Thursday, March 31, 2011

Haverford (PA) Stays Atop ESPN Rise Lacrosse Rankings

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Last Sunday, we talked with John Nostrant, head boys lacrosse coach at The Haverford School outside of Philadelphia about the pressure of being ranked the #1 boys lacrosse team in America.

Nostrant says he's more worried about playing well for 24 straight games.  With Haverford's tough schedule, a perfect 24-0 would keep the Fords right where they started the the top.

With over a dozen players committed to play lacrosse top-notch college programs, Nostrant is relying on his senior leadership to keep team goals first-and-formost...not individual numbers.

With a perfect 4-0 start, Haverford is still #1 in the latest ESPNRise Fab 50 rankings. The Fords already own wins over Top 25 programs St. Paul's and McDonough.  Still to come...four more teams that are ranked in the upper half of the Fab 50.

Here's the Top 25...
ESPNRise Fab 50

1. The Haverford School (PA) 4-0, LW: #1
2. Garden City (NY) 2-0, LW: #2
3. Boys' Latin (MD) 4-0, LW: #4
4. Conestoga (PA) 1-0, LW: #5
5. Manhasset (NY) 0-0, LW: #6
6. Darien (CT) 0-0, LW: #7
7. West Islip (NY) 0-0, LW: #10
8. Caminade (NY) 2-0, LW: #11
9. St. Paul's (MD) 5-1, LW: #9
10. Delbarton (NJ) 0-0, LW: #12
11. Summit (NJ) 0-0, LW: #13
12. St. Anthony's (NY) 0-0, LW: #14
13. Georgetown Prep (MD) 4-1, LW: #3
14. Jamesville-DeWitt (NY) 0-0, LW: #16
15. John Jay (NY) 0-0, LW: #20
16. St. Mary's (MD) 5-0, LW: #24
17. Calvert Hall (MD) 4-0, LW: #19
18. Ward-Melville (NY) 0-0, LW: #21
19. McDonough (MD) 4-1, LW: #19
20. Gilman (MD) 2-1, LW: #15
21. Garnet Valley (PA) 1-0, LW: #26
22. Episcopal Academy (PA) 2-0, LW: #47
23. Smithtown West (NY) 0-1, LW: #17
24. Immaculata (NJ) 0-0, LW: #30
25. Carthage (NY) 0-0, LW: #29

Below is video from Haverford's 12-10 win over McDonough High School earlier this year...

Jeff Fisher is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of High School Football America

Monday, March 28, 2011

2,525 Wrestlers to Descend on Virginia Beach for 2011 NHSCA National Championships

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

National High School Coaches Association Executive Director Bobby Ferraro announced today that 2,525 wrestlers have entered the 22nd NHSCA National Championships that will take place later this week in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

48 states and one European country will be represented when action begins Thursday morning.  The field includes 832 state titles with eight four-time state champs; 52 three-time state champs and 127 two-time state champs.

The national championship final will begin at 5 o'clock Sunday afternoon.

For more information, go to the NHSCA website at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review of Win Win

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Director/writer Tom McCarthy has done it again!

Trish and I just saw McCarthy's latest movie Win Win, and we both give it a perfect score or two thumbs up...whichever you prefer to use as your barometer.

The movie is set against the backdrop of the sport of high school wrestling, but at its core, it's another great relationship movie crafted by McCarthy, who also wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed The Visitor.

Win Win is a movie that stars Paul Giamatti, whose character Mike Flaherty is a lawyer moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach at New Providence High School in New Jersey to earn more money.  Faced with the possible loss of his law practice because of financial difficulties, Flaherty decides to become the guardian of one of his client's, Leo Poplar (played by Burt Young of Rocky fame), an older gentleman who is dealing with the onset of dementia.  Flaherty's decision to take care of Poplar is based on the fact that he'll get $1,500 a month to do so.

All is going smoothly for Flaherty until Leo's teenage grandson Kyle Timmons (played by Alex Shaffer) shows-up.  Kyle, who's dealing with a drug addicted, messed-up mom in Ohio, arrives in New Jersey to see his grandfather, who's been moved into an assisted living home by Flaherty.  The financially-straped lawyer made the decision to put Leo in the home, because it's easier on him and his wife Jackie (played by Amy Ryan) and their two kids while trying to put his bills in order.

