ELK GROVE — Ripon Christian has a few more championship banners to hang.
During the Sac-Joaquin Section annual media luncheon on Thursday, it was announced that the Knights were SJS Academic Team Champions in football (3.53 GPA) and girls cross country (3.98). Ripon Christian just missed a third banner with a 3.53 GPA, as opposed to Golden Valley’s 3.54. The Knights softball team was third (3.68).
Other tidbits from media day:
* The SJS playoff system is primarily enrollment-based, with caveats triggered for programs with continued success. Manteca High football, a Division III program by enrollment and playing in a Division III league, has been bumped up to Division II for the playoffs due to its prior success.
Manteca battled its way to the SJS Division II title last season, but a change in the playoff format will make that return a bit more involved. Prior to this season, regardless of enrollment a league champion had to play in the same playoff division that as its league. This year, a team is not bound by its league division, so the Division II playoffs is slated to have two Division I participants from last season — Elk Grove and St. Mary’s of Stockton.
In order to make the playoffs in football, league champions get an automatic berth and the remaining slots are filled by MaxPreps rankings. The top three from each league earn berths for the basketball playoffs with the balance of the field filled by the top 15 in the respective divisions as determined by CalPreps.
* This year, for the last time, girls volleyball, boys soccer, girls soccer, baseball and softball playoffs will be determined by the top-nine method with the top three in each league making the playoffs with the balance of the field comprised of one team from the top nine teams with the most-recent playoff success.
Next season, those five sports will adopt the basketball method with the top three teams plus from each league the top 15 teams as determined by CalPreps. Boys volleyball will continue to be the top three teams from each league.
* Another new addition to this year is girls flag football. Two local teams are participating, with Lathrop in the Western Athletic Conference and Sierra in the Tri-City Athletic League. As in basketball, the teams are eligible to have 26 contacts with two games a week and the possibility of double headers with freshman football on Thursday nights. The season will conclude with SJS playoffs.
* Basketball championships have been held at Golden 1 Center in recent years, but this year they may be held at UC Davis due to the possibility of a concert at Golden 1 on Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb 24, 2024.