PIONEER AT GOING THE DISTANCE: A look back at this week in Nevada County sports history – 1994 |

PIONEER AT GOING THE DISTANCE: A look back at this week in Nevada County sports history – 1994

The Union staff

With local sports on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Union has decided to look back at some of the highlights from years past. Here’s a glimpse into what The Union sports pages offered from June 1-7 in 1994.


In 1944, as the D-Day invasion was taking shape in a far off land, a young man named Tim Kays bumped into a close friend at San Francisco’s Mission High.

“He was a pole vaulter and I was a miler,” said Kays, who finished his 37th year teaching physical education and 17th year coaching cross-country at Nevada Union (in 1994). “He was wondering why I wasn’t running in some of the road races with him.

“He said a race was coming up called the Cross-City Run, and I said, ‘OK, let’s go for it.’”

Support Local Journalism

The two athletes, juniors in high school at the time, joined 40 other participants in the race. The Ferry Building in San Francisco marked the beginning of the course. The runners proceeded up Market Street, through Golden Gate Park and out to Ocean Beach.

Over the years, the event grew into one of the biggest happenings in the world of sports — more than 80,000 runners took part in 1994 — and organizers eventually changed its name to the Bay to Breakers.

Kays, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first entry in the competition, ran in the Bay to Breakers once again May 15, 1994. He has taken part in the 7.6 mile race 12 times during the past 20 years.

In 1944, he gained recognition as only the second high school athlete ever to finish the annual race — an event dating back to 1921.

“A friend of mine told me that I was probably in the top 10,000 out of about 80,000 runners this year, but that’s hard to estimate,” said Kays. “I can tell you this. The first time I ran in it, I came in 21st out of 42 participants. If I came in 21st place today, I would be a world class runner.”


Former Bear River High senior Aaron Bell shocked a heavily-favored Don Hicks of Rancho Cordova to win the men’s race in the annual Grass Valley Memorial Run/Walk hosted by the Sierra Trailblazers Running Club.

Bell, a two-time state qualifier for the Bruin cross-country team, covered the hilly, 8K course, which began at Memorial Park, in 27 minutes, 42 seconds.

Having just returned from a track season at Boise State, Bell survived a tough battle with Hicks, an outstanding road racer and nine-time winner of the grueling Eppie’s Triathlon.


The Sacramento Capitals routed the Scarlet Knights of San Francisco, 91-52, in the 18-and-under final in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Pacific Division Championships at Will C. Wood High.

Bear River standout Jenny Shayani, who will attend Northern Arizona University on a basketball scholarship in the fall, was voted the Capitals’ Most Valuable Player after scoring 18 points in the semifinals and 13 points in the finals.

Honey Ramirez, another player who helped the Lady Bruins win their second straight NorCal title this year, also competed for the Capitals.

California Gold, a team that includes Chela Altman of Nevada Union, won the 15-and-under championship without a fight.

Sports Editor Walter Ford compiled the content for this article from The Union archives. To contact Ford, email or call 530-477-4232.

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User