San Domenico is building a winning athletics program


Harry Maxon

Women’s varsity basketball team celebrates winning the Northern California championship

Maja Cykowska, news section editor

While the days get longer and we can feel the spring breeze, most of the San Domenico winter sports teams just finished their long and successful seasons. 

After the huge success of a women’s varsity basketball and winning the division V state championship during last year’s winter season, other San Domenico winter sports teams, (men’s varsity basketball and women’s and men’s varsity soccer) stepped up presenting impressively competitive performance this winter season. The huge success of San Domenico winter sports teams proves a tremendous improvement of the school athletic program. 

San Domenico athletic teams compete in BCL West, (Bay Counties League West) which is recognized as one of the most competitive leagues in the area. Every year, after the end of regular league season, coaches of the participating teams meet to recognize the best players of the league by honoring them with first-team all league, second-team all league and honorable mention awards (coaches are not allowed to vote on their own players). This year 13 of San Domenico winter sports athletes were recognized, with six of them placing among the top honorees, in first BCL teams. 

“That’s a huge sign of respect, that the other coaches in our league are looking at San Domenico and saying, ‘we’re gonna put people from this team in our first team and our second team standings,’” Mark Churchill said, athletics director at San Domenico. “To get that many people this year is huge because there aren’t that many slots available,” he added.

Three out of four winter teams qualified into NCS (North Coast Section Championships). The varsity men’s soccer team ended their successful and progressive season in the first round of the division IV NCS Tournament losing 2-0 to Mt. Diablo High School. They finished the season with a 6-5-4 (win-loss-tie) record and played seven games without conceding a goal, which is an impressive improvement compared to last year’s 3-10-1 (win-loss-tie) record. 

“We did something some people would say was impossible to do for this program in two years,” Angelo Neto said, men’s varsity soccer team captain. “It was really special for me to be part of this young program and see our progress and culture improving each of the two seasons.”

Neto emphasized that the team competed every game. Placing 3rd in a competitive BCL rankings, finishing the season with a positive record and more scored and conceded goals was a great accomplishment for a young team.

Both women’s and men’s varsity basketball teams managed to get into NCS semi finals, which qualified them into the state champions tournament – a battle for a state championship. Considering their tough preseason schedule and outstanding league performance, CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) decided to move both teams up to division IV seeding men’s team #7 and women’s #1. 

After an outstanding winter, mens varsity basketball ended their run in a second round of an extremely competitive division IV tournament, losing against Half Moon Bay High School, who later on ended up playing for a state championship in a final of the state tournament. Men’s varsity basketball finished with a 22-9 (win-loss) record,which is a tremendous success compared to last year’s 4-19 (win-loss). 

Women’s varsity basketball, which also got moved up to division IV State Tournament, showed their character and determination by winning back-to-back Northern California Division IV Championship in a close regional finals game against Menlo School. The teams noted an extremely rare back-to-back state championship appearances and ended their unforgettable season, losing by 4 points to Shalhevet.

A young women’s varsity soccer team has also been progressively building its program. Despite not being placed as one of the top teams in BCL rankings, the team managed to place a player in both BCF first-team and second-team standings. The young team, which wasn’t able to get a win last year, finished their season with three wins, conceding 25% fewer goals than during the previous season. 

“I think the team has definitely improved from last season,” Saliah Johnson said, the varsity women’s soccer team captain. “Last year I think we just played on the same team. This year was more working together as one to make sure that we end up with a good result.”

Churchill, asked about the factors that help our teams success, emphasizes the competitiveness of the leagues San Domenico competes in.

“The strength of our schedules and playing in an extremely tough League BCL is critical. There is no room for getting by easily but it makes us better so that that gives us that postseason success,” Churchill said.

We can’t forget about the importance of amazing San Domenico coaches who play a crucial role in creating the San Domenico Athletic Program.

“I feel like everything’s really come together in terms of coaching in terms of team chemistry. Having Tristan Bowen and Fiona O’Sullivan for soccer and of course coach Mike Fulton and Tyler Gaffaney who have been incredible changed the programs from the start,” Churchill said. “But then, having some success with basketball and soccer in the last few years has really brought interest in new students wanting to come to our school to play sports. Getting those new kids here [San Domenico], who really love the sport, love playing, has brought athletic competitiveness to our teams.”