In the era before Nike and waffle soles revolutionized running, ing, Perry Anderson’s fleet feet set a record in the 1600 meters (formerly the one-mile) distance that continues to stand as the best performance in the history of Antioch High School. Perry’s time of 4:19.44, achieved during his junior year, cemented his position as one of the Panthers’ top runners of all time. The 1973 AHS graduate ran on the varsity team for three years, but began racking up running records as a 9th grader at what was then Park Junior High. He ran a 4:48 mile at the Modesto Relays in 1970. As a junior cross-country runner, Perry ran the second fastest time ever recorded at a North Coast section meet for an AHS competitor at 14:51 in the 3-mile distance. He bettered that time as a senior with a 14:49 clocking in the event, which earned First Team All-Diablo Athletic League recognition, as well as being named All-East Bay Second Team. Perry excelled in both track and cross-country as a junior. In addition to the all-time record in the 1600-meter set in 1972, Perry recorded the second best overall Antioch High times in two other track events; the 800-meter (1:56.14) and the 3200-meter (9:27.64). Perry’s races were run using yards, and his times have since been converted to metric distances following the 1980 transition. As a senior, Perry ran the second fastest 3-mile cross-country time (14:32) ever recorded by an AHS athlete. He was named to both the First Team All-DVAL and First Team All-East Bay for cross-country running and was recipient of the Panthers’ MVP for cross-country. The end of his prep career was capped the following track season by being named First Team All-DVAL and being crowned the DVAL mile champion.
High school athletics allows the best all-around athletes the challenge of participating in three sports seasons. Randy Autentico managed to squeeze in a fourth sport in the spring, and lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track during his senior year at Antioch High School. The 1956 graduate was First Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League and MVP for the Panthers in baseball that year, ending a three-year run as a varsity starter. Although he played only two complete league games in football due to an early season injury in 1955, it was enough to earn Honorable Mention All-League. Randy was team captain for the season and for the annual Antioch vs. Pittsburg “Big-Little Game” match-up, in which he threw a 26-yard touchdown pass. His season efforts earned the AHS “Most Courageous” award in football. Randy was a starting guard on the basketball team, and went on to hit .333 for the season in baseball, including two home runs in one game against Acalanes High. When he wasn’t running around bases, Randy was jumping over hurdles. His performances in the 180-yard low hurdles event earned a second place at the Davis Invitational Track Meet in 1956, and a fifth place overall in Contra Costa County. Randy was also part of AHS’s 880-yard relay team. Following high school graduation, Randy chose to focus on football at East Contra Costa Junior College (now DVC) where he was a starting running back in 1956, playing in the same backfield as 2009 Antioch Sports Legends inductee Grover Garvin. He took a break from football, and then began two years of military service in 1959, playing quarterback for the U.S. Army’s Berlin Bears. He was named First Team quarterback for the Army’s All-Northern League in Europe in 1960. Following his Army service, Randy attended City College of San Francisco and continued playing quarterback as a starter. The seasoned athlete was a walk-on at Brigham Young University in Utah in 1963. The Cougars recognized his abilities and offered him a scholarship for his remaining year of eligibility, allowing Randy to start two games at tailback in the “single wing.” Sports became Randy’s lifelong vocation as a teacher and coach. Following his playing days, the four-sport Panther began his coaching career in Idaho and Utah, then returned to his home turf as Park Junior High’s main coach for four different sports; football, wrestling, basketball and track between 1972-1979. He coached several sports at Antioch High and Concord High in the 1980s, and then moved on to coach at the newly built Deer Valley High in Antioch during the 1990s, retiring as an educator in 1999. He returned to Antioch High for two additional years as Head Football Coach in 2008 and 2009.
Described by Coach Marv Comstock as “one of the finest linemen in the history of Antioch,” Norm Bittner became an accomplished tackler representing the black and gold of Antioch High. The 1976 football team defensive captain was Antioch High School’s MVP. Norm’s power and tremendous speed – running a 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds – earned Antioch High School’s coveted Gino Marchetti Award. His 116 tackles (averaging 11.6 per game) and seven sacks during the season led to a string of recognitions; First Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League on both offense and defense, First Team All-East Bay guard and Second Team All-East Bay as a defensive lineman, as well as selection to the All-Northern California squad, named by the Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation, making him one of the top 64 Nor Cal prep players. As a junior, Norm was chosen Second Team All-DVAL as a defensive lineman and was “absolutely frightening in the middle. He covered everything from tackle to tackle,” according to Coach Comstock. Norm was a Fitzpatrick Chevrolet “SuperSport of the Week,” joining 99 other prep stars from throughout Contra Costa as one of the top 100 athletes of 1977. The 1977 Antioch High grad was selected for the Contra Costa-Alameda All-Star game played that year at Eells Field. Norm helped the Contra Costa team to a 28-14 win over Alameda. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound lineman received several college offers, but accepted a full-ride scholarship to play football for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he lettered for three seasons; 1977-1979. Following college, Norm came back home to Antioch, where he played for the semi-pro Antioch Hornets team, which was resurrected in the early 1980s, and launched his career in law enforcement, serving in the Pittsburg, Antioch and Piedmont Police Departments.
