In a League of Their Own

The rest of SI's top 25
May 15, 2005

2 DEMATHA (Hyattsville, Md.)

Enrollment: 1,016

Best known for its nationally ranked basketball teams and former hoops coach Morgan Wootten, this all-boys Catholic school just outside Washington, D.C., has been nearly as successful in football. The Stags have won 16 league titles, and this year 17 players received Division I scholarships. Though Wootten retired in 2002, DeMatha has remained a basketball power. It finished this past season 29--2 and was ranked No. 9 by USA Today. Despite lackluster facilities--the wrestling team practices in an old auto warehouse, and the football team is forced to play games at a nearby school--DeMatha has been strong in most sports, and last year 39 of the school's 180 graduating seniors received athletic scholarships.

3 SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS (Fort Lauderdale)

Enrollment: 2,138

With alums such as tennis great Chris Evert, former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin and Olympic 400-meter runner Sanya Richards, Saint Thomas Aquinas has long been the preeminent program in Florida. In fact, the Raiders were named the state's best sports program for 19 of the past 20 years by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association. The school also has hard-core fans: Last year they filled 23 buses for the nearly six-hour trip to Gainesville for the Class 5A state championship football game. The school's best sport, however, is soccer. The girls' team was 29--3 this season and won the state title, and the boys' and the girls' teams were ranked No. 1 in the nation in '97 and '98.

4 PUNAHOU (Honolulu)

Enrollment: 1,730

Never mind that the school's most accomplished student-athlete, rising star golfer Michelle Wie, doesn't play on any of its teams. Punahou is the power of the Pacific. The Buff 'n' Blue has won 318 state titles in 20 sports. Its strength is in boys' and girls' swimming and diving (with a combined 80 state titles), and boys' volleyball (at least 25 alums have won NCAA championships, and eight are current AVP tour pros). Punahou also has a strong football tradition: Its alums include Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, former New England Patriots running back Mosi Tatupu and former Dallas Cowboys lineman Mark Tuinei.

5 CHERRY CREEK (Greenwood Village, Colo.)

Enrollment: 3,653

While the Bruins have won 162 state titles in everything from pompons to football, they are best known for their dominance in tennis. Over a 28-year span, from 1972 to 2000, the boys' team won 316 consecutive dual matches, a national record for that sport. Cherry Creek is also a power in girls' swimming, with 21 state titles. As a senior in 1991, five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Amy Van Dyken won two individual state titles (she also won a pair as a junior) and helped the Bruins earn a state team championship. Another famous alum, Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge, led Cherry Creek to a state baseball title as a senior in 1995.

6 MATER DEI (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Enrollment: 2,200

Classes came to a standstill on March 4 to celebrate a schoolwide holiday: Heisman Day. The Monarchs held a rally to honor trophy-winning alums Matt Leinart (class of '01), who led USC to its second straight national title in January, and John Huarte (class of '61). Mater Dei is only the third high school to produce two Heisman winners. Aside from the strong football program--coach Bruce Rollinson has twice been named national coach of the year--the Monarchs are also among the best in the state in boys' basketball, in which they have won two of the last five state championships and earned five consecutive sectional titles from 1999 to 2003.

7 PARKVIEW (Lilburn, Ga.)

Enrollment: 2,620

This suburban Atlanta school is no stranger to national exposure--the 1997 state championship football team appeared on a Cheerios box, and in 2000 the Panthers' boys' and girls' soccer teams were featured on Coke bottles. Parkview has won five state boys' soccer titles over the past 12 years and had a 57-game unbeaten streak between 1993 and '95. Those teams produced several stars, including Josh Wolff, now a forward for the U.S. national team and the Kansas City Wizards. Parkview also has a strong baseball tradition and has had 15 players drafted since 1986, among them top Atlanta Braves outfield prospect Jeff Francoeur, a first-round pick in 2002.

8 EDINA (Minn.)

Enrollment: 1,675 (grades 10--12)

The NHL may be in a deep freeze, but fans in the Minneapolis area had plenty of hockey to cheer about this past winter. The Hornets boys' team, coached by former North Stars defenseman Curt Giles drew between 1,500 and 1,800 fans a game and won the Classic Lake Conference title. Edina has earned a Minnesota-record nine state championships in boys' hockey (the girls' hockey team was second in its conference this year) and has been almost that good in girls' Alpine skiing, with seven titles since 1997. The Hornets' strongest sport, however, is tennis. The boys have won 21 state championships. The girls won 15 straight state titles from '78 to '92 and have a current streak of eight in a row.

9 BOLLES (Jacksonville)

Enrollment: 778

Bolles swimmers have made a splash inside and outside the Sunshine State. Current or former stars have swum in every Olympics since 1972, and 10 have won medals. Though its combined 43 state titles in boys' and girls' swimming and diving head its list of achievements, Bolles has had plenty of success in other sports. The Bulldogs have earned two of the last four state football titles (they won Class 2A in 2002 and Class 3A in 2004), and coach Corky Rogers holds the Florida record for most football victories (326). Bolles's most prominent alum, however, is Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, a 1990 graduate.

