Monday, June 27, 2011

St. Thomas Aquinas Named Top High School Athletic Program by MaxPreps

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour has named St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as its 2010-11 Athletic Program of the Year.

Last season, the Raiders were named national champs in football and girls’ soccer and boys’ track and field by various national publications.

St. Thomas Aquinas also had plenty of Top 15 finishes in the state.  The Raiders were 8th in Florida in boys’ cross country; 6th in the state in girls’ cross country; 3rd in Florida in boys’ golf; 11th in girls’ golf; 5th in girls’ swimming; 7th in boys’ swimming; 14th in wrestling; and 4th in girls’ track and field.

Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon finished second .  Four California schools made the Top 10 list.' Athletic Programs of Year for 2010-2011

1. St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
2. Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon
3. Punahou High School in Honolulu, Hawaii
4. Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado
5. Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida
6. De La Salle High School in Concord, California
7. Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Louisiana
8. Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California
9, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California
10. Long Beach Poly, Long Beach, California

Weekly High School Football Radio Show Begins July 21st on Artist First Radio Network

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Yesterday's show was a lot of fun with Steve Spiewak of talking about the upcoming high school football season.

If you missed the interview on Spiewak's Preseason Top 25 Early Contenders, the show will be posted later this week in the archives. Steve did a great job of giving listeners a snapshot of what goes into creating national rankings, and who are the teams to beat this year.

So with high school football on the brain, it's with great pleasure that I make the official announcement that my website High School Football America is coming to radio!

Yes, beginning July 21st, I'll also be doing a weekly high school football-only show from 7-8 PM EST on the Artist First Radio Network.

Below is our news release:


Chicago, IL – June 27, 2011 – High School Football Founder Jeff Fisher announced today that he’ll be hosting a weekly internet radio show on the ArtistFirst World Radio Network beginning Thursday, July 21, 2011   The show, which is called High School Football America, will air every Thursday starting at 7 P.M. EST.

“This is a very important step in the growth of High School Football America,” said Fisher, who also serves as High School Football America’s Editor-in-Chief.  “There is a need for a weekly high school football-only show that looks inside the sport from a national perspective.”

In addition to running High School Football America, Fisher, whose broadcast journalism career began in radio at the age of 14-years old at WEST-AM in Easton, Pennsylvania, is the host of the very successful National High School Coaches Association radio show called the NHSCA Sports Hour, which is America’s premiere high school sports interview show that covers all sports.

“The NHSCA Sports Hour is an excellent example of America’s thirst for high school sports information,” said Fisher.  “Since taking over as the producer of the show, we’ve been able to increase listenership by over 25%.  We have tens of thousands of listeners that turn to us for the stories-behind-the-stories that make high school sports great.”

Fisher added, “Our goal with High School Football America is to give our listeners a reliable show that they can tune into to each week for previews of the big games, plus interviews with coaches and players.”

For more information on High School Football America, visit our website at

About Jeff Fisher/High School Football America
Jeff’s broadcasting career began at the age of 14 in Easton, Pennsylvania.  In a career that has spanned 35-years, he’s worked in every aspect of sports journalism.  He is the founder of High School Football America, a website dedicated to telling the stories of small town high school football across the United States.  Prior to launching High School Football America, Jeff worked as a TV sports anchor at FOX Sports Net in Chicago.  Fisher is best known as the creator, executive producer and host of The Big Ticket, a weekly 60-minute high school football wrap-up show that won him the Associated Press Best Sportscast in Pennsylvania Award.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NHL Takes 18 High School Hockey Players in Draft

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

It didn't match the record-setting 1987 draft when 69 American high school hockey players were selected in the National Hockey League Entry Draft, but it still was a good one for 18 high schoolers that were drafted over this past weekend's draft.

Minnesota led the way with 11 players taken.  Connecticut was next with four NHL draft picks; Massachusetts had two players selected; and Wisconsin had one high school player drafted.

Mario Lucia of Wayzata High School was the first high schooler picked.  Lucia, a junior who finished the season with 30 goals and 24 assists, was taken with the 60th pick by the Minnesota Wild.

Since the 2000 draft, 174 high school players have been drafted by the NHL.  The 2011 Draft marked the first time in 10-years that a Minnesota native wasn't selected in the opening round.

Here's a list of the 18 high school players selected during the draft at the Xcel Energy Center:

60th - Mario Lucia, Wayzata HS, Minnesota by Minnesota Wild
72nd - Steven Fogarty, Edina HS, Minnesota by NY Rangers
91st - Kyle Rau, Eden Prarie HS, Minnesota by Florida Panthers
98th - Mike Reilly, Shattuck-St. Mary's School, Minnesota by Columbus Blue Jackets
101st - Joseph Labate, Holy Angels HS, Minnesota by Vancouver Canucks
130th - Tony Cameranesi, Wayzata HS, Minnesota by Toronto Maple Leafs
131st - Nick Seeler, Eden Prarie HS, Minnesota by Minnesota Wild
145th - Philippe Hudon, Choate-Rosemary Hall, Connecticut by Detroit Red Wings
151st - Rob Gara, Milton Academy, Massachusetts by Boston Bruins
154th - Edward Wittchow, Burnsville HS, Minnesota by Florida Panthers
161st - Stephen Michalek, Loomis-Chaffee HS, Connecticut by Minnesota Wild
174th - Josh Archibald, Brainerd-High HS, Minnesota by Pittsburgh Penguins
176th - Petr Placek, Hotchkiss School, Connecticut by Philadelphia Flyers
189th - Patrick Daly, Benilde-St. Margaret's, Minnesota by New Jersey Devils
194th - Colin Blackwell, St. John's Prep, Massachusetts by San Jose Sharks
197th - Brad Navin, Waupaca HS, Wisconsin by Buffalo Sabres
198th - Colin Sullivan, Avon Old Farms, Connecticut by Montreal Canadiens
203rd - Max Everson, Edina HS, Minnesota by Toronto Maple Leafs

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 NHSCA Volleyball Coach of the Year Fred Rakers on Sunday's Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Fred Rakers' 35-year career as the girls' volleyball coach at Mater Dei High School in Breese, Illinois came to a close at the end of this past season, ending what was one of the most incredible runs in Illinois' high school sports history.

Tomorrow, Rakers, who was named the National High School Coaches Association's 2011 Volleyball Coach of the Year, will join Trish Hoffman and myself on the NHSCA Sports Hour to talk about his career that included six championships and an overall record of 1,046-200-7.

Rakers ranks second on the state's all-time wins list behind Peg Kopec of Wheaton St. Francis School.  Kopec was the NHSCA's 2008 Coach of the Year.

Mater Dei, who will be coached next season by Fred's son Chad, who's been an assistant for the Knights, sent its longtime coach out on a high note when the Knights beat Joliet Catholic for state's 3A state title.  Mater Dei finished 41-1 and ranked #26 nationally by

Here's a look back at past NHSCA Volleyball Coaches of the Year...

2010 - Laurie LaRusso - Darien HS, Darien, CT
2009 - Jan Stanley - West Henderson, Hendersonville, NC
2008 - Peg Kopec - St. Francis School, Wheaton, IL
2007 - Steve Shondell - Burris Laboratory School, Muncie, IN
2006 - Louise Crocco - Cardinal Gibbons HS, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2005 - Brenda LeBlanc - St. Joseph's Academy, Baton Rouge, LA
2004 - Lee Grisham - Wimberley HS, Wimberly, TX
2003 - Amie Meyer - Ursuline Academy, Cincinnati, OH
2002 - Jan Barker - Amarillo HS, Amarillo, TX
2001 - John Knuth - Marysville HS, Marysville, MI
2000 - Larry Trupe - Torrey Pines HS, Encinitas, CA

Click here to listen to the show LIVE

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 19th NHSCA Sports Hour Now Available On-Demand

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

If you missed Sunday's show with 2011 NHSCA Football Player of the Year Johnny Manziel (Tivy HS, Texas), 2011 Baseball Coach of the Year Tom O'Connell (Burlington Catholic Central HS, Wisconsin) and Cindy Duan (Sanford School), 5-time Delaware girls' tennis champ you can now listen FREE on-demand.

Click here to listen to the June 19th show

Legendary Connecticut Boys Basketball Coach Vito Montelli on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

I spent 30 enjoyable minutes on the phone this morning settting-up this Sunday's interview with Vito Montelli, the 2011 National High School Coaches Association's Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year.

