THE ‘80s A DECADE REVISITED :...
Kurt Stillwell became the No. 2 selection in the major league baseball draft and Tom Petranoff became the No. 1 javelin thrower in the world.
The son of a Washington Senators infielder whose career was cut short because of an injury, Kurt Stillwell was bred to be a big league ballplayer.
After being the No. 2 selection overall in the 1983 free-agent draft, Stillwell fulfilled his ambition and today is the starting shortstop with the Kansas City Royals. Stillwell was picked by the Cincinnati Reds and he passed up a scholarship to Stanford to sign for the largest bonus the Reds had ever given, a reported $150,000. He played for Cincinnati in 1986 and ’87 before being traded to Kansas City.
A key to Stillwell’s development was learning to switch-hit in junior high while working at his father’s batting cages in Thousand Oaks.
A four-year starter at Thousand Oaks, Stillwell batted .552 his senior year and was named Southern Section 4-A Division Player of the Year. He was an All-Marmonte League selection four consecutive seasons.
He had never thrown a javelin until his freshman year in college, but inexperience didn’t prevent Tom Petranoff from breaking the world record in the event at the Pepsi Invitational at UCLA in May.
The ninth-ranked thrower in the world the previous year with a best of 290 feet, Petranoff (Pe-TRA-noff) improved to 297-2 in early-season meets in Australia and New Zealand, but his 327-2 effort at Drake Stadium shocked everyone in the track and field community, including himself.
“I didn’t even know how far (the throw) was until the announcer said, ‘That looks like it’s well over the the world record.’ ” said Petranoff, then a Northridge resident. “I just thought to myself, ‘Man, this guy is nuts!’ But then I went over to look at the tape and it was over 99 meters. That’s when I freaked.”
Petranoff’s throw measured 99.72 meters, improving Hungarian Ferenc Paragi’s world record (317-4) by nine feet, 10 inches, and making him the first United States athlete to hold the record since Al Cantello held it (282-3 1/2) from 1959-61.
Archrivals Hart and Canyon highs won their first Southern Section football titles on consecutive nights at College of the Canyons.
Tom Bonds threw three touchdown passes as Hart came from behind to beat North Torrance, 29-16, for the Coastal Conference championship on a Friday, and Rick Burton directed Canyon to a 40-24 victory over Bishop Montgomery in the Northwestern Conference title game on Saturday.
Bonds completed 97 of 182 (53.7%) passes for 2,155 yards and 23 touchdowns during his senior season; Burton completed 161 of 274 (58.7%) for 2,498 yards and 23 scores, earning Division II Player of the Year honors.
Canyon (13-1) won its last 10 games of the season after losing to Notre Dame, 7-0. The Cowboys would not lose again until the ninth game of the 1986 season.
Notable: Aaron Emanuel of Quartz Hill High rushed for 2,354 yards and scored 33 touchdowns during his junior season, efforts that rank seventh and fifth on the all-time Southern Section list. . . .
Eric Reynolds of Camarillo High won the 3,200 meters in the state track and field championships in Bakersfield and set a meet record to win the 3,000 in the prestigious Golden West Invitational in Sacramento a week later. His best effort, however, came in the Pepsi Invitational when he ran 8:44.0 for two miles, the No. 5 performance on the all-time high school list. . . .
Freshman Kathy Slaten led the Cal State Northridge softball team to the first of three consecutive NCAA Division II titles. Slaten, a product of La Reina High in Thousand Oaks, had a 21-9 record and a school-record 0.20 ERA as the Lady Matadors defeated Sam Houston State, 1-0, to win the national title at Chapman College. . . .
Reseda High, led by swingman Eugene Jackson, won the first of two consecutive City Section 3-A basketball titles under Coach Bill Hughes.