MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America
  • File photo by John Downey

    Zoe Casas is the California hit queen now.

    California is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to churning out amazing softball players. Every year scores of players move on from the Golden State to the best college programs nationwide.

    In the long and storied history of California high school softball, no player has recorded more base hits than Zoe Casas of Aquinas (San Bernardino, Calif.). She truly is one of the best of the best.

    File photo by John Downey

    Zoe Casas, Aquinas

    According to the San Bernardino Sun, Casas reached career hit No. 247 Thursday in a Southern Section Division 4 playoff victory over Palm Desert to become the top all-time hitter in California Interscholastic Federation history.

    The Florida State-committed senior is no stranger to accolades from MaxPreps. She was an underclass All-American as a freshman, underclass and small schools all-American as a sophomore, a small schools all-American as a junior and seems to be a lock to be featured on the All-American Team this season.

    She never thought she would reach such a pinnacle, telling the newspaper in an earlier article: "I never came into high school thinking hitting was going to be my strong point. I always thought it was going to be running, bunting, but hitting progressed very well.”

    The career hit total is spectacular. Here are a few more numbers that should drop jaws:

    * In four years, she has struck out twice.

    * She is hitting .741 this season and her MaxPreps career stats page has her with a .682 career batting average.

    * She only has 26 walks in her career.

    * She is a perfect 74-for-74 on stolen bases, according to stats supplied to MaxPreps.

    * Her total ranks her four hits shy of earning a spot in the National Federation of State High School Associations Record Book. The list goes to 14th, with Jessica Beach of Okemos (Mich.) at 251.


  • It's always good news when former big leaguers go back to their high school to give back.

    Even better when they return to lead a program.

    Such is the case for former Reds, Pirates and Red Sox infielder Poke Reese, who was named the new varsity baseball coach at Lower Richland (Hopkins, S.C.), where he starred as a quarterback for the football team and shortstop on the baseball team. 

    He was a first-round pick for the Reds in the 1991 MLB draft with the 20th selection overall, then he spent seven long years in the minors before reaching the majors.

    Reese's rise all the way to the majors was inspiring because of his humble beginnings. According to thestate.com, his family's two-bedroom home on a dirt road had no bathroom or running water. His mother Clara Spivey nurse's assistant salary supported eight to 10 people at the home.

    But Reese escaped poverty and even won a World Series with the Red Sox, and is now giving back where he grew up.

    "I love this school. I love this community," Reese told the newspaper.

    He's got only one direction to take Lower Richland. The Diamond Hornets went 1-20 in 2015.

  • Video: Morgan Day sets national record (courtesy of GameTimePA)

    For the second year in a row, the national record for career girls lacrosse goals has fallen.

    According to the York Daily Record, Morgan Day of Kennard-Dale (Fawn Grove, Pa.) set the national record Thursday for career lacrosse goals in a 15-11 District 3 playoff win over Susquehannock that advanced her team to the state tournament. The record-breaking performance came one year and 24 days after Megan Shortt of East Forsyth (Kernersville, N.C.) set the mark.

    YouTube screenshot via PAGameTime

    Morgan Day, Kennard-Dale

    Day netted her 460th career goal to set the record and extended the mark by the end of the day, reaching 465. Her little sister Maddie Day supplied the assist on the record-breaker, calling it "kind of cool."

    "This is just a huge deal," Morgan Day told the newspaper. "Being able to break that record, and in such a big game, it was great."

    And she gave praise to her teammates Nicole Black and Lyndsey Duty.

    "Without either one of them, especially Lyndsey, I wouldn't be here talking about this," she was quoted as saying. "We're best friends. She knows me on and off the field. She is the reason I have this record."

    The National Federation of State High School Associations will attempt to verify the record once game sheets are sent to the NFHS, something coach Kelly Wetzel said was in progress.
  • Video: Unified basketball - the start of something big
    See how one California community connects special needs students and athletes on the hardwood


    Attorney and professor Lee Green at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., has listed the top 10 sports law issues that impact high school sports. He listed the following issues for a story he did on the National Federation of State High School Associations website. Click the link to see detailed explanations of each issue.