I say it was enjoyable, because I really like getting to know America's legendary coaches, who have spent the better part of their lives teaching young men and women.

Coach Montelli will be celebrating his 50th season on bench for the St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut.  Montelli is the only coach that the school has ever had.

Last season, Montelli led the Cadets to their 10th state championship with a 79-53 win over Fairfield Prep in the Class LL title game.  The LL championship gave St. Joseph the distinction of being the only Connecticut school to win state championships in all four classifications.

Montelli, who is the state's winningest coach with a record of 853-329, has taken his teams to 16 state championship games.

In my brief chat today, I quickly learned that Coach Montelli is more than a basketball coach.  He spoke about how important it is that his players excel both on-and-off the court.  He told me he still goes to school seven days a week, unless his wife tells him he has to do something else.

Montelli's career has led to his induction in the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005 and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Here's a look at St. Joseph's 16 state title games under Montelli, which include 10 championship appearances in a 13-year span from 1985 to 1997.

1975 - St. Joseph 64, St. Thomas Aquinas 63, Class S
1976 - Immaculate 72, St. Joseph 71, Class S
1977 - St. Joseph 89, St. Thomas Aquinas 63, Class S
1978 - Middletown 71, St. Joseph 57, Class M
1985 - Kolbe-Cathedral 55, St. Joseph 53 (3OT), Class M
1986 - St. Joseph 51, Weston 50 (OT), Class M
1987 - St. Joseph 72, Kolbe-Cathedral 64, Class M
1988 - St. Joseph 69, Harding 66, Class L
1990 - Bristol Central 66, St. Joseph 65, Class L
1992 - St. Joseph 85, East Catholic 67, Class L
1993 - St. Joseph 76, Bullard-Havens 57, Class L
1995 - Ansonia 56, St. Joseph 54, Class L
1996 - St. Joseph 67, Torrington 47, Class L
1997 - Harding 64, St. Joseph 58, Class L
2001 - St. Joseph 66, Holy Cross 48, Class L
2011 - St. Joseph 79 Fairfield Prep 53, Class LL

We're proud to have Montelli as this year's NHSCA's Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year.  Below is a list of our other 11 honorees.

2010 - Harvey Kitani, Fairfax HS, Los Angeles, CA
2009 - Jack Curran, Archbishop Molloy HS, Jamaica Plains, NY
2008 - Dick Katte, Denver Christian School, Denver, CO
2007 - Bob Hurley, St. Anthony HS, Jersey City, NJ
2006 - Jack Keefer, Lawrence North HS, Indianapolis, IN
2005 - Robert Hughes, Dunbar HS, Fort Worth, TX
2004 - Charles Smith, Peabody Magnet HS, Alexandria, LA
2003 - Dave Garvin, Philomatch HS, Philomath, OR
2002 - Jack Butcher, Loogootee HS, Loogootee, IN
2001 - Bob Williams, Schaumburg HS, Schaumburg, IL
2000 - Russell Otis, Dominguez HS, Compton, CA

Coach Montelli will be on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour around 6:20 PM EST.

Click here to listen to the show LIVE

Tuesday, June 21, 2011's Steve Spiewak on June 26th NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

You know that the high school football season isn't far away when national rankings start coming-out!

35 days-and-counting until practice begins in Alaska on July 25th.  As a matter of a fact, I spent some time today on the phone with the good folks at Barrow High School in Alaska lining-up a future interview for the only school above the Arctic Circle.  But, I digress.

Back to the topic at hand...those national rankings that get everyone talking.

Several weeks ago, beat everyone to the punch when Senior Football Editor Steve Spiewak released his Preseason Top 25 Early Contenders.

Spiewak will join us on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour to talk about the poll, and why Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, New Jersey), looks like its going to take another run at a "mythical" national championship.  The Ironmen finished #1 in MaxPreps' Xcellent 25 Rankings in 2009.

Here's the 2011 Preseason Top 25 Early Contenders....

1. Don Bosco Prep (NJ)
2. Armwood (FL)
3. De La Salle (CA)
4. St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)
5. Allen (TX)
6. Prattville (AL)
7. Trinity (TX)
8. Pleasant Grove (CA)
9. St. Edward (OH)
10. Bishop Gorman (NV)
11. Katy (TX)
12. South Panola (MS)
13. Centennial (CA)
14. Glades Central (FL)
15. Good Counsel (MD)
16. Harrison (MI)
17. Dwyer (FL)
18. Warren Central (IN)
19. St. Xavier (OH)
20. Trinity (KY)
21. Aledo (TX)
22. Oaks Christian (CA)
23. Bellevue (WA)
24. Chaparral (AZ)
25. Grayson (GA)

Click here read more from Spiewak about each team

Click here to listen to Sunday's show LIVE

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Portsmouth High School Wins 4th Straight New Hampshire Baseball Title

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Congratulations to Tim Hopley and the Portsmouth High baseball team on winning its fourth straight New Hampshire Division II championship on Saturday.

Hopley, who appeared on the April 17th NHSCA Sports Hour, has led the Clippers to a national record 83 straight victories after a 9-6 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas last night.

Click here to read the game story Forster's Daily Democrat.

Click here to listen to Coach Hopley's interview back on April 17th when the team was chasing the national record of 75 straight wins, that was held at the time by Homer High School in Michigan.

Ohio Routs Pennsylvania in Big 33 Classic

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Ohio ran its win streak in the Big 33 Classic to three straight in Hershey Saturday night.

The Buckeye State stars routed the Keystone Staters 50-14 behind MVP Akise Teague of Youngstown Ursuline High School.  Teague, who will play his college ball at the University of Cincinnati, had 168 yards in total offense, averaging 16.8 yards per touch. 

Teague scored two first quarter rushing touchdowns and then caught a 40-yard touchdown pass in the third.

The 50 points was the most scored by an opponent against the PA stars in the 54th Big 33 Classic.

Last Sunday, Matt Dennison, the head coach of the Ohio All-Stars, joined us to talk about America's premiere all-star football game.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Matt Dennison Talks About Tonight's Big 33 Classic

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

If you missed last Sunday's show, it's now posted in our archives so you can enjoy it whenever you want on your terms.

Click here to listen to Big 33 Classic Ohio coach Matt Dennison of New Philadelphia High School talk about tonight's showdown between the Buckeye State and Pennsylvania in Hershey.

Dennison talks about how big an honor it is to coach in America's premiere high school football all-star game that has the distinction of having a Big 33 alum play in all 45 Super Bowls.

Dennison's regular job at New Philadelphia, which is south of Cleveland has some history to it as well. legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes coached the Quakers back in the 30's.

The Ohio stars bring a two-game win streak in the series into tonight's classic in Chocolate Town USA.

Also on last week's show, Trish and I talked with Dylan Bundy, the 2011 NHSCA Baseball Player of the Year, who was taken with the fourth overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles.

There's also a great segment with Irv Sigler, head football coach at Jenison High in Michigan, who is spearheading the effort to bring the Wounded Warrior Project to high school football field across America.

Burlington Catholic Central Wins Another Wisconsin State Championship for 2011 NHSCA Baseball Coach of the Year Tom O'Connell

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

It was quite a week for Burlington Catholic Central (Burlington, Wisconsin) baseball coach Tom O'Connell.

First, O'Connell, who has coached baseball at the high school level for over 40 years, was named the National High School Coaches Association's 2011 Baseball Coach of the Year. Then on Thursday, O'Connell's team went-out and won the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 4 state baseball championship.

Sunday, O'Connell will be a guest on the NHSCA Sports Hour to talk about the Hilltoppers' back-to-back championships and fifth state title in the last eight years.

Click here to read Dan Kohn's game story at about BCC's 9-2 win over Chippewa Falls McDonnell in Thursday's title game.

O'Connell has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: The American Baseball Coaches Association, the Old Time Baseball Players Hall of Fame in Milwaukee and the WBCA Hall of Fame.

Below are highlights from Catholic Central's 2010 Division 4 state championship game....

Click here to listen to tomorrow's show LIVE

Friday, June 17, 2011

5-Time Delaware High School Tennis Champ Cindy Duan on June 19th NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Last month, Sanford School's Cindy Duan did something no other high school tennis player in the history of Delaware tennis ever accomplished.

