Get ready to take a victory lap. Every year, Niche publishes its ranking of the best high schools for sports and athletic programs in the country. The scores are calculated based on parent and student surveys, high school enrollment, amount of sports championships, the number of sports programs, and student athletic participation. All this, to find which schools have stepped up to the plate in their athletic programs. So which high school takes home the trophy this year?
25. St. Catherine’s School – Richmond, Virginia
In a field (and we mean that quite literally) that is as stereotypically dominated by men as sports, it might surprise some that an all-girls private school in Virginia is one of the best high schools for sports in the country. But the young women at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond are setting the bar high.
In a survey taken by students and parents, 100 percent of people who responded said that the kids at this school are athletic. And between the 14 different sports teams that call St. Catherine’s School home, there are plenty of options for all of these athletically inclined ladies.
24. Trinity High School – Louisville, Kentucky
At the other end of the spectrum from St. Catherine’s all-girls school, Trinity High School is an all-boys school that touts itself as being one of the best sports high schools in the U.S. And, according to Niche, they are correct across the board.
Trinity High School’s football team is the most successful high school program in Kentucky, a state already known for its competitive sports teams. Trinity High School football also has enjoyed eight undefeated football seasons and has one three consecutive state championship titles, and 25 state championships. And that touchdown team is just one of Trinity’s 21 sports teams.
23. Divine Savior Holy Angels High School – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
With 39 teams covering over 15 sports, all-girls school Divine Savior Holy Angels High School (also known as DSHA) has made a name for itself in the high school sports world. The DSHA Dashers have won 8 national championships, but that’s not the only win on their record.
DSHA has also taken home 2 ski state championships, 27 soccer state championships, 16 state rugby championships, and dozens of runner-up and sectional titles. With all those trophies in their cases, it comes as no surprise that students and parents said that 100 percent of students at this Roman Catholic high school are aces at athletics.
Next: This high school offers 49 different sports teams for their students to chose from.
22. Cardinal Gibbons High School – Raleigh, North Carolina
Ready to be impressed? Here are some of Cardinal Gibbons High School’s stats: the school has 908 student athletes, has taken home 13 Wells Fargo Cup wins for overall excellence, has won 112 state championships, and has 49 sports teams covering 27 different sports.
With a record like that, it is no wonder this private, co-ed, Catholic high school in Raleigh, North Carolina has made it onto this list of best high schools for sports. Just ask their 100 percent NFHS certified coaches, their 36 grads from 2018 who went on to play college sports, or the 90 percent of students and teachers who say that the students at this school are athletes of the highest caliber.
21. Kimberly High School – Kimberly, Wisconsin
While the “Papermakers” might not be the most intimidating mascot, no one facing off against Kimberly High School should underestimate the 24 sports teams at this school. The Papermakers have also been known to be reliable trophy winners across the board.
Kimberly High School has taken home 31 state totals, including 7 in football, 7 in softball, 5 in boys track and field, 4 for girls basketball, 3 for baseball, 2 for boys basketball, and 1 for boys volleyball, girls volleyball and girls ice hockey. No wonder students answered “pep rallies,” “spirit week,” and “sporting events,” as the their three favorite school events or traditions.
20. Glastonbury High School – Glastonbury, Connecticut
Glastonbury is on a bit of a winning streak. Not only did it place 20th in this list of the best high schools for sports in the country, it landed the top spot as the best athletic school in Connecticut. But this is not the first time this high school has taken home a state title.
The Glastonbury Tomahawks have won 64 state championships from 21 different sports teams. Overall, Glastonbury offers 34 sports teams for their students to choose from, and 90 percent of parents and teachers are willing to go to bat for the school’s reputation, saying that students at this school excel athletically.
19. Cathedral High School – Indianapolis, Indiana
Some might think that any school on this list of best high schools for sports would at least have a football field. Guess again. Even though Cathedral High School has more football wins than any other school in Indiana, they shockingly still do not have a field of their own.