McCarthy does a great job of developing Flaherty's dilemma, which he keeps secret from his wife.  His inner conflict leads him to tell Kyle that his grandfather wants to be in the assisted living facility, even though Leo has told Flaherty that he wants to live at home.  McCarthy goes to great lengths to build the Flaherty/Kyle relationship that begins with the teenager moving-in to Flaherty's home, even though Jackie isn't happy with the decision.

Kudos to Shaffer, who is making his acting debut, for an engaging performance that wins over the heart of Flaherty's wife.  Shaffer, who actually won a New Jersey high school wrestling championship at Hunterdon Central High School, nails Kyle's life that has been hardened by adults that have let him down.

By the time, Kyle asks Mike to wrestle for the very bad New Providence team, you realize that he's not an ordinary 16-year old.  In his first scene in the wrestling room, Kyle begins preparing the audience for a Disney-like ending.

Mike and his assistant coaches (Jeffrey Tambor and Bobby Cannavale) really come together in a big way in the wrestling room while developing an us against the odds storyline.  Cannavale provides a lot of great comic-relief moments throughout.

Actually there's a lot of great subtle comic moments throughout the film, which has gotten a lot of great reviews since Sundance.

Is there a Hollywood-ending for Kyle and the flawed Mike Flaherty?

I can't tell you that, because you'll be angry at me!

But what I can tell you is you won't be disappointed in the job that McCarthy does in telling a great story through flawed relationships.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Director/Writer of High School Wrestling Movie Win Win to Appear on Tomorrow's NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

I'm very excited to tell our readers today that Tom McCarthy, who is the director and writer of the just released high school wrestling movie Win Win, will be on tomorrow's NHSCA Sports Hour at 6 PM EST.

According to IMDB, Win Win stars Paul Giamatti who is a "disheartened attorney (Mike Flaherty), who  moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family.  Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy's mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

St. Anthony Wins New Jersey Basketball Championship

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Legendary high school basketball coach Bob Hurley, who appeared on the NHSCA Sports Hour on February 20th, added another state championship to his resume.

Hurley's St. Anthony Friars, who are ranked #1 by USA Today, beat Plainfield 61-49 Monday night in the title game of New Jersey's Tournament of Champions.  It was Coach Hurley's 11th T of C championship, plus the win capped his sixth undefeated season in 34 years as St. Anthony's head coach.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two of America's Best to Join Us on Today's NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

In our four months as the hosts of the NHSCA Sports Hour, Trish and I have had the pleasure to interview some outstanding young men and women, who have shown on-the-air that they are very wise beyond their years.

The examples (click on names to listen to interviews): Holland Reynolds (University HS, CA); Chance Anthony (Breckenridge County HS, KY); Hope Steffensen (Kenai HS, AK); and Destin McCauley of Apple Valley High School last week.

Today, we'll talk with two more top-notch student-athletes...swimmer Missy Franklin of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado and shot putter Ryan Crouser of Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon.  Both athletes are nominees for this month's GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month Award.

Franklin, who is only a sophomore and is already on the U.S. National Swim Team, is considered a future Olympian...maybe as soon as the 2012 Games in London.  Last month at the Colorado 5A state championships, Franklin broke the all-time U.S. high school record in the 100-yard backstroke.

Franklin's time of 52.30 seconds topped the old record set by Natalie Coughlin (52.86) in 1988.  Coughlin has won three Olympic gold medals.  She also broke her own state record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.41 seconds.  In all, she mined four gold medals after being a part of Regis' 200 medley and 400 free relay teams.  Regis Jesuit also won the 5A team title.

Speaking of record-setters, we'll then be joined by Crouser, who is a University of Texas recruit, who broke a national record twice in the same meet!

At the prestigious Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho, the 6-7, 235 pound Crouser broke the 21-year old record with a toss of 75 feet, 3 1/2 inches.  He then topped that mark by nearly two-feet with a toss of 77 feet, 2 3/4 inches.  The old mark was held by Brent Noon of Fallbrook High School in California in 1990.