The opportunity to play organized baseball in Antioch was limited until Edward “Mr. Baseball” Burke became involved. Burke was an initiator of the first Babe Ruth League in 1956, which gave many 13- to 15-year old boys their first experience with playing hardball. Burke managed the team sponsored by Reghitto Motors that same year and served as the league’s president for 11 years. The San Francisco native grew up in the Bay Area, graduating with a master’s degree in accounting from U.C. Berkeley in 1933. Burke worked as head accountant for the Western California Canners, and later Tillie Lewis Cannery, where he spent a combined 35 years. Burke settled with his bride Claire in Antioch in 1942, where they had a home built on C Street and raised four sons and an adopted niece. Since the baseball league owned the boys’ uniforms, it was Mrs. Burke who often took on the task of washing them each season. Once the Babe Ruth League was going strong, Burke turned his attention to the older boys, and in 1960 formed a traveling team sponsored by the Antioch American Legion Harding-Noia Post #161. In 1962 he took on the duty of organizing the teams in the American Legion-sponsored league, geared to boys age 16-18. Antioch eventually grew to have four American Legion teams that played games on Memorial Field near Putnam Street. The Antioch Chamber of Commerce honored Burke, along with Rupe Johnson, with its prestigious Citizens of the Year Award in 1956 for their efforts at bringing youth baseball to Antioch. Burke was a major contributor to civic organizations within his adopted town; he was a Boy Scout leader, the first president of the Holy Rosary School Parents Guild in 1955, Past President of the Young Men’s Institute’s Lawrence Council #26 and Commander of the American Legion’s Post #161 in Antioch. Today’s youth are reminded of Burke’s long-ago efforts when they play on the ball field named in his honor at the Babe Ruth Complex located north of 10th Street in Antioch, adjacent to the Antioch Historical Society Museum.
This three-sport star played varsity basketball, volleyball and softball as a junior, and then split her focus between volleyball and softball as a senior, earning First Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League honors for both sports and filling her letter jacket with five varsity “Block A” patches. Sharon Christianson, along with twin sister Karen, played on AHS’s most successful softball team in school history, winning the North Coast Section championship in 1984 as the culmination of a 28-1 season. The playoff victory was cemented by Sharon’s key hit. Sharon follows her sister and the 1984 softball team, who were inducted into the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame in 2011. The outfielder had an overall .410 batting average in league play, the highest on her team. Her three hits against rival Pittsburg High helped propel the team to a first place league finish. The 5-foot-9 outside hitter was the volleyball team’s Most Valuable Player for two years, in 1983 and ’84, and team captain. The Big “C” Athletic Club of Concord named her an Athlete of the Week in the DVAL. Following high school, Sharon continued as a two-sport athlete at Sacramento City College for two years, earning First Team All-Camino Norte Conference in volleyball in 1985. The team captain was also chosen as MVP in her second year. The softball outfielder was team captain for the SCC softball team, winning the Camino Norte League Championship with a 34-9 season. Sharon transferred to California State University, Sacramento and played two more years of volleyball and softball. In her senior year, the Hornets named her the “Most Inspirational Player” in volleyball. She played with her team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II championships in 1987, where the Hornets placed fifth. Sharon later achieved a degree in nursing from California State University, Chico in 1992. In 2006, Sharon received her master’s degree in nursing, working at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and teaching nursing at Santa Barbara City College.
