State title string stops at five
Sandburg’s softball team was three innings away from keeping the streak alive.
After rallying, the Lady Eagles held a 3-2 lead over Warren four innings into Saturday's Class 4A championship contest in East Peoria. Sandburg couldn't maintain that advantage, however, and suffered an 8-4 loss.
A second-place state finish was still better than most would have predicted for a team that had lost 15 games during the regular season, but when the Lady Eagles couldn't reach the mountaintop an impressive school run was officially halted.
Softball was Sandburg's final chance in the 2013-14 school year to claim a state crown in athletics, something that had been accomplished at least once in each of the previous five years. A total of seven championships were garnered during that span, including two apiece in wrestling and competitive cheerleading.
The softball program contributed to the streak by winning it all in 2010. Badminton and boys' volleyball were also part of the title mix.
This latest surge brought to 18 the number of sports championships Sandburg teams have collected in all. That's tops among the 13 schools covered by this paper, as is the run of five straight years with at least one title.
Making the achievement particularly noteworthy is that it's been spread over eight programs. With four championships each, wrestling and boys' volleyball lead the way.
Next in line is Mother McAuley with 15 championships, all but one of which were earned in volleyball. Following the Mighty Macs, in order, are Richards (seven), Marist (five), Chicago Christian (five), Brother Rice (three), St. Laurence (two), Oak Lawn (one) and Stagg (one).
Shepard, Evergreen Park and Queen of Peace are still seeking their first state crown and Mt. Assisi closed its doors in early June without ever winning the top prize. Thirty of the 57 local titles have been claimed by boys' teams.
Besides Sandburg's five consecutive championship years, the best runs were put together by McAuley and Christian. The Macs won three straight volleyball crowns from 1980-82, while the Lady Knights managed the same feat in girls' track between 1990 and 1992.
Richards' titles have come in football (two), wrestling (two), boys' basketball, boys' volleyball and girls' volleyball. Marist reigned supreme twice in both boys' volleyball and wrestling and once in baseball, while Christian's other championships were gained in girls' volleyball and girls' basketball.