    1. Concussion management and return-to-play protocols


    All 50 states have rules on this trending topic, but many are different.

    2. Liability for sports injuries and duties of athletic personnel


    Each year, hundreds of suits are filed by the families of injured student-athletes against schools, administrators and even coaches and/or athletic directors for negligence.

    3. Social media issues and school authority to sanction student-athletes

    Can schools sanction student-athletes for inappropriate, off-campus postings on social media?

    4. Constitutional rights of student-athletes


    This is a complex issue when players are suspended or kicked off teams for breaking codes of conduct.

    5. Hazing in athletic programs

    From the start of 2014 calendar year, more than 150 alleged hazing incidents involving athletic programs have been reported by national media. You could probably more than double that number for the ones not reported.

    6. Sexual harassment in athletic programs


    This is a problem that continues to increase.

    7. Transgender policies for athletic programs


    The revelations from former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner — perhaps the world's greatest athlete of his time — will no doubt spotlight this growing issue.

    8. Disability law applied to athletic programs

    Clarifying the obligations of schools to provide for disabled children in athletics is another tricky issue. MaxPreps recently reported on one very grand solution called Unified Sports, in this case the sport was basketball.

    9. Title IX and gender equity in athletic programs


    Typically up to 150 Title IX complaints are filed against school districts annually. In 2011, that number was 210 and it affected 525 high schools.

    10. Retaliation against complainants


    Some coaches who blow the whistle on schools for things like Title IX or civil rights issues claim they are thus receiving disadvantageous treatment or negative consequences.
  • MaxPreps National Player of the Year Ben Simmons is still attending classes at Montverde Academy (Fla.), but that isn't stopping LSU from making him the centerpiece of a campaign intended to drum up new season ticket holders.

    ‘He's Coming!' or '25 is Coming' were the tag lines on the LSU men's basketball Twitter account and official site. Simmons will wear No. 25 for the Tigers next season.

    Simmons, considered to be the likely top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was named MaxPreps National Player of the Year in early April after leading Montverde Academy to a 31-1 record and final national No. 1 ranking. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward averaged 27.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

    With the native of Australia on the floor, Montverde Academy went 62-1 with three Dick's Nationals tournament titles.

    Simmons plans to participate in LSU's competitive tour of Australia in August.
  • Video: MaxPreps Minute - Caleb Swanigan commits to Purdue
    5-star big man had previously committed to Michigan State.

    One of the biggest recruiting roller coasters in high school basketball's 2016 class came to an end Tuesday as Indiana Mr. Basketball Caleb Swanigan of Homestead (Fort Wayne) committed to Purdue.

    Regarded as a Top 20 prospect by 247Sports, the 6-foot-8, 265-pound forward committed to Michigan State April 10 but opened things back up earlier this month.

    Purdue took advantage and won out over Michigan State and California, giving Matt Painter his biggest win on the recruiting trail in recent memory.Swanigan averaged over 22 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior at Homestead, leading the Spartans to Indiana's Class 4A state title.

    The big man was rewarded for his efforts with postseason trips to the McDonald's All American Game in Chicago and the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn.

    Swanigan's decision to spurn Tom Izzo and shop around has kicked up considerable dust around the Midwest. ESPN college basketball color commentator and radio host Dan Dakich chimed in via Twitter last week and boldly predicted that the Boilermakers would land the Fort Wayne star.
  • If at first you don't succeed. …

    As a blind pole-vaulter, every attempt for Rains (Emory, Texas) senior Charlotte Brown is a success.

    Screen shot from YouTube

    Charlotte Brown, Rains

    On Saturday, she accomplished a goal she's been reaching for throughout her high school career — a place on the podium at the Texas State High School Championships in Austin.