Antioch produced many fine football players in the 1950s, but Rich Elliott remains as one of the most revered. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Panther was chosen to quarterback for the North in the 1954 North-South Shrine Game, played before 39,363 fans in the Los Angeles Coliseum. The third annual Shrine Football Classic, held as a fundraiser for the Shriners’ Hospitals for Crippled Children, featured the 50 top prep players in California, nominated by sportswriters from throughout the State. Rich was the first Antioch athlete ever chosen for the Shrine honor, and shares the distinction with only three others: Ray Harrington, Ron Pritchard and John Olenchalk. Rich had a phenomenal academic year – earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average – and an incredible football season in 1953. He racked up 57 points, more than a quarter of the team’s league-leading 220 points. The virtual one-man team played the positions of quarterback, halfback, fullback, kicker and linebacker. In one great non-league game against Yreka High, Rich had four touchdowns, throwing for two and running for two. Named “Back of the Year” by league coaches, he was also named First Team All-Contra Costa County Athletic League as a fullback and First Team All-Metropolitan by the San Francisco Examiner. At the end of the school year, he was awarded the Joe Harlan trophy, given to the school’s most outstanding football player. Rich played varsity football for the Panthers as a junior as well. His injury-shortened season included four TDs: two rushing and two throwing. At the important Big-Little Game against the rival Pirates in 1952 – before a league-record crowd of more than 7,500 – Rich broke a bone in his ankle after running an 87-yard quarterback sneak play for a touchdown. At halftime, Rich informed Coach Ralph Riggins he could not play offense, but stayed in the game and played in the second half on defense. “I went back to school on Monday, and thought I had a sprained ankle,” he said. “I didn’t know it was broken until it was X-rayed on Wednesday.” Rich recovered and went on to play basketball and baseball that same school year. Stanford University offered a full football scholarship to the AHS Student Body President, who played for the Stanford freshman team. He earned a varsity letter the next year as a sophomore, but a knee injury ended his football career. Rich graduated in 1958 with a degree in political science and remains married to his AHS sweetheart, Peggy Williams.
The “Carl Pantle Award” for the most courageous football player has been bestowed by Antioch High School since 1978, an appropriate honor for the amazingly talented young man whose life was cut short just as he reached adulthood. The robust 6-2, 210-pound fullback was a selection for the Contra Costa-Alameda All-Star game, named First Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League, (linebacker and fullback) and First Team All-East Bay (Defense) and Second Team All-East Bay (Offense). Antioch High’s “Hitter of the Year” scored two rushing touchdowns in a 20-0 shutout over rival Pittsburg High in 1974. He was fifth best overall in the league in yards per carry, averaging 5.1. During his senior year Carl ran for 496 yards and had 97 carries, with six touchdowns. As a junior in 1973, Carl earned Second Team All-DVAL honors as a defensive player, the second year out of three as a varsity starter for the Panthers’ three consecutive DVAL championship teams. “Pantle is a premier football player,” said his coach, Marv Comstock, in a local news interview, “He is an outstanding linebacker as well as a great fullback.” Carl, who could bench-press 395 pounds, was a top discus thrower, placing second in the league as a senior and making Second Team All-DVAL in track and field. He still holds the eighth all-time best discuss throw at AHS: 162-feet, 6-1/2 inches. Carl appeared to have a bright future in football and was offered a full-ride scholarship to the University of Arizona, but left the campus before beginning the football season. He returned home to play locally for Los Medanos College in Pittsburg. With the Mustangs, Carl proved himself once again, racking up several recognitions during his single season in community college: Outstanding Defensive Player and Player of the Week at LMC, First Team All-Camino Norte Conference, First Team All-Northern California and a nomination for all-state. He earned yet another full football scholarship to San Jose State University, but was never able to attend. Tragically, Carl was diagnosed at age 21 with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, and died in 1978, six months following his diagnosis. In written tributes following his passing, then AHS principal Don Richardson best expressed how Carl was perceived. “He was my image of what all parents would like their child to be like…other kids really looked up to him.”
Blasting hits, striking out batters and “flawless fielding” made Art Regoli a key player in every inning for the Panthers when he played baseball during a three-year varsity prep career between 1956-1958 under Coach Jerry De Rushia and Babe Atkinson. A .361 batting average as a senior earned enough attention to be selected for First Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League, Second Team All-Metropolitan and Third Team All-North State, the latter two chosen by the San Francisco Examiner. Local sports writers’ stories focused on several performances by the Panther team captain; a two-run homer that contributed to a 15-6 wallop of rival Pittsburg High, three runs, a 340-foot homer and five RBIs in a second matchup over Pitt of 8-6, and two homers in a 15-3 wallop against Pacifica High in West Pittsburg (now Bay Point) with “both 400-foot homerun clouts …to deep center field.” Three homers and nine RBIs occurred over a two-day period, leading one sportswriter to compare Art to the legendary Babe Ruth, calling him “Antioch’s Bambino.” The baseball team captain was also a leader off the field, serving as Senior Class President and “Block A” Vice-President. The Antioch Quarterback Club honored him as “Most Outstanding Baseball Player” at AHS in 1958. Although he played third base, Art spent some time on the mound, and was tapped to be the starting pitcher against Miramonte, recording seven strikeouts over four innings in a 16-1 wipeout. As a junior, Art was named First Team All-DVAL for third base, and had a .270 batting average: He had four home runs during the season, including a grand slam. It wasn’t just Antioch High that benefitted from the “phenom slugger’s” skills. Art played for several community leagues; The East Oakland Merchants of the Connie Mack League in Oakland, The Latin American Club semi-pro team in the Bay Counties League and for Pittsburg’s David A. Solari Post #151 in the Junior American Legion League. Pittsburgh Pirates’ scout Bob Zuk of Hayward, who had come to check out the opposing team’s pitcher, instead, was more impressed by the Panther “third sacker.” Art’s playing career ended after high school, but he continued serving the Antioch community as a Little League and Babe Ruth League coach in the 1960s and ‘70s.
