Since the 1960s, the Condor League has been home to a handful of small private schools from Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
And for many years, the league provided a thriving sports fellowship, hosting teams in cross country, track and field, volleyball, basketball and baseball. The Condor League has recognized students not only in their athletic ability but their sportsmanship as well, which is why the league has attracted so many participants throughout its history.
However, change is right around the corner, and that change is coming from Ojai Valley School.
At the start of next school year, OVS will leave the Condor League entirely and switch all of its sports teams to the Omega League, which is comprised of 11 other private schools in the Los Angeles area.
“The Condor League offered a similar philosophy [to the school’s],” explained former OVS Upper Campus Headmaster, Carl Cooper. “[The league] values sportsmanship and participation. In the past, [the league] m
ade sure that the [sports] experience was positive for every student.”
The Condor League has been a thriving sports league filled with the private schools in the Ojai Valley as well as a select few from Santa Barbara and Los Olivos. Private schools Thacher, Villanova, Cate, Midland, Dunn, Besant Hill, Oak Grove, Laguna Blanca, Garden Street and Providence originally participated in the league.
However, in 2012, Cate and Thacher left the Condor League. And prior to that, Villanova departed as well, due to wanting a bigger league that offered a wider variety of junior varsity and varsity sports.
“When Cate and Thacher left, it started to create voids in some sports,” said OVS Upper Campus Headmaster, Craig Floyd. “Only Dunn and OVS had baseball. [The schools] need to have four teams to officially be a league for a sport.”
Baseball was not the only team that was affected by the first schools that left the league. Track and field were dying out as well, as Dunn and OVS were the only schools that supported teams. Attempting to keep the baseball program alive, OVS along with Midland School began playing freelance games.
“We weren’t a strong team. We were good, but Dunn was a strong team and they couldn’t even qualify for playoffs,” explained Mr. Floyd. “Seeing that and seeing how we were doing in baseball, we went ahead and joined the Omega for baseball only.”
But that was not the end of the conversation about joining the Omega League entirely. Without strong teams and a wide variety of sports offerings, the Condor League is currently dissolving. In 2017, Providence and Laguna Blanca left the Condor League, leaving only 5 schools remaining.
“Our philosophies and abilities were similar, and it was evident that the Omega League was committed to their athletic programs,” said Upper Campus Athletic Director Doug Colborn. “They consistently have multiple teams in all the sports we field, including track and field.”
In the next school year, Dunn will also depart the league, leaving Besant Hill, Garden Street, Midland and Oak Grove as the only original schools in the Condor League. Over the past several years, OVS has participated in non-league games within the Omega League teams in order for the schools to get used to each other and allow for a smoother transition in the upcoming year. In this past fall season, OVS teams in volleyball, flag football and cross country have all mingled with Omega League teams.
“I will miss the Condor League,” explained cross country and track and field coach Fred Alvarez. “That said, the Omega League brings creative parity for our sports teams and in that way, I am excited to see the way we compete in this format.”
Though OVS coaches and student-athletes will fondly look back on their history as a founding member of the Condor League, the community is excited to see what the Omega League has to offer in the upcoming years.
“In my opinion, participation in athletics is a key component in the development of any individual,” said Doug Colborn. “My hope is that OVS will soon be known not only for its academics and other unique programs but also for its outstanding athletic program.”Share