    Brown cleared 11 feet, 6 inches to take third behind winner Sydney King, an Oklahoma-bound vaulter who cleared 12-3. Brown plans to walk on to the track team at Purdue, where she's earned an academic scholarship and where her brother Lachian is a hurdler.

    View an Associated Press video report from Brown's performance

    She was born with normal vision, but quickly developed cataracts that led to vast complications. Operations and artificial lenses helped until she was 11, but since then her vision has decreased to the point of blindness, though she is not in total darkness.

    Brown is obviously a shimmering light of hope for all those fighting some sort of adversity. She placed eighth in the state as a sophomore and fourth as a junior. She's been helped throughout her journey by her service dog Vador. The pup joined Brown on the victory stand.

    "It took me three years to get on the podium and I finally did it," she told reporters afterward.

    What she told them then was something that should be bronzed to anyone – young or old – going through, well, anything.

    "One thing I thought about this story – so to speak – was that it really wasn't about me," she told reporters. "It was about that everybody struggles with something. This just happens to be something that I struggle with. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a big obstacle because there is always a way to overcome something. So if I could send a message to someone, it's that it's not about pole vaulting and it's not about track, it's about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way."
  • Valle Catholic (Ste. Genevieve, Mo.) entered Wednesday's battle against Cooter (Mo.) with the distinction of playing in the longest game in Missouri State High School Activities Association history.

    Courtesy photo
    After 18 innings of baseball between the two teams, Valle Catholic had extended its record by two innings.

    According to the Daily Journal, the 3-1 win for Valle Catholic was the longest game ever (in terms of innings) in MSHSAA history. It was just 28 days earlier that Valle Catholic had played 16 innings in a 2-1 win over Potosi (Mo.).

    The teams combined to strand 39 runners (17 for Valle Catholic, 22 for Cooter), and unofficially the game took four hours, three minutes. Andy Grieshaber earned the win with seven innings of relief and Connor Basler pitched seven innings of scoreless relief in addition to knocking in a pair of runs.

    It could have gone longer, too. After Valle Catholic scored twice in the top half of the 18th frame, Cooter loaded the bases.

    The game may have been a long one for Missouri standards, but it didn't come very close to the national record. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations Record Book, the national record is 25 innings played between Kamehameha (Honolulu) and McKinley (Honolulu) on March 25, 1967.


  • Abbey Weitzeil found herself in a strange position Thursday at the CIF Southern Section Division I swimming preliminaries. She lost two national high school records and she gained two national records.

    The explanation, a pretty obvious one, is that the Saugus (Calif.) broke her own marks, and that's exactly what she did, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. She won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.83 seconds and the 100 free in 47.42 (set as the first leg of a relay), breaking records she had set last season. And she did them in back-to-back races.

    She has performed better than the 47.42 before, but not in high school competition.

    According to swimswam.com, Weitzeil is the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2015 but the University of California signee will defer enrollment for a year while she trains for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The CIFSS Division I finals are Saturday and she will gun for her fourth-straight title in each race.

    Modesty is certainly oozing out of this world-caliber swimmer.

    "I swam (both races) like I have the last three years. It wasn’t my best time but I was happy with them for this point in the season that I’m at,” Weitzeil told the LA Daily News.
  • As if Stephanie Rundlett didn't do enough.

    Courtesy photo
    According to the Portland Press Herald, the York (Maine) junior pitcher struck out 25 and allowed one hit over 10 innings in a 3-1 Western Main Conference win over Kennebunk on Wednesday.  For good measure, Rundlett doubled home the go-ahead run and finished 3-for-5 for the undefeated Wildcats (9-0), who are No. 7 in the MaxPreps Maine computer rankings.

    The big performance is just one of many from the 5-foot-4 Rundlett this season.

    She was named Portland Press Herald Athlete of the Week the previous week after hitting three home runs and throwing a two-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 15-0 win over Freeport. Rundlett earlier fired a four-hitter, striking out 18 in a 4-3 win over Fryeburg Academy.

    York is enjoying quite a turnaround season. According to stats supplied to MaxPreps, York was 1-14 last season.