Some familiar Southern Santa Barbara County non-league opponents will become league opponents in the near future for three Northern Santa Barbara County sports programs.
Come the 2018-19 school year, Los Padres League members Cabrillo, Lompoc and Santa Ynez will join Southern Santa Barbara County schools San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos in the Channel League.
The three future Channel League members have gone against the three current Channel League members numerous times in various non-league games in fall, winter and spring sports over the years.
The two-year re-leaguing plan took place at a CIF Southern Section Northern Section meeting at Oxnard High School Thursday.
"It's a two-year plan, and initially I think this is the best option for us," Lompoc athletic director Don Cross said by phone Thursday night.
"Going forward, we'll see. It's a very competitive league down there in a lot of sports, and in some of our sports we're going to have to step our game up."
Cabrillo, Lompoc and Santa Ynez needed to find a new league after five of the eight LPL members switched from the CIF Southern Section to the Central Section, effective in the 2018-19 school year.
Valley Christian Academy stayed put in the eight-team Coast Valley League. Every other Santa Maria Valley sports program will be in the Central Section come the 2018-19 school year. Dunn remained in the six-team Condor League.
Santa Ynez girls soccer coach Rob Cantrell, in a mass email that the Times received, noted that 39 of the 42 proposals at the meeting had Santa Ynez, Cabrillo and Lompoc in the Channel League.
Along with the five LPL teams, the entire PAC 8 League switched to the Central Section, effective in the 2018-19 school year. Central Section officials approved the move at a section meeting in Porterville in January.
"For our school, joining the Channel League made the most sense, travel-wise," Santa Ynez athletic director Ken Fredrickson said by phone Thursday night.
"In football, we'll be fine. The Los Padres League in girls basketball, with Lompoc and Cabrillo, has gotten stronger over the years and it should be a competitive situation there."
The future Channel League members are a combined 5-2 in football against their current Channel League counterparts over the last two years. Perennial Los Padres League powerhouse Lompoc is 3-0, with all of its wins coming by lopsided margins.
Dos Pueblos, though, is traditionally strong in many boys and girls sports. The San Marcos boys and girls track and field teams are traditional powerhouses, and the Santa Barbara boys soccer team went 20-2-5 last season.
Plus, "They have very strong aquatics programs," in the Channel League, said Frederickson.
The Santa Ynez girls water polo team won the CIF Southern Section Division 7 championship last month. The San Marcos girls water polo team lost in the divisional sectional finals. The San Marcos boys team also made it to the playoffs, losing in the first round.
Channel League swimming programs are traditionally strong.
"Obviously the stronger sports programs (among the three current LPL schools) will be happy with the re-leaguing, and the weaker ones won't be so happy," said Fredrickson.
"We're happy with our situation. In football, for instance, you can go .500 and make the playoffs."
The Santa Ynez football team went 7-3 in 2015 and 8-2 last year. However, only league champion Lompoc got an automatic playoff bid out of the five-team LPL, and Santa Ynez did not get an at-large spot either time.
As part of the shuffling, Buena and Ventura High Schools will leave the Channel League and join the Pacific View League.