Below is video of his record-setting day...

Watch more video of 2011 adidas Simplot Games on

Also on today's show with be Mike Oakland, head baseball coach at St. Francis High School in California.  His Lancers are ranked #1 by Baseball America.

To listen to the show, click here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baseball America's New #1 High School Team to be Featured on March 20th NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

St. Francis High School (Mount View, CA) baseball coach Mike Oakland will join us on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour at 6 PM EST.

The Lancers are the new #1 team in Baseball America's latest Top 25 poll.  The northern California school began the season ranked third in the nation in BA's pre-season poll.

St. Francis is off to a 9-0 start and features seven players who have signed to play Division I baseball next year.

Back on February 27th,we spoke with Lee Yeager, head coach of Carroll High School (Corpus Christi, TX), who's team was ranked #1 in BA's pre-season poll.  The Tigers have lost four games to top teams, and fall to #4 in the latest rankings.

Here's the latest Baseball America rankings through March 12th...

1. St. Francis (CA) 8-0, LW: #3
2. Farragut (TN) 0-0, LW: #2
3. Jesuit (FL) 7-2, LW: #4
4. Carroll (TX) 10-4, LW: #1
5. Edison (CA) 5-0, LW: #23
6. Archbishop McCarthy (FL) 9-2, LW: #7
7. Klein-Collins (TX) 12-4, LW: #5
8. Bishop Gorman (NV) 0-0, LW: #10
9. Owasso (FL) 4-1, LW: #9
10. JSerra Catholic (CA) 5-0, LW: NR
11. Gulliver Pre (FL)  9-2, LW: #15
12. Broken Arrow (OK) 5-0, LW: #17
13. Rockwall-Heath (TX) 12-2, LW: #18
14. Don Bosco Prep (NJ) 0-0, LW: #14
15. Spanish Fork (UT) 2-0, LW: #30
16. Archbishop Mitty (CA) 3-1, LW: #16
17. Mission Viejo (CA) 2-3, LW: #6
18. Ardrey Kell (NC) 6-0, LW: #36
19. West Boca (FL) 6-1, LW: #20
20. Hamilton (AZ) 8-2, LW: #12
21. Mountain Pointe (AZ) 4-2, LW: #6
22. Clovis West (CA) 7-0, LW: NR
23. Catholic (LA) 9-1, LW #22
24. Clements (TX) 11-0, LW: NR
25. Pinnacle (AZ) 9-0, LW: NR

Click here to listen to the show on March 23rd.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Improving Communications between Parents, Athletes and Coaches

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

I'd like to thank my featured guests Dr. Richard and Jane Horowitz of Growing Great Relationships, who joined me to talk about their recent survey of 3,000 coaches and athletic directors that dealt with communications between coaches, their athletes and the athlete's family.

One of the surprising findings to the highly respected relationship team was the fact that over 50% of coaches and administrators responded that their #1 complaint was that parents were over-involved with their child's high school athletic career.

Aside from learning what coaches and administrators think about the relationship between today's coaches and their teen athletes, the National High School Coaches Association and Growing Great Relationships developed what is known at the CAP PACT.

CAP stands for Coaches, Athletes,'s a blueprint for creating cooperative and productive partnerships among all parties that ensures that the student-athlete's athletic experience will be fulfilling and serve as an important step in furthering the athlete's development in setting and achieving worthwhile goals for themselves and the community.

With the Horowitz' help, it was the first-time that the National High School Coaches Association conducted this type of survey with its membership.

Click here to go to the Growing Great Relationships' website to learn more about the survey results and CAP PACT.

Friday, March 11, 2011

March Nominees for March GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Voting is underway at for the March GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month.  

Click here to vote

Here are our six nominees...

#1 Jasmine Hines, a senior at Central Lake High School in Central Lake, Michigan.

Hines is Michigan’s all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball.  She is also the state’s all-time leader in rebounds.  Her skills don’t stop there…she is also the defending champ in the shot put in track-and-field, plus a top player on the volleyball team.  She has a perfect 4.0 grad point average and will attend Michigan State University.

