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39 notable athletes who got their start in Sonoma County

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Sonoma County is a breeding ground for talent. A surprising number of Olympians and professional athletes got their start playing for local high schools and athletic clubs in Sonoma County and the North Bay.

Among the elite crew are Kim Conley and Sara Bei Hall who were on cross-country team that earned Montgomery High School its first state title in 2000. Conley went on to participate in two Olympic Games. Bei Hall won the 3000 meter steeplechase in the 2011 Pan American Games and is a renowned marathon runner.

On the baseball field the standouts are plentiful. The Gomes brothers of Petaluma have built up an impressive resume of accolades. Jonny played for an array of major league teams from 2003 to 2016. Joey played for minor league teams and coached some of our area's rising talent to places on MLB squads.

Other greats include 1920s Pro Football Hall of Famer Ernie Nevers who attended Santa Rosa High School and Santa Rosa Junior College. The triple-threat fullback was known for is unusual skills in running, passing, and kicking. In 1929, Nevers set an NFL record that still stands by scoring 40 points by himself in a single game.

Click through our gallery above to see some of the notable athletes who got their start in Sonoma County. Know someone we may have missed? Email onlineideas@pressdemocrat.com to have them included in this list.

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