“Vanessa is the best female basketball player that has ever played at Antioch High.” That’s the opinion held by Coach Sue Cottier. She should know. Cottier was Vanessa Selden’s coach for four years and the first female basketball player to be inducted into Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame in 2008. Vanessa is unquestionably the best scorer to ever wear black and gold; she still holds the all-time career record – male or female – of 1,867 points at Antioch High. She set a state record for steals in one season (252) in 1989, which currently ties for fourth place in the all-time best ever recorded in California high school girls sports. Her senior year steals place her in the top 20 of all-time national high school record holders. She had 674 career steals in 97 games, which put her at second place in California in 1989. Vanessa’s accomplishments have yet to be rivaled by any other female in Panther hoops’ history. She broke every existing girls basketball scoring record over her four years on Antioch’s varsity team – becoming an easy choice for MVP – averaging 19.9 points per game as a senior in 1989. Additional honors include First Team All-Bay Valley Athletic League as sophomore, junior and senior, leading the Panthers to three consecutive North Coast Section appearances. She was a unanimous choice for All-East Bay, as well as East Bay Player of the Year. Vanessa went on to be chosen by Cal-Hi Sports for its First Team All-State. Recognized as a “great and unselfish leader,” according to Coach Cottier, Vanessa helped the Panthers rack up a 26-6 record – the most wins for a basketball team in school history – and a shared Bay Valley Athletic League title in 1989. Vanessa’s prep career scoring average of 19.2 points per game included six different games with 30 or more points, including a career high of 35 points, achieved twice. She averaged 8.4 steals and 4.3 assists a game her final year. Heavily recruited, she chose the University of Oregon where Vanessa was a starter and became the Ducks’ first player to land on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team in three years. The squad’s most valuable newcomer accumulated the most steals (52) in three years. Vanessa is Oregon’s third leading all-time scorer, averaging 16.2 points per game during the conference season. She holds the record at U of O’s McArthur Courts Arena for the most assists in one game (14), which occurred against New Mexico State in 1990. After her collegiate years, Vanessa had the opportunity to play professionally in Barcelona, Spain; Tasmania, Australia; and on several teams in Germany. Due to a chronic knee problem, her career ended, but not her passion for the game. She is the founder and president of the Northwest Magic girls basketball program in Puyallup, Washington.
In 1978, Antioch Panther Mike Shaw capped his prep career with one of the nation’s highest honors for athletically and academically gifted students, the Thom McAn Award. A massive silver cup loaned to the Antioch Sports Legends Hall is a memento of being chosen the winner from among 70 nominees nationwide. Mike, the son of 2007 Sports Legends inductee Worth Shaw and active Sports Legends volunteer Bertha Shaw, was also the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award from the Northern California Chapter of the National Football Foundation for his perfect 4.0 GPA and performance as one of the best football players in Contra Costa County in 1978. Antioch High School’s football team captain was MVP of the 1978 season, a First Team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League selection on offense and played in the Contra Costa-Alameda All-Star Classic. Mike was also named Second Team All-East Bay as a running back and received Antioch High’s prestigious Ron Pritchard Award for Outstanding Back for the Panthers in his senior year, scoring eight touchdowns and rushing for 609 yards on 100 carries despite missing two games due to an injury. In a non-league game against Sacramento’s Luther Burbank High, he scored a 50-yard touchdown while rushing for 160 yards. Mike played varsity football all three years at Antioch, earning Second Team All-DVAL (Offense) as a junior in 1977, the year in which he rushed for 287 yards on 58 carries, scoring four touchdowns. Mike’s 13 touchdowns and eight extra points placed him as #10 on the AHS all-time career scoring list at the time, with 86 total points. As a freshman at the University of California, Davis, Mike won the award for Outstanding Freshman (Offense) in 1979. Few players can say they were part of a championship team, but Mike played for five consecutive league winners: as a Panther, in 1977 and 1978, and for three years as an Aggie. Davis was the Far West Conference Champion three times between 1979-1981. After graduation from college in 1983 with a degree in physics, Mike began his career as a scientist, working for Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He completed a doctorate degree from UC Davis in 1991 and continues to work at LLNL where he develops computer codes for lasers. Dr. Shaw spent several years involved in sports as a Little League coach and umpire, having worked behind home plate at the Western Regional Senior Little League tournament in Oregon in 2009.