To become a champion, an athlete must have a rare combination of talent, skill, dedication and in most cases a parent or mentor that provides support and inspiration. A successful coach will have the ability to consistently connect with young athletes and provide that support and inspiration. Willis Ball has demonstrated, over his 26 year coaching career, that he has this rare ability to mentor, teach and inspire his athletes to achieve great performances and become champions.
Ball’s formula for fundamentals, weight training and peer instruction with a dash of fun has produced one of the most highly respected shot put and discus programs in California. Over his career, his athletes have won 51 league, NCS 3-A & NCS Meet of Champions shot put & discus titles. Six athletes finished in the top 8 positions at the California State Track & Field level.
In 1990, Willis was the North Coach Section Track & Field Honor Coach of the year and one of only 13 coaches in California selected by the CIF as Honor Coach. He was recognized as the Big “C” Athletic Club’s Coach of the Year in 1986. Ball was Assistant Meet Director and Co-Creator of the Stapleton Relays. He has coached and mentored many of the greatest shot put and discus athletes ever to come out of Antioch’s Track & Field programs.
Over the years his program has produced 7 of the top 10 All-Time Best shot putters for both boys and girls, 7 of the Top 10 All-Time Best Boys discus throwers and an amazing 9 out of the top 10 best All-Time Best Girls discus throwers. Willis has coached all of Antioch’s current Shot put and discus record holders as well as 7 Sports Legend Hall of Fame Inductees or current ballot nominees including fellow 2017 inductees, Sheree Ogden and Tom Rhoads.
History occasionally repeats itself. Growing up, Brian Boccio looked up to his father Jim Boccio, Jr. (HOF 2009) and wanted to follow in his footsteps. In 1992 he accomplished his goal. The speedy running back blasted through Antioch’s record books and set new marks for a single season in both rushing and scoring with a total of 1,476 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Boccio established the best all-time career mark for both categories with 2,308 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. Both of Brian’s single season and career performances stood the test of time as the best in Antioch’s history until Najee Harris came along in 2014 and eclipsed those records.
Brian also starred on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back. He earned 1st team All-BVAL honors in both his junior and senior seasons at running back and 2nd Team All-BVAL honors in both years at defensive back. In addition, the versatile Boccio handled punt and kick-off return duties with explosive touchdown returns of 55, 75, 84, 89 and 95 yards. Brian was recognized as the team’s Co-MVP in 1991 and followed that with the team MVP and the “Ron Pritchard Award,” signifying the Most Outstanding Running Back at AHS, in 1992.
Boccio was listed as one of the top recruits in the Contra Costa Times Cream of the Crop and started in the Alameda/Contra Costa All-Star game following his senior year. After his stellar career at Antioch High, Brian received a full-ride football scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned a three varsity letters, becoming the Wolfpack’s starting outside linebacker.
Brian’s induction is a family affair. He not only joins his father, Jim Boccio, Jr. as an inductee, but also his grandfather, Jim Boccio, Sr., is one of the five original founders of the Antioch Sports Legends.
Horace “Zedo” Cattolico began a very long and distinguished career of serving Antioch’s youth in 1970 as a Coach for the Delta Volkswagon “Bugs” in the Antioch Little League West Minor Division. He and Manuel Jiminez led the expansion team to a league title. The following year he went on to manage another expansion team, the Falcons, in the West Minor Division. In his two years with the Falcons he led them to two league championships. During those two seasons he was able to coach his son, John. He then moved up to the West Major Division and managed the Kings from 1973 to 1994. During that time the Kings won three league titles. Zedo managed three Antioch West All-Star teams in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Zedo coached hundreds of youth on his Kings teams including 2012 Sports Legends Inductee, Jeff Siino.
After an illness, Zedo returned as an Assistant Coach for the Kings from 1995-1998. In 1999 he was an Assistant Coach for the Phillies, where he coached his grandson, John Jr.