10 CARMEL (Ind.)

Enrollment: 3,795

The Greyhounds have run laps around opponents in nearly every sport. Not only have they won the most Indiana state titles (92), but they have also won or finished second in 20 of the 21 sports in which they field teams. Of course, a top Hoosier State school must be good in basketball, and this year, led by Duke-bound power forward Josh McRoberts, Carmel went 21--4 and finished second in its section. The Greyhounds' best program is girls' swimming and diving, which competes in a state-of-the-art aquatics center and has won 19 consecutive state titles, the longest active streak in the nation in that sport.

11 DE LA SALLE (Concord, Calif.)

Enrollment: 1,007

If you think De La Salle is just a football power, you're wrong. Sure, the all-boys Catholic school just east of San Francisco has won 13 straight North Coast section titles (California does not crown a state champion in football) and five USA Today national titles in the last seven years. And the Spartans' 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2004 was the longest in football at any level. But over the last decade, besides having the dynasty of dynasties, the Spartans have also won 36 section titles in nine other sports. The basketball (2000) and cross-country (1996) teams can also claim something that their football counterparts cannot: a state title.

12 NEW TRIER (Winnetka, Ill.)

Enrollment: 3,950

The Trevians--named for soldiers from the city of Trier in the Roman Empire--have won more state titles (85), boys' championships (55) and girls' crowns (30) than any other program in Illinois. The Trevians are strong in just about every sport, but the most dominant team of late at this suburban Chicago school has been girls' soccer, which has won two straight state titles and had a 60-game winning streak snapped in April. Somehow New Trier has put together this empire without having an army of big-name athletes. The best-known grad to reach the pros was former Cleveland Browns linebacker Clay Matthews.

13 PARKERSBURG (W.Va.)

Enrollment: 1,425

Wrestling is the hottest ticket each winter in Parkersburg. The Reds have won 19 state team titles on the mat, including back-to-back crowns in 2003 and '04, and their match against archrival Parkersburg South usually draws 3,500. The girls' volleyball team won its 10th state title and went 67-0-1 this season, setting a state record for most victories in the sport. But football is what really revs up the city of 30,000. Parkersburg has won the most football championships (seven) in the state, and its most noted alum is football Hall of Famer Earle Neal, a three-sport star who led the Cincinnati Reds to the 1919 World Series and coached the Philadelphia Eagles to two NFL titles.

14 SAINT XAVIER (Louisville)

Enrollment: 1,365

There's never a sure thing at Churchill Downs, but across town you can always count on the St. X swim team. In February this 141-year-old all-boys Catholic school won its 17th consecutive state title--and 41st championship overall, a national record for swimming. The Tigers also excel out of the pool. Graduates include Paul Byrd (Los Angeles Angels), Chris Burke (Houston Astros) and Scott Padgett (Houston Rockets). Since 1994--95 the Tigers have won 39 state championships, led by tennis (eight of the last nine), soccer (five), and football and golf (four each). But football is the biggest draw, and Saint Xavier's annual football game against rival Trinity attracts more than 35,000.

15 MARIST (Atlanta)

Enrollment: 1,036

Marist is the little school that could. Though it has the enrollment of a Class 2A school, it not only competes in 4A but also has won every Director's Cup, given to the best all-around sports program in that class, since the inception of the award in 2000. Athletics is part of the culture--77% of the students participate on one of the 69 varsity, jayvee, freshman, and seventh- and eighth-grade teams. While boys' basketball (two state titles) and football (22 straight playoff appearances) are both strong, the War Eagles' best teams are girls' tennis, winner of the last 10 state titles, and girls' cross-country, which has won eight in a row.

16 HIGHLAND PARK (Dallas)

Enrollment: 1,904

In a state that takes its high school sports seriously, no school surpasses Highland Park. The Scots have won a Texas-leading 33 state championships in nine sports over the last 10 years. Alums include Chris Young (Texas Rangers), golf siblings Hank and Kelli Kuehne, and Olympic swimming gold medalists Bruce Hayes, Mike Heath and Shaun Jordan. Highland Park's best sports are girls' cross-country (six state championships), boys' and girls' golf (eight titles combined) and boys' and girls' tennis (five total). The football team isn't shabby either. The Scots rank third in gridiron victories (658) among all Texas schools.

17 HOOVER (Ala.)

Enrollment: 2,115

This Hoover cleans up. In the last 10 years the largest school in Alabama has won 38 state championships, and over the past five years the Buccaneers have finished fourth or better 50 times in 19 sports. In 2003--04 alone Hoover won six state titles (football, boys' indoor track, boys' swimming, girls' outdoor track, softball and girls' golf). No Bucs team has been more dominant than football, which has won three straight state crowns and four of the last five. The school has superb equipment thanks to a booster club that raises more than $750,000 annually. Says athletic director Jerry Browning, "They call us Hoover University."

