Six San Marcos teams earn CIF Academic Championships

San Marcos High School scored big in the annual CIF Southern Section-Ford Academic Awards program.

San Marcos teams captured academic championships in six sports, the most of any school in the large-school division (enrollment 1500 or more) of the Southern Section. Dos Pueblos earned two titles and Santa Barbara garnered one, giving the Santa Barbara Unified School District an impressive nine academic team winners.

In addition, the San Marcos girls golf team was awarded a grant in recognition of its academic excellence. The cumulative team grade-point average was 3.81, ranking second among large schools. San Juan Hills of San Juan Capistrano was first at 3.88. The grants, which are made possible through a donation from the Women’s Southern California Golf Association, range from $250 to $500.

The San Marcos academic team champions were in boys basketball (3.75 GPA), boys golf (3.77), girls soccer (3.73), boys track (3.54), girls track (3.69) and boys water polo (3.61).

“Six is truly remarkable,” Principal Ed Behrens said. “I’m so proud of our scholar athletes, coaches and teachers.”

Overall, San Marcos had 12 of its athletic teams ranked in the top five in the large-school division, the most of any school in the division.

“Our student-athletes take a lot of pride in receiving these awards,” Aaron Solis, activities director, boys golf coach and a teacher at San Marcos, said. “When we made the announcement at school, my classroom erupted with cheers and applause.”

He added: “When you take into account the number of teams that are in the top five of the Academic Awards, over the past five years San Marcos has been the top public school for student-athletes in all of the Southern Section, which is comprised of over 600 high schools.”

Behrens credits the academic focus block system at San Marcos with helping the students perform better in the classroom.

In the system, Behrens said students take fewer classes at a time, so they’re able to be successful in those classes. “Instead of taking six classes simultaneously, you’re taking four. It really allows them to focus and do well.”

The Dos Pueblos academic titles were in boys swimming (3.71) and girls tennis (3.87).

Santa Barbara High posted the highest GPA in girls volleyball at 3.76.

There were also individual winners from the area. The “Student-Athlete of the Year” winners are Hannah Galsterer of Carpinteria (3.43 GPA), Channing Fisher of Dos Pueblos (4.0) and Julianna Logan of San Marcos (3.96).

“She’s amazing,” Behrens said of Logan. ” She’s a great scholar athlete; she not only competes in cross country and track, she’s  on the cheer squad, too. She’s the one at the top of pyramid. She’s a true Royal athlete.”

The recipients of the individual award must be seniors that have maintained a minimum of a 3.5 GPA in college-prep courses over the past three years, have earned a varsity letter in at least one sport and participated in other extracurricular activities.

The Academic Awards program is sponsored by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Ford. The winners and team golf scholarship recipients will be honored in a pre-game ceremony before the April 29 Angels game against the Cleveland Indians.

The criteria for the athletic team academic awards includes a minimum 3.0 GPA in college-prep courses in the first semester of the 2013-14 school year. Schools are divided into two enrollment categories: 1500 and above and 1499 and below.

The first-place teams receive a banner to commemorate their achievement. All teams who participate receive Academic Award certificates for their student athletes.