Duan won her fifth straight DIAA singles championship by beating previously unbeaten Sarah Candeloro of Caesar Rodney 6-2, 6-0 i the girls' final.  The victory advanced the senior's win streak to 83 straight matches.

Since Sanford is a K-12 school, Duan was allowed to compete for a state championship as an 8th grader.

Cindy will join us on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour to talk about her incredible career and her next step which is attending Princeton University.

Click here to listen to the show LIVE on the Artist First Radio Network.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 NHSCA Football Player of the Year Johnny Manziel on June 19th Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Johnny Manziel's career at Tivy High School (Kerrville, Texas) ended with him being known as one of the Lone Star State's best double-threat quarterbacks.

Last week Manziel, who finished his high school career with over 11,600 yards in total offense, was named the National High School Coaches Association's 2011 Football Player of the Year.

Sunday, Manziel, who's already enrolled at Texas A&M, will join Trish Hoffman and me to talk about his incredible career that throw and run for 153 touchdowns.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Portsmouth (NH) High School Baseball Team Extends National Win Streak to 82 Straight

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Portsmouth High School is back in New Hampshire's Division II championship game.

Sunday, the Clippers beat Bedford 4-1 to extend the school's national record win streak to 82 straight.  Next Saturday, Portsmouth (19-0) will go after its fourth straight state title when it faces St. Thomas (12-7).

The Clippers advanced to the final behind senior pitcher Keegan Taylor, who improved to 9-0 this season. Taylor entered the game with a 0.63 ERA.

Click here to read a game recap from Roger Brown from

Portsmouth head coach Tim Hopley appeared on the April 17th NHSCA Sports Hour.  Click here to listen to that episode.

2011 NHSCA Coaches of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Congratulations to the National High School Coaches Association's Class of 2011 for Coaches of the Year.

This year's class covers 20 boys and girls sports from 17 different states.  California, Connecticut and Florida lead the way with two honorees each.

Below are the NHSCA's 2011 Coaches of the Year...

Football – George Smith
St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

After taking the reins as head football coach in 1975, Smith could be found hammering nails and pouring concrete into what would become the visiting bleachers at the school’s football stadium. Smith, 62, then built a program that became renowned at the state and national levels. He retired this spring after 34 seasons at the helm of the Raiders, building a 361-66 record in two separate stints and leading St. Thomas to 13 state championship games and six state titles – four in Class 5A and two in 4A. Smith stepped down after St. Thomas won its first state title in 1992. He returned for the 1995 season and led the Raiders to the state playoffs in all 16 seasons of his second stint, adding state titles in 1997, 1999, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Overall, his teams earned 26 playoff berths and posted a 64-20 playoff record (only Charles “Corky” Rogers of Jacksonville Bolles School, the NHSCA’s National Coach of the Year in 2005, with 66 playoff wins, has more). His 2008 team finished the season ranked No. 1 by the NHSCA and by USA Today, which named Smith its National High School Coach of the Year that year. His final team in 2010, which finished 15-0, also earned national title honors and the NHSCA’s No. 3 ranking. Smith, who came to St. Thomas in 1972 as wrestling coach, has been elected to the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the Florida Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame and the Broward County Sports Bureau Hall of Fame. He will remain the school’s athletic director.

Baseball –Tom O’Connell
Catholic Central High School, Burlington, Wisconsin

The first high school coach ever elected president of the college-dominated American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), O’Connell has spent 42 years coaching baseball. From 1969 through 2000, he coached at Milwaukee Pulaski High School, where his teams won more games than any sport in the school’s history. He led Pulaski to state tournament berths in 1981, when they reached the state semifinals, and in 1989. He has been at Burlington Catholic Central for 11 seasons, and his Hilltopper teams have made the state quarterfinals eight consecutive years. They went on to win four state championships, in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010. O’Connell has twice been named the Diamond Sports National High School Coach of the Year by the ABCA, most recently in 2010, and has been named Midwest Coach of the Year four times. In 1995, he skippered the USA Baseball North Team in the United States Olympic Festival in Colorado, a team that featured four future major leaguers. O’Connell chaired the ABCA’s High School Division from 1984-96, and now serves on its Board of Directors and heads its Ethics in Coaching Award Committee. A former president of the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association, O’Connell organized and ran the group’s annual clinic and convention for 20 years and, in 1991, was named its Man of the Year. He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: the Old Time Baseball Players Hall of Fame in Milwaukee, the WBCA Hall of Fame in 1987 and the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2007, becoming only the 16th high school coach to be inducted in the ABCA’s 64-year history.

Softball - Debbie Holcombe
James F. Byrnes High School, Duncan, South Carolina

An ankle injury as a volleyball player at Southern Wesleyan College added a fifth year to Holcombe’s college career and a second major, physical education, to her business administration major. She’s winning games – and awards – 23 years later. As a rookie volleyball coach at Anderson T.L. Hanna High School in 1989, her team finished 18-4 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs, earning Holcombe Region 1-4A Coach of the Year honors. She began the first of two stints at Byrnes in 1991 as softball and volleyball coach. Her first volleyball team finished 26-6, won Region 2-3A regular season and tournament titles and earned Holcombe a second Region Coach of the Year award, while her softball team finished 22-4. She then spent eight years in college coaching – six at Southern Wesleyan, where her volleyball teams finished 79-31 and her softball teams 109-33-1, advancing to the NAIA national tournament in 1996, and two at Presbyterian College. There, she coached the volleyball team to a 54-20 record and started the softball program, which went 31-16 in its inaugural season. After returning to Byrnes as softball coach in 2001, Holcombe was named Coach of the Year by the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association and National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2005, when she led the Lady Rebels to the 4A state title and the first of three consecutive Upper State crowns. They also won a district title in 2004 and were district runners-up in 2003, 2009 and 2010. Holcombe also was the South Carolina High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2008 and a finalist for the National High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2009 after being named Southern District High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

Volleyball – Fred Rakers
Mater Dei High School, Breese, Illinois

The only volleyball coach Mater Dei has ever had, Rakers, 65, brought a sterling 35-year coaching career to an end last fall. His Knights compiled a 41-1 record, and sent him out a winner. Ranked No. 26 nationally by, Mater Dei’s 15-25, 25-18, 26-24 victory over Joliet Catholic Academy in the 3A state final gave Rakers his sixth state title. With a career record of 1,046-200-7, Rakers stands No. 2 on the all-time victory list among Illinois coaches. The only coach with more victories, Peg Kopec of Wheaton St. Francis High School, was the NHSCA’s National Coach of the Year in 2008. In addition to his six state titles – the Knights previously won championships in 1987, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 2001 – Rakers' teams have won 14 state trophies, having finished second once, third four times and fourth three times in 20 state tournament appearances. He also won four district titles, 24 regional championships, 21 sectional titles and 20 super-sectional championships. Rakers will continue to teach consumer education and career guidance at Mater Dei. His son, Chad, an assistant coach the past four seasons, will succeed him as head coach.

Field Hockey – Wendy Wilson
Tabb High School, Yorktown, Virginia

One of the most respected offensive minds in the sport’s coaching ranks, Wilson has turned Tabb into a small-school Virginia powerhouse since her arrival in 2004. In 2009, the Tigers became just the sixth team in the nation to score more than 150 goals in a season, while posting its second consecutive 24-0 season. That team, which included the first group of seventh-graders she recruited in building Tabb’s program, graduated with back-to-back state championships and the nation’s longest winning streak. Wilson’s 2008 team allowed just six goals all season, earning her Bay Rivers District, region and state Coach of the Year awards, along with South Region Coach of the Year honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). The Tigers’ 2009 title earned Wilson the NFHCA’s National Coach of the Year award. Last fall, rebuilding a team that graduated its goalkeeper and its entire defense, Wilson led the Tigers to a 22-3 record, and her team didn’t allow a goal in the state tournament for the third straight year. A standout field hockey and lacrosse player at Christopher Newport University (CNU), Wilson once scored nine goals in a game and holds the school single-game, season and career records in goals and points. She also scored 73 goals in two lacrosse seasons, and is an assistant lacrosse coach at CNU.