During Catholic High School’s 2013 football season, the team beat the record for the most wins in the history of Indiana high school football, and has now racked up over 630 wins over it’s 90 year program. That would already be impressive, but its especially amazing considering the team can never claim home field advantage.
18. Hereford High School – Parkton, Maryland
Mess with the Hereford Bulls, and other teams will get the horns. Don’t believe the saying? Well check out Hereford High School’s extensive trophy cases, which include 50 athletic championships, more than any other school in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
Not convincing enough? Well, talk to the NFL’s Andrew DePaola, who graduated from Hereford in 2005, or graduate Carl Runk, who went on to coach lacrosse and football at Towson University, or Suzanne Stettinius, a pentathlete who represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics after graduating from Hereford in 2006.
Next: This school might only have 17 sports teams, but their success proves that its all about quality, not quantity.
17. St. Xavier High School – Cincinnati, Ohio
With a mascot like the Blue Monster, a school like St. Xavier better be able to deliver when it comes to their sports teams. And these Blue Monsters certainly deliver. This all-boys Cincinnati high school has consistently taken home titles as one of the best athletic high schools by magazines like Sports Illustrated.
The official mascot of St. Xavier High School is the “Bomber,” referring to World War II bomber jets. But, as anyone can imagine, that would be a little difficult to turn into a fun mascot costume. So instead, the school’s famously “shaggy, Muppet-like” Blue Monster mascot can be seen at most of the school’s sporting events, as if watching a renowned sports team take home another title was not enough of a draw for crowds.
16. Mount Carmel Academy – New Orleans, Louisiana
Compared to other schools on this list, Mount Carmel Academy and its slim list of 11 sports offered at the school might not seem too impressive. But anyone who has faced off with the brown and white Cubs would attest that this Louisiana school has more than earned itself a spot on this list.
Since the school’s athletic program began in 1992, the Cubs have won 121 district titles, 35 state titles, 19 runner up titles, and 37 individual titles. When polled, 94 percent of Mount Carmel Academy teachers and parents said that students that have attended this school are athletic in nature. And a fun fact: one of those former students is Bravo TV star Stassi Schroeder.
15. Christopher Columbus High School – Miami, Florida
For any serious high school athlete, the goal posts for the end of their high school education includes a scholarship to play at some of the best colleges in the country. And Miami’s Christopher Columbus Explorers have the best shot in the state of exploring that opportunity. Why, you ask?
Christopher Columbus High School is the only private school in Florida to compete at the 8A level, which means they take part in some of the most competitive games with the most college scouts. With 14 state team championships under their belt, we’d say the Explorers have a pretty good shot at getting noticed.
14. Sacred Heart Academy – Louisville, Kentucky
If a girl is a student at Sacred Heart Academy, there is a pretty good chance – about 50 percent – that she is involved in at least one sport. Overall, half of students enrolled in this all-girls Roman Catholic high school are involved in at least one of the 15 sports offered at Sacred Heart Academy.
This high school has won 80 team state titles since it opened in 1877, and takes its athletic program very seriously. The home of the Valkyries is also home to a gym, fitness center, five tennis courts, two grass fields, a turf field and a regulation running track.
13. La Salle Academy – Providence, Rhode Island
Ramming through the competition and landing itself the 13th spot on Niche’s list of best high schools for sports is the La Salle Academy Rams in Providence, Rhode Island. The co-ed college preparatory school offers 64 sports teams in 18 sports for its talented 1,544 students to choose from.
Once named the best athletic program in Rhode Island by Sports Illustrated, getting onto one of those 64 teams comes at a price. Enrollment at La Salle costs a hefty $14,800 a year at this high school. But being a La Salle alum pays off, just ask the MLB’s Lou Gorman and Davey Lopes or the NFL’s Matt Hansen (and their top-dollar professional sports deals).
Next: Another New Hampshire school has moved the goalposts in terms of high school sports.
12. Bedford High School – Bedford, New Hampshire
These bulldogs are all bark and all bite. The Bedford High School Bulldogs have made a name for themselves when it comes to sports, but especially when it comes to boys tennis. The tennis team here has won eight state titles in a row from 2010 to 2017, setting a state record for most consecutive tennis wins.
