The 2014-15 high school sports season officially opens Monday, when boys’ and girls’ golf teams are able to compete.
The 12 schools in this paper’s coverage area have teams involved in several sports and each of them has dreams of winning a state championship. Based on past performances, at least some of those aren’t necessarily pipe dreams.
This is a region where the winning of state titles has become a pretty regular occurrence. According to Illinois High School Association records, a total of 61 championships have been captured by local teams, all but six of them collected since the start of the 1980-81 school year.
From 1980-81 through 1995-96 at least one top prize was brought home by an area program. The streak ended in 1996-97 but only briefly — another six-year run got underway beginning in the fall of 1997.
One more empty year — 2003-04 — popped up before the current decade-long title string began. In all, 32 seasons have featured at least one champion from one of nine schools. Shepard, Evergreen Park and Queen of Peace have yet to produce any state titles, although former Astros track star April Griffin was an individual event champion at the state meet during the late 1990s.
As athletes get ready for 10-plus months of action during the 2014-15 school year, here are some fun facts about area schools and state championships:
• The first area state trophy was brought home by Richards’ wrestling team in 1975.
• Mother McAuley’s 2013 volleyball team was the last local squad to win a state crown. The Mighty Macs have won 14 titles but went nine years between championships before ending that streak in November.
• Richards is the only area school to win basketball and football titles.
• Sandburg is the only school to win crowns in baseball and softball.
• Sandburg is also the only school to win a state championship in both boys’ and girls’ volleyball.
• The 2001-2002 campaign brought the most titles as Sandburg won in boys’ soccer, Marist in boys’ volleyball and McAuley in both volleyball and water polo.
• Sandburg has the most state titles with 19, followed closely by Mother McAuley, which totals 18. Richards has claimed seven championships and Chicago Christian and Marist have five apiece.
• Sandburg’s wrestling (2005-2007), Christian’s girls’ track (1989-91) and McAuley’s volleyball (1980-82) teams have the longest runs with titles in three straight seasons.