Wrestling – Cliff Ramos
Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, Georgia

Ramos, 57, retired last season after a hugely successful run at the helm of the Collins Hill program, the fourth school he coached in a 34-year coaching career, 29 in Georgia. His overall dual-meet record was 626-80. Ramos guided Collins Hill to nine state team titles in Georgia’s biggest class, 5A – five individual state tournament titles and four dual state titles – and his Eagles teams finished in the top three for 11 consecutive seasons. A co-founder and past president of the Georgia Wrestling Coaches Association, he is a 22-time Region Coach of the Year and was selected the state’s Coach of the Year five times – in 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. His teams were nationally ranked five times in a six-year span. His best team, in 2010, not only reached the top 10, but beat two nationally-ranked teams, including host Easton High, and came within three points of shocking 31-time National Prep champions Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy in the NHSCA Final Four of High School Wrestling. Ramos, who coached 34 individual state champions, was selected Coach of the Year, Georgia Chapter, by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 2002 and is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Georgia Chapter. He currently serves as Director of Wrestling at Greater Atlanta Christian School, located in Norcross.

Boys' Basketball – Vito Montelli
St. Joseph High School, Trumbull, Connecticut

The state’s all-time leading winner with a record of 853-329 (a .722 winning percentage), Montelli, 78, the only basketball coach St. Joseph has ever had, completed his 49th season with a record 10th state title. With a 79-53 victory over Fairfield College Preparatory School in the Class LL title game, Montelli’s Cadets (23-3) became the only Connecticut team to win state titles in all four classifications. He previously coached St. Joseph to five titles in Class L and two each in Class M and Class S. St. Joseph previously won titles in 1975, 1977, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 2001, and have advanced to 16 state title games. That included 10 appearances in a 13-year span from 1985-1997. In 1992, Montelli was named National Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, and in 1995, he was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 1998, he received the Gold Key Award when he was inducted into the Connecticut Hall of Fame by the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance. In 2002, Montelli received the Frank Maguire Foundation Award from the New York Athletic Club. He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. He has had 25 players receive McDonald’s All-American recognition, and he coached the East squad in the McDonald’s All-American Game in 1990. He was featured in the Faces in the Crowd section of Sports Illustrated magazine in April.

Girls' Basketball – Kevin Kiernan
Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, California

Believe it or not, Kiernan’s first job after graduating from college was as a sportswriter – at the Orange County Register and the Anaheim Bulletin. Not fond of the late nights, Kiernan landed the head coaching position at Westminster La Quinta High School, which had won just eight of 82 games in the three seasons prior to his arrival. Over the next five seasons, La Quinta went 110-79 and made a state tournament appearance under Kiernan, who has gone on to put together 20 glittering seasons. From La Quinta, Kiernan moved on to Fullerton Troy High School. In 11 seasons, his teams went 317-33, never lost a Freeway League game (going 110-0 in those games), and won five Southern Section titles and three state championships. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) named him the Russell Athletic/WBCA National High School Coach of the Year in 2006. In four years at Mater Dei, Kiernan’s teams are 123-7, and he owns a 613-109 career record (a .849 winning percentage). This year, his Monarchs finished 34-1, ended the season on a 26-game winning streak and won their second consecutive state championship – in Division 1AA this year after moving up from Division II a year ago – giving him five state titles overall. This year’s title made Mater Dei the first girls basketball team in five years to finish No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25 in consecutive seasons, and the newspaper named Kiernan its National Coach of the Year in 2010. The Register named him its Coach of the Year this season.

Boys' Cross Country – Adam Kedge
Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Kedge has coached the boys cross country and track and field teams at Albuquerque Academy for the past 19 seasons, and has been the head coach of both sports since 1998. His teams have won 11 4A state championships in cross country. The Chargers won titles his first five seasons, 1998-2002, and also own a pair of three-year streaks, in 2004-2006 and the past three seasons, 2008-2010. He has led the boys track and field team to nine state crowns – in 1999 and eight of the past 10 years, most recently in 2009 and 2010. Ten of his athletes hold 4A state track and field records, one an all-state record. Under Kedge, the Chargers have been ranked No. 1 nationally twice by The Harrier High School Cross Country Report. The Chargers own 14 district titles, 13 City of Albuquerque championships, 84 meet victories and four undefeated seasons in the past 11 years. Kedge has coached seven cross-country runners to state medalist honors, with two becoming Foot Locker National All-Americans and one a USA Junior World Team member. Kedge was named Regional Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2001 and 2003. A 10-time state Coach of the Year in cross country and track and field, the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame honored Kedge as its Coach of the Year in 2006. He is the former president of the New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Girls' Cross Country – Jim Tracy
University High School, San Francisco, California

In 1995, Tracy, 60, gave up a secure corporate career, steady income and conventional lifestyle for a part-time position coaching University’s high school runners. Seventeen seasons later, Tracy is the most decorated girls cross country coach in California history. When his girls dug down deep to repeat as Division V state champions last fall, it was a record eighth state championship for Tracy, awarded Coach of the Year honors by the California Coaches Association in 2004. The Red Devils previously won titles in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2009, while finishing second in 1995, 1999 and 2000. His boys teams finished second in state in 2001 and 2007 and third on five other occasions. His Red Devils have combined for 25 Bay Counties League titles and 20 North Coast Section titles, 10 each for the girls and for the boys. Tracy’s eighth state title came five months after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. And at the state meet, one of his runners, junior captain Holland Reynolds, collapsed yards short of the finish line due to dehydration, then crawled across the line, allowing her finish to count toward the Red Devils’ winning total. That title run was profiled on ESPN’s Outside the Lines series in April, and the National Federation of State High School Associations presented Tracy and his team with the Region 7 Spirit of Sport award this year.

Boys' Golf – Larry Ries
Hunterdon Central High School, Flemington, New Jersey

Ries has coached four sports at Hunterdon Central over more than 30 seasons. He has more than 800 victories as a varsity head coach in golf and boys soccer, and also had successful runs coaching the Red Devils’ freshman basketball and baseball teams. Ries is currently in his 30th season as golf coach, for which he also was named National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations this year. Last spring, Ries guided the Hunterdon Central golfers to Team of the Year honors from The Newark Star-Ledger. The Red Devils posted a 16-1 record in 2010, winning Hunterdon County and Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament championships and Skyland Conference, Group 4 Central-South Jersey Section, state and Tournament of Champions titles, the latter the second of Ries’ career. Through last spring, his teams had a record of 467-105-1 and won 19 conference titles, 10 sectional titles, four Group 4 state titles and the 1992 Tournament of Champions title. Ries was named Coach of the Year by The Star-Ledger in 2008 and the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association in 2010. He also started the girls golf team at Hunterdon Central. As the school’s soccer coach for 29 seasons, retiring in 2007, Ries’ teams had a record of 332-177-63, with 26 winning seasons and four Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final berths.

Girls' Golf – Ryan Best
St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Overland Park, Kansas

Best holds an interesting dual role at St. Thomas Aquinas. He is the chairman of the Theology Department…and has been the coach of the boys golf team since 1997 and the girls golf team since 1999. He has held numerous campus ministry positions, including director of the KAIROS Retreat Program, and has coached basketball and volleyball at the school in addition to golf. Last fall, Best guided the Raiders girls golf team to a state-record fifth consecutive team title, shooting a state-record score of 303 to win the 5A title by 66 strokes. It was Best’s sixth girls state championship, his first coming in 2002. He also has had one of his girls golfers win medalist honors seven times, including each of the past five seasons. The Kansas Coaches Association named Best Girls Coach of the Year in 2003. Best’s boys teams have qualified for state every year of his tenure, and broke through to win back-to-back 5A titles in 2007 and 2008, to go with five state runnerup finishes, two third-place finishes, two fourth-place finishes and a sixth-place finish. He has coached four boys to state medalist honors, and nearly 20 of his golfers have gone on to earn college scholarships. Best was guest speaker at the National High School Golf Association annual conference in 2007 and also created and directed “Golf for the Soul,” a summer golf retreat program for players of all ages. Best played basketball and golf at Benedictine University in Atchison, Kan. and earned a master’s degree from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.

