All NorCal History

by Howard Willman edited by Hank Lawson circa 1982 As mentioned in the brief history of CCS, then-Hillsdale coach and now Menlo-Atherton coach (retired, ed.) Plato Yanicks began selecting all-NorCal teams in 1962. With the support of the Northern California Track & Field Association, this became a very important source of publicity for the sport. One of the first things Plato did was to research past years to assemble all-NorCal teams since the start of the sport. By 1965, Citizen Savings had joined in sponsorship and Plato led a panel of coaches and a reporter here and there (the meetings were open to anyone with an interest in selecting the team) that selected the all-NorCal teams. There are 22 members on each all-NorCal team (save most of the pre-1962 teams, which have from 14-21 members) with a Runner Of The Year award also given. Since 1962, the top class runner (senior, junior, sophomore, freshman) has been selected each year. It should be noted that the all Nor-Cal team had its most significant years before the Northern California Championships (begun in 1978). It is the opinion of many coaches today that there is no need for an all-NorCal team since there is now a means of selecting the top runners by how they finish in a race against each other (in 1987 a State meet with divisions was started so that all runners no longer competed against each other in head-to-head competition, a good reason for re-instigating the all-NorCal team selections, ed). Yanicks let the selection panel for the last time in 1980, and in 1981 the Golden West Track Association selected the first 22 runners to finish the NorCal race to the all-NorCal team. circa 2011 (more history added by Hank Lawson) and a little more history on the All-NorCal teams and selection methodology. Prior to 1962 it was based on finish at the NCS meet. In 1962 it was based on 2 mile Postal time, Stanford course time and NCS Finals. In '63 it was the same but used CSM course and not Stanford and consistency throughout season and coaches recommendations was also added. In '65 Group and League meets (finish place, not time) was added. Athletes selected were given awards by Track & Field News and were invited to a NorCal banquet for College, JC & HS athletes for recognition purposes. Plato Yanicks (M-A) started the selection process in '62 and received input on athletes prior to selecting the team. In '65 the All-NorCal team was selected by a panel of coaches that physically met one night to select the team. To even be considered for the team, you had to have a 2 mile time run on the track (this was their main comparison). Anyone could send in nominations for the selection committee to review. About 100 athletes were consistently considered for the 22 original spots on the team. By the 70's, multiple teams were selected (22 per team) as well as Honorable Mention. By this time as well, athletes no longer received awards or a banquet, just the recognition. And letters were sent to Plato expressing displeasure that an athlete wasn't selected for the team or for the selection method that was used. By the 70's head to head competition was considered as well. By the late 70's there was an All-NorCal meet held so that did away with the need for a selection committee for they just used the finish from the single NorCal meet that existed. The All-NorCal team ceased to exist. Then came the State meet but this had multiple divisions so head to head competition didn't exist except for Invites & Leagues. In 1995, with the help of Dan Cruz (coach at Del Mar, then Logan, then DVC) we started up the All-NorCal team again. With the help of other committee members we selected our first team since 1986 (last year of NorCals). I also went back and collected data for State, Sections & League from 1987-1994 and with a small committee of members we retroactively selected All-NorCal teams for those missing years. Since the guidelines had changed throughout the years, I thought the fairest way to choose the teams was to have no guidelines and let the members vote as they wish, using their own guidelines. We also switched to the 3 team format (7 per team) and the 20 honorable mention along with the All-Frosh team. We have come a long way since 1962 but one thing stays the same, the passion that the athletes and coaches show for our sport is, and always will be, there.