But the tennis players are not the only ones taking home gold. Of the 36 sports offered at Bedford High School, 11 of their teams have won state championships, including BHS’ football, cheerleading, golf, swimming, ice hockey, soccer, track, basketball and wrestling teams.
11. Lincoln-Way East High School – Lincoln Way, Illinois
Lincoln-Way East High School seemed to seal its position on Niche’s 2019 list of best high schools for sports when, during that same year, the school’s football team won the Class 8A state championship. And later, Lincoln-Way East High School was given the number 1 ranking from the Chicago Sun Times. Sounds like a good year for the Griffins.
Even students that are not on the football team or other sports teams are involved in the school’s booming athletic program. In a survey, students ranked Friday night football games as their favorite school event, and 95 percent of students and parents said that those who attend this school are athletic. No kidding.
Next: Take a look at this year’s top 10.
10. Valor Christian High School – Highland Ranch, Colorado
“Sports are a big deal at Valor, in case you haven’t noticed,” says Valor Christian High School’s athletic program website. But Niche has definitely taken notice, and placed this private Colorado high school in their top 10 this year. If their 32 Colorado state championship titles aren’t proof enough, there is plenty more where that came from.
After graduating from Valor’s athletic program, 166 students in 2019 went on to play Division 1 athletics, and their hard work has paid off in over $5 million in first year athletic-only scholarships. The future should not be any different, as 371 Valor seniors say that they are committed to playing sports in college. Now that is a good track record.
9. Saint Ignatius High School – Cleveland, Ohio
The 2019 soccer season was a history-maker for the Saint Ignatius High School Wildcats. Not only did they win their impressive ninth state championship, but they went on to be named national soccer champions, continuing a long and winning history of victories for this impressive Cleveland, Ohio high school athletics program.
In total, the Wildcats have won 44 state championships and eight national titles since the school first opened in 1988. Saint Ignatius is basically an entire school of sports fanatics. Of the 1,507 students enrolled, almost 1,000, or about two thirds, of them are competing in at least one sport.
8. Boston College High School – Boston, Massachusetts
Parents who want to invest in their child’s athletic-related future have flocked for years to Boston College High School. And when we say invest, we really mean it. The yearly tuition for this private, all-boys school is sky high, at $19,700.
So what does a Boston College High School student athlete get for all of that tuition money? They get to be part of a school that Sports Illustrated ranked as one of the top high school athletic programs, the only school to earn that rating in New England, as well as a student body that is 95 percent athletic. Next up for these students, a spot on the Patriots perhaps?
7. Bingham High School – Jordan, Utah
Mining for gold? Look no further than the gold-medal winning teams that make up the Bingham High School Miners. All 16 of this public high school’s athletic teams have excelled, and their graduates have continued to impress in the athletic community.
Over the years, the NFL’s Kevin Curtis, Bruce Hardy, Harvey Langi and Star Lotulelei, along with the NBA’s Fred Roberts and Gary Wilkinson have all graduated from Bingham High School. And while in school, sports are the centerpiece of campus life, with 23 percent of students saying their favorite school events are football games, and 15 percent saying that their favorite events include any sporting events.
6. Cathedral Catholic High School – San Diego, California
When we say “The Dons,” we are not talking about a group of guys with the same name, we are talking about a group of student athletes who have separated themselves from the pack with their huge collection of sports teams and championship wins. The Cathedral Catholic High School Dons have made quite a name for themselves in California and national sports.
Cathedral Catholic High School offers its students 80 teams across 40 sports. Overall, these teams have taken home 161 championship team titles and 46 individual titles. CCHS graduates have gone on to play professional baseball, football, water polo, and basketball.
Next: This year’s top five best high schools for sports.
5. Bishop Gorman High School – Las Vegas, Nevada
Many parents and students are willing to place a bet in Las Vegas on Bishop Gorman High School and its famed athletic program. This Roman Catholic high school located in the City of Sin holds the state record for most consecutive championships in baseball and has taken home gold in basketball, bowling, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and tennis…just to name a few.