In addition to coaching Little League baseball, Zedo coached basketball for Holy Rosary School 6th graders and won a catholic school league championship in 1978, where several of the team members became members of the 1984 AHS Baseball team that won the North Coast Section Title and were inducted into the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Zedo additionally served Antioch youth sports as a Supervisor and Coach for the Jr. Warriors youth basketball program and the Jr. Giants youth baseball program. He also worked with the City of Antioch’s recreation department for 18 years, setting up and organizing the baseball and softball fields.
Zedo’s greatest support group is from his wife of 55 years, Carol. His sons Tobin, John, and daughter Angelina, along with 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
Dynamic pitcher Tasha Cupp highlighted a stellar senior year in 1994 at Antioch High by being named the Bay Valley Athletic League Player of the Year. Cupp was named 1st Team All-BVAL and 1st Team All-East Bay. She led the Pantherettes, being named team MVP.
Tasha catapulted her prep softball success to the diamond at Harvard University, where she rewrote the Crimson record books. Cupp was All-Ivy League all four years of her collegiate career, being tabbed to the First Team in 1998 after three consecutive 2nd Team selections in 95, 96 and 97.
1998 was a banner year for Cupp and the Crimson softball team as she led her team to a perfect 12-0 league record while winning the Ivy League Championship for the first time in program history. They followed that with its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Tasha not only was named Ivy League Pitcher of the Year in 98, but on April 28th she recorded a perfect game in a 3-0 victory over Rhode Island. That moment was selected as one of the 25 most memorable moments in Harvard sports history as the first perfect game pitched.
In 2013 Tasha was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club’s Hall of Fame. At the time of her induction Cupp owned the school records for career wins (59), shutouts (17) and innings pitched (563.1). She also finished her epic career with a 1.80 ERA and 475 strikeouts. Tasha is still ranked in the top 10 in 11 different career pitching categories and 18 of the top performances in a single season.
After graduating from Harvard with a degree in economics, she entered the financial sector and later received her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Tasha lives and works in the Bay Area.
With a blazing fastball in the mid 90 miles per hour, Daniel Denham christened the young Deer Valley baseball program in 1998 with a career that continues to be talked about today. Major League scouts were in attendance at most of the games Denham pitched his last two seasons.
Denham, a four year starter, earned Second Team All-Bay Valley Athletic League as a freshman and followed that with three straight First Team selections in 1999, 2000 and 2001. That feat of three straight First Team selections put Denham in rarified air, as the only others to accomplish that in Antioch and Deer Valley history are all past inductees of the ASL Hall of Fame; Aaron Miles, Alex Sanchez, Manuel Bermudez, Brian Oliver, and Alfie Del Favero.
Denham was named BVAL MVP in both 2000 and 2001 and named to the All-Contra Costa Times Team in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He was honored as one of the Times Top 50 Male Athletes in 2001. He was named All-State underclassman his junior year and capped off his senior season by being named All-State by Cal-Hi Sports and Second Team All-American by Schoolsports.com
Denham fired four no hitters in his career and reached double figures in strikeouts in each of those games. He finished his career with many pitching records at Deer Valley High, including 31 wins, 352 strikeouts, 260 2/3 innings pitched, and a single season record of 134 strikeouts.
Denham capped his prep career by being drafted as the 17th pick in the first round by the Cleveland Indians in 2001 . He played nine years in minor league baseball, and selected to three all-star teams. He played three years at the top level, Triple-A, one of only eight Antioch players to reach that level. Daniel pitched 1,011 innings and ended with a record of 70-61.
In 1980, the Antioch High School Wrestling Team welcomed sophomore Shannon Felix to their squad. At the time, little did they know that he would go on to become one of the most successful wrestlers in the history of AHS.
The 1982 Antioch graduate won the DVAL League Championship as a sophomore and then went on to place sixth in the North Coast Section Championships. In his junior year, Felix once again won the DVAL League Championships and managed to place 5th in the North Coast Section. Those first two years of his outstanding wrestling career would become the foundation for a fantastic season his senior year at AHS.
