Brian Metzler earned medalist honors with a 38, followed by John DeMasters’ 43.

Bret Harte ended the golf season by winning its first ever league title. Under head coach Rich Cathcart, Bret Harte won the league championship by shooting a 446 at the league tournament. For Bret Harte, Dean Ingle and Brian Lucas each shot an 89; Brian Svendsen shot an 86; J.B. Yarnell ended with a 94; and Salvi carded an 88. Calaveras’ Metzler was the individual medalist with an 18-hole score of 76.

The rain played a factor in the second annual Redskin Invitational Track and Field Meet, but Calaveras weathered the storm and came away as meet champions. The boys’ team placed first and the girls took second. At the MLL finals, Calaveras’ boys’ team won the league championship and Allen Moses and Darrell Doby were named as the outstanding male tracksters, while Rusty Stevens was selected as an outstanding field athlete. Bret Harte’s girls took home the top prize and Bullfrog Tanya Dooley was selected as the most outstanding female trackster.

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Bret Harte's Anna Burns, Tammi Autry and Neriah Davis return to their bus after a track and field meet.

At the subsection meet, Calaveras’ Darrell Doby and Bret Harte’s Dooley and Amy Davidson each finished first in their specialties. Davidson took first in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:19.92 and Dooley placed first in the 400 meters as she crossed the finish line in 55.6. The duo of Davidson and Dooley advanced to the state meet, with Dooley participating in the 200- and 400-meter dashes and Davison in the 1,600 meters.

On the baseball diamond, Bret Harte was leaned on returners Dusty Bach, Jeff Smith and Joe Crum to provide leadership. When Calaveras and Bret Harte met early in the season, it was Calaveras who outslugged the Bullfrogs 18-8. Calaveras scored 12 times in the fifth inning and never looked back. Calaveras’ Lance Barge and John Bartlett each recorded three hits and Darrell Todd and Casey Boitano combined for six RBIs. Bret Harte sophomore Roger Root had three hits and three RBIs in the loss.

Later in the second meeting, Calaveras beat Bret Harte 15-4. Barge was the starting pitcher and also smacked a two-run home run that traveled 360 feet over the centerfield wall. After the loss to Calaveras, Bret Harte was then defeated by Linden 21-0. In the final of three battles, Calaveras got the sweep with a 14-7 win.

The 1989 season came to an end and neither team reached the playoffs. Calaveras named Barge and Todd to the first team, while catcher Roger Kelley earned second-team recognition. Bret Harte’s Dusty Bach was a second-team outfielder.

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Bret Harte's Dawn Miner talks with coach Bill Hutchinson before a game against Calaveras.

As for Calaveras and Bret Harte softball, the first of three meetings went to Bret Harte, who beat Calaveras 12-1. Bullfrog Julie Rash pitched a five-inning no-hitter and struck out seven. Rash also drove in two runs on two hits. The win pushed Bret Harte to 3-0 in league play and Calaveras fell to 0-2. Rash and Bret Harte again beat Calaveras, this time 15-4. Dawn Miner went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and Lori Cardona and Rash each had two hits.

Under head coach Bill Hutchinson, Bret Harte beat Calaveras for the third time. In a 9-2 win, Miner and Melissa Murphy combined for four RBIs and Rash was the winning pitcher. For Calaveras, Kris Gleason went 2 for 4 and Renee Davidson went 2 for 3. At the conclusion of the season, Rash was selected as the co-Most Outstanding Player of the MLL. Miner (BH) and Gina Serra (Cal) were placed on the first team, while Shannon Siebert (BH) and Kerri Willis (Cal) made the second team.

Summer

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Bret Harte's Chris Clements was injured and couldn't play in the Lions All-Star Football Game.

The 16th annual Lions All-Star football game belonged to the North, who won 31-14. The North was coached by Calaveras’ Gary Stepansky and his staff. On the team was Bret Harte’s Dusty Bach and Chris Clements and Calaveras’ Scott Nordahl, Roger Kelley and Casey Boitano. Bach intercepted a pass, Nordahl threw for a touchdown, and Kelley kicked a 29-yard field goal. Clements was unable to play as he injured his knee at practice prior to the game.

The North team also won 70-39 in an all-star girls’ basketball game, which featured Bret Harte’s Lynette Forbes, Kristi Kitching, Charleen Musgrove, Dawn Miner, and Viki Zanardi, and Calaveras’ Megan Garamendi. Bret Harte’s Jan Edwards coached the North to victory and Miner scored 18 in the win.

Bret Harte’s Tanya Dooley traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the U.S. Junior National Track and Field Finals. Dooley ran her best 400 meters of the year at 54.8 and finished as the sixth-best high school female in the US for 1989.

Fall

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

The 1989 Bret Harte cheerleaders. 

Calaveras football had its sights set on winning another Mother Lode League championship and started the 1989 season off with a 12-0 home victory over Hughson. Calaveras scored on a touchdown pass from Dan Green to Eric Nordahl and a four-yard touchdown run from Mark Wisdom. Green and Travis Fama ran for 91 and 93 yards, respectively, while Nordahl had 86 yards on four catches. Calaveras suffered its first loss the next week, falling 15-14 to Lincoln. Wisdom scored on a 99-yard kickoff return and Nordahl returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown. The next week wasn’t any better, as Calaveras was blanked 26-0 by Bishop. The final preseason game went in favor of Calaveras 34-0 over Dixon.

