With boys wrestling rolling to fifth straight CIF state team title plus girls cross country winning one in D1 gives Buchanan of Clovis the edge in collecting its second straight State School of the Year honor. There was also a NorCal regional title in a third sport and plenty of depth for a program that now has three overall statewide sports excellence awards in its history. No spring sports were able to be completed in this school year, but we did check where some teams finished in our final rankings for baseball and softball and that helped the Bears as well. Go inside for all the details.
For State Schools of the Year by gender, by division plus writeups of other Top 10 schools for 2019-20, CLICK HERE.
For honorable mention State Schools of the Year, CLICK HERE.
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With no spring sports finished for the 2019-20 school year, some might argue that it isn’t possible to select something like a State School of the Year.
While there isn’t enough of a sample size to fairly choose all-state teams in spring sports, there were plenty of sports that were played during the fall and winter seasons to create enough CIF state championship results, enough final state rankings and more to evaluate those schools that had the best overall seasons. The list includes football, boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball, boys and girls water polo, girls golf, girls tennis, boys and girls basketball (except without state champions being crowned), boys and girls wrestling and boys and girls soccer. There also were final state rankings compiled (our own) for the super-shortened baseball and softball seasons.
After finishing first in the state for the 2018-19 school year with two CIF state title teams leading the way, the shorter year didn’t stop Buchanan of Clovis from doing that again. The Bears also displayed strength in many other sports and because of that have repeated as the Cal-Hi Sports State School of the Year.
“This award is by far the biggest award an athletic department and community can achieve in the world of California athletics,” said Buchanan athletic director James Gambrell when told earlier on Wednesday that the Bears had won. “For a public school with an enrollment radius of 5 miles to win in consecutive years says a lot about Buchanan’s student athletes, coaches, and administration. Our coaches have worked extremely hard with their feeder programs to sustain a high level of success. Buchanan High School is honored to receive this award as Cal-Hi Sports is the standard bearer for establishing what athletic excellence looks like.”
Head coach Troy Tirapelle and his wrestlers were even more dominant in winning their fifth straight state title (in a sport remember that has no divisions) than they were when they won their fourth. Buchanan loaded up in semifinalists and finalists in numerous weight classes and was well on the way to another team title before the final round. The Bears racked up 261 points (the third highest ever in the history of the event) and were far in front of second-place St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
In football, Bosco has been part of a dominating two-school run atop the state with league rival Mater Dei (Santa Ana) for five years. In wrestling, Buchanan and its arch-rival from Clovis have been atop the state (Clovis won five titles in a row prior to the Bears’ current run) for 10 years.
Junior Maximo Renteria was the individual standout for Buchanan’s wrestlers. He won his third straight state title (this year at 126 pounds) and will go for the 4-for-4 accomplishment next season. Renteria was joined as a finalist by teammates Raymond Lopez (106 pounds), Hunter Leake (132) and Joseph Martin (170). Six other Bears made it to the semifinals before being eliminated.
The difference in Buchanan’s two CIF state titles from this year and last is that last year the other one with boys wrestling was in girls track. This year, it’s some of the same girls, but the other state title came in girls cross country.
It took dethroning a champion of massive state historical purposes, too, for Buchanan’s girls to get their state title. Competing in the D1 race with seven-time defending CIF state champion Great Oak of Temecula, head coach Brian Weaver’s squad won the team scoring with just 54 points. Great Oak was second at 102. Senior Corie Smith, who was a key member of the Bears’ girls track state title team from the year before, paced the cross country title win with a second-place finish. Weaver depended on freshmen to come through and they did with Sydney Sundren placing sixth and Grace Hutchinson in 14th. We’ll never know of course if Buchanan could have repeated as girls track state team champions.
In addition to the two CIF state titles (Newbury Park’s boys-girls sweep in the D2 cross country race and Moraga Campolindo doing the same in D3 accounted for the only other schools getting two CIF state crowns in this shortened-year), Buchanan also captured the CIF NorCal D2 regional title in boys water polo with a 10-9 victory over Jesuit of Carmichael. Head coach Dave Pickford’s club finished 26-8 overall and was led by senior Caleb Teraoka and junior Tyler Mrkaich.
There also was a lot more that was added to Buchanan’s ledger as a school of the year finalist and eventual winner:
*In football, the Bears reached the CIF Central Section D1 final before a loss to eventual D1-AA state champ Central of Fresno. With all-state running back Kendall Milton leading the way (he’s now at Georgia), Buchanan’s only losses in a 9-4 season with a No. 21 final state ranking other than the two to Central were to higher-ranked Narbonne (Harbor City) and De La Salle.
*In boys cross country, senior Kelly Brewer (20th overall in the D1 state final race) helped the Bears to a 14th-place showing in D1 team standings.
*In girls wrestling, junior Cristelle Rodriguez won her second straight state title at 111 pounds.
*In girls basketball, Buchanan might have gone far if it was in D2 instead of D1 for the NorCal regionals, but the Bears had one of their best teams at 19-12 and were No. 39 in our final, expanded state rankings. They split with Clovis in league and got a win during the season over SoCal D2 finalist Santa Monica.
*Finally, both the baseball and softball teams were on the way to perhaps having great seasons. Baseball was 9-1 when the season stopped with the lone loss to San Joaquin Memorial but with a win over one of the top-ranked Sac-Joaquin Section teams (Turlock). Softball was 8-1 with a split against preseason section favorite Bullard and a doubleheader sweep of Atascadero (another highly ranked preseason team). Those two teams’ final Cal-Hi Sports state rankings were No. 14 and No. 20, respectively.
Congratulations to athletic director James Gambrell and to all of the school’s coaches and athletes for a year of accomplishments that joins 2018-19 as one of the Clovis Unified School District’s best ever.
Cal-Hi Sports State Schools of the Year
2019-20 – Buchanan (Clovis)
2018-19 – Buchanan (Clovis)
2017-18 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
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.