Varsity high school soccer, basketball and wrestling teams are gearing up for the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs this week.
“Things are running as smoothly as they usually run at this time. The winter postseason for the section is by far our busiest time,” said Will DeBoard, assistant commissioner for the Sac-Joaquin section. “It’s just a pretty hectic time for pretty much everybody involved.”
Mother Lode high schools Sonora, Summerville, Calaveras and Bret Harte will all compete, and while some coaches are celebrating their seeding, others are rueing the selection process.
DeBoard said the seeding for each team is determined by a variety of factors, including the strength of the league, head-to-head matchups and MaxPreps online rankings.
A majority of Mother Lode teams are competing in Division 4, but some will compete in divisions 5 or 6 based on their enrollment and previous success in the playoffs.
DeBoard acknowledged the seeding process could be controversial, but the decisions made by the Sac-Joaquin section committee sought to ensure that the top four teams in any division would not meet in the semifinals.
But if history were any indication of the playoffs, any team that made it would have a fighting chance, he said.
Mother Lode League champions Summerville earned the first seed in Division 5, a well-deserved selection following their undefeated season, said Coach David Reel.
“I feel confident we are going to go out there and compete,” he said. “But we take nothing for granted.”
Summerville is set to compete against eighth seed Delhi High School on Tuesday. The recent spate of snow in Tuolumne mandated a change from their home field, and the game will be held following a girls soccer game at either Sonora High School or Bret Harte High School, Reel said.
Despite indoor practices focusing on short plays and ball control, Reel said his team felt confident in their first game.
“I think we have a good chance against Delhi as far as beating them,” he said.
Calaveras High School Athletic Director Michael Koepp said the Calaveras boys soccer team was disappointed by a 15th seed in Division 4 despite coming in second place behind Summerville in the Mother Lode League.
“I think we deserved better than what we got,” he said. “It’s a tough draw.”
Calaveras will face Livingston High School in Livingston at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Sonora High School remains at the top of the Mother Lode League and earned a fourth seed in Division 4, but Coach Kurt Wolken said no champion was determined because the final games of the season were not played due to weather.
“Point-wise we are on top spot, but that’s without playing second and third place,” he said.
The girls were still excited for the playoffs, he added, despite losing out on one player from a red card suspension and Izzy Lopez still out on an ACL injury.
“We have a really deep roster and I think the girls will really come together. I think they’re ready to go,” he said.
Sonora plays 13th seed Galt High School at home at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Calaveras High School, ranked fourth in the Mother Lode League, earned a fifth seed in Division 5, a surprise for the team, said Koepp.
“We snuck in the playoffs and had to win our last game to do so. We’re going in on a high of defeating a rival to get the last playoff spot,” he said.
Calaveras will face Hilmar High School at Hilmar at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Summerville, ranked second in the Mother Lodge League, earned a second seed in Division 6.
“I think that if we play the style of soccer we’ve worked on all year, we should feel pretty good about ourselves after we walk off the field,” said coach Dave Marquez. “It’s a good matchup but the kids still have to show up and play.”
Due to the field covered in snow, Summerville will play at either Sonora High School or Bret Harte High School.
Summerville faces off against seventh seed Ripon Christian at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Mother Lode League champions Sonora earned a second seed in 17-team Division 4 playoffs, which coach Lloyd Longeway said was more opportunity for the team to “keep building on what we do.”
These guys really worked hard for it,” he said. “We know that we are going to have to come out ready to play. We’re really just trying to take it one game at a time.”
Sonora faces 15th seed Riverbank High School on Wednesday at home at 7 p.m.
Calaveras High School, third place in the Mother Lode League, was seeded “a little higher than expected” with the ninth seed in Division 4, said Koepp.
“I think we’re at a good spot if you look at it as a whole. That’s encouraging,” he said.
Calaveras will face Bear River High School in Grass Valley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Mother Lode League champions Sonora earned a third seed in the 17-team Division 4 playoffs.
Coach Amy Emerald could not be reached for comment.
Sonora High School will play 14th seed Mountain House High School at home at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Mother Lode League third place Calaveras High School earned the seventh seed in Division 4, but Koepp said the school was again “not very happy with where we’re placed.”
Koepp said he believed the team should have earned at least a sixth or fifth seed due to the ranking against other teams in Division 4.
Calaveras will face Central Catholic High School on Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.
Calaveras High School sophomore Tyler Ferranti earned second place and Sonora High School sophomore Travis Pingree earned third place in the Division 5 section championships on Friday and Saturday.
Many others will compete in the CIF San-Joaquin Section Masters on Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16.
Sophomore Kodiak Stephens will compete for Bret Harte High School, and sophomore Tyler Ferranti, junior Owen Murphy, sophomore Donivan Giangregori, senior Elliot Houghten, junior Bradley Fuller and senior Austin Schoemaker will compete for Calaveras.
Sophomores Travis Pingree and Trevor Davis will compete for Sonora, and seniors Brennen Dibble and Austin Luckett will compete for Sonora.
Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.