Antioch Sports Legends announces 2015 Class of inductees, for true grit and achievement

Brian Oliver played short stop for the Antioch High Panthers and went on to play in the minor leagues for the Angels.

Brian Oliver played short stop for the Antioch High Panthers and went on to play in the minor leagues for the Angels.

By Mitch Stephens, Antioch Sports Legends Staff Writer

After nine years of honoring the area’s finest athletes and community leaders, one thing is certain said Antioch Sports Legends founder/adviser Tom Menasco.

The community hasn’t forgotten the rich sports history of the area,” he said. “We just want to maintain and grow that interest while hopefully enlightening new Antioch residents.”

With the Oct. 10th celebration of the 2015 Class at the Ninth Annual Induction Ceremony at Lone Tree Golf Course & Event Center, the legends group will have honored 127 athletes and nine championship teams since 2007.

Frank Beede played offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks.

Antioch High grad Frank Beede played offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks.

This year’s class features former NFL offensive lineman Frank Beede, two high-level minor league baseball players, Jerry Bertolani and Brian Oliver, along with a pair of multi-talented females named Johnson — Courtney and Keisha (not related).

Antioch Sports Legends coordinator Tom Lamothe said a single trait connects the 2015 class.

When I think of this class I think blue-collar workers,” Lamothe said. “Most of them got by largely on grit and determination which was definitely reflective of the community they came from.”

Here is a snapshot look at the 14 individuals and one team from the Antioch Legends Class of 2015, all of whom either graduated or for coached at Antioch High.

Jerry Bertolani (baseball 1982) — A junior varsity player until late in his junior year, the versatile shortstop outworked everyone to become one of the best players the city has ever known. Bertolani was a first-team All-League player as a senior, an All-State performer at LMC and played six minor-league seasons with the White Sox.

Frank Beede (football 1991) — One of the most recognizable names in Antioch, the three-sport prep standout went on to play 11 football seasons professionally, five with the Seattle Seahawks and six with the San Jose Sabercats. After a successful college career at Cal and Oklahoma Panhandle State, the guard and center was the first free agent in Seattle history to earn a starting job. He coached and taught at Antioch and Freedom and in 2010 the NFL named him “Teach of the Year.”

Craig Carson (swim coach) — Since 1975, Carson has compiled a 380-92-3 overall record, won 17 league championship and coached 36 All-Americans and 100 individual and 60 relay league champions. Before great success at Deer Valley and Heritage, he was 115-37-2 at Antioch was the 1987 Diablo Valley Athletic League Swim Coach of the Year. Carson was named the Bay Valley Athletic League Coach of the Year for all sports in 2012.

Gerald Gamble (track and field, 1984) — At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Gamble was on the small side for a weights athlete. But that didn’t stop him from being ranked the best discus thrower (183 feet, 3 inches) and second best shot putter (59-9½) in school history. He won a NCS Meet of Champions discus title as a senior and placed sixth at state in the shot put.

Courtney and Keisha Johnson played basketball and more for Antioch High.

Courtney and Keisha Johnson played basketball and more for Antioch High.

Courtney Johnson (basketball 1997) — Johnson was a four-time All-League guard in basketball who finished as the career scoring leader with 2,035 points. She was also a second-team All-League softball player and team Co-MVP in volleyball before embarking on superb four-year basketball career at Cal, where she was team MVP in 1999 and 2000.

Keisha Johnson (all-around 1993) — From an illustrious three-sport prep stint at Antioch to an All-Pac 10 Conference volleyball career at the University of Arizona to coaching in college, Johnson always moved upward. Her best sport as a prep was basketball where she averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game as a senior.

Marcus Murray (basketball 1995) — The brother of NBA All-Star Lamond Murray and cousin of NBA veteran Tracy Murray, the 6-5 forward earned All-BVAL honors three straight years. He was one of two Antioch players to earn league MVP honors when he averaged 20.1 points and 9.3 rebounds as a senior. Called the greatest player 40-year coach Bob Fisher ever coached, Murray later starred at Los Angeles Southwest JC and the University of New Orleans.

Joe Olenchalk (community service) — As a 36-year award-winning educator at Antioch junior and senior high schools, a championship cross-country coach, a boosters club president and a chairman, researcher and docent of the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame, Olenchalk has given more to one community than many neighborhoods have combined.

Brian Oliver (baseball 1985)— Listed as one of the top five shortstops by Baseball America before his senior year, Oliver led the Panthers to back-to-back NCS titles before stellar collegiate career at Cal, where he boasted a .358 career average with 60 extra base hits. A fourth-round pick of the Angels, he was one of just 13 Antioch area players to reach at least the AA-level.

Stephen Parks (football 1971) — The tenacious running back was a two-time All-DVAL performer who earned a scholarship to Oregon State. He led the Panthers to a 20-0 win over Pittsburg in 1969, breaking a 22-year losing streak in the series. As a senior he rushed for 917 yards, won the team’s Ron Pritchard award and led the Panthers to a co-league title.

Mike Reale (All-around 1981) — All-DVAL in football and baseball and a state-qualifier in wrestling, Reale earned eight varsity letters. He went on to excel in football at Cal State Hayward, under future Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, before earning a Master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Sacramento State.

Pat Sweeney (wrestling 1988) — The 132-pounder placed second at NCS and third at state, helping the Panthers win their first and only state championship in 1988. He won four tournaments that season and finished 41-4, taking more individual matches than wrestler on that historic team.

Michael Vera (golf 1996) — A four-time Antioch team MVP and four-time All-BVAL first-team performer, Vera was one of the program’s greatest golfers. He won the NCS title in 1994. He was also a two-year starter on the basketball team before earning a golf scholarship to UCLA, where he lettered four seasons.

Kraig Walker (wresting 1983) — Known as “The Mauler,” Walker was the first Panther to place at the State meet, taking fourth in the 148-pound division his senior year. Walker went 81-14 while take two DVAL crowns. At San Jose State he won the PCAA title in 1984-85, qualifying him for the NCAA tournament.

Antioch football 1977 — This team had it all: speed, power, depth, a Hall of Fame coach and most of all, camaraderie. It won 10 straight games before losing in the NCS finals. The defense, led by 305-pound nose guard Ferris Anthony and linebackers Jerry Jones and Doug Jones allowed only 107 points. The offense was ignited All-NorCal fullback Bill Douville and fleet backs Tony Lang and Mike Shaw.

the attachments to this post:

Courtney and Keisha Johnson

Brian Oliver AHS baseball

Frank Beede

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