Mt. Carmel High School (San Diego)

Mt. Carmel High School (MCHS), a California Distinguished High School in 2019, is located in Rancho Peñasquitos, a community of San Diego, California, United States. The school belongs to the Poway Unified School District and its mascot is the Sundevil.

Mt. Carmel High School
9550 Carmel Mountain Road 92129

TypePublic high school
School districtPoway Unified School District
PrincipalGreg Magno
Enrollment1,906 (2018-19)[1]
Color(s)Scarlet      and Gold     
Athletics conferenceCIF San Diego Section
Team nameSundevils
PublicationThe Mt. Carmel SUN

Mt. Carmel High School is both a California Distinguished School Award winner (1985, 1999, 2005, 2019) and a National Blue Ribbon School (1989, 2000). Mt. Carmel was named a California Gold Ribbon School (replaced Distinguished School Award for a short time) in 2017. Mt. Carmel was named a California Honor Roll School by Educational Results Partnership - 2017-18, 2016-17, 2015-16.


Mt. Carmel High School was built in 1974, with its first fall semester classes being held at the neighboring Black Mountain Middle School while the rest of construction finished.

In 1999, the movie Bring It On filmed on the campus, with the locker room, weight room and football scoreboard making it into the film.


Mt. Carmel's on-campus football field, Sundevil Stadium, is a multi-purpose venue designed for football, soccer, lacrosse, track and field, and the annual Mt. Carmel Tournament of Bands, which is held on the 3rd Saturday of each October. The stadium was designed in 1971 and opened in 1974, with a capacity of 6,000. The Mt. Carmel football team's successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s brought Sundevil Stadium its first, and to date, only major renovation after the 1991 season, adding seats to both the home and visitor sides, raising total capacity to 11,000, making it the largest on-campus high school stadium in the state of California. Following the 2002-2003 school year, and in conjunction with the other major upgrades to the school, the natural grass field was removed and artificial turf installed. Renovations started in August 2009 and completed in July 2010 added handicap accessibility to every section in the stadium, handrails were put on every staircase, plus handicap seating was installed at the top of sections 2, 3, 5, 9, and 11. In August 2007, the stadium was the host of a Drum Corps International competition featuring Phantom Regiment, Carolina Crown, The Colts, Spirit from JSU, Blue Stars, Madison Scouts, Pacific Crest, and Pioneer.[2]

Instrumental Music ProgramEdit

Mt. Carmel's two-time Grammy Award-winning band[3] and orchestra, were directed by nationally recognized director Warren Torns (now retired), and are now directed by Garry McPherson.[4] In 1988, under the direction of Tom Cole, the Marching Sundevil Band was featured in the opening scenes of the movie "Little Nikita", starring Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, and Richard Jenkins. The school's Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble II, and Wind Ensemble I, and orchestra are led by Garry McPherson. The school performed in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl,[5] both in the field tournament and parade. The band took 2nd in the field show competition by .05 and 1st place in the parade making them the overall champions of the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship. In 2006, the Marching Sundevils performed for the 11th time in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. In 2005, Mt. Carmel's Music Department hosted the Holiday Bowl High School Band Competition. The annual Mt. Carmel Tournament of Bands, has been held each October since 1976 and is the most widely attended parade and field competition in San Diego with over 30 bands in attendance.[6]

Mt. Carmel SportsEdit

Image of a former Mt. Carmel High School varsity gymnast competing on the balance beam in Sundevil Arena.

Mt. Carmel sports are quite successful, with the girls softball team achieving a four-peat starting in 2006 and continued until 2010. The boys volleyball team achieved back-to-back CIF Championships in 2003 and 2004 followed by a three-peat starting in 2007. In 2010, the team was ranked 17th in the nation, qualified for California State Finals, and lost to the Mira Costa Mustang in three games. In 2010 gymnastics achieved a two-peat in CIF and are trying for a three-peat this 2011 season. Girls Tennis won three-peat CIF titles in 2007, 2008, 2009 and lost in the final game in 2010.

Sports include: Football, Field Hockey, Tennis, Cross Country, Golf, Volleyball, Water Polo, Basketball, Soccer, Wrestling, Ultimate Frisbee, Baseball, Softball, Gymnastics, Track and Field, Swimming and Diving and Lacrosse.


In the spring of 2004, after the passage of California Proposition U and funds approved by district voters, the school received funding for a major renovation. The "Pardon our Dust"-sloganed renovation took place from 2004 to 2007. In addition to modernizing existing buildings, including the practical arts and sciences departments, the project constructed several new buildings, including a new facility for the wrestling and gymnastics teams, and a new band room. The "Theater at the Mount" was the last main building that was under construction, completed in September 2007, along with the choir and drama rooms.[7]

Notable alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mt. Carmel High". California Department of Education. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Blue Knights". Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  3. ^ "Mt. Carmel High School - San Diego, California/CA - Public School Profile". Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  4. ^ "The Mt. Carmel SUN » Torns prepares to retire after 18 years of making music". Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  5. ^ "Twitter / FiestaBowl BandChamp: We're happy to have Mount". 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  6. ^ "The Mt. Carmel SUN » Marching Band prepares for tournament of bands; largest in San Diego County". Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  7. ^ Monahan, Terry (January 6, 2006). "McClanahan steps down as Mt. Carmel cross country coach". North County Times. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  8. ^ Lindgren, Jim (August 2, 1989). "OUT OF NOWHERE : After Some Detours, Eric Anthony May Fulfill His Promise With the Astros". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  9. ^ Krasovic, Tom (September 23, 2011). "'Moneyball' revolution has ties to San Diego". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Brock, Corey (May 1, 2014). "Passionate Balsley brings out best in Padres' pitchers". Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "Diamondbacks infielder Eric Chavez retires". Associated Press. July 30, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Jones, J. Harry (June 27, 2010). "Heartbreak in soccer city". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  13. ^ "Sullivan, Hartin Lead Volleyball All-Stars". Los Angeles Times. June 5, 1990. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  14. ^ "2000 Boys Best Marks San Diego Section". San Diego Track Magazine. January 11, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  15. ^ Wilkens, John (February 24, 2009). "'Idol' hopeful banks on theatrics to snag a spot". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  16. ^ Bott, Paula (May 23, 1999). "Two for The Show". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  17. ^ Archer, Todd (September 4, 2010). "Spiritual studies triumph over NFL for ex-Cowboy Duke Preston". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  18. ^ Monahan, Terry (February 17, 2004). "Collapsed lung doesn't keep Sundevils' Robinson out for long". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  19. ^ Gang, Alison (July 27, 2012). "It's a big 'Step Up' for Scott Speer". U-T San Diego. Retrieved August 2, 2014.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 32°58′0″N 117°7′16″W / 32.96667°N 117.12111°W / 32.96667; -117.12111