Third straight year the Lancers have taken this honor. They finished with six CIF Central Coast Section championships, including girls volleyball (which won the CIF state title) and boys basketball (which was a CIF state runner up). One of the other primary contenders in the division was Mitty of San Jose, which like St. Francis competes in the West Catholic Athletic League.
Div. III: Miramonte (Orinda)
It wouldn't take Matador fans long to look for the closest competition for this honor as Lamorinda community rival Campolindo of Moraga also enjoyed a spectacular school year. Miramonte's highlights of the year were plentiful. They included the football team going unbeaten and winning the CIF North Coast Section East Bay 2A title, the girls basketball team advancing to the CIF Div. III state finals, the boys tennis team winning the NCS title (overall, no divisions) and the baseball team winning its second NCS title in four years. Other top finishes came in girls golf (No. 3 in NorCal); boys cross country (No. 7 in the state, Div. III); girls cross country (No. 2 in the section); boys swimming (No. 3 in the section) and girls swimming (No. 3 in the section). In addition, pole vaulter David Moore captured a CIF state individual title and boys basketball coach Tom Blackwood was the California Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Campolindo had better girls teams than Miramonte, but was not nearly as strong for boys. The Cougars won the CIF state Div. III title in girls cross country, captured the NCS East Bay 2A title in softball and earned section crowns in girls swimming and girls soccer. Four second-place NCS finishes were on Campo's ledger as well.
Div. IV: Valley Christian (San Jose)
Next school year Valley Christian will be joining the West Catholic Athletic League and will be Div. I in many sports. A Div. IV state CIF enrollment, however, could keep the school a contender for this honor in the future. This is the first State School of the Year honor for Valley Christian. The Warriors were No. 1 in the state in Div. IV baseball, No. 4 in the state in Div. IV softball and reached the CIF state final in Div. IV boys basketball. The Warriors also were on the fringes of the Div. IV state rankings all season in girls basketball and in boys track, with super sprinter Ruben Williams leading the way, they finished fifth in team scoring at the state meet.
Div. V: University (San Francisco)
One of the e-mailers who made a strong case for the Red Devils was John Casnocha, the Div. V State Player of the Year in boys basketball who led the school to the Div. V state finals. University earned the state honor in a close call over Immanuel of Reedley, which was Div. V top choice a year ago. The Red Devils were previously chosen for Div. V school of the year for 1997-98 as week as 1998-99, so that's three titles in the last six years. University won a Div. V state title in girls cross country and was second in boys cross country. Other top finishes came in girls volleyball (NorCal semifinalists), girls soccer (nationally-ranked by Student Sports for the fall season), and girls tennis (second in CIF North Coast Section, no divisions). Two University runners -- Sean Drake (boys) and Yfa Kretschmar (girls) -- also were state track meet placers (again, regardless of division). Immanuel won a state title in girls volleyball and was strong once again in boys basketball and baseball, but was not as good this year in football.
Central Catholic of Modesto could have been considered for either the Div. IV or Div. V honor, but was judged as not being No. 1 in either. The Raiders were No. 1 in the state for Div. V baseball and also won Sac-Joaquin Section titles in football and girls soccer.
Thanks also to the many other schools who e-mailed us nominations. All who responded were worthy nominations and were compared closely to the schools that were eventually selected.
Due to the nature of the CIF, with 10 different sections consisting of widely varying numbers of schools and playoff formats, it is impossible to come up with a uniform point system in order to determine state schools of the year. One could be developed that included only those sports in which state championships are conducted, but that would only be for cross country, girls volleyball, wrestling, boys and girls basketball and boys and girls track.