The Raiders were named No. 1 in the nation by one national poll Friday and there could be several more to come. Over the last 100-plus years there’s been a few national titles from Washington high schools.
Washington has a long history of winning high-school national championships. Long, as in it was mostly long ago. Not long as it has happened many times over the years.
That short list added another name as Nathan Hale’s boys basketball team was named No. 1 in the nation Friday by Maxpreps.com. The only question now is whether the Raiders (29-0) will be consensus national champs.
In most high-school sports, national championships are earned on the basis of rankings from media outlets or a coaching association as national competitions are unfeasible.
There are seven national basketball polls, which reached a consensus on Nathan Hale as the No. 1 team in the nation in February.
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The final polls will trickle out next week. The question is whether other polls will punish Hale for deciding not to play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals, which wrap up Saturday in New York City.
Washington’s first high-school national title came back in 1906. Seattle High School beat North Division High School from Chicago 11-5 in Seattle in a game billed as a “High School National Football Championship.”
The next came in 1920. That’s when the Everett High School football team tied for No. 1 in the nation in the National Sports News Service poll, which crowned a national champ from 1910 to 1999.
The Seagulls, coached by Enoch Bagshaw (who went on to coach at UW after a 77-4-7 record at Everett), went 9-0-1 and tied with Oak Park, Ill., which also went 9-0-1. Everett beat East Technical High School of Cleveland 16-7 on New Year’s Day to wrap up the title.
National titles (and we’re talking high-school team titles here not club-sport titles and not individual titles) have been few and far between since. Mead won a boys cross-country title in 1993 when Harrier Magazine voted the Spokane school No. 1.
Mercer Island won a girls swimming title in 1995-96 from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. The Mercer Island boys were named first in their class in 2006-07 by NISCA.
Have there been others? Possibly. With the proliferation of websites devoted to specific sports, it’s likely some team won and it flew under the radar.
Despite the long history of basketball success in Seattle, no team has been crowned national champs. There have been a few that were close.
Rainier Beach has a handful of top-10 finishes. The Vikings even hit No. 1 in the USA Today poll early in the 2002-03 season. Beach lost a couple games at a holiday tournament, tumbled to No. 13, and LeBron James’ St. Vincent-St. Mary took over No. 1.
The year before, Rainier Beach, a team that featured Nate Robinson, finished seventh in the nation, according to USA Today.
In 2014, Beach won the state title and took an undefeated record and a No. 3 national ranking (USA Today) into the Dick’s Nationals. The Vikings lost their opener to Findlay Prep and finished No. 8.
Among other high-ranking basketball teams were the Lakeside girls, who were No. 12 in 1994. The Sehome boys went undefeated in 1996 and were ranked fifth.
Soccer is another sport where polls dish out national titles. The high-water mark for Washington appears to be the Federal Way girls, who were second in the nation in 1992 according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Washington hasn’t won another football title since Everett back at the dawn of the Roaring ’20s. There’s been a few top-10 finishes since from the USA Today poll. The most recent was Bellevue in 2004, when it finished eighth. The Wolverines famously stopped De La Salle’s national-record winning streak of 151 games en route to a 13-0 record and a state title.
The highest finish since Everett was a sixth-place finish by Juanita (13-0) in 1985. The Rebels (13-0) were ninth the year before. Gonzaga Prep (12-0) took seventh in the 1986.
But No. 1 in seven national polls? Nathan Hale could top them all next week.