What began with a historic win on the football field is ending with St. Francis of Mountain View collecting the 2021-22 State School of the Year selection. This is just the Lancers’ second time getting onto the all-time state list, but it’s been 29 years. They finished strong in softball, baseball and boys volleyball to pull in front of all other schools in the state for overall athletic excellence.
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The absolute 100 percent dream finish for the 2021-22 school year at St. Francis of Mountain View would have been winning the CIF Northern California Division I titles in baseball and softball on the same day and completing those seasons at No. 1 in the final state rankings. That didn’t happen, but the Lancers getting No. 1 and No. 2 final rankings finishes helped push the athletic program over the top for this year’s State School of the Year compilations.
There’s no way to assign points in a CIF state system of divisions, different sized CIF sections and competitive equity divisions in determining a State School of the Year. There never has been one. Still, it’s not that difficult to go through all of the various CIF state and regional championships, final state rankings (in some sports that Cal-Hi Sports has done rankings for 40-plus years) and other criteria to come up with a group of leading contenders and then hone it down some more to determine a winner. This year, St. Francis has come out on top.
It’s the second time that the Lancers have gained the top State School of the Year honor. The first was for the 1982-83 school year. It’s also the first time since 2008-09 that a school from the CIF Central Coast Section has been No. 1 in overall sports excellence. In that year, Archbishop Mitty of San Jose (which has been State School of the Year for girls sports far more times than any other school) took the top spot.
It was a spectacular fall and an even more spectacular spring for the St. Francis athletic department with a little bit of success in the winter.
It all began with a non-league football game at St. Francis with the Lancers hosting perennial NorCal powerhouse De La Salle of Concord. The Spartans hadn’t lost a game to an opponent north of Fresno since 1991 and had an unbeaten streak (including ties) of 318 games. The Lancers were expected to have one of their best teams of recent years, and showed just how good they could be with a 31-28 win over De La Salle. They took the lead with just 16.7 seconds left on a touchdown pass from Matthew Dougherty Jr. to Nicolas Andrighetto.
Head coach Greg Calcagno’s squad then rolled to the West Catholic Athletic League title and was ranked No. 1 overall in Northern California, but could not get a second win over WCAL rival Serra (San Mateo) in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division final and finished 11-1. Calcagno, whose dad Ron was the football coach when St. Francis was State School of the Year the first time, had a simple approach of handing the ball off to running back Viliami Teu and using strong defense to win games. Teu was first team all-state and rushed for 2,211 yards and 28 TDs.
The Lancers actually went even further in the fall in girls volleyball. After losing to Archbishop Mitty in the CCS Open finals, St. Francis stunned the field in the NorCal Open playoffs with an upset in the first round of top seed Marin Catholic of Kentfield. The girls then got past Menlo School of Atherton in the semifinals but lost to Mitty in the NorCal Open finals. Mitty was a team that St. Francis had gone 2-1 against in matches before the last two that the Monarchs won. USC-bound Madison Pietsch and sophomore Erin Curtis both had outstanding seasons for St. Francis.
The fall also featured a more than solid showing by St. Francis in girls cross country. The Lancers placed fourth in the CIF D2 championship race in Fresno. Freshman Sabrina Zanetto also showed she’ll be a runner to watch in the future with a 19th-place individual finish.
There wasn’t that type of success for too many teams at St. Francis in the winter, but one exception was in girls soccer. The Lancers went 6-0-4 in their league games and were 15-2-5 overall. In the CCS Open Division playoffs, standout sophomore Charlotte Kohler netted a pair of goals to lead the team past Archbishop Mitty, 2-1, in the semifinals. Local rival Mountain View High, however, then won 3-1 in the section final. In the NorCal D1 regional playoffs, St. Francis reached the semifinals before taking a 1-0 loss to Buchanan of Clovis.
Buchanan’s win in that girls soccer game could have been bigger for the final school of the year compilations if it was the Bears who had finished No. 1 or No. 2 in the final state rankings in baseball. They were upset in the first round of their section playoffs, however, while St. Francis avoided the upset, won the CCS Open Division final and then went to the NorCal D1 regional championships.
The St. Francis baseball team also had moved to No. 1 in the state after Buchanan’s loss and would have finished No. 1 but couldn’t hold on to a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning at De La Salle and lost to the Spartans, 7-6. Instead, it was DLS going to No. 1 in the final rankings with SF slipping to No. 2 with a still sparkling 31-5 final record. Highlights for head coach Matt Maguire’s club included winning the WCAL regular season and playoff title and then beating Palo Alto, 1-0 in eight innings, to win the CCS Open final. Blake Rogers led the pitching staff with a 0.80 ERA. Junior Elias Duncan was one of the top offensive players as he batted .367 on a team-high 40 hits, scored 41 runs and hit four homers.
In softball, St. Francis didn’t even come close to having to hold off an opponent like De La Salle in baseball. Head coach Mike Oakland’s girls posted shutouts of 4-0 over Sheldon of Sacramento (avenging an earlier loss) and 6-0 over Clovis to win the CIF NorCal D1 championship. That capped a 31-2 season that also included State Team of the Year honors. Oakland’s daughter, Jessica, headed to Minnesota, also was just recently named as the Cal-Hi Sports Ms. Softball Player of the Year. Senior Sydney Stewart, who along with Oakland played for a NorCal D2 playoff qualifying girls basketball team, was the team’s other leading player. She will play next at Washington.
The spring at St. Francis wasn’t just about baseball and softball, either. There was an equally dominant team in boys volleyball. The Lancers won the CIF NorCal D1 title and capped a 38-2 season with a win over Mountain View. There was some adversity that had to be overcome due to COVID as Pepperdine-bound Ethan Watson had to miss the CCS finals and head coach Jonah Carson had to miss the NorCal finals. Assistant coach Cade Nethercott got the job done at the end and he had Watson back to help. Jack Ebertin led the way against Mountain View in the final match with 19 kills. He will play next at USC.
The girls swimming team added to the spring success, too. The Lancers were second in the CCS championships and then at the CIF state finals they came in with a tie for fifth-place in team standings with Campolindo of Moraga. Senior Abby Wickersham led the way with a fourth-place medal and a sixth-place medal in individual freestyle events and she was on two relay teams that both were in the top five. Head coach Terry O’Donnell also was recently recognized by the California Coaches Association as its Coach of the Year.
Additional depth throughout the school year at St. Francis came in from boys wrestling (23rd at state meet), girls field hockey (15-3-1 and lost in CCS finals), girls track (fourth in CCS with sophomore Lilly Kaebler winning the 800), boys swimming (fourth in CCS) and girls lacrosse (CCS Open Division quarterfinals).
Congratulations to athletic director Michael Pilawski and to all of the coaches, athletes and parents at St. Francis for everything during the 2021-22 school year. You now have some proof of just how well you all did.
Cal-Hi Sports State Schools of the Year
2021-22 – St. Francis (Mountain View)
2020-21 – Harvard-Westlake (Studio City)
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.