For boys sports only, De La Salle of Concord is considered tops for the state for 2021-22 thanks to a No. 1 finish in baseball coming a few days after winning a CIF state title in golf. For the girls, St. Francis of Mountain View is going to be listed alongside its overall State School of the Year selection. Other schools topping the list for overall state sports excellence honors for 2021-22 are Newport Harbor of Newport Beach (D2), Campolindo of Moraga (D3), Menlo School of Atherton (D4) and Fall River of McArthur (D5). Check inside for writeups of those schools and for every other school that is appearing on our Top 10 ticker at the top of our home page.
For announcement of overall State School of the Year, CLICK HERE.
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Congratulations to the following schools for collecting a statewide all-sports honor for the 2021-2022 school year:
(Please note that for our criteria we are going to favor schools that have been in our state rankings for football, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball & softball plus schools that have have placed high in CIF championship events.)
Boys Sports Only:
De La Salle (Concord)
For the eighth time since 1985, the Spartans topped the state for boys sports only. Their last time to be first in the category was in 2019. For four of those eight years, De La Salle also was State School of the Year. The last time for that was for the 2011-12 school year. It’s more difficult for the Spartans to finish first in overall consideration as an all-boys school. Their competition for school of the year like St. Francis of Mountain View has girls and therefore many more opportunities to have more championship teams.
This school year was different than all of the others because this time football was not the program that was the centerpiece. It’s not that the Spartans were bad, they just weren’t at the level they were 10 years ago. Still, the football team won its 31st consecutive CIF North Coast Section title and came within a two-point conversion of going to the CIF D1-AA state final. That attempt against Folsom, however, was stopped, which ended De La Salle’s season at 10-3. The Spartans had defeated Folsom earlier in the season. Zeke Berry, an all-state first team defensive back headed to Michigan, was the team’s most outstanding player.
The two teams that put DLS over the top for the boys and closer to St. Francis of Mountain View for overall were in golf and baseball.
The golfers not only won the CIF state championship at San Gabriel Country Club on June 1, but rolled to the title by 11 strokes. The group of Joey Hayden (68), Joshua Kim (69), Jayden Dumdumaya (70), Jack Jerge (72) and Colin Keith (73) checked at 352 (three shots under par). Torrey Pines of San Diego was second at 363.
You could say it was a bit more dramatic in baseball. Head coach David Jeans’ squad was down to its last out in the CIF North Coast Section D1 final, but got a hit to tie the score in the top of the seventh inning against Foothill of Pleasanton and then went on to beat the Falcons, 9-6, in nine innings. Then in the CIF NorCal D1 playoffs, after the Spartans had posted wins over Del Campo of Fair Oaks and Foothill in a rematch, it was a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the seventh that had to be overcome, which it was on a two-run, walk off chopper up the middle by Ethan Dungo. The 7-6 win not only put the team’s final record at 27-6, but due to other results it was able to move up from No. 5 to No. 1 in the final state rankings.
Here were some other highlights of De La Salle’s school year:
Basketball – Finished 22-6 and in the top 20 of the state with all-state freshman Alec Blair leading the way. The Spartans pushed favored Campolindo of Moraga to the final seconds in the NCS Open final, but lost 51-50. They then lost to Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco in the CIF NorCal Open Division playoffs.
Soccer – A 2-1 win over Montgomery of Santa Rosa gave the Spartans the NCS D1 title. They then defeated Sanger in the NorCal D1 playoffs before falling to Watsonville in the semifinals. The team’s final record was 20-7-1, including 11-1-1 in the East Bay Athletic League.
Swimming — Head coach Tom Johnson’s squad picked up the NCS championship behind Cal-bound Tommy Roder (a big-time prospect for the fly and back). The Spartans also ended fifth in team standings at the CIF state championships.
Water Polo — This was the first NCS title of the school year and came after a 15-12 triumph over Miramonte of Orinda n the NCS Open final. Miramonte came back, however, to beat the Spartans 14-13 in the NorCal D1 semifinals. De La Salle’s final records were 23-6 overall and 8-0 in league.
Rugby is not a CIF sport, but on the club level it was impossible not to also notice that the Spartans won the Northern California premier final with a 24-22 win in May over Granite Bay. They earlier defeated Torrey Pines of San Diego in March to win the all-California school crown.
