North Coast Section championships were hard to come by this school year for East County programs, but there were plenty of other highlights.
A thrilling Bay Valley Athletic League title race in football was one of the more exciting parts of the fall season.
The winter saw great postseason runs by the Deer Valley boys and girls basketball teams while several wrestlers qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation state championships.
And the spring wrapped up with numerous league team titles for Heritage as well as yet another season of dominance from the Deer Valley boys volleyball squad.
Here are some of the top highlights from the 2011-2012 school year. Pittsburg won the BVAL football title in a close race with Freedom and Heritage. The Pirates advanced as far as the NCS Division I semifinals before losing to De La Salle. Antioch's Kyle Clark took third place at 220-pounds at the CIF state wrestling championships. Several other East County wrestlers also made the trip. Deer Valley's talented boys basketball team reached the NCS Division I finals before losing to De La Salle. The Wolverines, led by Marcus Lee, Kendall Smith and Olajuwon Garner, went 22-9 and won the league title. Deer Valley's girls hoops team also won the BVAL title and reached the NCS Division I final, but lost to Berkeley. Monique Mulder was named BVAL MVP. Heritage's softball team beat Freedom twice to win the first outright league championship in school history. Pitcher Lisa Rodrigues was named BVAL MVP after shutting out opponents in every league game. Deer Valley captured the BVAL title in baseball and finished with a sterling 21-4 record. Heritage's boys and girls swimming teams dominated the league swim meet for another year. The Patriots also won team titles in boys and girls track and field. Lou Panzella coached the Deer Valley boys volleyball team to a 37-4 record and the BVAL title. Heritage claimed the BVAL girls volleyball title and advanced to the NCS Division I semifinals as the No. 6 seed. Heritage's boys water polo team won the BVAL title and went further than any Patriots team before it in school history, winning a game in the NCS playoffs.