The fall 2017 athletic season may well go down in Saint Francis High School history as one of the most successful season for the Lancers: The school had eight teams vying for titles at the NorCal or state levels, which is unprecedented in the history of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). From cross country to water polo, all teams that were eligible were in contention.
“Every team that had a chance to compete in the NorCal playoffs did, and many went on to win NorCal or state championships,” said Director of Athletics Michael Pilawski. “It’s always a great day to be a Lancer, but this fall, on and off the fields, the play was incredible.”
Coaches were proud to be part of this distinction. They set a high bar for their athletes, and they have their own theories to explain the success. Roberta Chisam, who coaches girls cross country, says the level of competition Saint Francis teams face makes all Lancer athletic programs better.
“Competing in the WCAL pushes everyone to constantly keep our programs at its highest level every year, and this is why you see so many WCAL teams in the state final competitions,” said Coach Chisam, who also teaches science.
Football coach Greg Calcagno ’83 says the successes Saint Francis experienced this fall speaks to the support of the athletic department and the dedication and talent of the athletes and coaches.
“Every Saint Francis team has very high standards and works hard to succeed on and off the field,” said Coach Calcagno, who also serves as the school’s alumni director. “There is an expectation that our teams will compete very hard and in a way that honors the game and those that have worn the brown and white uniforms prior to our current players.”
For girl’s water polo coach and art teacher Brendon Reutebuch, it is often his fellow coaches who inspire him.
“I work with dedicated coaches who always have the student-athlete’s best interest at heart,” he said. “I marvel at how much effort and passion Coach Pompei displays with his boys and how they reciprocate back.”
Phil Pompei ’08, who coaches the boys cross country team, turned the attention away from himself. What’s important about the fall season’s accomplishments, he says, is not how many championships were won but that they were won with students embracing the athletic department’s credo of “effort, teamwork and sportsmanship.”
Here’s how Lancer teams fared this fall:
Girls Cross – CIF State Division II 9th place
Boys Cross – CIF State Division II Champions
Football – CIF State Division 2-AA Bowl Champions
Girls Golf – CIF NorCal 5th place
Girls Tennis – CIF NorCal 2nd Place
Girls Volleyball – CIF NorCal Open Division Qualifier
Girls Water Polo – CIF NorCal Division II Champions
Boys Water Polo – CIF NorCal Division II Champions
Note: All fall teams eligible for CIF NorCal/State Playoffs qualified. Field Hockey does not have CIF NorCal Playoffs; they were CCS semifinalist.