The 2018 CIF Central Section divisional fall playoff assignments for Central Coast schools for the 2018-19 school year have been released.
Among other developments three PAC 5 League football teams, plus St. Joseph of the Los Padres League, are in Division 1 in football.
Orcutt Academy and St. Joseph are in Division 1 in girls tennis. Righetti and Santa Maria are in Division 1 in boys and girls water polo. Those are the only other Central Section Division 1 fall playoff assignments for Valley teams.
Early last year the Central Section office approved the request of several Central Coast schools, including five of the six Santa Maria Valley schools (Valley Christian Academy will stay in the Southern Section) to move from the CIF's Southern Section to the Central Section.
Four Valley athletic directors the Times contacted Friday seemed content enough with the playoff divisions their respective teams were placed in.
"I could care less," Pioneer Valley's Greg Lanthier said when he was asked if he was happy with his teams' divisional placings.
"I'm fine with it. I think the divisional placings were fair. They made sense."
Santa Maria's Brian Wallace said, "They were a good neighbor. We asked to go (to the Central Section). They didn't ask us to go in there.
"The Central Section is pretty small, so it's not like there were a lot of choices," for those who assigned the playoff sections.
Because of the huge disparity of member schools in the respective sections, there are fewer divisions in most fall Central Section sports than there are in most fall Southern Section sports, though there are the same number of boys and girls cross country divisions, five for each section.
There were six 11-man football playoff divisions in the Central Section in 2017. In the Southern Section, there were 13. There were three girls water polo divisions in the Central Section in 2017. In the winter of 2017, there were seven girls water polo divisions in the Southern Section.
Girls water polo is a fall sport in the Central Section and a winter sport in the Southern Section. The other fall sports are the same in both sections.
Here is a list of the fall playoff assignments for each Valley School.
Orcutt Academy: Boys and girls cross country, Division 3; girls tennis, Division 1; girls volleyball, Division 3. Orcutt Academy will stay in 8-man football. There is only one 8-man division in the Central Section. The Spartans made it to the semifinals of the Southern Section Large Schools Playoffs last year.
Pioneer Valley: All sports except girls volleyball, including football, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls water polo and girls tennis, will be in Division 2. Girls volleyball will be in Division 3.
Righetti: Boys and girls water polo, Division 1; football, Division 2; boys and girls cross country, Division 3; girls tennis, Division 2; girls volleyball, Division 3.
Santa Maria: Football, Division 3; boys cross country, Division 2; girls cross country, Division 3; boys and girls water polo, Division 1; girls tennis and girls volleyball, Division 3.
St. Joseph: Football, Division 1; boys and girls cross country, Division 3; boys water polo, Division 2; girls tennis, Division 1; girls volleyball, Division 3.
In the fall of 2017, there were three Central Section playoff divisions in boys water polo and girls golf, and five in girls tennis and girls volleyball.
Central Section division assignments for Central Coast girls golf teams were not listed.
St. Joseph athletic director Tom Mott said, "I think the first year will be a chance for the Central Section to look at where our teams are at and go from there," as far as future divisional placing.
"Obviously, playing Division 1 football will be a challenge for us, but I think that's also a sign of respect for our program. We're going to be in Division 1 in basketball," for the Winter 2018-19 season.
Chad McKenzie of Orcutt Academy said, "The only thing that makes me a little nervous is our numbers are down in girls tennis. We didn't have a JV team last year."
The Orcutt varsity rolled to its second straight Los Padres League championship.
"I kind of figured since we were a small public school we would wind up in a lower league anyway, so I'm happy," said McKenzie.
"The writing was on the wall. Everyone was moving, and if others didn't follow there wouldn't be a (Los Padres League). So far, everything's been smooth."
Wallace said, "We haven't been real successful in boys cross country. We have one good year (that would be last year when the Saints won the LPL championship), and they put us in Division 2 and put our girls in Division 3.
"That's the only sport I had any concerns with, though. Overall, (those who assigned the fall playoff sections for the Central Coast Schools) did the best they could."
Every Arroyo Grande fall sports team will be in the Central Section's Division 1, along with every Paso Robles fall sports squad except girls cross country and boys water polo. Those teams will be in Division 2.
Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said in an e-mail to the Times last week that leagues would be essentially the same as they were in the fall of 2017.
It was unclear what that meant for the current Los Padres League, since current league members Cabrillo, Lompoc and Santa Ynez are staying in the Southern Section, and Orcutt Academy plays 8-man football. Fall Central Section leagues for the 2018-19 school year were not available at press time.
Righetti athletic director Kevin Barbarick was unavailable for comment.