Boys' Soccer – Jerry Little
North Central High School, Indianapolis, Indiana

Little’s teams have won more state championships – five – since the Indiana High School Athletic Association first sanctioned the boys state tournament in 1994 than any other school. Little guided the Panthers to state-sanctioned titles in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002 and 2005 (seven overall), along with seven state championship games and eight trips to the state’s Final Four in the state-sanctioned era. He came to North Central in 1984 after three seasons at cross-town Broad Ripple High School, and his record on the Panthers’ sideline is 453-86-48, including a 12-2-1 mark last fall. His 1993 and 1994 teams, both of which finished 25-0, earned No. 7 final rankings from USA Today, and six of his teams were nationally ranked. His teams have won 17 conference titles, and sectional, regional and semi-state crowns 10 times. Little has won over two dozen Coach of the Year awards, including six state Coach of the Year awards from the Indiana State Coaches Association (ISCA). The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) named him its Division I Regional Coach of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2002 and presented him with its National Merit Award in 2001. Little was inducted into the Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003 and the ISCA Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2007, the National Federation of State High School Associations named him its National Coach of the Year.

Girls' Soccer – Hank Tenney
Rivendell Academy, Orford, New Hampshire

Tenney, 67, retired from a 30-year coaching career after leading the Raptors to a 17-1 record and their first-ever Vermont Division IV state championship last fall, the sixth soccer title of his career. That achievement earned him NSCAA Division II National Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career. Tenney previously won the award in 2001 at Hanover (N.H.) High, where he coached for 27 seasons. His career record as a soccer coach was 432-79-17, including a 36-12-1 mark in three seasons at Rivendell. He led Hanover to the state tournament in each of his 27 seasons, never had a losing season and reached the 250-victory plateau faster than any coach in New Hampshire history. His teams advanced to eight state title games and won five state titles. Tenney was named the state’s Coach of the Year eight times, the New England Coach of the Year in 2001 and was inducted into the New Hampshire Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998. The National Federation of State High School Associations named him its National Girls Soccer Coach of the Year in 2006. Tenney also was a successful girls basketball coach, leading Sunapee (N.H.) High to back-to-back Class S state titles in 2006 and 2007, and led Hanover’s softball team to a state title in his only season as coach in 1983. He will remain the Director of Parks and Recreation for the town of Hanover, a position he has held for 33 years.

Boys' Swimming – Art Downey
Edina High School, Edina, Minnesota

Downey retired from a 34-year teaching career nearly two decades ago, but at age 83, he is still going strong as the school’s swimming coach. He just completed his 55th year at Edina-Morningside High School, Edina and Edina East High School, when the district had two high schools. His teams have won 10 state titles – in 1965, 1967, 1968, 1984, 1986, 1987, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010 – and posted a career dual-meet record of 483-141-1. That included a 24-1 record this past season, when the Hornets finished third in state. His swimmers produced three individual event wins this year, giving Downey 58 career winners. Named district Coach of the Year 11 times, state Coach of the Year six times and a National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) National Coach of the Year, Downey has served in every swimming leadership capacity in Minnesota. He was a co-founderof the Minnesota Swimming Coaches Association, has served as chairman of the Minnesota Swimming Hall of Fame since its inception in 1978 and has served as NISCA’s Minnesota state delegate since 1980. Downey is a member of seven Halls of Fame, most recently his induction into the NISCA Hall of Fame this year.

Girls' Swimming – Brian Gross
Charlotte Catholic High School, Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte Catholic had a successful swimming program before Gross arrived at the school nine years ago, and he has elevated that tradition. His girls teams have won the state team title in every one of his nine seasons at the helm, winning Class A-AA state crowns from 2003-2005 and 3A titles the past six seasons. The Cougars have won the past seven state meets by an average margin of 146 points, and their overall streak of state titles currently stands at 10 (with 12 titles overall). His swimmers own seven of the 12 existing state meet records, and with all 18 scorers returning next season, his Cougars seem assured of stretching their overall streak to 11. Gross also guided the boys team to four straight team titles, from 2005-2008, and his boys finished second in state the past three years. Named Coach of the Year by The Charlotte Observer in 2006, 2008 and again this year, Gross is a 1997 graduate of Wright State University, where he was a four-year member, captain and Most Valuable member of the swimming team, was the director of the Raider S.K.I.L.L.S. Program and Assistant Director of Special Olympics Swimming. Gross has been Vice President and Senior Recruiting Consultant at Wells Fargo Bank since 2005, and holds the Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) certification.

Boys' Tennis – Kelly Mulligan
Gulliver Preparatory School, Miami, Florida

Mulligan has coached the boys and girls teams at Gulliver Prep for 22 seasons, and now owns a total of 11 2A state team titles. Seven of those have been won by her boys teams, which have finished in the state’s top two in nine of the past 10 seasons. This spring, her boys team, which included just one senior and five freshmen, rolled to its fifth consecutive state team title by scoring a clean sweep, capturing all five singles titles and both doubles titles for a perfect 21 state tournament points. The only other boys team in any class to achieve a perfect score of 21 in the last decade: Gulliver Prep’s 2009 state championship team. Her boys teams also won titles in 2003 and 2005, finishing second in 2002 and 2004. Mulligan also has coached two boys to individual singles titles and three doubles teams to state crowns. One of them, current Northwestern University standout Raleigh Smith, was named the NHSCA National High School Athlete of the Year in 2010. Gulliver Prep’s five consecutive titles are the state’s longest current streak and the third longest in state history, and their seven titles are fifth best in state history. The Miami Herald named Mulligan the All-Dade Boys Coach of the Year in 2008, and she was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Florida Coach of the Year in 2009, after previously being awarded the state’s 2A honor.

Girls Tennis – Anita Murphy
Lewiston High School, Lewiston, Maine

Now retired from teaching, Murphy completed her 33rd season as girls tennis coach, and under her direction, the Blue Devils finished 13-2 and won their sixth consecutive Class A state championship. Her teams have made 19 trips to the state championship match and won 12 state titles overall, along with 14 Eastern Maine regional titles and 16 conference titles. Murphy’s career record is 404-60, and her teams had a winning streak nearly six years in duration before it was snapped this regular season. Murphy has received the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame Presidential Award 11 times and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. A recipient of the USA Tennis New England Junior Tennis Chapter of the Year award for her work with Lewiston’s youth tennis program, Murphy was named the Maine Tennis Coach of the Year in 2001 and was recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations as its National Girls Tennis Coach of the Year in 2008. This spring, she was one of five recipients of the Unsung Heroines in Maine Sports awards presented during the Mentoring Women in Sports XIII Conference, hosted by the Maine Principals Association.

Boys' Track and Field – Robbie Robinson
Mountain View High School, Mesa, Arizona

Robinson’s career spans over 50 years in two different states, including 31 seasons as a boys and girls track and field coach. He started his career in Minnesota, where, in addition to his teaching and coaching duties, he served 10 years as an athletic director and was the founder and first meet director of the prestigious Mayo Invitational in Rochester. He came to Mountain View in 1988, and during his career, he has led both the Toros boys and girls teams to four state titles. His boys teams won 5A state titles in 1994, 2000, 2003, and 2004 and also earned eight state runnerup finishes, in 1988, 1989, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2008, and 2010. Through his first 20 seasons, his teams recorded a dual-meet and multi-meet record of 2,819-119 and also won 20 region titles. His girls teams were state champions in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1997. He typically has about 130 boys out for track and field, and during his tenure as the girls coach, about 100 girls typically came out for the sport. A five-time Arizona Coach of the Year, Robinson was a three-time Region Coach of the Year selection by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA), and the NHSACA named him its National Coach of the Year in 2008. Robinson was awarded the Victory with Honor Coach of the Year award by the Arizona Interscholastic Association this year.

Girls' Track and Field – Susan Curnias
William H. Hall High School, West Hartford, Connecticut

The second NHSCA National Coach of the Year from William H. Hall in as many years, Curnias is the only woman to be named Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) in three sports. She was 78-37 in nine seasons as Hall’s gymnastics coach and was named Coach of the Year in 1980. In 27 years as Hall’s cross country coach, Curnias is 338-97-1, winning a Class L state title in 1987 and Coach of the Year honors in 1988. And Curnias is in her 34th season as Hall’s track and field coach. The 1990 Coach of the Year, her teams won Class L and State Open titles in 1986 and have finished second in state five times, including three straight Class LL runnerup finishes in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and have won 11 Central Connecticut Conference Western Division titles. She also coached swimming for two years at another West Hartford school, Conard High School, with a 14-5 record. Inducted into the CHSCA Hall of Fame in 2005, Curnias was named National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations in 1992. The NHSACA named her Region Coach of the Year in track and field in 1991 and in cross country in 2004. At the 40th annual Lindy J. Remigino (NHSCA Boys Track and Field National Coach of the Year in 2002) Outdoor Track and Field Invitational next month in New Britain, the women’s 100-meter hurdles has been renamed the Sue Curnias Women's 100m Hurdles in her honor.

