A change to the postseason formatting was made by the CIF Southern Section office, which released its 2014-2106 playoff groupings Tuesday. Each of the four local schools were affected in either the make-up of their league or respective division. Track and field, basketball and cross-country, which change their playoff seedings annually, were not involved.
The league only changed divisions in four sports, but perhaps the biggest move came in football, where the league stood pat.
The Pacific League, which is made up of locals Burbank and Burroughs highs along with Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Glendale, Hoover, Muir and Pasadena, competes in the Southeast Division (Division VII), which swapped out the Hacienda League in favor of the renovated Mission League, which consists of St. Francis, Cathedral, Harvard-Westlake, Salesian, La Salle and St. Paul.
The Mission League, which participated in the Western Division (Division IV) last season, will join a Southeast Division (Division VII) already with the Del Rio, San Gabriel Valley and Suburban leagues.
The decision to bring in the Mission League didn’t sit well with Burroughs Coach Keith Knoop.
“I would have definitely not liked to have seen the Mission League in our division,” Knoop said. “With the Hacienda League leaving, I don’t know about the Mission League. We’re playing schools that give scholarships to top players.
“Also, if you look at Crescenta Valley, they went 8-2 last year and missed the playoffs because they were told that our league was too weak. So, what happens, we get the Hacienda League swapped with the Mission League. Does that make sense?”
Knoop said the league would not appeal the decision despite the general disappointment.
On the flip side, new Burbank Coach Richard Broussard welcomed a challenge.
“I’m excited and I’m all about competition,” Broussard said. “I love playing against guys from private schools because that only makes our program stronger. That means if we end up winning that ring, it will mean even more.”
St. Francis is coming off a 10-3 season and advancement to the Western Division (Division IV) semifinals in 2013.
While the Golden Knights did not face a Pacific League opponent last year, St. Francis has proven a Pacific League tormentor the last five years in compiling a 10-0 record with victories over Arcadia, Burroughs and Crescenta Valley.
“If you look at the teams in our league, I think this was a fair move,” St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds said. “Everybody wants to look at what we did last year and base decisions off that season.
“We went 10-3 last year and that was one of the best teams I’ve had here in 14 years. We’re not going to go 10-3 every year, so the Southeast Division is a good move.”
As for other sports, the Pacific League is being bumped up from Division V to Division IV in both boys’ and girls’ water polo, likely due to the Crescenta Valley girls winning a 2013 divisional title and the Glendale boys taking the crown in the fall.
There were also some moves down, as Pacific League boys’ tennis and girls’ soccer dropped one division to Divisions II and IV, respectively.
The Pacific League remained in Division II-A in girls’ volleyball, in Division II in baseball, swimming, girls’ tennis and boys’ volleyball and in Division III in boys’ soccer and softball.
Providence High and the Liberty League are making two moves in girls’ soccer and volleyball.
The Pioneers will move with their league from Division VII to VI in girls’ soccer and from Division IV-A to Division IV-AA in volleyball.
Other than those two spots, the Liberty League will remain in Division V in boys’ volleyball, Division VI in baseball and Division VII in softball and boys’ soccer
Santa Fe and Santa Cruz leagues
Perhaps the biggest change will take place in softball for the Guards, who will no longer be part of the Santa Cruz League in 2015 and will moved into a new Catholic Athletic Association League “A” that has yet be assigned a name.
The Guards are the Santa Cruz League champions and currently top-seeded in Division VI.
As for football, should Bell-Jeff compete in 2014, the Guards will be in a revamped Santa Fe League that waved goodbye to powerhouse Salesian, the Northeast Division champion that moved into the Mission League.
The league will still consist of St. Anthony, St. Genevieve and St. Monica and will welcome Don Bosco Tech, formerly of the Camino Real League, and freelance team St. Pius X–St. Matthias Academy.
In girls’ volleyball, the Guards will move from the Santa Cruz League to the Santa Fe League, which competes in the same division, which is Division IV-A. Boys’ volleyball is also unchanged as the Guards will again compete in Division IV in the Santa Fe League.
The Santa Cruz league will also remain in Division VII in girls’ soccer.