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SUBURBAN VALLEY CONFERENCE – New conference with competitive leagues a win-win for all

June 14, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

In a way, the Suburban Valley Conference, which makes up the Gateway League and the Mid-Cities League, can be linked to the formation of the 605 League. Prior to the 2018-2019 school year, there was the Suburban League and the San Gabriel Valley League, made up of six and seven schools respectively.

But when three Suburban League schools departed and joined forces with Oxford Academy, Pioneer High and Whitney High to form the 605 League, that left the Suburban League with four schools with Firebaugh High later joining. Now that the first athletic year of the Suburban Valley Conference is over, there are more positives than negatives as eight of the 11 schools called themselves league champions in 12 of the major sports. 

The leagues, which can also be nicknamed the Upper League and Lower League, were put together based off power rankings from the 2021-2022 school year with the Gateway League being the upper half with teams in their respective sports having the better numbers. Not only did it make the Gateway League much more competitive than the SGVL and Suburban Leagues were, but it allowed the teams in the Mid-Cities League a better chance of finishing in the top three and automatically advancing to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. 

Here is a look at what happened in each of the 12 major sports, four in each of the three seasons, and how those teams fared in the previous four years since the inception of the 605 League. Note that there is some shifting of champions of the Mid-Cities League to the Gateway League in favor of a last place or second to last place team.


While La Mirada High and Mayfair High dominated the Suburban League before and during the 605 League, it would be even tougher to win the Gateway League in 2022. That would be true as Warren High became the first league champions with Downey High and Mayfair finishing in second and third place respectively. Downey won the Division 4 championship while Mayfair advanced to the Division 7 semifinals.

La Mirada would miss the playoffs for the first time in over four decades while in the Mid-Cities League, there was a three-way tie for first place. Gahr High claimed a share of its first league title in over 25 years while Bellflower High and Norwalk High joined the party. It was Norwalk’s first league crown since 2013, the season it advanced to the CIF Finals. Bellflower would advance to the Division 11 championship game while Lynwood High, which went 1-3 in league action, fell in the Division 14 title game. When the season begins in August, Norwalk moves to the Gateway League while Paramount High, which went winless in five league contests, goes to the Mid-Cities League.


Downey had been the queens of the SGVL for many seasons with Warren and Gahr predominately earning automatic playoff berths while Mayfair and La Mirada were the at the top of the Suburban League in two of the three seasons, not including the 2020 campaign. But in 2022, Warren, Downey and Paramount finished 1-2-3 while La Mirada won all 10 Mid-Cities League matches with Bellflower and Norwalk tying for second place. None of the six teams made it out of the first round of the playoffs. For this season, La Mirada moves to the Gateway League while Mayfair, which finished in fourth place goes to the Mid-Cities League.


Warren had been the SGVL champions but as members of the Gateway League, the Bears shared the title with Downey while Norwalk claimed third place. In the Mid-Cities League, the top three were Mayfair, La Mirada and Paramount with none of the six moving to the second round. For this upcoming season, Mayfair jumps to the Gateway League and Bellflower moves down.


There were only five schools that competed in this sport with Downey winning the league and the Division 4 championship while second place Paramount went to the Division 6 semifinals and Gahr won the third place tiebreaker over La Mirada and Warren.


Since the 605 League started, there have been five different league champions as Dominguez High, La Mirada, Lynwood, Mayfair and Warren finished in first in their respective leagues. But as members of the SVC, Downey and La Mirada tied for the Gateway League crown while Lynwood went undefeated in Mid-Cities League action. To make things better, La Mirada advanced to the Division 2A championship game while Lynwood did the same in Division 5AA. Dominguez finished in third place in the Gateway League while Warren and Gahr went to the playoffs from the Mid-Cities League. It was Gahr’s first trip to the playoffs since 2019. For the 2023-2024 season, Lynwood moves up and Paramount moves down.


Lynwood had dominated the SGVL for the longest time until Downey made things interesting as of late while Mayfair was nearly untouchable in the Suburban League. This past winter, Lynwood won the Gateway League and advanced to the quarterfinals with Paramount and Downey coming in second and third place respectively. The Mid-Cities League title was won by Dominguez and Gahr with the Gladiators getting to the Division 5AA championship game. Norwalk would finish in third place. Dominguez and Gahr were the bottom two teams of the SGVL for the 2021-2022 season while Mayfair, which won the Suburban League that season, went 1-7 in the Gateway League. For the 2023-2024 season, Gahr moves up while Mayfair moves down. 


Prior to the 605 League, the Suburban League would be owned by Artesia High and Norwalk for the most part. Since then, Norwalk would still be the top dogs of the Suburban League, winning three of four league titles with La Mirada claiming the other. But this past winter, it was Warren, Lynwood and Downey getting the top three spots in the Gateway League while Norwalk stumbled to last place. In the Mid-Cities League, it went La Mirada, Bellflower and Mayfair. All six failed to get past the first round in the playoffs. For Norwalk, it would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005. For the 2023-2024 season, Norwalk and La Mirada will trade leagues.


While not much was expected from the Gateway League with La Mirada, Downey and Warren all competing for the top spot, which is nothing new to all three, the Mid-Cities League did great things for Bellflower, Gahr and Norwalk. Gahr would win its first league title since 2003 and Norwalk would get to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Only Gahr would be the only one of the six to get to the second round and because of that, the Gladiators move to the Gateway League while Paramount is now in the Mid-Cities League.


The anticipated three-game series between Gahr and La Mirada to determine the Gateway League champion did not disappoint with the latter winning the first two of three meetings in the final week of the season to win the circuit by two games. Both would advance to the quarterfinals in Division 1 and Division 2 respectively while Warren finished in third, six games behind La Mirada. Gahr and Warren had been the top two teams in the SGVL recently.

The new conference/league was a welcome site for Norwalk, which won all 15 Mid-Cities League contests and went to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1999. Second place Mayfair also went to the quarterfinals and Paramount came in third place for its first playoff appearance since before the 605 League was formed. Next season, Bellflower and Norwalk trade leagues.


Just as competitive as baseball was softball in the Gateway League as La Mirada won the battle, going 7-1 with Warren finishing two games behind and Gahr at 4-4. La Mirada’s move to the Gateway was beneficial for Norwalk, which went 10-0 in the Mid-Cities League for its first league crown since 2016. Bellflower and Paramount, absent from the playoffs prior to the 605 League, tied for second place. However, only Paramount moved to the second round of the playoffs.


The Mid-Cities League was also kind to Firebaugh High, which has struggled in most of their athletics since the school first opened. But the Falcons won all 10 matches to finish three games ahead of Norwalk and four in front of La Mirada. In the Gateway League, Warren was two games better than Downey for first place with Bellflower going 4-4. Only Warren would get to the second round and Firebaugh and Gahr will trade places next spring.


Warren was the dominant team in the SGVL and the Bears continued their success in the Gateway League, winning all 10 matches and getting to the second round of the playoffs. Mayfair and Downey were the second and third place teams respectively while in the Mid-Cities League, it went La Mirada, Paramount and Bellflower with the second and third place teams in both leagues losing a wild card match.