State School: Cathedral Catholic

Some of the top athletes in several different sports from Cathedral Catholic gathered recently at the San Diego Hall of Champions for year-end awards gala. Photo: @CCHSAthletics/

It’s not just that this school was the only one in the state during the 2016-17 school year to win CIF state titles in three different sports. The other reasons that the Dons end up with their first-ever overall state sports excellence honor is how well they did in a myriad of other sports and how well they’ve done in these school of the year honors by divisions in the past. Others coming close this time were three others who’ve been hard to beat in these evaluations over the years — Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Archbishop Mitty of San Jose and Buchanan of Clovis.

For State Schools of the Year by division plus six more Schools of Distinction, CLICK HERE.

For honorable mention State Schools of the Year, CLICK HERE.


An incredible run of winning three separate CIF state championships over a four-week span in November into December gave Cathedral Catholic of San Diego a massive head start in this year’s race to be State School of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports and it’s a lead that the Dons never gave up.

With additional success added on in the winter and spring in other sports, Cathedral Catholic has now been chosen as the 2016-17 State School of the Year. The school has been a state school of the year for overall, combined sports athletic success before according to division breakdowns, but this is the first time the Dons are the State School of the Year.

It’s a swarm of Cathedral Catholic hands as CIF state title trophy is presented. Photo: Paul Muyskens.

Cathedral Catholic was a prime contender with Torrey Pines in the CIF San Diego Section for the 2015-16 honor, but the Falcons were the overall winner for that honor and also won it for 2014-15. The Dons were Division III School of the Year last year and also were honored for the same division for 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2012-13. They’ve been a perennial powerhouse in San Diego in many sports since the school opened in 2005 as the former University of San Diego High was shut down.

Just like last year when Torrey Pines was the choice for the honor, it was not an easy task. It would have taken only two and maybe only one of the top nationally ranked teams at Mater Dei (Santa Ana) to win its final game, but the Monarchs fell short and simply lacked the CIF state and section titles needed. Archbishop Mitty of San Jose also would have matched Cathedral Catholic’s CIF state title total, but the girls basketball team lost in the CIF Open Division final to Clovis West. Mitty’s two CIF state titles therefore came in girls volleyball and boys golf. Buchanan of Clovis, Great Oak of Temecula, Loyola of Los Angeles and Santa Margarita of Rancho SM also were outstanding.

The first of Cathedral Catholic’s state titles came at the CIF state cross country finals. With junior Joaquin Martinez de Pinillos leading the way with a third-place finish, the Dons won the Division III state crown. On the same day, Cathedral Catholic’s girls cross country team also did well with a fifth-place state placing.

The second of the school’s state titles came the very next weekend at the CIF state girls volleyball championships. That team faced Valley Christian of San Jose for the D2 title and won in straight sets. The girls were led all season by junior hitter Megan Faraimo, who had 199 kills. More on her later.

Cathedral Catholic pitcher Megan Faraimo gets mobbed by her teammates after final out of CIF San Diego Division I championship. Photo: @CCHSAthletics/

Then there was the absolute capper. Three weeks after boys cross country and two weeks after girls volleyball, the Dons ventured to Sacramento and played St. Mary’s of Stockton (14-1) for the CIF Division 1AA title in football. It turned out to be one of the best CIF state football finals ever. Head coach Sean Doyle’s squad was trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, but came back to win in overtime 38-35. Senior quarterback Tate Haynes was masterful all season while sophomore Shawn Poma emerged with 1,338 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. Jordan Genmark-Heath also was one of the state’s most versatile players. Cathedral Catholic finished 15-0 and many afterward were comparing the team to some of the other great football teams in San Diego history.

Boys water polo in the fall season wasn’t too shabby, either. Cathedral Catholic went to the San Diego Section Open Division final before falling 12-11 in overtime to Vista.

In the winter, it wasn’t so much a team as an individual, All-American boys basketball player Brandon McCoy, that took center stage. While the Dons were competitive in many games against top teams, they only finished 12-15. McCoy, however, averaged more than 29 points and 15 rebounds. The future UNLV Runnin’ Rebel also was a standout in the McDonald’s All-American Game. The girls soccer team in the winter also did well, going 16-6-4 and getting into the San Diego Section Open Division. And also in the winter, girls water polo got into the Open Division. That team made it to the finals before losing to Bishop’s of La Jolla.

