Updates to the Bruce-Mahoney Tradition

The presidents and principals of Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and St. Ignatius College Preparatory are proud to announce an important update to the Bruce-Mahoney tradition.

Beginning in the 2021-22 school year, the first girls’ volleyball game and girls’ basketball game between our two schools will be included in determining the trophy, making the contest a best three out of five.

This great tradition has always involved more than just our student-athletes. It has involved our dance teams, our bands, our student bodies, our parents, our alumni, and the San Francisco community. We believe this change enriches the oldest high school rivalry in the West.

Both schools have agreed to maintain this updated model for at least the next four years. We look forward to evaluating and considering potential updates to the Bruce-Mahoney tradition in the future in order to continue to best serve our communities, our shared Catholic mission, and our tradition of collaboration and competition that honors service and sacrifice for the common good.

SHC President Melinda Lawlor Skrade, PhD, SHC Principal Gary J. Cannon, EdD, SI Principal Michelle Nevin Levine, SI President Edward A. Reese, SJ


Girls basketball, in many ways, has been a part of the Bruce-Mahoney tradition for years. We have played basketball games on the same night, in the same venue for decades. In terms of planning, this seems to be a natural fit.

Over the past several years, the two schools have worked to make the first volleyball match a bigger draw for the student bodies as a means of building spirit and increasing student fan participation in our girls’ athletic programs. In some sense, this update builds on those efforts of the past several years.

These two girls sports are the oldest sports for girls in the history of the two schools. While we do not value these sports any more than others sports, as the oldest for girls athletics, we think it best to choose these two for inclusion at this point.

Including one fall sport and one winter sport ensures that the girls’ student-athletic competition is a part of the tradition from the very beginning of each school year.

While updating the tradition to be more inclusive of the full school communities, maintaining an odd number of contests ensures a clear winner at the end of each school year.

Choosing a fall and winter sport maintains a part of the historic tradition that allows baseball to maintain its traditional place of being the final game in the series.

We discussed this issue at length and look forward to evaluating this update at the end of the four-year period. In talking about taking an important and significant step forward, about how athletic competitions tend to involve an odd number of games to determine a winner, we think it best at this point to move forward in this manner.

The trophy tradition was always between the two schools, not a specific section of the student body. Various options were considered and discussed over the years. We believe that our female student-athletes, as full members of our student body, should be included in this long, storied tradition between the two schools. Thus, a separate trophy could exclude rather than include, separate rather than unite. For our students, alumni, and the local media, we wanted to make sure everyone knew that both male and female sports are valued and honored at the highest, most historic and long-standing level. We recognize that media coverage and student attendance in this rich tradition helps ensure a more equal sense of engagement, importance, and stakes between male and female athletics. It also ensures a honoring of our student bodies as part of our full, rich tradition of the oldest high school rivalry in the West.

The tradition of athletic competition between the two schools pre-dates the establishment of the Bruce-Mahoney trophy. The creation of the trophy was between the two schools, not just a subsection of the student bodies. Thus, the tradition involves not just the student-athletes, but the dance teams, bands, spirit leaders, parents, alumni, and community members. The trophy is not a “boys trophy,” it is a tradition between the two schools that, while using athletic competition to create interest and energy, is about celebrating our shared mission in Catholic education and honoring service and sacrifice. We believe it is time to include both male and female student-athletes in the determination of the trophy while still including our entire student body and community in this great tradition.

Each school has traditions and trophies for specific sports with other schools. We are open to similar traditions and trophies with our other sports. Over the past few years, for example, our soccer programs have discussed a trophy awarded annually for the winner of the boys and girls soccer games as a sort of “city cup.” We will work with our Athletic Departments to consider any such new traditions going forward.

October 5 - Girls Volleyball
October 8 - Football


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