Dylan Bundy: 2011 NHSCA Baseball Player of the Year & Baltimore Orioles Draft Pick on Today's Show

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Why did the Baltimore Orioles take Owasso (Oklahoma) High School's Dylan Bundy with the 4th overall pick in this week's Major League Baseball Amateur Draft?

Check out the numbers...

Bundy, who is a right-handed pitcher amassed an 11-0 record with 158 strikeouts in 71 innings...heonly five walks batters all year.  Bundy only allowed 20 hits all year and at one point he went 56 straight innings without allowing a run.

Those incredible stats also resulted in the National High School Coaches Association naming Bundy as its 2011 Baseball Player of the Year.

Tyler will join us on the show this afternoon starting at 6 PM EST to talk about his whirlwind week.  

Click here to listen to the show LIVE

Wounded Warrior Project

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Join us later today on the NHSCA Sports Hour when we'll talk with Irv Sigler of Jenison High School in Michigan, who is working hard to bring the Wounded Warrior Project to high school football field across America.

It all began in 2009, Sigler and his team dedicated the season to the Florida-based organization that aids wounded soldiers.  Since then, Sigler has recruited nearly 100 teams across America to play and raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

To learn more about the organization, go to

Click here to listen to Coach Sigler LIVE on today's show starting at 6 PM EST

Saturday, June 11, 2011

America's Premiere High School Football All-Star Game Takes Centerstage on June 12th NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Many call the Big 33 Classic, the annual all-star football game in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Super Bowl of high school football all-star games.


Because all 45 Super Bowls have included a player who played in the Big 33 Classic!

That's a streak that ranks up there with the Joe DiMaggio's hit streak or Brett Favre and Cal Ripken's consecutive game streaks.

It all started with Big 33 alum Herb Adderley of Northeast High School in Philadelphia. Adderley played in the first two Super Bowls with the Packers. It continued in February with five former Big 33 players on the turf at Cowboys Stadium when the Packers battled the Steelers.

In between, names like Montana, Namath and Dorsett have graced the field in Chocolate Town USA.

Through the years, Pennsylvania’s top 33 football players have squared-off with all-star teams from Maryland, Ohio and Texas.  There have been games against an all-USA all-star team, plus sometimes the eastern part of the state battled the western part of the state for bragging rights.

For the past 18-years, the Big 33 has pitted the Keystone State against stars from Ohio. It’s been a very competitive series with each state winning nine times coming into this year’s game on June 18th.

Tomorrow on the NHCSA Sports Hour we'll talk with Matt Dennison of New Philadelphia High School, who is the head coach of this year's Ohio All-Stars.

Click here to listen to the show LIVE.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tayler Scott of Notre Dame Prep Drafted by Cubs

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

We had the pleasure of speaking to Tayler Scott of Notre Dame Prep in Arizona a couple of weeks ago on the NHSCA Sports Hour, and I've got to say, I'm very happy that this young man has taken his first step toward his dream of being South Africa's first major league baseball player.

Scott, who with the help of his parents left his homeland to pursue his dream of becoming a professional baseball player, was drafted in the 5th round of Major League Baseball's Amateur Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

Click here to listen to the great story of how his parents up-rooted their life in South Africa to help their teenager pursue his dream.

You can also learn more about Scott's Trans-Atlantic move to Arizona by clicking here for a great story written by Jennifer McCaffrey of ESPNRise.

2011 Athletes of the Year

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Congratulations to the 20 boys and girls selected as the 2011 National High School Senior Athletes of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association.

13 different states are represented in this year's class with Oklahoma having the most athletes chosen with three honorees.  Illinois, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia each had two athletes selected.

“The 20 young men and women we are honoring today represent the thousands of success stories produced in high school athletics,” NHSCA executive director Bob Ferraro Jr. said. “They have worked extremely hard to develop their skills and have become not just great athletes, but outstanding role models as well, and we are proud to be honoring them.”

This is the 12th year that the NHSCA has honored senior athletes nationwide.

Football -- Johnny Manziel
Tivy High School, Kerrville, Texas

Manziel is one of the greatest playmakers in the hallowed history of Texas high school football. The dual-threat 6-foot-1, 195-pounder was the only quarterback to be named a Parade All-American after completing 520 of 819 passes (63.5 percent) for 7,626 yards and 76 touchdowns, rushing 531 times for 4,045 yards and 77 touchdowns and catching 30 passes for 582 yards and another five touchdowns in three years as a starter. As a senior, Manziel led the Fighting Antlers to a 10-2 record, completing 228 of 347 passes for 3,609 yards and 45 touchdowns, throwing just five interceptions, and rushing for 1,674 yards, a 9.8 average and 30 scores. That performance earned him the Associated Press Sports Editors Texas Player of the Year award and Offensive Player of the Year honors from The San Antonio Express-News. In a come-from-behind 39-34 victory over San Antonio Madison High Sept. 3, Manziel threw a state-record 75 passes, completing 41 for 503 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, and was nominated for NHSCA Athlete of the Month honors. The Texas A&M University football commitment, who has already enrolled after graduating from high school after the fall semester, also batted .412 as a sophomore and .416 as a junior as his baseball team’s shortstop and is an 8-handicap golfer.

Baseball – Dylan Bundy
Owasso High School, Owasso, Oklahoma

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is projected as a pitcher as a professional, but the switch-hitting Bundy was named Second-Team All-America by Baseball America as a junior at two positions: utility player and pitcher. The right-handed hurler posted a record of 11-1 as a junior with a 1.58 ERA. In 80 innings, he struck out 164, while walking just 20 and allowing 41 hits. He also batted .442 with 16 doubles and seven home runs, driving in 51 runs and scoring 50. This spring, Bundy, who was clocked at 100 miles per hour four times in one start alone, has exceeded those numbers and led Owasso, the 6A state champions three straight seasons from 2007-09, to a No. 1 national ranking by several publications and the state title game. Through May 6, Bundy was 10-0 with a 0.22 ERA, with 147 strikeouts and just five walks, 18 hits and two earned runs allowed in 64 innings. A workout warrior who squats 500 pounds and leg-presses 1,200 pounds, Bundy has signed with the University of Texas, but is projected to be selected in the top half of the first round in the upcoming Major League draft. His brother, Bobby, was an eighth-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in 2008 and is progressing through their system.

Softball – Andrea DiPrima
Buffalo Grove High School, Buffalo Grove, Illinois

A rare junior to be awarded First-Team All-America honors by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association in 2010, DiPrima, an outfielder, holds virtually every school season and career offensive record. Last year, DiPrima batted .583 with 10 home runs, 43 RBIs and 67 hits – all school season records – and also had 16 doubles, a slugging percentage of 1.035 and 33 runs scored. As a sophomore, DiPrima batted .542 and set another school record with 23 doubles, recording 65 hits, and she batted .459 as a freshman with 15 doubles, 50 hits and 29 RBIs. Through her junior year, she owned career records for batting average (.529), hits (182), doubles (54), home runs (13), extra-base hits (77) and runs batted in (95). She had 25 hits through her team’s first 18 games this year. A four-year starter at guard on the Bison basketball team, DiPrima scored 1,027 points in her career and played on a state tournament team as a freshman. Also an outstanding student, DiPrima, who ranks in the top 3 percent of her class with a 5.28 GPA (of 5.0), will attend Northwestern University.

Volleyball – Courtney Van Groningen
Sterling High School, Sterling, Nebraska

A three-sport standout, Van Groningen became one of the state’s most feared outside hitters despite standing just 5-foot-4. Van Groningen set an all-class state record with 50 kills in a match as a sophomore, and this year, she broke her own Class D-2 state record with 642 kills as she led Sterling, one of the state’s smallest high schools with an enrollment of only 65 students, to a 30-3 record and the state title match. Though Sterling lost that match in five sets, Van Groningen racked up 30 kills, six blocks, 32 digs and three aces. She also recorded 40 kills in the Lady Jets’ semifinal win, was named the captain of the D-2 All-Tournament Team and was recognized as the NHSCA/GTM Sportswear Athlete of the Month for December. She also holds the all-class state record for career digs (1,907) and the D-2 record for career kills (1,901). Van Groningen was a four-year starter at shooting guard for the Lady Jets basketball team, averaging 15 points per game as a senior and scoring 1,127 career points. She also doubled up at the state track and field meet last spring, winning the Class D 100 and 300 hurdles crowns. She is favored to repeat in both events this spring and also is a contender in the 100-meter dash. Van Groningen is signed to play volleyball at Wayne State University.

