Less than 24 hours after finishing runner-up to Carpinteria in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 boys’ water polo championship, Burbank High was surprised to find out it had played its last game of the season.
The CIF began holding a Southern California Regional Championship for water polo during the 2017-2018 school year. The regional championships includes teams from the Southern, Los Angeles City, San Diego and Central sections.
Myburbank.com reached out to the CIF state office for an explanation of why Burbank was not selected. The response provided the selection criteria for three divisions that are played at the state regional level.
The rules state that the Southern Section is given 12 entries total, which was achieved. However, it also states that the Southern Section would receive four places in each of the three division brackets, which consist of eight teams.
This was not achieved, as Division 1 received five entries from the Southern Section. There were four representatives from the Southern Section placed in Division 2. Just three teams were placed in Division 3.
The teams that received automatic berths in the regional championship were the champion teams from the six Southern Section divisions, as well as the top four teams from “Open” Division, which is regarded higher than Division 1.
Just the runner-up teams in Division 1 and Division 2 were guaranteed spots.
As a result, Division 3 runner-up Thousand Oaks, Division 4 runner-up Crespi, Burbank and Division 6 runner-up Ocean View of Huntington Beach were left out of the state regionals.
The most likely landing spot for Burbank in the state regionals would have been in Division 3, which ironically drew four teams from the Los Angeles City Section, which is much smaller in size.
One of those teams was Birmingham of Lake Balboa, which Burbank defeated 22-10 in a tournament match.
Thousand Oaks, which would appear to be the strongest team left out of the state regionals, defeated Burbank in an early season match 16-3. It was one of just three losses Burbank had all season. The Bulldogs finished with 22 victories.