Now in his third year as the athletic director at Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) High, Mike Hughes says he has recognized a growing trend in the high school athletics landscape, namely the decline of the three-sport athlete.
"We lament the loss of the three-sport athlete and the idea that kids are better off playing more sports," says Hughes. "We think there is an all-around quality to success when kids play different sports."
That philosophy of overall success is the reason why Jesuit is SI.com's No. 1 program for 2006-07. To come up with our Top 10 with the help of RISE magazine, as well as our top programs in each state, we looked for success on and off the field, state championships and Division I scholarship athletes. Jesuit was at the head of the class, having won five state championships and producing 16 student-athletes who signed with Division I schools.
For the 13th consecutive school year, the Crusaders won the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association's All-Sports Award, which recognizes the school with the most state tournament points across all sports. Of Jesuit's 18 varsity teams, 10 finished first or second in the state tournament and 16 of the 18 were Metro League champs.
"For all of the teams and talent and tradition to come together in a year like this is truly special," said cross-country and track and field coach Tom Rothenberger, who has been at the school for 25 years.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 athletics programs for the 2006-07 school year:
1. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)
'06-'07 state championships: Football, girls' cross-country, boys' swimming, girls' tennis, and men's golf
Basketball rock stars Kevin Love of Lake Oswego (Ore.) and Kyle Singler of South Medford (Ore.) may have elicited the most attention in the Beaver State this school year, but Jesuit took home the most hardware. The football team, which also won the state title in 2005 and finished this season ranked No. 15 in the RISE/SI.com national Top 25, did not just win en route to its title. It pummeled teams, winning by 45.8 points per game in the state playoff run to extend its two-season winning streak to 26 games. On the cross-country trails, the girls' team won its fifth straight state title while cross-country and track coach Tom Rothenberger was named coach of the year by the National Federation of High school coaches. Complementing its on-field success, Jesuit's was also recently awarded the Oregonian Cup for its overall excellence in academics, activities and athletics.
2. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
Enrollment: 1,005 (all boys)
'06-'07 state championships: DeMatha doesn't compete for state titles
Georgetown-bound guard Austin Freeman helped continue the tradition of the Stags' nationally known basketball program by leading the team to its third straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title last winter. Still, it was the entire athletic department's continued success that proved more impressive as the wrestling team won its 22nd consecutive WCAC title, boys' soccer extended its winning streak to 67 games before bowing out in the quarterfinals to rival Bishop O'Connell, 5-4 on penalty kicks. On the football field, junior Kenny Tate, who will be one of the nation's most highly recruited players in the class of 2008, helped lead the Stags to a fourth straight WCAC title as well as a No. 10 ranking in the final RISE/SI.com Top 25. Of the school's 13 varsity sports, seven won WCAC titles.
3. Warren Central (Indianapolis)
'06-07 state championships: Football, boys' cross-country, girls' track
The Warriors' football team upended Carmel, 35-14, in the Class 5A state final to become the first team in state history to win four consecutive state crowns. Central was led by senior running back Darren Evans, a Virginia Tech signee who ran for 2,806 yards and a state-record 61 touchdowns and senior defensive back Jerimy Finch, who signed with Florida. The boys' cross-country and track teams each won their second consecutive state titles and were led by distance star De'Sean Turner (Indiana), who finished 32nd at the Foot Locker National Championships. The girls' track team also won its second consecutive state title.
4. Miami (Fla.) Northwestern
'06-07 state Championships: Football, girls' track and field
The Bulls made their mark in every season this year, but no team made more of an impact than the football team. Miami went 15-0, averaged 43.3 points per game and held opponents to 7.2 points en route to the Class 6A state title. And Miami has a good chance to repeat thanks to a vaunted Class of 2008 led by Marcus Forston, Aldarius Johnson, Sean Spence, Jacory Harris and Tommy Streeter. The boys' basketball team advanced to the Class 6A state semifinals, while the girls' and boys' track teams placed first and second, respectively, at the Class 4A state meet.
Rising senior Drew Gordon has already committed to UCLA to play basketball, but he also throws the shot put and discus for Mitty.
5. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
'06-'07 state championship: Girls basketball
The girls had quite a year at Mitty. With Central Coast Section titles in field hockey, girls' soccer, volleyball, water polo, basketball, softball and swimming the Mitty women showed their might. For the girls' basketball team, guard duo Danielle Robinson, who signed with Oklahoma, and Kassandra McCalister, who received a scholarship to Oregon State, combined to lead the school to a state title. On the boys' basketball team, junior forward Drew Gordon, who has already given an oral commitment to UCLA, will return for his senior season next fall after losing to Mater Dei in the state title game. In this year's graduating class, 20 players received athletic scholarships, including football player Steve Sloan, who will play for UCLA, as well as five softball players. After losing its first game, the softball team rattled off 25 straight victories to finish the season with a No. 3 ranking in the state.