Field Hockey - Maxine Fluharty
Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown, Delaware

A two-time National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) First Team All-American, Fluharty starred on both the Sussex Tech field hockey and lacrosse teams. She led the Ravens to state field hockey championships in 2009 and 2010, and was the state’s leading scorer with 40 goals and 24 assists as a senior. Fluharty led the team in scoring and was named the state’s Player of the Year in both seasons. She scored 120 goals and had 61 assists in her career. A four-time All-Henlopen Conference selection and a three-time First Team All-State selection in both field hockey and lacrosse, Fluharty scored 270 lacrosse goals and was coached in that sport by her mother, Kathleen Fluharty. Maxine Fluharty played on the USA Under-21 field hockey team that toured Ireland and Germany in March, scoring a pair of goals in the series. Also a NFHCA High School National Academic Team selection in 2010, she will play field hockey at the University of Maryland.

Wrestling - Blake Roulo
Matoaca High School, Ettrick, Virginia

In April, Roulo made NHSCA history by becoming the second wrestler to become a four-time National High School champion. His takedown nine seconds into overtime gave him a 3-1 victory in the 140-pound championship match and the National Seniors championship, to go along with titles in the National Juniors, the National Sophomores and the National Freshman Championships the previous three years. He joins Tyler Beckwith of Greene (N.Y.) High, who accomplished the feat last year and also earned NHSCA National Senior Athlete of the Year honors. The title was a record seventh for Roulo in a NHSCA national event. The Group 3A state champion at 140 pounds as a junior, Roulo was the state runnerup at 145 as a sophomore and third in state at 135 as a freshman. He finished 37-3 and was the Central Region champion at 145 this year, and he posted a career record of 185-14. He will attend the University of Buffalo.

Boys Basketball -- Austin Rivers
Winter Park High School, Winter Park, Florida

The 6-foot-4 point guard led Winter Park to its second consecutive 6A state title, averaging 28.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2 assists per game. The Duke University commitment scored 2,957 points in his career. His biggest games as a senior included a 46-point performance against Montverde Academy and a 38-point outing against highly-ranked Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick High. Named the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year by McDonald’s, Rivers had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in the McDonald’s All-American Game. A four-time First Team All-State selection, Rivers was named the Naismith High School Player of the Year, and Player of the Year by Parade and USA Today. He also averaged 20.2 points and 2 steals per game to lead the USA Basketball Under-19 National Team that won the FIBA Americas World Championship in 2010. The son of Boston Celtics head coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers, Austin Rivers will become the third collegiate athlete in his family next year. His brother, Jeremiah, was a senior starter at Indiana University this season and his sister, Callie, is a standout volleyball player at the University of Florida.

Girls Basketball -- Elizabeth Williams
Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia

The 6-foot-3 forward was named the girls Morgan Wootten Player of the Year by McDonald’s, and she sparkled in the McDonald’s All-American Game. The Duke University signee scored a game-record 23 points in just 19 minutes, shooting 10-of-18 from the field, and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. She added two blocks as she led the East squad to a 78-66 victory over the West, earning Most Valuable Player honors. She also was named a Parade All-American and a First Team All-American by USA Today. Williams concluded her high school career with a 19-point, 19-rebound, nine-block title-game performance, and led Princess Anne to a 31-1 record, a 24-game winning streak to close the season and a second consecutive Group 3A state title. That performance also earned her a nomination for NHSCA Athlete of the Month honors. Williams averaged 18.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.1 blocks as a senior, and in her career, she scored 1,628 points and grabbed 1,205 rebounds. She was a member of the USA Basketball Women’s Under-17 National Team that won a world title last summer, averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, while shooting 61.8 percent from the field.

Boys Cross Country -- Lukas Verzbicas
Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park, Illinois

The 6-foot Verzbicas built a legendary resume in just three years. He won three 3A state championships, coming within five seconds of the legendary Craig Virgin’s 38-year-old state record last fall. After his high-school season concluded, Verzbicas became the first boy to win the Nike Cross Nationals and the Foot Locker Nationals in the same year. In repeating as the Foot Locker Nationals champion, Verzbicas won the race in 14:59. In 2009, Verzbicas became the first sophomore to win the race in its then 31-year history. The last repeat Foot Locker Nationals winner, Dathan Ritzenhein (1999-2000) of Santa Rosa (Calif.) Montgomery High, was named the NHSCA Senior Athlete of the Year in 2001. That performance earned Verzbicas Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. He also was the 2009 Junior Duathlon World Champion. Indoors this year, he posted the No. 2 all-time mark in the 3,000 (8:07.54) and the No. 3 all-time marks in the 1,500 (3:47.60) and the 1,600 (4:03.88). A native of Lithuania who came to the United States at the age of nine, Verzbicas, who owns a 3.25 GPA, will graduate from Carl Sandburg this year in just three years. He will attend the University of Oregon.

Girls Cross Country – Aisling Cuffe
Cornwall Central High School, Cornwall, New York

The 5-foot-4 Cuffe was named the Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year after posting an unbeaten senior season and racing to the title at the Foot Locker Nationals in a time of 16:53. Her victory margin of 34 seconds was the third largest in the meet’s 32-year history. Cuffe captured her second Class A state title and also repeated as the all-class New York Federation champion. She set course records in both Federation victories, on two separate courses. She finished second in the Class A and Federation meets as a sophomore. This year, Cuffe also won the Great American Cross Country Festival, the Manhattan Invitational and the Foot Locker Northeast Regional. In January, she won the USA Track and Field Junior Cross Country Championships in San Diego, Calif. by 26 seconds. The event was a qualifier for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain in March. There, Cuffe finished 17th, leading the American contingent. At the Loucks Memorial Games this month, she ran the nation’s fastest times in the 1,600 (4:40.56) and the 3,200 (9:56.16). Ranked No. 2 in her class, Cuffe is a four-year member of the Cornwall Central Math Team and its high scorer. She will attend Stanford University.

Boys Golf – Jordan Spieth
Jesuit Preparatory School of Dallas, Dallas, Texas

Not only did the 6-foot Spieth become the first golfer to win three 5A state titles, but he did it in dominating fashion. The University of Texas recruit followed an opening-round 68 with a closing 64 that included eight birdies and no bogeys – and his 12-under-par total of 132 gave him a seven-stroke victory. He finished 13th in state as a freshman. Prior to the start of his final high school season, Spieth ended his Junior golf career on a high note, winning the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. It was his fifth Junior victory and his 18th consecutive Top 10 finish. Spieth was the U.S. Junior Amateur champion in 2009, and was the Rolex Junior Player of the Year that year. He is a three-time Rolex First Team Junior All-American. Perhaps the highlight of Spieth’s career to date, however, came last May, when, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, he finished tied for 16th in a PGA Tour event, the HP Byron Nelson Classic. Spieth carded rounds of 68-69-67-72 for a 4-under-par 276, just six shots behind tournament champion Jason Day, and he became the sixth-youngest player ever to make a PGA Tour cut.

Girls Golf – Aurora Kan
Chichester High School, Boothwyn, Pennsylvania

Kan finished her career as the state champion in dramatic fashion. Holding a three-stroke lead after an opening-round 72, she needed to birdie the last two holes of the final round to salvage a 79 and force a three-way playoff. She won the school’s first girls state championship in any sport by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole. The state runner-up her sophomore and junior years, Kan also finished fifth in state as a freshman. She won three District 1 titles and a region title, and is a three-time All-Delco selection and a two-time Delaware County Daily Times Player of the Year. The Purdue University commitment also had a successful Junior season, winning the Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur Championship, the PGA Junior Series stop at Penn State University for the third time, and the CorseMax/Philadelphia Junior Runner, where she won a 15-stroke victory. She also qualified for the PGA Junior Championship and earned her third berth in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, advancing to match play.