18 SAINT IGNATIUS (Cleveland)

Enrollment: 1,411

When it earned the state soccer title last November, this all-boys Jesuit school completed a rare feat: winning a state championship in each of the nine boys' sports sanctioned in Ohio. The Wildcats have won 19 titles, all since 1988, including nine in football. (Last year they also won a national crown in crew, which is not a recognized sport.) Saint Ignatius has produced standouts such as LeCharles Bentley (New Orleans Saints), Matt Kata (Arizona Diamondbacks), Chris Hovan (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Dave Ragone (Houston Texans), but its most successful alum is 1990 graduate Tim Mack, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the pole vault.

19 FAYETTEVILLE (Ark.)

Enrollment: 2,006

Located across the street from the University of Arkansas, this school has won a state-best 24 titles in 10 sports since 1996. The Purple Bulldogs' girls' gymnastics team has won eight straight state championships, and the girls' soccer team took four straight from 1998 to '01. Since 1996 the boys' basketball team has made five appearances in the state semifinals and went to the title game in March. Fayetteville has also won four state championships in indoor track, which is not a recognized sport in the state. Alum Wallace Spearmon, currently a star at the University of Arkansas, is the top-ranked college 200-meter sprinter in the U.S.

20 WEST MONROE (La.)

Enrollment: 1,987

In 2001 USA Today ranked West Monroe as one of the top 10 places to watch a high school football game. And why not? In the last 10 years the Rebels have won four state (1996--98, 2000) and two national titles ('98, '00). Notable alums include Bradie James (Dallas Cowboys) and Shaun King (Arizona Cardinals). And don't even think about walking up on game night and buying a ticket for a decent seat: All 5,400 reserved seats (the stadium seats 8,500) for every home game will be sold by the end of May. The Rebels, who also excel in softball and girls' basketball, would be higher on this list if they hadn't had eight runner-up finishes over the last decade.

21 BEN DAVIS (Indianapolis)

Enrollment: 2,496 (grades 10--12)

It's fitting that Ben Davis's teams are called the Giants. The school has the largest three-grade enrollment in Indiana, and its teams often tower over the opposition. Since 1995 Ben Davis's teams have won eight state championships and finished as the runner-up four times. The Giants' strongest sport is football, in which they have won seven titles since 1987; among their alums is former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen. Ben Davis plays a little basketball too: The boys' team won back-to-back state titles in '95 and '96, and the girls' squad, led by Shyra Ely (a second-round draft pick by the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars last month), earned two straight in 2000 and '01.

22 LA CUEVA (Albuquerque)

Enrollment: 2,150

How do you say "the powerhouse" in Spanish? We suggest La Cueva (though the school's actual translation is "the cave"). Since the fall of 1994 the Bears have won 47 state championships in 15 sports. Few programs run off streaks the way the Bears do. The boys' track team has won eight straight state titles; the boys' golf team has taken five in a row; and the football team is the two-time defending champ and currently holds a 26-game winning streak. La Cueva's best sport is baseball. The Bears are shooting for a third straight state title, and last month they set a national record with their 70th consecutive victory.

23 BAYLOR (Chattanooga)

Enrollment: 670

In a hypothetical matchup between this Baylor and Baylor University, the high school might just hold its own. The 112-year-old private school, which sits on a picturesque campus that rivals that of many colleges, has long been a force in Tennessee sports, with 51 state championships. The Red Raiders are dominant in golf (the girls' team has won 10 straight state titles, and the boys' squad has claimed eight of the last 11), but that's not surprising, considering the campus has a six-hole short course on which the teams practice. Overall, Baylor has won state championships in 17 sports in the last 10 years, including boys' and girls' soccer, baseball and softball.

24 DUNCANVILLE (Texas)

Enrollment: 3,750

Duncanville has adopted the nickname City of Champions for a reason--namely the Panthers' girls' basketball team. The Panthers, who count Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings among their alums, have won two state titles since 1997. They have reigned in their district an astounding 67 times, and from 1987 to 1991 won 134 straight games. The boys' teams aren't bad either. In 1999 the school that produced Chad Allen (Texas Rangers) and Greg Ostertag (Sacramento Kings) was one baseball victory away from sweeping the state's football, basketball and baseball titles, which would have been a first in the state.

25 MOUNTAIN VIEW (Mesa, Ariz.)

Enrollment: 2,719

Though the school hasn't been around for long, Mountain View has quickly established itself as king of the hill in Arizona. In the last decade the Toros have produced scores of top athletes, including Todd Heap (Baltimore Ravens) and Shea Hillenbrand (Toronto Blue Jays). More stars are on the horizon: Mountain View has had 15 scholarship athletes in each of the last two years. And over the last 10 years, the Toros have won 21 state championships in 10 sports, including football (four), boys' track (four), boys' basketball (three), girls' track (three), and boys' and girls' cross-country, girls' swimming, girls' volleyball, girls' basketball, wrestling and baseball (one each).

TWENTY FOUR COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
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