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Recapping a landmark year for San Francisco prep sports

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These St. Ignatius fans were just a few of the jubilant spectators at high school sporting events around the City throughout a magical year. (Courtesy / Paul Ghiglieri)

As high school athletes turn in their uniforms and don their graduation regalia, it’s time to look back at what’s been an extremely impressive year for young athletes all around San Francisco. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest stories in City prep sports this school year:

Galileo football: The CIF Division 6-A Champions have been hailed time and time again, but it should be thoroughly appreciated once more. The Lions (11-2) were truly state champions, earning their crown less than five miles from the border between the north and the south in Calexico. They’re also a perfect representation of a California state championship team— showcasing incredible diversity amongst the roster and coaching staff.

Irish regain Bruce-Mahoney: The Bruce-Mahoney trophy is back on Ellis Street for the first time since 2012. Five red zone stops at Kezar Stadium and a walkoff win on the diamond at AT&T Park gave Sacred Heart Cathedral the storied rivalry trophy between the Irish and St. Ignatius for just the second time this decade.

Soccer: When the CIF announced the inaugural Northern California soccer championships, few were expecting the absolute dominance that the San Francisco teams showed. The St. Ignatius boys took the Division I crown with a thrilling overtime win over Montgomery in Santa Rosa just days after taking down a top national team in the Folsom Bulldogs. The Wildcats weren’t the only ones to make an impression, though. The Lowell girls, winners of 21 straight AAA titles and 23 in 25 years, impressed as Division IV champs, showing that they weren’t just a big fish in a small pond. For all that the AAA has done in the last few years, seeing a team that’s absolutely dominated the league impress on such a big stage is a testament to the entire City. Leadership and University’s boys also reached regional championship games before ultimately falling.

Basketball thrillers: While no San Francisco team managed to match the run that Mission went on last year, there was certainly no shortage of entertainment or drama. The girls teams from Sacred Heart Cathedral and Lowell won Northern California titles. St. Ignatius battled injuries to finish third in the West Catholic Athletic League and swept the season series with Serra for the first time since 2001, winning a Jungle Game thriller in San Mateo and blowing past the Padres at home in the Beach Game. Sacred Heart Cathedral’s boys played a pair of thrilling games against SI and Riordan, splitting both series. Riordan’s incredible overtime win over the Irish on the night the Crusader Forum court was dedicated to Kevin Restani — highlighted by Watida Mukukula’s three to force OT— was one of the best moments in San Francisco prep sports in decades. The Crusaders weren’t done there, also coming back from down 12 in the CCS Division III Championship to take down Monterey. Arguably the best postseason game in the entire state was a first round matchup in the CIF Division III Tournament at Kezar Pavilion, with Spencer Spivy scoring 45 to lead University past Patterson in three overtimes.

Lincoln volleyball: Sarah Blumenfeld, Lana Radakovic and company led the Mustangs to a 36-9 record and a Northern California Division III title.

Enos leaps past competition: St. Ignatius athlete Alex Enos capped off his senior season with a second-place finish in the state long jump competition. The switch from soccer to track certainly paid off for Enos, who posted the top national jump earlier in the year at 25 feet. He wasn’t the only SI jumper to impress, as Delaney Peranich and Megan Ronan also reached the second day of the state championships.

Prep Focus writer Ethan Kassel covers high school sports throughout the Bay Area. If you have a story tip, game to watch or player to track, email him at ethankassel@gmail.com.

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