It has been a few years since I did one of these “poll of polls”. However, the question came up as to how to interpret the results of this high school season from a national as opposed to a local perspective as a relatively small but growing number of teams were playing schedules with a national flavor while most, as has been the case for decades, stay close to home. In some ways rankings near the top are now easier as there have been more match-ups of top teams from different areas in the last few years than say five or ten years ago. Still some highly regarded teams do not travel or if they do, schedule in such a way to where they (intentionally or not) do not play other top 10 teams. In determining rankings, the age-old question is balancing record with strength of schedule and at times the eye test in actually watching these teams.
New development this year...
Now four (for quite a while just three) separate, regularly published polls are available on the internet. All ranked essentially Federation schools with occasional non-Federation teams (none made the cut for this poll however). Old stalwarts BlueStar Media, ESPN and MaxPreps have been joined by ScoreBookLive (SBLive as they appear to call themselves). This organization appears to be an online competitor doing many releases similar to those on MaxPreps.
Sierra Canyon: unanimous #1
It is a rare day when four different organizations see something the same. All four polls had Sierra Canyon at or near the top pre-season. However, with recent losses by Long Island Lutheran (LuHi according to the locals in New York) and Montverde Academy out of Florida, only California’s Sierra Canyon remains unbeaten of the teams that have scheduled strongly on the national level as of the polls published during the week beginning January 15. Granted that Sierra Canyon passed on the Nike Tournament of Champions (won by LuHi in December), they still have high quality wins from this combined poll over Sidwell Friends (#3), La Jolla Country Day (#6/7), Duncanville (#12) and Lone Peak (#15/16) not to mention a difficult path post-season where meetings with one or more nationally ranked California teams remain as possibilities.
Thus, our question is who is #2? This poll says LuHi as of now.
If you click on each of the individual polls, you will see four different candidates for the second slot.
Previously number 1 in several polls, LuHi posted wins over Sidwell Friends (#3), La Jolla Country Day (#6/7), Archbishop Mitty (#13), Paul VI (#18/19) and #24/25 Bishop McNamara twice, losing only to St. John Vianney (#4).
Sidwell Friends has lost to both LuHi and Sierra Canyon but has posted wins over Montverde (#5), Duncanville (#12), Lone Peak (#15/16) and Bishop McNamara (#24/25) twice.
St. John Vianney is undefeated playing primarily a New Jersey-based schedule and has wins over Bishop McNamara (#24/25) and most importantly Lu Hi (#2). The debatable question is does those two wins have more value than the resume of national wins of either LuHi and Sidwell Friends?
The final #2 candidate is Incarnate Word of St. Lous which has a long undefeated streak (going back a few years). This year its schedule was ungraded to include trips to Hawaii and Kentucky. However, it is unlikely to meet any top ten team (from this current poll) on the court this year. This combined poll has them at #8 marking down the schedule not up to most of the teams ranked ahead of them be it well above average.
Hopefully, at least one more "poll of polls" will be done at the conclusion of the season (in April) depending on the continued publication of the polls below.
In reverse order, a #1 ranking nets a team 25 points (perfect score 100) to a 25th place ranking garnering 1 point.
1. Sierra Canyon (California) - 100 (all 4 first place votes)
2. Long Island Lutheran (New York) - 92
3. Sidwell Friends (DC) - 88
4. St. John Vianney (New Jersey) - 87
5. Montverde (Florida) - 79
6. *Hopkins (Minnesota) - 77
7. *La Jolla Country Day (California) - 77
8. Incarnate Word Academy (Missouri) – 72
9. South Bend Washington (Indiana) - 64
10. Etiwanda (California) - 62
11. Hazel Green (Alabama) - 56
12. Duncanville (Texas) - 51
13. Archbishop Mitty (California) - 48
14. Clovis West (California) - 41
15. *Lone Peak (Utah) - 39
16. *Sacred Heart (Kentucky) - 39
17. Conway (Arkansas) - 35
18. *Morris Catholic (New Jersey) - 30
19. *Paul VI (New Jersey) - 30
20. Hoover (Alabama) - 28
21. Centennial (Nevada) - 24
24. *Bishop McNamara (Maryland) - 8
25. *Waterloo West (Iowa) - 8
Note: * indicates tied but listed alphabetically
Links to the individual polls (published during the week beginning January 15) are below