Besides earning a high ranking as one of the best high schools for sports in the country by Niche, it has also been recognized by publications like USA Today and Sports Illustrated as one of the top 10 high school athletic programs in the U.S.
4. Bishop Carroll Catholic High School – Wichita, Kansas
Reading through the list of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School championship wins is like reading a list of every year since the 1970s. And that is probably because they win just about every year. Take, for example, the girls cross country team which has won the league championships from 1993 to 2001, and then again in 2006, 2007, and from 2010 to 2018. See what we mean?
But here are some more BCCHS stats: 100 percent of parents and students say that students at this school are athletic, and 100 percent of the 1,188 Golden Eagles say students at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School are highly competitive. Go Eagles!
3. Arrowhead High School – Hartland, Wisconsin
Welcome to Arrowhead High School’s turf. We mean that literally. This Wisconsin school is so invested in their sports teams that in 2004, it became the first non-professional venue in the state to use turf on its football field. But that is not the only way that Arrowhead High School has proven that it is not playing games when it comes to sports.
This gigantic high school of 2,190 students even has an on-campus ice rink for their ice hockey teams, and even offers boys and girls alpine ski teams. Arrowhead’s swimming, football, cross country, hockey, basketball, gymnastics, baseball and lacrosse teams have all taken home state championship titles, all proving why the school was once named the best athletic high school by Sports Illustrated.
Next: This winning team is not used to winning the runner-up title.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas High School – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Anyone who is looking at an NFL field and wondering where these guys went to high school, their best guess would be St. Thomas Aquinas High School in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2019, not only did it earn Niche’s second place prize, but it was named the top high school with the most NFL players, with 15 former graduates playing in the league.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School has accumulated 110 state championship trophies since it opened in 1936. It has also won the Sun-Sentinel’s all-sports trophy for 35 years in a row, and the entire athletic department has won the state’s sunshine cup every single year since the cup started in 1995. Impressed?
1. Mater Dei High School – Santa Ana, California
It is pretty easy to understand how Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California earned the top spot on this list. The best high school for sports has taken home 110 CIF championships, 9 national championships and 351 league championships. But those accolades are not even the most impressive titles that the Mater Dei Monarchs have accumulated.
Over the years since the school was established in 1950, 8 former Mater Dei students have gone on to represent the United States at the Olympics. The football team has also trained champions. Two former Monarchs, John Huarte and Matt Leinart, have gone on to win the Heisman Trophy.
Honorable Mention 1: Natick High School – Natick, Massachusetts
Natick High School in Massachusetts was ranked in 26th place on Niche’s list of most athletic high schools. And with 18 sports for boys and 19 sports for girls available at the school, there are definitely a lot of sports to choose from.
But while Natick has earned a reputation over the years for its sports program, its mascot is still relatively new. The school changed their mascot from the Redmen to the Red and Blue in 2008, but students were not very happy with the switch. After 4 years of having to root for whatever “The Red and Blue” was, students at the school voted for their new mascot to be the Redhawk.
Honorable Mention 2: Glenbard West High School – Glen Ellyn, Illinois
The Glenbard West High School Hilltoppers might not have made it to the top of this list, but they still came in at a pretty impressive 27th place according to Niche. And with a list of alumni that includes Olympic medalists, head college coaches, and professional football players, it is easy to see how Glenbard has made a name for itself in the world of high school athletics.
The school’s cross country, football, gymnastics, volleyball, and track and field teams have all taken home state championships. Students reportedly ranked football games and sporting events as two of their favorite activities, and that is probably because their teams usually win.
Honorable Mention 3: Saint Xavier High School – Louisville, Kentucky
It might come as a surprise that a place like Saint Xavier High School has only made it onto the list of honorable mentions. Especially considering the fact that the school has one of the most successful athletic programs in Kentucky.
In total, the school has taken home 172 boys’ state championships. And the wins apparently do not stop when they leave high school. In 2019, thirteen students officially signed on to accept scholarships to play on college teams in 2020. And beyond sports, the school has gained a pretty amazing reputation, even earning the title of “Best Private High School” in 2016 by Louisville Magazine.