Boys Soccer – Dzenan Catic
East Kentwood High School, Grand Rapids, Michigan

For the second straight year, the player voted Mr. Soccer by the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association has been named the NHSCA Senior Athlete of the Year. Catic follows 2010 honoree Soony Saad of Dearborn High, who led the University of Michigan to the NCAA Final Four as a freshman. A four-year starter, Catic, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound midfielder, became the first West Michigan player to earn Mr. Soccer honors since 2004. Catic scored 45 goals and added 23 assists in leading the Falcons to a 25-1-1 record and their third Division 1 state championship in the past four years, with those teams compiling an overall record of 94-6-5 during his career. Catic finished his career with 103 goals and 45 assists. As a senior, he was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) First Team, the ESPN Rise Fall All-America First Team and is the Gatorade Michigan Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Also an outstanding student with a 3.9 GPA, Catic is committed to Michigan State University. However, he worked out with a German soccer club overseas this spring, and also is considering starting his professional career.

Girls Soccer – Morgan Brian
Frederica Academy, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Already a two-time Parade All-American, Brian was named the magazine’s Girls Player of the Year as a junior. She is a two-time NSCAA First Team selection, a ESPN Rise Spring All-America First Team selection as a junior and a two-time Gatorade Georgia Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Brian also is the top-ranked senior in the nation according to The midfielder has led the Knights to three consecutive independent school AA state championships, scoring 33 goals as a junior. This year, her Knights have overcome a slow start. They are 15-2-1 with 11 straight victories, and advanced to the state semifinals as Brian scored seven goals and added two assists in a 10-1 quarterfinal win. Brian is the all-time leading scorer for the Under-17 U.S. Women's National Team, and has been invited to Under-20 National Team workouts. She scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over host country Argentina in December, earning the U.S. Under-17 Team its third consecutive win. Also an outstanding student with a 3.78 GPA, she will attend the University of Virginia.

Boys Swimming – David Nolan
Hershey High School, Hershey, Pennsylvania

At this year’s 3A state meet, Nolan set two national high school records – erasing the records set by the two previous NHSCA Senior Athlete of the Year honorees – and helped set another. Nolan became a four-time state champion in the 200 individual medley, and his time of 1:41.39 set a national record for the second straight year. That time shaved over two seconds off the record he set in 2010, which at the time broke the record established by the 2010 NHSCA honoree, Kyle Whitaker of Chesterton (Ind.) High. Nolan’s second individual national record was 45.49 seconds in the 100 backstroke, his second state title in that event. He shaved more than a second off the previous record of 46.75, set by the 2009 NHSCA honoree, Cole Cragin of Friendswood (Texas) High. In 2010, Nolan won the 100 freestyle state title in a then-national record of 43.27. He also helped put Hershey in the national record book this year in the 200 freestyle relay, swimming an opening leg of 19.58 in a record time of 1:21.01, more than a second faster than the previous mark. Nolan was the 200 individual medley champion in the Junior Pan-Pacific Championships last summer and second in the 100 butterfly. He will attend Stanford University.

Girls Swimming– Gretchen Jaques
Glendora High School, Glendora, California

Nicknamed “The Glendoranator” for her domination of her two current signature events, the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, Jacques completed a two-year sweep of the Southern Section (SS) Division 2 titles in both events, giving her a perfect 8-for-8 record in Division 2 individual finals, and also won SS Masters titles in both events. She is ranked No. 1 among high school seniors in both events. Jaques was the SS Division 2 champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle her freshman and sophomore years, and the SS Masters champion in the 50 as a freshman. As a junior, Jaques broke U.S. Olympian Janet Evans’ national high school record in the 200 individual medley – a record that had stood since 1988 – in the preliminaries, and in the finals, she set the all-time California high school record with a time of 1:57.91, breaking a nine-year-old record. She also set the Division 2 meet record in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.83). She was the Swimmer of the Meet at the USA Swimming Short Course Junior Nationals in December, scoring a meet-high 94 points, and was honored by Sports Illustrated magazine in its Faces in the Crowd section in the Jan. 24 issue. A three-time San Gabriel Valley Tribune Swimmer of the Year, Jaques will attend the University of Texas.

Boys Tennis -- Chris Haworth
Putnam City North High School, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The 6-foot, 150-pound Haworth finished his career with his third 6A state championship at No. 1 singles, making him just the fourth boys player to accomplish the feat in the state’s biggest class. He has lost just one match over those three seasons. With his 6-4, 6-1 victory in the championship match, Haworth dropped just six games in four state tournament matches, and finished the season with a 34-0 record. He was named West Metro Player of the Week by The Daily Oklahoman in April. Rated a five-star prospect and the No. 20 recruit nationally by, Haworth owns a 47-15 overall record in Junior play. He spent the fall semester this year at the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas, and followed that up by winning the USTA Missouri Valley Segment I Sweet 16 Tournament in February without losing a set. The Oklahoma State University signee also advanced to the consolation finals of the USTA Under-18 Winter Nationals, posting a record of 6-2.

Girls Tennis – Brooke Urzendowski
Marian High School, Omaha, Nebraska

The 5-foot-7 Urzendowski became the second girl to become a four-time Class A state champion at No. 1 singles, posting three unbeaten seasons and completing her career with an overall record of 115-2. That included year-by-year records of 29-0 as a freshman, 25-2 as a sophomore, 32-0 as a junior and 29-0 this year. She is a four-time Metro Conference champion, a three-time Nebraska Girls Player of the Year and a three-time captain of The Omaha World-Herald All-State First Team. A four-star recruit ranked No. 126 nationally by, Urzendowski owns a career Junior record of 21-15 and was the Missouri Valley Girls-16 Player of the Year in 2009. Also an outstanding student, Urzendowski owns a 4.3 GPA (of 4.0), ranks No. 13 in a class of 163 and was named to The Lincoln Journal-Star Academic All-State Team. The Saint Louis University signee is a member of the National Honor Society, the National English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta National Mathematics Honor Society. She also finished third in the Sports News Coverage category in the Nebraska School Activities Association State Journalism Championships this month.

Boys Track and Field – Gunnar Nixon
Santa Fe High School, Edmond, Oklahoma

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Nixon capped a record-smashing senior year by winning four events to lead Santa Fe to the 6A state team title, the school’s first since 1997. Nixon erased the oldest all-class record in the Oklahoma record book with a leap of 24-4½ to win the long jump. The previous record had stood since 1969. He also won the high jump (6-10) and swept the 110 (14.01) and 300 hurdles (37.58). No Oklahoma athlete of either gender had ever won state titles in all four events – and Nixon did it in a single state meet. It was Nixon’s second state title in the 300 hurdles – he won last year in 38.59 – and his second-place finishes in the long jump and the 110 hurdles helped Santa Fe finish second in state in 2010. A two-time winner of the decathlon in the prestigious Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational, Nixon established a national high school record in the event at Arcadia in April. Despite going scoreless in the shot put due to fouls, Nixon established personal bests in the 400 and the long jump and finished with an official total of 7,524 points, 58 more than the previous record set in 2009. His original total of 7,577 points was adjusted due to his best long jump being wind-aided. The record earned the University of Arkansas signee Athlete of the Week honors from USA Track and Field.

Girls Track and Field – Morgann LeLeux
Catholic High School, New Iberia, Louisiana

The nation’s top female pole vaulter capped an enormously successful high school career with the two best state series vaults of her career. In the 3A region meet, she cleared 14-2¾ to set a national record. Tori Anthony of Palo Alto (Calif.) Castilleja High had set the indoor record (14-2) and the outdoor record (14-1) in 2007. LeLeux had cleared 14-1 indoors this year to rank No. 2 all-time indoors, and she has cleared as high as 14-9 outdoors in practice. LeLeux followed her record region jump by setting the all-class record of 13-9 at the state outdoor meet, her fifth consecutive state title after a second-place finish as a seventh-grader. LeLeux also was a five-time Division 2 indoor state champion, marred only by a second-place finish as an eighth-grader. As a junior, LeLeux set national junior class and age 17 records when she first cleared 14-0, and also holds the national freshman record (13-2). A four-time National Junior Champion, LeLeux set a National Scholastic Juniors record and captured titles at the Nike Indoor, the National Scholastic Indoor and the New Balance Outdoor meets in 2010 and finished fifth at the 2009 World Youth Championships at Bressanone, Italy. She will attend the University of Georgia.

**Jeff Fisher is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of High School Football America.  For more information go to