In addition to those teams, DLS placed 16th in the CIF state wrestling championships (Gavin Fernandez was 4th at 152 pounds) and it had a team in boys volleyball that went 22-10 and made it to the NCS D2 final (loss to Campolindo).
Girls Sports Only:
St. Francis (Mountain View)
Like Harvard-Westlake from last year, a good chunk of the success for the Lancers this year came on the girls side of the ledger. That’s why they are also State School of the Year for girls sports to go with being State School of the Year (overall).
This is the school’s second-ever honor for girls sports. The only other time is for the 1999-2000 school year. Note that the boys/girls designations began in 1984-85, which was just two years after St. Francis was State School of the Year (overall).
Girls sports that saw St. Francis do exceptionally well were in softball, swimming, volleyball, soccer and cross country.
Division II State School of Year:
Newport Harbor (Newport Beach)
The Sailors’ big rival, Corona del Mar, has been state school of the year several times in D2 or D3 over the years, most recently in 2018 in D3. CdM also was overall honoree for 1988-89.
It’s now finally time to get Newport Harbor some statewide athletic attention. The school was initially declared as the boys’ winner of the CIF Southern Section Commissioners Cup, but a scoring error (competitive cheer was counted for boys instead of girls) caused an updated press release that gave that recognition to Loyola of Los Angeles.
For this divisional crown and for our criteria, Newport still came out ahead of Loyola and every other school except three. The main reason for that is that it could be argued that the Sailors had the No. 1 team in the state in three CIF sports (something no other school could match). CIF state titles are not decided in boys water polo, girls water polo or boys volleyball, but Newport Harbor won the CIF SoCal D1 regional titles in all three.
In boys water polo, OC Varsity Player of the Year Ben Liechty (a junior) led the Sailors to a 30-5 record. They downed Mater Dei of Santa Ana, 10-6, in the final match. In girls water polo, the team was even more dominant with a 30-1 record, including 9-2 over Laguna Beach in the SoCal final. Morgan Netherton (USC) and Taylor Smith (UCLA) were the team leaders. And in boys volleyball, the Sailors won out in a rivalry with Loyola to win both in the CIFSS D1 final and in the CIF SoCal D1 final. They also ended 28-5. James Eadie (Pepperdine) was especially strong.
Those points in cheerleading (second-place in a CIFSS division) came up on our scoresheet, but it didn’t matter for boys or girls. The Sailors also captured the CIFSS D4 title in football (losing in the CIF regional playoffs to D5 winner Aquinas) plus they won a CIFSS D2 title in girls lacrosse (beat 20-0 Murrieta Mesa in the final) and were listed with CIFSS points in wrestling and girls basketball.
Division III State School of Year:
The beat goes on for the Cougars. Like Buchanan overall, like De La Salle for boys sports, they are a perennial contender for D3 and they will be able to add another year to the banner they have up in their gym.
Campo’s last school of the year selection was for D2 in 2020. It was D3 in 2019 and D3 in 2015. There were two straight for D3 in 2011 and 2012. Counting one for 2005, that means this year is No. 7 for the Cougars.
Usually, it takes a CIF state title to get one of these honors and the Cougars checked that box by winning the CIF D3 crown in girls cross country. They won with 109 points over second-place Del Oro of Loomis. Junior Ellie Buckley (5th place) and sophomore Shea Volkmer (13th place) were the top two individuals. The boys runners at Campolindo also nearly made it a sweep, but they finished second in team scoring to West of Torrance. Their leading runner by senior Rhys Pullen (10-place).
From an overall standpoint, Campo’s best teams were in boys basketball, girls swimming and boys volleyball. With four-year starter and St. Mary’s College-bound Aidan Mahaney leading the way, the basketball team won the CIF North Coast Section Open Division title, and was No. 5 in the final state rankings. The Cougars (28-2) were the top seed in the NorCal Open Division, but lost in the final to Modesto Christian. In girls swimming, 100 backstroke league record holder Adriana Smith led Campo to a tie for fifth (with St. Francis of Mountain View) in overall team standings at the CIF state finals. The boys volleyball team (31-10), meanwhile, defeated De La Salle to win the NCS D1 title, won its first D1 regional game and then lost to Mountain View in the regional semifinals.