In his final year, Felix would become the first AHS wrestler to win 3 consecutive DVAL Championships, 1980, 1981 and 1982. This is considered a rare feat in any wrestling league, particularly a strong one like the DVAL. Felix finished second in the North Coast Section and qualified for the CIF State Wrestling Meet.
After his outstanding senior season, Felix was selected for the Martin Olavarri Award voted on by league referees. The Criteria for this award was based on Accomplishments, GPA, Attitude and Sportsmanship. I wanted to win it for my mother (Linda), Felix said, “When I was a freshman and Bill Dupree (ASL Inductee 2016) received it, she said wouldn’t that be nice if you could win that when you are a senior.”
Felix finished his high school wrestling career by competing in the High School Freestyle State Championships and in the Junior National Freestyle Championship.
Shannon continued his career upon graduation and was a Junior College All American in 1984 and earned a wrestling scholarship to San Jose State University in 1985. He would finish in third place at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in 1985.
From the fields and courts of Antioch High School to the Volleyball Court at UC Davis, Kris Gravelle displayed leadership, consistency, versatility and a plethora of talents. Kris was named to six different All-Bay Valley Athletic League teams, including five First-Team selections, in her amazing high school career.
As a sophomore in 1989, Kris was selected 2nd team All-BVAL in Volleyball. Gravelle’s junior year was one of the most outstanding all-around efforts in AHS history being named First Team All-BVAL in three sports. She began the school year being recognized in volleyball as a First Teamer, followed by a First Team selection in basketball and capped off the year with First Team honors in softball, while leading her Pantherettes to the Bay Valley Athletic League title. In 1990-91, her senior year, Kris focused only on two sports, volleyball and basketball. She continued her spectacular play in both sports earning First Team All-BVAL in Volleyball in the fall and Basketball in the winter.
Kris vaulted her amazing prep career into a spectacular collegiate volleyball career at UC Davis where she was a three year letter winner under Cal Aggie Athletic Hall of Fame Coach Marlene Piper. In 1993, her junior year Kris was named First Team All-Northern California Athletic Conference, and also selected to both the All-Region and CoSIDA Academic All-District teams. Kris also received an All-Conference Honorable Mention selection in 1992. In her three years at UC Davis, the Aggie women volleyball team won three consecutive Northern California Athletic Conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament each year. In 1992 UC Davis won the NCAA Regional title and lost in the National quarterfinals. The Aggies finished the season with a fabulous #3 national ranking.
Chris Hurd’s varsity football career started out with a bang. The 140 pound freshman quarterback was thrown into the starting role with 2 games left in the season due to an injury to Deer Valley’s starting quarterback. Without hesitating, he promptly threw his first 2 passes for touchdowns. Unfortunately they were both to Clayton Valley High’s Sam Williams, future Fresno State star and Oakland Raiders linebacker. He ended his freshman year on a team with no seniors, 13 of 29 for 134 yards. His coach, Mike Paul said about him “he’s not afraid. Bodies will be flying all around, but he hangs in there. He can take his licks and still stay very positive”
From that humble beginning few people would have forecasted he would continue to hold the starting job for next 33 games of his high school career, missing only 2 games due to injury during that time span. He is the only Antioch quarterback ever to be the #1 starter his freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years.
Just a year after throwing those first 2 interceptions he would be named to the Cal High Sports All-State Underclassman First Team after finishing his sophomore season throwing for 1,664 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Over his high school career he would go on to throw 45 touchdowns including his senior year where he completed 96 of 189 passes for 1,742 yards with 24 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Before leaving Deer Valley he would set the record for the most passing yards ever by an Antioch quarterback. His 4,804 passing yards would eclipse the then record of 4,107 set by Antioch High School quarterback and Sports Legends Hall of Fame Inductee, Jason Verduzco.
In addition to his All-State selection, Chris was 1st Team All-League as a senior and honorable mention Best in the West by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Prep Star Magazine named him the top signal caller in Northern California. He was picked as one of the top 20 pre-season quarterbacks in the nation. Chris was voted #6 on the Cream of the Crop Team by the Contra Costa Times and was the first Deer Valley male athlete to receive a Pac-10 scholarship when he signed his letter of intent to attend Washington State University in 2001. He credits much of his success to all of his coaches and especially the late Roger Theder, former Cal Head Coach who served as his personal quarterback coach and mentor throughout high school and college.