#2 Jesse Thielke, a senior at Germantown High School in Germantown, Wisconsin, is a four-time Division I state champ.  He’s ranked #1 in the nation in the 130 pound weight class by WIN Magazine.  Thielke finished his career with a record of 189-1.  He’s a University of Wisconsin recruit.

#3 Sophomore Kendall Williams of Kell High School in Marietta, Georgia is our next nominee.

Williams is one of the nation’s premier hurdlers.  She’s never lost an outdoor hurdles race in the past five years.  Last year, as a freshman, she won state titles in the 100 and 300 hurdles…setting records in both.  She was named Georgia’s Female Athlete of the Year by Gatorade.

#4 Missy Franklin, a sophomore at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado.

Only a sophomore, Franklin is considered a lock for the 2012 Olympic swim team.  Franklin set a national record in the 100-yard backstroke at the Colorado 5A swimming and diving state championships.  Franklin also set a record in the 50-yard freestyle while leading her school to a state championship.

#5 Ryan Crouser, a senior at Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon.

Crouser is a shot-putter, who’s headed to the University of Texas.  He broke a national record not once, but twice during the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho.  He broke the national record with a throw of 75 feet, 3-and-a-half inches.  Then he topped his own record with a toss of 77 feet, 2-and-three-quarter inches.

#6 Steve Congenie, a junior at Willowbrook High in Villa Park, Illinois

Congenie won the Class 3A wrestling title at 171-pounds.  Congenie, who won the 152-pound weight class in 2010, was faced with two other state champs in the 171-pound weight class this year. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 6th NHSCA Sports Hour Now Available On-Demand in Archives

If you missed Sunday's show with Robert Iamurri, softball coach at Naples High School (Florida); Dave Hanson, boys swim coach at Bishop Hendricken (Rhode Island) and Byron Jenson of the High School Rudy Awards, it's now available on-demand in our archives.

Click here to listen to the show

Apple Valley Wins Another Minnesota State Wrestling Championship

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Apple Valley head wrestling coach Jim Jackson appeared on the December 5, 2010 NHSCA Sports Hour. Click here to listen

It looks like Apple Valley High School (Apple Valley, Minnesota) will end-up the season where it started it when it comes to the national wrestling rankings.

This past weekend, the Eagles, who began the season as WIN Magazine's pre-season #1, rolled through the Minnesota state wrestling championships, which probably means Apple Valley will win its second straight "mythical" national championship.  Led by head coach Jim Jackson, Apple Valley crowned seven state champs to win its sixth straight Class AAA state team title.  It was the school's 19th overall.

Leading the way was Destin McCauley who won his fifth Minnesota state title by capturing the 152-pound crown.  McCauley, who is the fourth Minnesota wrestler to capture five titles, finished his career with an incredible record of 286-7, which is a state record.  He had 197 pins, which is also a state record.

The seven individual titles ties the record that Apple Valley set last year.  Here are the other 2011 state champs for the Eagles...

Jordan Kingsley - 112 lbs.
Dakota Trom - 125 lbs.
Mark Hall - 130 lbs.
Matt Kelliher - 135 lbs.
Brandon Kingsley - 140 lbs.
Jake Waste - 171 lbs.

Here are the other five time state champs in Minnesota...

Matt Nagel, Frazee (1997-2001)
Eric Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg (1999-2003)
Zach Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg (2003-2007)

To learn more about Apple Valley wrestling, click here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Iamurri Named to FHSAA Hall of Fame

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

The honors keep rolling-in for longtime Naples High School softball coach Robert Iamurri.

Earlier this week, the 26-year veteran of the Golden Eagles' program was named to the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

When I spoke to Coach Iamurri this week to set-up this Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour interview, he told me, "it really says more about my players and the program, and for that I'm very happy."