In the opening league game, Calaveras clobbered Summerville 27-0. Fama, a sophomore, rushed for 165 yards and three scores. The next week, Calaveras hosted Bret Harte on homecoming night. Jamie Stowell was named homecoming queen and Bo Foulks was crowned king. On the field, Calaveras beat Bret Harte 7-6. Bret Harte led 6-0 with five minutes to play, but a Fama touchdown gave Calaveras the win. Bret Harte’s lone score came on a Sam Kaua pass to Pat Prest for 17 yards.

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Calaveras' Aaron Zeller, Louie Lombardi and Chad Briski were key players on the line.

Calaveras’ perfect league record was shattered in a 21-14 home loss to Argonaut. The defeat pushed Calaveras’ record to 2-1 in league play and 4-3 overall. Calaveras responded with a 14-7 win against Amador. The victory set up a battle with undefeated Linden, with the league title up for grabs. Calaveras was able to beat Linden, 21-8, and finished the year as co-champions for the second season in a row.

In the semifinal playoff game, Calaveras beat Le Grand 28-6. With the section championship on the line, Calaveras lost to Hilmar 28-7. Calaveras’ only score came on a Fama-to-Nordahl 25-yard pass. Calaveras’ Gary Stepansky was named as a co-Coach of the Year. Bo Foulks was the Defensive Player of the Year. Dan Green, Fama, Nordahl, Chad Briski, Louie Lombardi, Matt Ringlein and Brian Middleton each earned all-league honors.

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Bret Harte's Brian Tartar runs the ball against Summerville.

Bret Harte’s 1989 season wasn’t as memorable as Calaveras’. The year began with a 22-7 loss to Riverbank. Stuart Laidlaw scored Bret Harte’s only touchdown. The following week, Escalon blanked the Bullfrogs 34-0. Laidlaw rushed for 122 yards on 14 carries. The third game had the same result, this time a 10-7 loss to Gustine. Bret Harte scored on a 14-yard pass from Louis Von Aspern to Robert Caughey. The preseason ended with a 32-14 loss to Le Grand. Laidlaw scored on runs of six and 17 yards.

In the league opener, Bret Harte lost to Linden 28-14 on homecoming night and Katherine Kett was crowned homecoming queen. The Bullfrogs led 14-6 at halftime, but couldn’t keep the advantage. In the second league game, Bret Harte lost on the road to Calaveras 7-6. Things didn’t get any better for Bret Harte in a 31-14 road loss to Amador. Von Aspern and Laidlaw each scored for the Bullfrogs.

The Bullfrogs got into the win column for the first time with a 21-14 home victory over Summerville. The win was sealed in the last 39 seconds on a 50-yard Sam Kaua-to-Bryan Tarter pass. Bret Harte ended the year with a 17-13 win over Argonaut. Laidlaw and Von Aspern rushed for 110 and 100 yards, respectively. The Bullfrogs ended their season 2-7. Kyle Lewis, Scott Edwards, Sam Kaua, Laidlaw, Jason Quadrato and Brian James earned all-league honors.

Bret Harte soccer had a strong season and it began with a 1-0 win over Amador. Bret Harte then beat Calaveras 4-0 with goals from Philip Trulson, Andy Head, Matt Pryor and Scott McFall. The Bullfrogs continued to stay on the right track and finished the season with a spot in the playoffs. Bret Harte took on Livingston and beat the Wolfpack 3-2 on the road. Bret Harte’s Bret Pimentel scored three times in the first half for the win. After defeating Livingston, the Bullfrogs squeaked by Turlock Christian 1-0. Swedish exchange student Philip Trulson scored the lone goal with five minutes to play. Bret Harte lost in the semifinals, 3-1, to Galt. Luke Hunt, Bubba Krakty and Roger Root were all-league players.

On the volleyball court, Bret Harte held on to beat Calaveras 3-2 in the MLL season opener. Calaveras was led by the blocking and hitting of Bonnie Kelly and Kerri Willis, while Bret Harte got momentum from Tasha Pipkorn and Sarah Oneto. The score wasn’t as close the second time around, as Bret Harte beat Calaveras 3-0. The Bullfrogs reached the playoffs, but lost 3-1 in the opening round to St. Helena. Bret Harte finished in third place behind Linden and Summerville.

There were two section championship teams in the fall, and they were both from Bret Harte cross country. Bret Harte’s boys’ and girls’ cross country teams swept not only the Mother Lode League, but the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III finals. Amy Davidson placed first at the section meet, followed by Gretchen Schmauder, second; Tanya Dooley, fifth; Neriah Davis, seventh; and Anna Schultz, 13th. As for the boys, Brian Singleton took first; Jason Brown, second; Steve Davis, fifth; Anthony Re, seventh; and Len Ganzinotti, ninth. Bret Harte’s girls’ squad went on to win the CIF State Championship for the second year in a row.

The year ended with Mark Twain Elementary School teacher and coach Dave Cosgrave being named as the Sportsman of the Year.

What’s next?

The final year of the ’80s had top moments

Calaveras breaks after falling to Hilmar in the section championship. 

Next week we’ll go back 40 years to look at 1979.

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