Central Catholic High School has been named Division IV State School of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports, which bases the award on the overall success of the school’s athletic programs.
The Raiders, who previously won the Division V award in 1999-2000 and 2004-05, dethrone Serra (Gardena), which took the honor the previous two seasons.
“That’s a huge honor and it’s definitely exciting news to get,” said Central Catholic athletic director Billy Hylla. “It’s always nice to be recognized for your successes.”
Cal-Hi pointed out on its website that Division IV was the most difficult to analyze since there wasn’t a school that set itself apart from the others by winning a pair of CIF championships.
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This fall, under section realignment, the Raiders will join the Valley Oak League and will be considered a Division III team for Cal-Hi’s rankings.
“I definitely challenged our coaches and we all challenged the kids with that being our last year in the WAC,” said Hylla. “With us moving up next year, we knew we had to step up our level of play. Hopefully, we see more of it next year.”
In addition to winning a state football title in convincing fashion for a second consecutive season, Central Catholic was No. 2 in the final D-V boys basketball rankings and took sixth at the boys golf state tournament.
Also, Central Catholic was 22-7 and league co-champs in baseball, reached the Sac-Joaquin Section finale in girls soccer and was second in the section in wrestling.
“We saw improvement in all our programs last year,” said Hylla. “Like with our girls basketball team, which advanced to the NorCal playoffs.”
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) was voted the overall State School of the Year, while St. John Bosco (Bellflower) was the D-II choice. Chaminade (West Hills) won the D-III prize and St. Joseph (Alameda) took the D-V honor.
When Cal-Hi considered just boys sports, Mater Dei still was the top school, though Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) was tops when only girls sports were considered.