Other members of the Class of 2011 are Carol Chalu, former Tampa Prep girls volleyball coach; Gregg Hostetler, former Astronaut High girls basketball coach; Michael Colby, FHSAA Director of Eligibility; Butch Goble, a Fort Myers contest official; Bill Massey, athletic director at Boca Raton High School; the late Austin "Red" Robbins, a student athlete at Groveland High; and Orlando-area contest official Don Trawick.

The Class of 2011 will be honored during an induction ceremony April 17th at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville.

Click here to read the news release from the Florida High School Athletic Association.

Click here to read a story from about Iamurri's reaction to the honor.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Illinois Wrestler Named GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Ben Whitford of Marmion Academy (Aurora, Illinois), who is halfway to becoming just the 13th four-time state wrestling champ in Illinois, is January's GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month.  Whitford was honored Friday morning during a news conference at the school.

“The National High School Coaches Association is proud to recognize Ben for his outstanding performances, not only on the field, but in the school and community as well,” said Bobby Ferraro, Jr., Executive Director of the National High School Coaches Association. “It’s truly an honor to recognize someone of this stature.”

"GTM Sportswear® is honored to be partnering with the NHSCA in recognizing outstanding student athletes such as Ben. He has really shown his commitment and dedication to his sport and is a great example for the youth in our communities," said Nikki Miller, Vice President of Marketing for GTM Sportswear®. "We are very proud of Ben and his outstanding achievements."

Last month, the super sophomore captured the Class 2A 130-pound championship winning a 20-7 major decision over David Pearce of Bethalto Civic Memorial. Whitford was one of five state champs for the Cadets, who up until three years ago, never had a state tournament qualifier.

Here's video of Whitford's 2011 title...

The five individual titles are a state record for most champions in 2A or 3A. The other champs for Marmion Academy were Johnny Jimenez (103), Jered Cortez (112), George Fisher (119) and Bryce Brill (135).

Whitford finished this season with a record of 41-1. His career record is now 84-1.

If Whitford can win two more state titles, he will join the list of elite wrestlers who claim the title of four-time champs. Below is that list...

Illinois Wrestling 4X State Wrestling Champs

Mark Ruettiger (New Lenox Providence) 1978-81
Joey Gilbert (Tinley Park Andrew) 1986-89
Mike Mena (Sterling Newman High School) 1989-92
Joe Williams (Chicago Mt. Carmel) 1990-93
TJ Williams (Chicago Mt. Carmel) 1993-96
David Douglas (Thornridge) 1994-97
Chase Beebe (Montini) 2000-2003
Conor Beebe (Montini) 2002-2005
Mike Benefiel (Montini) 2004-2007
Albert White (St. Rita) 2004-2007
Seth Milks (Dakota) 2006-2009

Click here to read NHSCA news release.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Talking Girls Softball, Swimming and High School Football on March 6th Show

It was fun doing the show last Sunday from the historic Beverly Hilton on Oscar night.  For those of you that don't know, the hotel, which was owned by the late Merv Griffin, is the site of the annual Golden Globe Awards.

Right now, Trish and I are busy putting together Sunday's show.  We'll be broadcasting from Miami, and since we'll be in the Sunshine State, we've decided to take a swing at girls' softball for the first time this year.

We've just confirmed that Florida's winningest softball coach, Robert Iamurri of Naples High School will join us as a guest.  Iamurri, who was the 2010 NHSCA Softball Coach of the Year, is in his 26th year as head coach.

Iamurri has won a state record 10 state championships, plus two slow pitch state titles. His overall record is an incredible 727-78-2.

Speaking of state championships, we'll have Bishop Hendricken swim coach Dave Hanson on the show. Hanson, who started the swim program at the Warwick, Rhode Island school in the late 70's, will talk about his incredible program that has won 22 straight boys' state swimming championships.

Finally, we'll be talking high school football with Byron Jenson of the High School Rudy Awards.  Jenson will talk about the two-year old award named after Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who became a famous player while at Notre Dame while only playing two downs as a 5-6, 165 pounds walk-on.

Earlier this year on the NHSCA Sports Hour, we spoke with this year's winner Chance Anthony of Breckenridge County High School.

Anthony was born without the lower part of his right arm, but that prevented the senior from being a contributing member of the school's football and basketball teams.