The nation’s No. 1 high school sports state? This year it’s Ohio, hands down

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Ohio has had four teams in four different sports ranked No. 1 in the country this school year.

Ohio’s been the butt of a lot of jokes lately. The state’s economy,
election record and struggling cities have taken beatings in the media.
Sometimes being a Buckeye seems hard. Sometimes, though, beating a Buckeye seems impossible.


Ohio’s been the butt of a lot of jokes lately. The state’s economy, election record and struggling cities have taken beatings in the media. Sometimes being a Buckeye seems hard.

Sometimes, though, beating a Buckeye seems impossible.

With Ohio receiving mixed attention for a lot of reasons, there’s one common bond all Ohioans share that we can all take pride in – high school sports.

Although some state’s may have had better years fiscally, no state had a better year athletically.

No, it’s not as important as generating more paychecks, but it is a picture of what perseverance can attain.

If they handed out an all-sports trophy to just one state for overall superior athletic performance for the 2009-2010 school year, Ohio would win. Hands down. That’s how good it’s been here.

Overall, four Ohio teams have spent time at No. 1 in national polls in four different sports, and five (so far) ended their seasons ranked in the Top 5 nationally.

Here’s Ohio’s resume:

St. Paris Graham won a share of its second high school wrestling national championship in three years when it finished tied for first in the final poll of the Amateur Wrestling News Prep 40. The Falcons earned the title by dismantling then-No. 1 Blair Academy (N.J.) in a dual in January. Wadsworth and Lakewood St. Edward also finished sixth and seventh in the same poll, respectively, making Ohio the ONLY state with more than one team ranked in the Top 7.

In girls volleyball, Cincinnati Ursuline Academy finished second in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national poll after winning its fourth Division I state title in its 10th state tournament appearance. The Lions finished 29-0.

In girls soccer, Medina (21-1-2) finished fourth in the NSCAA/Adidas national rankings. The Bees ended their season allowing just six goals, including none in the final 12 games en route to the their second state title.

Long known as a football power, Cleveland St. Ignatius almost won a national championship in boys soccer. The Wildcats spent six weeks ranked No. 1 in the country in the NSCAA/Adidas national rankings before losing to Gahanna Lincoln in the D-I state final. Ignatius finished No. 9 in the final rankings, while Lincoln finished fourth. Ohio was the ONLY state in the country with two teams in the Top 10.

In boys basketball, Columbus Northland was in line for a national title too before facing Lincoln. The Vikings, led by Ohio State recruits Jared Sullinger (the national player of the year) and J.D. Weatherspoon, were ranked No. 1 virtually the entire season before a shocking loss to the Lions in the D-I Regional Final. Northland still finished No. 15 in the final USA Today Super 25 national poll, while state champion Massillon Jackson finished 22nd.

In Track, Ohio has already established itself as one of the country’s top states with a month of the outdoor season left. In the winter, Trotwood-Madison’s boys ran the fastest 1,600 relay time in the nation (3:16.12). In the shot put, Ohio is home to three of the top five throwers in the country. In the discus, Ohio owns the nation’s second best thrower (Justin Welch, Pemberville Eastwood). In the sprints, Lincoln’s Blake Heriot is one of the nation’s best. Strongsville’s Colby Alexander owns the nation’s third best mile time as well.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Ohio’s accomplishments this school year is that two of the state’s marquee sports – football and girls basketball – aren’t mentioned above.

In football, Hilliard Davidson finished seventh in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings and 19th in the USA Today Super 25.

In girls basketball, Ohio, uncharacteristically, did not have a team finish in the Top 25 of any national poll.

That same fate shouldn’t befall baseball.

This week Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit was named the No. 1 high school baseball team in the country in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.

O-H? Oh yeah.

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