Thursday, July 30, 2020

Gone, Lost & Forgotten: Their Best = Diablo Valley

Located in the East Bay a little over a half hour's drive from San Francisco,  Diablo Valley at one time had a competitive wrestling program that produced an assortment of talent.  Winners of the 1970 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) a majority of their wrestlers went on to success post their time as a Viking.   The Viking wrestling program came to an end after the 1998-1999 season. 

Roger Warner
150 lbs

After finishing as the 1971 CCCAA runner up, Warner won the 1972 CCCAA championship.  He went on to finish up his career at Cal Poly where in 1974 he won a NCAA Division II title & finished in third place at the NCAA Division I championships. 

Cliff Hatch
158 lbs 

Hatch won two CCCAA titles for the Vikings in 1971 & 1972.  He too would go on to Cal Poly where he won a NCAA Division II title. 

Juan Picharda
134 lbs 

Picharda won a CCCAA title for the green & white in 1973 

Lennis Cowell
130 lbs 

Cowell had a standout season in 1963 winning a Golden Gate Conference championship & taking third at the CCCAA's.   

Steve Sanchez
152 lbs 

Sanchez placed third at the CCCAA tournament in 1969.  He went on to wrestle for Portland State where he won a Western Regional title.   Post college he got into coaching & won a national high school coach of the year one season. 

Bob Green

Going 42-2, securing 22 victories by fall, Bob Green won the 1974 CCCAA.  He finished up his career at Colorado State. 

Tyrone Rose
134 lbs 

After winning a CCCAA title in 1977, Rose finished up his career at UNLV

Bruce Kopitar
190 lbs 

Kopitar wrestled his first three seasons of high school at Pacifica High School.  Pacifica closed before his senior season,so he had to transfer to Clayton Valley High School where he won a state championship.   Wrestling for the Vikings, he took runner-up honors at the CCCAA in 1979.   He finished up his career at Oklahoma. 

Cory Salmon
142 lbs 

After placing third at the CCCAA in 1980, Salmon won a CCCAA title in 1981.  He later taught P.E. & coached wrestling at College Park High School. 

Keith Jardine
126 lbs 

Jardine won a CCCAA title for the Vikings in 1981.  I believe he may be related to the MMA fighter who played football at Los Angeles Pierce & New Mexico Highlands. 

Lance Anzivine
158 lbs 

Anzivine won a CCCAA title for the green & white in 1981 

Bill Merrell
167, 158 lbs 

Merrell placed twice in the California high school state championships, taking fourth & fifth place finishes for Napa High School in his final two seasons.   Wrestling for the Vikings he took third in 1983 & won a CCCAA title in 1984.  Including a redshirt season, Merrell would wrestle at three different colleges post his time at Diablo Valley.   Cal Poly, Nebraska & his final season of eligibility at Chico State. 

Deets Winslow
126 lbs 

Winslow twice placed at the CCCAA championships for the Vikings.  He was fourth in 1984 & runner up in 1985.   He later coached at Sonoma Valley.   We sadly lost Winslow in a boating accident in 2014. 

Tony Darone
167 lbs 

Darone was quite the success at Liberty High School.  There he played quarterback & linebacker on the football team, being named Homecoming King.  As a wrestler he took back to back fourth place finishes at the state championships.   Wrestling for the Vikings he won a CCCAA title in 1986.   He later was head coach at Mt. Diablo High School. 

John McIntyre

McIntyre won a CCCAA title in 1986. 

Jeff Buckalew 
150 lbs 

Buckalew was fifth in 1987 & won a CCCAA title in 1988. 

Craig Droefert

Droefert won a CCCAA title in 1990. 

Mike Carolan

Carolan won back to back CCCAA titles for the Vikings in 1992 & 1993.  He finished up his career at the Navy.  He later ran his own wrestling club & worked security for the Oakland Raiders. 


A huge thank you to Al Fontes who made adding former teams in the CCCAA to "Gone, Lost & Forgotten" possible with the information he provided me. 

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