In addition to all that, veteran head coach Kevin Macy’s football team won the NCS D2 title and finished 10-4 after a loss to McClymonds of Oakland in the NorCal D3-A final. Plus, there was a D1 NorCal semifinal showing in boys water polo and an NCS Open Division finals loss to Miramonte in girls water polo.
Menlo School (Atherton)
Menlo’s rivals from Sacred Heart Prep topped the school of the year totals last year for D3, in 2020 for D4 and for 2015 in D4. The Knights haven’t been a school of the year since 1989 and 1991 in the small school category and now are picking up a top spot for D4. That’s been their usual division, but they could have been higher with several competitive equity Open Division placements in the CIF Central Coast Section.
The two sports that helped the most in Menlo’s scoring was in boys and girls tennis, which is appropriate because 27-year head coach Bill Shine was just inducted into the USTA NorCal Hall of Fame. The Knights were runner-up to Harker Academy of San Jose in the CIF NorCal girls tennis championships and rolled to the title on the boys side. Menlo, in fact, swept all three of its NorCal playoff foes by 7-0 scores.
In addition to girls tennis, the fall at Menlo also was strong in football and girls volleyball. In football, the Knights were considered the small schools No. 1 at 12-1. Their only loss came in the CCS D1 playoffs to Wilcox of Santa Clara (larger school) after they defeated Hollister (larger school). Small schools state player of the year Sergio Beltran passed for a CCS record 52 TDs. In girls volleyball, the Knights (29-7) went to the CIF NorCal Open Division semifinals where they lost to St. Francis of Mountain View.
Other highlights of the year at Menlo included a seventh-place finish in the CIF D4 boys cross country state finals, a NorCal D2 semifinal appearance in girls basketball, a 21-8 season in boys basketball and a record-setting boys/girls mixed medley relay team in track.
Fall River (McArthur)
For the first time ever, the Bulldogs are going into the books as D5 school of the year. It’s also the first Northern Section school to get top billing in the smallest category since Willows for small schools for 1974-75. When this honors system was devised more than 30 years ago, there was just medium and small schools. It split to the five division format in 1989.
Fall River’s football team captured the CIF D7-AA state title and ended a perfect 13-0 season with a 43-13 win over Morro Bay. The Bulldogs, in fact, were the only other unbeaten football team in the state other than Open Division powerhouse Mater Dei. QB Ryan Osborne was the ringleader and gained numerous accolades.
In the fall, the Bulldogs’ girls also grabbed a CIF regional title in volleyball. There is no D6 in the south, but for D6 in the north Fall River topped Big Valley Christian of Modesto to win the title. Giselle Rodriguez, a junior, led the team in blocks and then averaged 18.1 ppg in basketball. That helped Fall River win the NorCal D6 title in girls hoops as well.
In addition to those three sports, Fall River reached the D6 section semifinals in boys basketball before falling to eventual section champion Weed.
(Note: If we were doing a top 10 ranking for schools of year, St. Francis would be first, Buchanan of Clovis second, De La Salle third, Newport Harbor fourth, Mater Dei of Santa Ana fifth, Campolindo of Moraga sixth, Serra of Gardena seventh, Loyola of Los Angeles eighth, Clovis North of Fresno ninth and Archbishop Mitty of San Jose 10th. Here below would be writeups on those top schools not shown above.)
2. Buchanan (Clovis)
The State School of the Year for both 2018-19 and 2019-20 came a little closer to No. 1 than last year when the Bears were ranked No. 4. They have been getting a huge edge on other schools in our criteria for winning CIF state titles in boys wrestling and girls cross country and that happened once again for 2021-22.
Buchanan’s wrestling team continued to establish itself as one of the most dominant programs in any sport in state history. The Bears won their sixth straight CIF state team title and they had three individual state champs — Joseph Martin at 182 pounds, Michael Gioffre at 138 and brother Jack Gioffre at 132.
Head coach Brian Weaver’s girls runners won their third CIF D1 state title and had to get through the tough competition of CIFSS powerhouses like Newbury Park and Great Oak (Temecula). The Bears did it even though one of their top runners, Grace Hutchinson, fell and could only get up to finish 180th. Sydney Sundgren led the way with a third-place finish. Freshman Elliana Lomeli checked in at No. 8.