Some success in the spring also was needed to hold on for the top school honor. That was attained in softball and baseball. Both of those teams are coached by recent State Coaches of the Year Margaret Mauro (softball) and Gary Remiker (baseball). Mauro’s girls won the Open Division section title and went 27-5-1 with a top 10 state finish. When the aforementioned Faraimo was pitching, however, the Dons were 27-1 and among the best in the nation. Remiker’s boys couldn’t win a second straight Open Division section crown but reached the semifinals and finished 25-9.

There were a lot of factors that contributed to the State School of the Year choice heading to San Diego once again. It’s just that this time it went to an address in Carmel Valley.

Congratulations to athletic director David Smola and to assistant athletic director Ron Marquez and to all of the school’s coaches and athletes for a memorable year of accomplishments.

The Dons not only won the D3 state title in boys cross country but qualified for nationals by turning in the second-fasted time on the course at Woodward Park in Fresno. Photo: @CCHSAthletics/

Cal-Hi Sports State Schools of the Year
All-Time List

Long Beach Poly is considered State School of the Year nine times since the 1949-50 school year. Photo: Willie Eashman.

2016-17 – Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)
2015-16 – Torrey Pines (San Diego)
2014-15 – Torrey Pines (San Diego)
2013-14 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
2012-13 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
2011-12 – De La Salle (Concord)
2010-11 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
2009-10 – Junipero Serra (Gardena)
2008-09 – Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
2007-08 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
2006-07 – Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
2005-06 – Buchanan (Clovis)
2004-05 – Clovis West (Fresno)
2003-04 – De La Salle (Concord)
2002-03 – Torrey Pines (San Diego)
2001-02 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
2000-01 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
1999-00 – De La Salle (Concord)
1998-99 – Clovis West (Fresno)
1997-98 – Santa Margarita (Rancho SM)
1996-97 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
1995-96 – De La Salle (Concord)
1994-95 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
1993-94 – Clovis West (Fresno)
1992-93 – Esperanza (Anaheim)
1991-92 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
1990-91 – Poway
1989-90 – Bakersfield
1988-89 – Corona del Mar (Newport Beach)
1987-88 – Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo)
1986-87 – Mission Viejo
1985-86 – Bellarmine (San Jose)
1984-85 – Bellarmine (San Jose)
1983-84 – Cordova (Rancho Cordova)
1982-83 – St. Francis (Mountain View)
1981-82 – Mission Viejo
1980-81 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
1979-80 – Berkeley
1978-79 – Mt. Whitney (Visalia)
1977-78 – Andrew Hill (San Jose)
1976-77 – Pasadena
1975-76 – San Fernando
1974-75 – Clovis
1973-74 – Kearny (San Diego)
1972-73 – Monte Vista (Spring Valley)
1971-72 – Ygnacio Valley (Concord)
1970-71 – Lompoc
1969-70 – Blair (Pasadena)
1968-69 – Compton
1967-68 – Homestead (Cupertino)
1966-67 – El Rancho (Pico Rivera)
1965-66 – El Segundo
1964-65 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
1963-64 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
1962-63 – Santa Clara
1961-62 – McClymonds (Oakland)
1960-61 – Compton
1959-60 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
1958-59 – Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)
1957-58 – Berkeley
1956-57 – Fresno
1955-56 – Jefferson (Los Angeles)
1954-55 – Centennial (Compton)
1953-54 – St. Ignatius (San Francisco)
1952-53 – Santa Monica
1951-52 – Compton
1950-51 – Compton
1949-50 – Jefferson (Los Angeles)

Note: All-time list extends back to 1890-91 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book and Almanac. All selections prior to 1980 made retroactively through research by the late Nelson Tennis, founder of Cal-Hi Sports.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

Enjoy this article?

Find out how you can get access to more exclusive content, one-of-a-kind California high school sports content!

Learn More

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


    Latest News

    Insider Blog