After four straight CIF-Southern Section swimming and diving championships and three straight track and field titles, the Santa Margarita Eagles are looking at running the count to five and four as the spring 2017 season gets underway later this month.            

Perennial powers Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks (boys’ track), Serra (girls’ track), Loyola (boys’ swimming and golf), Servite (boys’ golf) are again expected to be among the top teams in the Southland. All --- and their dozens of Catholic school competitors --- are pointing to post-season competition that begins after May 4 and --- for some -- could run into and beyond school graduations in late May or early June.

This week, Angelus continues its Spring Sports Preview with an overview of track and field, swimming and diving, and boys’ golf and tennis.

Boys' & Girls' Swimming

2017 Highlights (boys): Both Loyola (Division 1) and Damien (Division 2) narrowly missed CIF-SS titles in 2017, as Loyola was edged by Dana Hills, 292.5 to 282, and Foothill nosed out Damien, 213 to 209. Loyola and Damien each won divisional titles in 2016.

2017 Highlights (girls): Orange County powerhouses J.Serra and Santa Margarita are responsible for the last six CIF-SS Division 1 titles. J.Serra, coached by Mary McLaughlin, was first in 2012 and 2013, and Santa Margarita (led by coaches Rich and Ron Blanc) has won the last four. Santa Margarita’s 200-meter freestyle relay team won the state title last year.

Last year’s CIF-SS individual champions (boys): La Salle’s James Torrez (D-4) won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke for the second straight year. Teammate Derek Chan (D-4), won the 200 individual medley, and the Lancers won the D-4 200 medley relay. Ther winners: Loyola’s Sean Lee (D-1), 100 fly and 200 medley; Loyola’s 200 and 400 free relay teams (D-1); and Mater Dei’s Christian Hockenburg (D-1), 50 free.

Last year’s CIF-SS individual champions (girls): Santa Margarita’s Samantha Shelton (200 free and 100 back), Ella Ristic (500 free), Anicka Delgado (100 butterfly) all won Division 1 titles, and the Eagles’ 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams set CIF D-1 records.

This year’s participants: 41 Catholic schools from L.A. and Orange will compete in 10 leagues and four divisions.

2018 Schedule: First meets Feb. 24, last meets May 5; CIF-SS diving finals May 7-8;  CIF-SS swim preliminaries May 9-11, finals May 10-12, all at Riverside Aquatics Complex; CIF state championships May 18-19 at Clovis Aquatics Complex.

Track & Field

2017 Highlights (boys): Led by Coach Joe McNab, Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks has dominated Division 3 in recent years, winning the CIF-SS team title in 2015 and 2016, and finishing second in 2017 to champion Servite of Anaheim. Individually, Damien’s Zachery Shinnick won the CIF (D-3), Masters’ and state championships at 400 meters.

Other individual CIF-SS winners were Santa Margarita’s Blake Hennesay, 100 meters and 300-meter hurdles (D-3); Servite’s Kyle Sandoval, 110-meter hurdles (D-3); Paraclete’s Zack Nelson, 110m and 300m hurdles (D-4); Alemany’s Earnest Sears, high jump (D-3); J.Serra’s Fernando Martinez, pole vault (D-3); Chaminade’s Khalid Hester, long jump (D-3); and Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks’ Kylen Wilborn, shot put (D-3).

2017 Highlights (girls): Santa Margarita, coached by Gil Garcia, won its third straight CIF-SS Division 3 championship. Individual CIF-SS champions were Serra’s Jasmine Reed, 100 and 200 meters (D-4); Serra’s 400-meter relay team (D-4); Marymount’s Malina Yago, 800 meters (D-4); Bishop Amat’s Trinity Ruelas, 1600 and 3200 meters (D-3); Mater Dei’s 400m relay team (D-2); Santa Margarita’s Kate Thomas, pole vault, and Liana Edgar, high jump (D-3); and Louisville’s Alladia Patterson, shot put and discus (D-4).

This year’s participants: 53 Catholic schools from L.A. and Orange will compete in four divisions.

Returning state championship meet qualifiers: Blake Hennesay, Santa Margarita senior, 100 meters (boys); Jazmyne Frost, Serra (Gardena) junior, 100 meters. and Malina Yago, Marymount senior, 800 meters (girls).

2018 Schedule: First regular-season meets Feb. 24, last RS meets May 4; CIF-SS preliminaries in all 4 division May 12; division finals May 19 at El Camino College; Masters Meet (state qualifying) May 26 at El Camino College; state championships June 1-2 at Buchanan HS, Clovis.          

Boys’ Golf

2017 Highlights: Loyola and Chaminade finished 1-2 in the CIF-SS Central Region team finale, while Servite captured the Western Region title. It was the fifth straight CIF team title for Loyola, and the third straight top-3 finish for Servite.

Chaminade’s Will Draper tied for second in the Southern California Golf Assn. individual championships. Loyola’s Connor Brown and Servite’s Jack Rahon and Kyle Kinnane also qualified for the tournament which has produced only one local Catholic champion: Santa Margarita’s Steve Conway in 2000.

This year’s participants: 31 Catholic schools from L.A. and Orange will compete.

2018 Schedule: First regular season matches Feb. 24, last RS matches May 4; CIF-SS individual regionals May 7, division team championships May 14-15; CIF-SS SCGA team qualifier & individual finals May 17; regional state qualifier May 24; state championship May 30 at San Gabriel CC. 

Boys’ Tennis

2017 Highlights: J.Serra (23-4), the only local Catholic school to reach a CIF-SS final (Division 3), was edged by Buckley, 76-69 in games won, after the teams tied 9-9 in sets won. The last Catholic school to win a CIF-SS title was Santa Margarita, Division 2 in 2015.

Last year’s league champions: Bishop Amat (Del Rey), Santa Margarita (Trinity).

This year’s participants: 23 Catholic schools from L.A. and Orange will compete in five divisions.

2018 Schedule: First regular season matches Feb. 13; last RS matches May 4; CIF-SS team tennis playoffs begin May 8, finals May 18; SoCal regional team championships May 25-26 in Claremont.