At Deer Valley he was named Top Multiple Sport Athlete his senior year and was named one of the Top 100 athletes by the Contra Costa Times. In Track & Field he set the school record in the pole vault at 13’ and was 2-time BVAL Champion in that event.
At Washington State he was on the 2002 team that won the Pac-10 championship and represented the conference in the 2003 Rose Bowl. He redshirted his freshman year and was a backup his next 2 years before incurring a congenital knee injury which required multiple surgeries. In 2005 the NCAA granted him an additional year of eligibility for the years missed due to injury. That year he transferred to Sacramento State where he was the starting quarterback and passed for 1,108 yards and 9 TD’s. In 2006 he had try outs with the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills before choosing to focus on a career in commercial real estate in Sacramento.
Chris lives in Sacramento and is married to Courtney Kemp (Deer Valley 2002). They have 2 children, Brody (5), Bailie (3) and are expecting #3, Blake to arrive this October.
Whether in the fall or in the spring, Angela Lindsay was sure to be making a splash in the pool at Antioch High. Angela had been swimming competitively since the age of 5, but truly excelled when she embarked on the sport of water polo her sophomore year at AHS. She quickly adapted and scored 34 goals that year on the varsity team.
Lindsay leveraged her first year of water polo experience to achieve one of the most outstanding water polo seasons in the history of the program her junior year in 1994-95. Angela was the team’s MVP while setting the single season record of 104 goals scored, as well as being named Co-MVP of the prestigious Northern California Tournament. She was also named 1st Team All-BVAL, 1st Team All-East Bay and Honorable Mention All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. She capped off her junior year by being selected as a member of the Top 50 Female Athletes by the Contra Costa Times for her prowess in water polo and swimming, where she was also named team MVP and finished in 5th place in the 100 meter Butterfly at the North Coast Section Swimming Championships.
Angela culminated a fabulous prep career with 92 goals her senior season while being the target of all defenses she faced. She was one of only 13 members to be selected and play for the USA Under 17 National water polo team that year. She again was named team MVP, while earning First Team All-League and All-East Bay and was again selected as a member of the Top 50 Female Athletes by the Contra Costa Times for her stellar accomplishments in both sports.
Lindsay went on to compete collegiately in both water polo and swimming at UC Davis. Angela won four varsity letters in water polo and earned one in swimming.
The fitness legend and folklore of Herbie Miles ran wild throughout the sandlots of Antioch in the late 60’s and 70’s and now Herb enters the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame.
Miles, a 1964 graduate, gained most of his accolades at AHS as a wrestler but was also a three year varsity catcher in baseball and a nose guard in football his senior year.
Miles placed second at the DVAL Wrestling Championships as a Junior. The following year he captured the DVAL Championship. He advanced to North Coast and placed second earning him a trip to the Northern California Championships. He finished his senior season with a stellar record of 18-4 and was named the team MVP.
Upon graduating Miles played baseball as a catcher at Diablo Valley College in 1965 where he played with several of his former Panther teammates including Sports Legends Hall of Fame Inductees Ron Morelli (Class of 2010) and ElRay Laughlin (Class of 2013).
After DVC Herb embarked on a career in amateur boxing. Herb won the San Francisco Golden Gloves Championship in the Heavyweight Novice Division in 1973. Miles then advanced to the Western Regional Olympic Trials in 1976 where he won two matches and then suffered a broken hand that ended his career. Herb finished his amateur career with a perfect 5-0 record. He once sparred with World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman.
In 1976 Herb was inducted into the Antioch Wrestling Club’s Hall of Fame. Miles set many records in the Physical Fitness Program during his high school days including 27 pull-Ups, 85 push-Ups and throwing a softball 312 feet.
Herb is the second in his family to be inducted into the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame, joining his son Aaron Miles, who was inducted in the Class of 2014.