As promised, this is the first of three stories relating to the top athletes I have seen at Amador Valley, as we approach the school's centennial celebration.
As a 1979 Amador graduate, as well as someone whose family came into town in 1967, I had a chance to watch Amador athletes as I grew up, then suit up and go to battle with many, and finally now have the chance to cover so many wonderful student-athletes that have worn the purple and gold over the years.
I have decided I will break it into three stories. This week I will go through some of the athletes I watched as a kid growing up in Pleasanton.
There is no chance I could name all the great ones here so, in order to say something about each name, I will limit the numbers. (Next week may just be a listing of names as there will be a lot!)
Here's a look back at 1967-1976...
Rick Kane: An easy and obvious choice. A football and track star, my buddies and I would ride our bikes down to see him run track and watch all the college football coaches there to watch him run. He went to Oregon, then San Jose State and became the first to run for 1,000 yards for the Spartans. He played eight years for the Detroit Lions and one for the Washington Redskins. Absolute legend.
Jim Carter: Tough to find a lot of information from these times but as a kid, I used to love watching Carter play receiver at Amador. Trying to remember, I think he went on to earn All-American honors at Chabot, followed by playing for the University of Hawaii. After Hawaii, he went to Cal State East Bay where he got a masters in anthropology. He recently retired after teaching for 32 years at Anderson High. One of the players I always remember for the excitement he brought to the field.
Mike Burke: A punter that went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams, Burke makes this list as I remember seeing him run laps around the one-mile Pleasanton horse racing track when in training. I recall my friends and I saying, "hey he's running the track again." It showed us work ethic at an early age.
Willie Biggs: In addition to watching Biggs play basketball and baseball at Amador, the big left-hander was a fixture in the area where my friends often played and always willing to come out and shoot some hoops with the kids. Great pitcher and great point guard, Biggs went on to an amazing coaching career, first at James Logan, then at Cal State East Bay.
Bruce Cavestri: We all loved basketball back when we were growing up, and Cavestri was a force in the middle when we watched the Amador games. After leading Amador Valley, he went on to play a year at the University of San Francisco. He also did a wonderful job carrying on the Cavestri family tradition on Candy Cane Lane!
Steve Swadley/Scott Stisser: Two soccer players that we all loved to watch. They were both big, strong and fast, giving us something to shoot for as we got older.
Swadley played for San Jose State leading the team to a No. 3 NCAA ranking. He would have played professionally but blew his knee out trying out with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Stisser played at San Jose State and Chico State before playing professionally with Atlanta.
The Falcons scored a pair of non-league wins, beating College Park and James Logan.
In the 25-11, 25-10, 25-11 win against College Park, the highlights came from Katie Salonga (20 assists, 5 aces), Paige Bennett (12 kills, 8 service points) and Kaycie Burdick (8 kills, 5 digs).
The Falcons took out Logan 23-25, 25-20, 25-15, 28-26. Top performances came from Salonga (48 assists, 15 digs), Bennett (25 kills, 10 digs), Ema Vukojevic (7 kills) and Kait Vogel (18 digs).