Winning last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship in boys water polo has earned Santa Barbara High a promotion to the head of the class.
The CIF-SS announced playoff divisions for this fall in boys water polo, girls volleyball, girls tennis, and cross country.
The CIF-SS Executive Council, however, changed the procedure for football, delaying the selection of playoff divisions until after the regular season. The 14 playoff divisions will be determined by the season’s results and seeded by the Cal Preps.com power rankings, regardless of league affiliation and finish.
Teams were previously placed in their CIF divisions before the season started by virtue of the results from the past two years.
Boys water polo divisions were determined by a power-rating system from last season. The Dons were placed in the combined Division 1/2 after having won last year’s Division 3 crown. At the end of next fall’s regular season, the top eight teams in that combined division will be seeded into the Division 1 bracket while the others will be placed in the Division 2 bracket.
Santa Barbara is coming off its first CIF-SS boys water polo title since 2006, having rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat Schurr, 9-7, in the Division 3 title game.
“It’s actually been so long I forgot how good it felt, and man, it felt so good when it was over,” longtime Dons coach Mark Walsh declared after the triumph. “I was just hoping to be a semifinalist based on what we had, and as the season went on, I got less confident in that.
“But we were able to fix it just in time, and I kept buying in on these guys.”
Several of those guys are moving on to college water polo. They include CIF Division 3 Player of the Year Chase Raisin, who will be playing at Santa Clara next year. Other graduating Dons include All-CIF selection Dylan Fogg and two others who joined them on the All-Channel League team: Adam Coffin and Adam Kubinyi.
But Santa Barbara will be able to build around two returning sophomores: All-CIF goalkeeper Wyatt Pieretti and All-Channel League field player Bronson Blix. Juniors Jordan Hayes and Nate Sweeney will also return after having received all-conference honorable mention.
Dos Pueblos, which lost in the first round of last year’s Division 2 boys water polo playoffs, was also placed in the CIF’s combined Division 1/2. San Marcos and Santa Ynez will remain in Division 3.
San Marcos is the highest-placed county school in girls volleyball. The Royals, who advanced to last year’s Division 3 quarterfinals, will remain in that division for this fall. Girls volleyball placement, unlike boys water polo, was based on results from the previous two regular seasons.
Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara, both playoff teams last year, are dropping down a division in girls volleyball. The Chargers made it to the second round of the Division 3 playoffs but were placed in Division 4 for this fall. The Dons, who lost their first-round match in Division 4 to Cerritos, will now be playing in Division 5.
Girls tennis placement was also based on the last two regular seasons although the divisions are subject to revision during the season. Santa Barbara and Cate will start in Division 1 while San Marcos and Dos Pueblos are in Division 2.
Boys and girls cross country divisions were determined by last year’s school enrollments but could be revised by significant changes in this year’s figures.
The complete CIF-SS playoff divisions for all county schools:
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL — Division 3: San Marcos. Division 4: Dos Pueblos. Division 5: Santa Barbara. Division 6: Cate, Laguna Blanca. Division 7: Bishop Diego, Cabrillo, Lompoc, Santa Ynez. Division 8: Carpinteria, Dunn. Division 9: Garden Street Academy, Midland, Providence, Valley Christian Academy.
BOYS WATER POLO — Divisions 1-2: Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara. Division 3: San Marcos, Santa Ynez. Division 5: Cabrillo. Division 6: Carpinteria, Cate. Division 7: Lompoc.
GIRLS TENNIS — Division 1: Cate, Santa Barbara. Division 2: Dos Pueblos, San Marcos. Division 3: Santa Ynez. Division 4: Cabrillo, Carpinteria, Laguna Blanca, Lompoc. Division 5: Bishop Diego, Dunn, Providence.
BOYS/GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY — Division 2: Santa Barbara. Division 3: Dos Pueblos, Lompoc, San Marcos. Division 4: Cabrillo, Carpinteria, Santa Ynez. Division 5: Bishop Diego, Cate, Dunn, Garden Street Academy, Laguna Blanca, Midland, Providence, Valley Christian Academy.