SCVAL League History
Walt Van Zant (Wilcox) 7/28/99
History of the SCVAL League Finals Track Meet
It is unclear when the SCVAL (Santa Clara Valley Athletic League) held its
first track league meet. The 1950 San Jose Mercury Herald noted that the
1950 meet was the 20th annual meet. This would mean that the first meet was
held in 1931. However, the 1929 and 1930 Mercury Herald listed league
results for the same teams as participated in 1931 except for Live Oak.
However, the meet was referred to as the Valley Meet. The same teams ran in
a 1928 league meet. However, no results were listed in the newspaper. The
Mercury Herald edition for the day before the 1928 meet referred to the meet
as the I.A.U. (Inter-Urban Athletic Union) meet.
In any event, the SCVAL meet was contested through 1958, when it was split
into the SCVAL West and East leagues. The SCVAL East league subsequently
changed its name to the Mt. Hamilton League.
The SCVAL West league held track league meets through 1961, when it was
split into the SCVAL North and West leagues. The SCVAL West league
subsequently changed its name to the West Valley League and the SCVAL North
league changed its name to the SCVAL.
At the start of the 1974/75 school year the Fremont Union High School
District schools were split apart from the SCVAL to form the Fremont Athletic
League (later changed to the DeAnza Athletic League-DAL). Saratoga joined
the DAL in 1977 and Los Gatos joined in 1989. Los Gatos had been an original
member of the SCVAL but left the league when the West Valley League was
formed in 1961/62.
The DAL rejoined the SCVAL in 1994. The league was then split into two
divisions – the DeAnza division and the El Camino division. The DeAnza is
the strong division and the El Camino is the weak division. Teams are
shifted yearly between the divisions, depending upon how strong they appear
The original schools that formed the SCVAL included Santa Clara, Mt. View,
Fremont, Los Gatos, Live Oak and Campbell.
Gilroy belonged to the league from 1937 through 1950. Washington high school
of Fremont was part of the league from 1938 through 1958. James Lick was
part of the league from 1951 through 1958.
Some might wonder what happened to San Jose high school during this time.
They were a member of the Peninsul Athletic League (PAL) along with Palo
Alto, Lincoln, Burlingame, Sequoia, Sam Mateo, Burlingame, and others.
The Los Gatos boys team won title for 7 consecutive years during the 1930s.
The Los Altos boys won the league meet finals 19 times in 22 years during the
Although girls began competing in the CCS meet in 1974, it appears that
league competition for the girls in the SCVAL and DAL did not begin until
1977. The St.Francis girls were in the SCVAL from 1977 through 1980, when
they transferred to the DAL. The Mitty girls were in the SCVAL during 1979
There were several major changes in the early 1980s. The old Santa Clara
high school with its 380+ yard track (the engineers measured the 440 yard
distance from the outside of the track) closed and Buchser high school
changed its name to Santa Clara. Peterson high school closed and its
students transferred to Wilcox. Sunnyvale closed. Mt. View closed and Awalt
changed its name to Mt. View. Cubberley closed.
When there were 13 teams in the league, they ran preliminary trials and
semi-finals in order to qualify for the league finals.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, runners were not allowed to run more than
one race over a 440 in a meet (including the league finals).
Competition was held in the javelin for 1929 through 1932.
Some names appear in the results that might be of interest to the present
generation. Former U.S, senator Alan Cranston won the 440 for Mt. View high
school in 1931 and 1932 and the 100-yard dash in 1931. Dan Cruz, track and
cross country coach at Del Mar, won the SCVAL mile in 1969 while competing
for Wilcox with a time of 4:25. He finished second in the two mile in 1968
with a time of 9:25. Bill Campbell, the West Valley College athletic
director, won the 100 yard and 220 yard dashes in the SCVAL West division in
1959 while competing for Campbell high school. He was fast as his winning
times were 9.8 and 21.5. Craig Blockhus (Mt View '86) was a triple winner
at League in the 880, Mile & 2 Mile (only a double winner in '85) and is now
an Assistant coach at Gunn. Manny Mahon (Lynbrook '67&'68) won the mile and
is now the head X/C coach at Piedmont Hills.
1970 might have been the best-ever quality meet. Rick Brown won the 440 and
880 on the Cupertino high school dirt track in 47.3 and 1:51.7. He and his
Los Altos teammates ran 3:17.2 for the mile relay. Chamness of Awalt won the
mile in 4:15. The Cupertino 440 relay won in 42.7. Hugh Stahl of Homestead
won the 2 mile in 9:25. Chris Adams of Los Altos won the shot put in 60' 2"
and the discus in 190' 4". Second and third place in the 880 were 1:53.3 and
1:54.1. A slug ran 1:56.2 to finish 6th (the 3rd place finisher in the 1999
California state meet ran 1:56.19).