Honorable Mention 4: St. Edward High School – Lakewood, Ohio
St. Edward High School touts a “tradition of excellence” at their school. According to the athletic program’s website, the Eagles “have won 66 state championships and 11 national championships, making St. Edward the winningest high school athletic program in the state of Ohio.”
The school has won state championships for their hockey, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, indoor track, rugby, and track and field teams. But by far the most highly decorated team to come out of St. Edward is the wrestling team. No other teams have won a national championship. But we are going to go ahead and say that other high school teams should be watching out for the Ohio school.
Honorable Mention 5: Wayne Hills High School – Wayne, New Jersey
The official motto of Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey is “rock solid tradition,” but it also seems like the high school has a rock solid reputation when it comes to their athletics program. Out of every single high school in the United States, Niche ranked Wayne Hills as the 30th most athletic school in the country.
The Wayne Hills Patriots include teams for volleyball, soccer, tennis, football, field hockey, basketball, cheerleading, bowling, wrestling, skiing, fencing, ice hockey, track and field, swimming, cross country, lacrosse, gymnastics, softball, and golf. So, yeah, we would say that there is pretty much something for just about everyone.
Honorable Mention 6: Detroit Catholic Central High School – Novi, Michigan
Even with the mascot of the Shamrocks, students at Detroit Catholic Central High School cannot rely on sheer luck when it comes to their athletics programs. Instead, they have been working hard on their reputation since the all-boys college prep school first opened in 1928.
The school’s baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and wrestling teams have all taken home state championships, with the wrestling and ice hockey teams collecting the most state titles (14 each, to be exact). The school also offers skiing, swimming and diving, and track and field teams. No wonder the school landed the number 31 spot on Niche’s list.
Honorable Mention 7: Homestead High School – Mequon, Wisconsin
The Highlanders of Homestead High School have received high praise for their athletic program. The Wisconsin public high school offers a wide range of sports for students to choose from, with 28 varsity teams, to be exact. Overall, more than 700 students – about half of the students enrolled at the school – can call themselves student athletes.
In total, Homestead High School’s teams have taken home over 280 conference titles, 111 individual state championship trophies, and 45 team state championships wins. And the students at this school are winners on an off the field, as student athletes have an average 3.53 cumulative GPA, according to the athletic program’s website.
Honorable Mention 8: East Grand Rapids High School – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Anyone could have guessed that East Grand Rapids High School in Michigan was a big sports school just based on the students’ favorite activities. Overall, students said that football games, spirit week, and “any athletic event” are there favorite school activities. See what we mean?
It should also come as no surprise that 100 percent of students and parents agree that students at East Grand Rapids High School are athletic, and 100 percent also said that the students are competitive. No kidding. That must explain how the school has earned 137 state championship titles since it was first established in 1917.
Honorable Mention 9: Bishop Hendricken High School – Warwick, Rhode Island
This all-boys Catholic school in Rhode Island has made more state Super Bowl appearances than any other high school football team in the country, and has ultimately taken home 15 state football titles. And that’s just football! In the year 2019 alone the school’s football, rowing, baseball, track and field, hockey, swimming, and wrestling teams all earned state titles.
The school has heavily invested in sports. It’s campus features two full gymnasiums, a weight room, a stadium, five tennis courts and a baseball field. Off campus, the school’s teams make use of pools, ice arenas, and even a yacht club.
Honorable Mention 10: Delbarton School – Morristown, New Jersey
Delbarton School is one of those high schools that seems to have it all. The all-male Roman Catholic prep school not only sits on a picturesque campus in Morristown, New Jersey, but they also have one of the best athletic programs in the country.
For years, the “Green Wave” has brought in a wave of college recruiters. And beyond being the alma mater of actor Peter Dinklage, its list of alumni also include 1st round MLB draft pic for the New York Yankees, Anthony Volpe, along with a long list of now-professional basketball, hockey, and wrestling champions. Not bad for a school that only has just over 500 students.
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