Northgate and De La Salle boys claim NCS spring titles –


Northgate and De La Salle boys claim NCS spring titles
Northgate's boys volleyball team posted four 3-0 victories in four games in the North Coast Section Division II playoffs this month. It was the school's third NCS boys volleyball title after previous championships in 1993 and 2009. ( Photo courtesy of Northgate Athletics)

CONCORD and WALNUT CREEK, CA (May 14, 2024) – Northgate got off to a great start in this spring's North Coast Section competition as the Bronco boys won the Division II volleyball championship and finished second in the lacrosse playoffs. De La Salle captured the D'I championship in swimming and diving, but was denied another lacrosse title as the three-time defending champions were defeated in the title game.

The top-seeded Broncos in volleyball had as good a run as possible with four straight 3-0 wins in the tournament, defeating Windsor, Livermore, Alameda and No. 2 seed Campolindo in the final. The win over Campo was the third in four meetings between the Diablo Athletic League rivals this year. Northgate went 31-3 heading into the CIF playoffs in Northern California this week.

Defending champion De La Salle was seeded third in D-II and lost to Campo in the semifinals.

Local swimming and diving champions

De La Salle won the NCS boys swimming and diving team championship for the third straight year at the Concord Community Pool earlier this month. It's eighth overall for the Spartans, breaking a tie with neighbor Ygnacio Valley, which won seven section swimming titles. Locally, Northgate also has three boys titles and Concord High has two. (Photo courtesy of De La Salle Athletics)

De La Salle captured the NCS title for the third straight year on the boys' swimming and diving team, while Carondelet finished second to Campolindo on the girls' side as the Cougars looked to defend their 2023 title.

The Spartans did not earn a first-place finish, but team strength, including a third-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle relay, earned one winning point overall. Northgate placed sixth in the competition.

Clayton Valley Charter junior Molly Gray once again dominated the girls diving competition, claiming her third straight NCS title. But that was just a prelude to last week's CIF State Meet, as the Ugly Eagles diver finally captured her first state title in the one-meter diving after placing second as a freshman and sophomore.

Mason Wendler of Northgate and Diego Castaneda of Clayton Valley Charter were the outstanding local boy artists at NCS. Wendler was first in the 100 free and second in the 200 free, while Castaneda won the 100 backstroke title. Northgate won the boys' 400m free relay.

Carondelet failed to repeat as NCS champions, but the Cougars won the 200 medley relay, Elisabeth Butler won the 100 butterfly and Madison O'Connell was double champion in the 100 backstroke and 100 free. O'Connell continued her NCS successes with a championship in the 100 back at the state meet last weekend in Clovis, helping the Cougars to a second team finish.

Baseball and softball playoffs begin

De La Salle baseball has been nearly as dominant as the school's football and wrestling programs over the past 15 years, but the Spartans are ranked No. 2 this week heading into the NCS playoffs.

Almost as surprising is the fact that crosstown rival Clayton Valley Charter, which lost the section championship game to DLS last spring, failed to reach the tournament with a rare aggregate loss that came as the Ugly Eagles lost their final five games of the season .

East Bay Athletic League rival Granada of Livermore is in first place in the Division I playoffs, followed by De La Salle. The two schools met once this season, with Granada winning 5-4.

College Park is a third seed and could face DLS in the semifinals if each wins its first two games. The Falcons are the last team to deny the Concord school an NCS title in 2015.

Ygnacio Valley played freelance this year, earning the Wolves a spot in the Division IV tournament.

In Division I softball, College Park is also the third seed, while CVCHS is ranked 12th. Carondelet is seeded eighth in D-II and Diablo Athletic League champion Northgate is seeded No. 11 in D-II.

Athletics reaches peak of the season

De La Salle won the Tri-Valley NCS meet last Saturday and hopes to compete for the championship at the NCS Meet of Champions at Dublin High this Friday and Saturday. Trey Caldwell (3200 m), Anthony Dean (triple jump) and Jayden Nicholas (400 m) all won their events at the Tri-Valley meet, sparking the team victory that also included a first place finish for the 4×100 meter relay which included Spartans.

Taking second place in their events were sophomore Jaden Jefferson in the 100- and 200-meter dash, Darrell Cenido in the 110 hurdles and freshman Chase Young in the 300 hurdles.

The Clayton Valley Charter boys placed ninth in the meet, including a first place finish in the 4×400 relay.

The Ugly Eagles girls placed fourth in the team standings, led by Calgary's Zoe Lahanas, who won the 800 meters, and Vivienne Magu, who took second in the long jump. The CVCHS 4×400 relay team finished third.

Carondelet's Malia Velasco won the 100 hurdles.

De La Salle second at LAX

The third-seeded De La Salle lacrosse team was unable to defend its NCS DI lacrosse championship, but the Spartans defeated No. 2 Redwood 13-12 in a thrilling overtime semifinal to advance to the championship game They lost to Marin Catholic for the second time this season. The Spartans had won three straight NCS championships.

The Northgate boys, also seeded third, made it to the Division II final with three straight wins before losing to top-seeded Justin-Siena of Napa.

Carondelet made it to the DI girls semifinals before losing in the playoffs for the second straight year to top seed and eventual champion San Ramon Valley.

Jay Bedecarre

Jay Bedecarre

Jay Bedecarré is a longtime Concord and Clayton resident and author. He began his career as a newspaper writer when he was a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals and presents events in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the annual Bay Area KidFest in downtown Concord.