More Cal-Hi Sports State Schools of Year

Granite Bay football coach Ernie Cooper (holding flag) poses with staff after 2011 Sac-Joaquin Section title game. Mark Tennis/ESPNHS

Mitty is best for girls sports for the ninth time while other honorees include La Costa Canyon (D2), Campolindo (D3), Serra of Gardena (D4) and St. Margaret’s (D5). Eight more schools who deserve special mention for overall athletic excellence also have been singled out.

Congratulations to the following schools for collecting a statewide all-sports honor for the 2011-12 school year:

Girls Sports Only:

Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)

It might seem like the Monarchs have won this honor every year, but they actually didn’t the last two years. Regarded as perhaps the best school for girls sports in the nation, Mitty lived up to that claim by winning the CIF Division II state title in basketball and by going 29-2 and finishing top 10 in the nation in softball. Mitty’s other girls sports highlights included a CIF Central Coast Section co-title in soccer, the best finish in school history (2nd) in CCS golf, a second-place finish in the loaded CCS swim meet plus semifinal appearances in the CCS field hockey and tennis playoffs. This is the ninth time Mitty has been tops in the state for girls sports since the 1994-95 school year.

Boys Sports Only:

De La Salle (Concord)

To go with their fourth State School of the Year honor for overall excellence, the Spartans also logically are tops for just boys sports. This is the second straight year they’ve earned this honor and the ninth since 1984-85 when the gender and divisional breakdowns for state school of the year began.

Division I:

De La Salle (Concord)

Again, this honor automatically falls to the Spartans by virtue of their being the overall State School of the Year.

Division II:

La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad)

This was the best year for the Mavericks for overall excellence since we began compiling these lists and one of the best years ever for any CIF San Diego Section school. La Costa Canyon’s 11 section titles were complemented by strong showings in CIF competition. With distance running star Darren Fahy leading the way, the Mavs were fourth in the CIF Division I cross country race and were third in the CIF state track meet team standings. They also were second in girls cross country at the state meet and lost in CIF state finals in Division II boys basketball and Division II girls volleyball. And for the record, we’d have LCC higher than Torrey Pines, which won 10 section titles and one CIF state title. The difference to us isn’t the one more section title but that the Mavs also were 9-3 in football and 24-5 in girls basketball. Both of the those teams lost in section semifinals, too. This is La Costa Canyon’s first State School of the Year honor and this breaks a streak of seven straight years that Archbishop Mitty of San Jose has been D2 school of the year. Ironically, it was the Mitty boys that beat up on LCC in this year’s D2 hoops state final. That was just one sport, though, and the Mavs overcame that by all of their other strong showings.

Division III:

Campolindo (Moraga)

Coach Max Luckhurst’s baseball team winning the CIF North Coast Section Division II title and finishing No. 1 ranked overall for Northern California was the capper to another great season for the Cougars. Even though they were Division III State School of the Year for 2010-11, the 2011-12 year was even better. After winning the NCS Division III football title, Campo was selected to play in the CIF Division III bowl game. The boys lost, but that just set the tone for everything else. The Cougars also were fourth in D3 boys cross country, fourth in D3 girls cross country (with individual winner Carrie Verdon leading the way), won an NCS title in boys volleyball and had one of the top swimming teams in the state. Campo’s swimmers, led by Steven Stumph and Sven Campbell, won the NCS team title, which is one sport not conducted in divisions.

Division IV:

Junipero Serra (Gardena)

The Cavaliers led the entire massive CIF Southern Section with four titles during the 2011-12 school year and because of that they are the best in their division in the state for overall excellence for the second time in three years. Serra’s section titles came in boys basketball, girls basketball, boys track and girls track. The boys tracksters followed up with a second-place finish at the CIF state meet while the girls did better and came home with the state crown. Serra didn’t have the big-time football team it had when it was overall State School of the Year for 2009-10, but that might change for the upcoming season.

Division V:

St. Margaret’s (San Juan Capistrano)

For the second straight season, the Tartans are tops in the state for Division V. We had them in the state rankings in football (9-3) and in baseball (18-9), but the reason they beat out all other D5 schools was depth plus a CIF Division V state crown in boys cross country. Two other teams to win CIFSS titles were in girls soccer and girls tennis. St. Margaret’s also was a section finalist in Division IVAA girls volleyball and was third in its division in boys track.

