Top High School Sports Programs in the U.S.
In the United States, about 8 million high school student-athletes participate in more than 25 different competitive sports each year. The most popular high school sports are track and field, football, basketball, soccer and volleyball.
To ensure the highest standards of competition and sportsmanship, sports governing bodies oversee high school sports across America. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the national leader and advocate for high school athletics, has 51 member state associations (including Washington, D.C.) and serves 19,500 high schools.
But not all high schools are created equal when it comes to sports. Some high schools are more competitive than others. These are the high school sports programs that excel in the most sports.
Lufkin High School — Lufkin, Texas
Lufkin prides itself on having a strong football team and annually ranks among the top 25 teams in the nation. The school is competitive in other sports as well, and the Panthers excel in basketball, volleyball and cross country.
It doesn't hurt that the school has excellent training facilities. Some of their athletes advance to collegiate athletics. Some of them even play for national teams. The top high school athletes at Lufkin and in the country get college scholarships to continue playing sports. Full rides cover the full funding for college.
Besides sports scholarships, other scholarships are available for student-athletes. But students need to find these scholarships and apply. Many of the issuing organizations require applicants to write essays. Colleges also require applicants to write admission essays.
Through the essays, the applicant explains why they need a scholarship. To excel in writing, a student may want to read essay examples for inspiration. Another good option is to order from EduBirdie writers. Their experience can help students write well-researched essays.
The skills students learn can be helpful for future papers. Some colleges even publish essays written by accepted students as examples of outstanding work. Writing is a valuable skill, and there are many other services where student-athletes can find the support they need.
Note: All stats are through May 12, 2023.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School — Fort Lauderdale, Florida
St. Thomas Aquinas is a private, Catholic high school in Fort Lauderdale. The high school was established in 1936, and they have a longstanding tradition of excellence in sports that spans decades, winning over 100 state championships in boys and girls sports combined.
On the boys side, they have won 58 state titles — in baseball (3), basketball (1), cross country (3), football (14), lacrosse (3), soccer (5), swimming (9), tennis (3), track and field (6), water polo (1) and wrestling (10).
On the girls side, the Raiders have won 71 state championships in basketball (2), cross country (2), golf (5), lacrosse (1), soccer (15), softball (4), swimming (10), tennis (12), track and field (14), and volleyball (6).
De La Salle High School — Concord, California
The De La Salle football program in Concord, California, is famous for its long winning history. They won 151 straight games from 1992 to 2004, and they didn't lose to a team from Northern California from 1991 to 2021. From 2006 to 2021, they won seven different state championship games.
De La Salle participates in many other sports such as basketball, baseball, golf, ice hockey, and lacrosse. The school shines both in interstate and national competitions.
Under their coaches, they work hard daily to achieve the best. Their motto is "Excellence Over Success." They focus on doing things the right way as opposed to what they achieve. They believe sports help keep students healthy in a variety of ways. For instance, a student who is successful on the field requires discipline that can help them perform well in their studies.
De La Salle student-athletes maintain those same habits after graduation, and this strong educational foundation serves them well with their studies in college and in any field they pursue. Sports are one way to develop strong cognitive skills — the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention —which are important throughout life.
Mater Dei High School — Santa Ana, California
Mater Dei has a nationally recognized athletic program and excels in a variety of sports. It does well in volleyball, golf, basketball and football. Its athletics teams known for their skills and strength.
One of Mater Dei's strongest sports is football. They compete in Division 1 of the Southern Section, one of the toughest divisions in the country. Three quarterbacks from Mater Dei have won the Heisman Trophy: John Huarte (Mater Dei Class of 1961), Matt Leinart (2001) and Bryce Young (2020).
Mater Dei has 27 sports teams, and 71 percent of their athletes are on the honor roll annually. They have had 23 athletes named Gatorade Players of the Year, and many of their top athletes continue playing at the highest level in college. Some even go pro in their respective sports.
Hoover High School — Hoover, Alabama
Hoover High School is located in Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, and their athletic teams are known as the Buccaneers. They have 29 sports and excel in cross country, swimming, football, volleyball, among others.
The school has a population of over 2,700 students and strict eligibility criteria to participate on any teams in the athletics program. Students have to have a minimum 2.0 GPA per quarter.
They compete in Class 7A sports in AHSAA, and both boys and girls have an impressive history of winning. Since 1972, they have won more than 100 state championships in Alabama.
Saline High School — Saline, Michigan
The Saline High School Hornets have a tradition of excellence in fall, winter, and spring sports. They have won championships in boys and girls sports, including soccer, baseball, swimming and diving, cross country, golf and volleyball.
Notable alumni from Saline include Chris Baker (former NFL player), Taybor Pepper (current NFL player), and Bobby Korecky (former MLB player).
Jenks High School — Jenks, Oklahoma
The motto of Jenks High School is "Pride, Tradition, Excellence." And the school lives up to it with its athletics program, which includes a wide range of successful sports.
The Trojans' athletic and non-athletic programs have won 190 state championships in various OSSAA-sponsored sports and non-athletic events, as well as state championships in non-OSSAA sports such as gymnastics, hockey, and rugby.
The sports that have won the most state championships are boys swimming (19), football (18), girls tennis (18), boys tennis (16), girls cross country (16), boys cross country (15), girls golf (15) and girls swimming (13).
Bottom Line: Sports Prepare Students for Success in Life
High school sports prepare students for more than just college. Besides the physical benefits, they are a great way to make friends, have fun, get involved in school, learn teamwork and build self-esteem.
These qualities help build character and prepare students to succeed in life.
This article is a partnership with EduBirdie.