The school also had a great season in girls soccer that ended with an appearance in the CIF NorCal D1 final. The 20-3-1 campaign (including 8-0-1 in league) was marred, however, by an incident in the overtime penalty kick shootout loss to Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills when someone rooting for Oak Ridge hooted racially sensitive noise at a Buchanan player. The result was later upheld by the CIF.
In other CIF team scoring events, Buchanan placed seventh in D1 boys swimming, 15th in girls track and was listed second in Advanced Team for NorCal competitive cheer.
In the fall, the football team also stood out with just a 34-31 loss to nationally ranked Los Alamitos but the Bears couldn’t win a CIF Central Section title with a loss in the D1 semifinals to Liberty of Bakersfield. In the fall, Buchanan also was 21-11 in boys water polo (lost to Jesuit of Carmichael in NorCal D2 semifinals). In the spring, the boys volleyball team went 28-11 with a win over Bellarmine of San Jose in the NorCal D1 playoffs before taking a loss to eventual champ St. Francis (Mountain View). The baseball team also was No. 1 in the state for a couple weeks, but was upset in the first round of the section playoffs. The softball team was state-ranked as well.
5. Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
Off-the-field situations have put the Monarchs in a tough spot and while we’re not condoning any of that stuff we have to stick to the criteria of what they did on the fields and on the courts and it was another strong group of teams.
Mater Dei’s last State School of the Year honor was for 2017-2018 and like that one there was an undefeated, national championship football team that set the tone for 2021-22. The Monarchs capped their season with a second triumph over Servite of Anaheim to win the CIFSS D1 title and then blasted Serra of San Mateo, 44-6, in the CIF Open Division final. Senior RB Raleek Brown (USC), senior LB David Bailey (Stanford) and sophomore QB Elijah Brown were the leaders of the squad.
In the CIFSS Commissioner’s Cup scoring, schools get nothing for being in an Open Division while they get five points for winning the title in a lower division. Mater Dei’s state-ranked teams in boys and girls basketball therefore get nothing in those sports in that system, but they get plenty of credit in ours. The MD boys went 26-5 (9-0 in league) and were 1-2 in Open Division pool play games before losing in the SoCal Open playoffs to Bishop Montgomery. The MD girls went 23-6 overall and lost to La Jolla Country Day in the SoCal Open playoffs.
Three other very high level top five state teams at Mater Dei were in girls volleyball, boys water polo and boys lacrosse. In girls volleyball, the Monarchs finished 30-6 and went to the CIFSS D1 championship game (lost to national No. 1 Marymount) before losing in the CIF SoCal Open semis to Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. In boys water polo, MD went 27-5 with losses to Newport Harbor of Newport Beach in both the CIFSS D1 and CIF SoCal D1 championship matches. And in boys lacrosse, MD suffered its only in-state loss of the season with an upset by Corona del Mar in the CIFSS semifinals. The program’s 17-4 record could be even better next year with several top returnees, including leading scorer Nate Chu.
6. Serra (Gardena)
The Cavaliers didn’t have the depth that most of our top School of the Year contenders had this year, but they countered that with two CIF state championships and almost a third.
The first of those CIF state championships came in football as Serra downed Liberty of Bakersfield, 21-16, in the D1-AA final. This came after the Cavs edged Long Beach Poly, 21-17, in a matchup between the CIF Southern Section D3 and D4 title teams. Head coach Scott Altenberg also won his 200th game.
Although injuries prevented him from doing too much in football, junior Roderick Pleasant was healthy in the spring. He set a new all-time state record of 10.14 seconds in the 100-meter dash. Serra nearly won the CIF state team title, but settled for third.
In girls track, however, Serra did take home the CIF team title (in a sport with no divisions). With first-year head coach Alexis Faulknor calling the shots, the Cavs checked in with 37 points to come out in front of Clovis North (32) and Long Beach Wilson (28). Junior Brazil Neal came through with a first-place finish in the 200 and was second in the 100 to gain distinction as the team’s top point scorer.
With Pleasant and Neal both back next season, Serra may have a good starting point to become one of the Schools of the Year once again.