Special Mention School:

Mater Dei (Santa Ana)

If the Monarchs could have added a No. 1 state finish in baseball to their top finishes in boys hoops, girls hoops and water polo, their lack of depth would not have mattered. The baseball team still did very well and should be loaded again next spring even with Mr. Baseball Ty Moore moving on to UCLA. Mater Dei’s fortunes in girls basketball also now may not dip at all next season, either, with the announcement that sisters Karlle and Katie Lou Samuelson will be checking in this fall and will be leaving Edison of Huntington Beach. In addition to those four sports, Mater Dei also reached the CIFSS Division IAA semifinals in girls volleyball, made it to the quarterfinals in D1 girls soccer and scored well at the CIFSS Division III track meets.

Special Mention School:

Torrey Pines (San Diego)

The Falcons had perhaps their best overall showing since they were State School of the Year for 2002-03 and this time their success was spread more evenly between boys and girls. Last year, Torrey Pines was so strong on the girls side that it was tops in the state for girls sports only. This year’s haul of titles was highlighted by girls golf winning a second straight CIF state title in the fall. In addition to 10 CIF San Diego Section titles (one less than La Costa Canyon), the Falcons also were fourth in the CIF boys golf championships, scored well in both the boys and girls CIF D1 cross country meets and made the semifinals in their division of the CIF SoCal boys soccer regional playoffs.

Special Mention School:

Palo Alto

There surely weren’t many schools that had a trio of athletes quite like Melanie Wade (led girls volleyball team to second straight CIF D1 state title), B.J. Boyd (state’s top outfielder in baseball according to MLB draft) and Jasmine Tosky (one of the top swimmers in the nation). Boyd also was part of a football team that made it to the Central Coast Section Open Division final. The boys track team also finished sixth at the CIF state meet.

Special Mention School:

Corona del Mar (Newport Beach)

The Orange County Register’s No. 1 school is a top candidate for all-around athletic excellence nearly every year. For 2011-12, the fall was particularly impressive as the Sea Kings won a CIFSS title in football, made it to the CIFSS Division IA finals in girls volleyball and were in the D2 water polo semifinals. Later in the year, CdM won a CIFSS title in boys lacrosse, finished second in the CIFSS D1 boys swim meet and was runner-up in the CIFSS D2 boys volleyball playoffs.

Special Mention School:

Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)

The Dons were very close to Campolindo for the D3 state school honor and were a solid No. 3 in the San Diego Section behind La Costa Canyon and Torrey Pines. Cathedral Catholic wrapped up the school year by winning the Division III section title in baseball and also was No. 2 in the final overall state rankings. The girls volleyball team won the CIF D3 state crown in the fall, which came one week after the girls cross country team (5th) and the boys cross country team (7th) scored well in CIF state finals. The girls soccer team also chipped in with a semifinal appearance in the CIF SoCal regional playoffs.

Special Mention School:

Vista Murrieta (Murrieta)

With State Junior of the Year Su’a Cravens leading the way, the Broncos went 14-0 in football, won the CIFSS Inland Division title and were No. 4 in the state. They also were second in the fall in the CIF D1 girls cross country race. In the spring, Vista Murrieta shined with strong showings in both boys and girls track and reached the CIFSS Division I semifinals in softball.

Special Mention School:

Granite Bay

A CIF state title in boys golf was recently won by the Grizzlies and capped one of their best school years ever. The year began with coach Ernie Cooper’s football team winning the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title. Titles were later won in girls tennis and boys volleyball. Granite Bay also reached the D2 section final in baseball.

Special Mention School:

Santa Margarita (Rancho SM)

The Eagles were very good at the top of four sports and because of the many juniors who led the way – such as Beau Hossler Jr. in golf and Johnny Stanton in football – they could be in line for an even stronger 2012-13. Those four sports were football (CIF Division I state champions), boys golf (CIFSS champs and fifth in state tourney), girls soccer (one of the top-ranked teams in the nation) and girls cross country (sixth in the CIF D2 state meet).

Corrections or comments? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com. Note: Thanks to assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributions to these writeups.