7. Loyola (Los Angeles)
For the 10th time, the Cubs earned the CIFSS Commissioner’s Cup crown for boys sports after that scoring error for Newport Harbor was made. They also were considered close to De La Salle for boys sports (it’s an all-boys school) in our compilations.
The highlight of the year was in boys swimming as Loyola captured the team title at the CIF state championships. The Cubs also set two state records and came back after finishing second in the CIFSS D1 championships. In the spring, Loyola also had one of the best volleyball teams in California, but was runner-up to Newport Harbor in the CIFSS D1 finals.
In the fall, Loyola’s water polo team won the CIFSS D1 title, but it was moved up to the Open Division for the SoCal regionals and then lost in the first round. The Cubs also were third at the CIF state cross country championships in D1. Captain Richard Moreno was the team’s leading runner.
9. Clovis North (Fresno)
There was a lot of depth for the Broncos in 2021-22, which helped them earn the Supremacy Award in the Tri-Rivers Athletic Conference over the other Clovis schools, including Buchanan. It’s just that in our criteria Buchanan gets a lot more credit for its CIF state titles.
Here’s a rundown for some of Clovis North’s top teams.
Boys Basketball – Won the CIF NorCal D1 title behind standout soph Connor Amundsen and then lost in the D1 state final to Damien of La Verne. Softball – Team was No. 1 in state before falling in CIF Central Section playoffs after injury to State Junior of Year Ryan Maddox. Girls Cross Country – 8th in CIF D1 state finals. Girls Track – 2nd in team standings at CIF state meet (just five points behind Serra of Gardena). Boys Wrestling – 7th in CIF state team scoring. Girls Swimming – 13th in CIF state team scoring. Boys Water Polo – No. 2 seed in NorCal D2 playoffs, but lost in first round. Girls Soccer – 20-4-1 record, lost in NorCal D1 playoffs to Mountain View.
10. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
This last spot in the top 10 was very difficult to determine as always, but it ended up going to the Monarchs.
The girls also were considered almost to be higher than league rival St. Francis. Two of Mitty’s girls teams won NorCal Open Division titles before losing in the CIF Open Division state finals. Those were in basketball and volleyball. The basketball team lost in its Open Division state final to Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth. The volleyball team fell to Marymount of Los Angeles. Mitty girls also were 7th at the CIF state swimming championships and they went 26-5 with a top 10 final state ranking in softball. Plus, the Mitty girls soccer team finished 12-6-3 with an appearance in the CCS semifinals.
For the boys at Mitty, highlights included the baseball team winning the CIF NorCal D2 championship and the basketball team going 23-6 with a loss in the CCS Open Division final to Archbishop Riordan.
MORE HONORABLE MENTIONS
Capistrano Valley Christian (SJ Capistrano) – Baseball, Softball, Girls Volleyball, Boys Volleyball
Centennial (Corona) – Football, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Girls Water Polo
Davis – Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country, Girls Swimming, Boys Swimming, Girls Water Polo
Granite Bay – Boys Soccer, Girls Golf, Girls Soccer, Boys Swimming
Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) – Boys Swimming, Girls Swimming, Girls Volleyball, Baseball, Boys Basketball
Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) – Girls Cross Country, Boys Cross Country, Girls Tennis, Girls Volleyball, Boys Volleyball, Boys Soccer
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) – Girls Golf, Boys Basketball, Baseball, Girls Track, Boys Swimming
Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) – Girls Cross Country, Competitive Cheer, Girls Soccer, Boys Tennis, Girls Volleyball
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) – Girls Cross Country, Softball, Baseball, Girls Basketball, Girls Soccer, Boys Water Polo
Palo Alto – Girls Golf, Baseball, Boys Swimming, Boys Cross Country
Pleasant Valley (Chico) – Boys Basketball, Competitive Cheer, Girls Golf, Boys Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Boys Tennis
Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) – Girls Swimming, Boys Swimming, Girls Lacrosse, Football
Scripps Ranch (San Diego) – Football, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Girls Track, Boys Volleyball
St. Bernard’s (Eureka) – Boys Basketball, Football, Baseball
St. John Bosco (Bellflower) – Football, Boys Cross Country, Wrestling, Boys Basketball
Torrey Pines (San Diego) – Boys Golf, Boys Soccer, Boys Lacrosse, Baseball, Softball
Vanden (Fairfield) – Football, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Softball, Baseball