For the past two years, the Punahou Buff N' Blue have been ranked the No. 1 athletic program in the country by MaxPreps, but a late miracle run during the baseball postseason by a California school has knocked the Hawaiian powerhouse from the top spot.
Punahou still managed to win an amazing 17 state titles in Hawaii this year, but the national recognition afforded the Mater Dei Monarchs in five major sports was enough to push the Santa Ana school to the top of this year's rankings.
Here's a look at the top 10 athletic programs in the country, listed in reverse order. Programs were selected based on performance in state and section playoffs as well as recognition by national ranking services.
10. Catholic Central (Novi, Mich.)
The all-boys school in Novi, Michigan won six state titles and was ranked nationally in football after finishing undefeated (14-0) and winning the Division I state title.
The Shamrocks also won state titles in golf, wrestling, cross country and bowling. In ice hockey, the Shamrocks won the state title for the seventh time in the past 10 years.
The football team finished the year ranked No. 15 in the MaxPreps Freeman National Rankings.
9. Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.)
Clovis West has long been a force in the Central Section, but the 2009-2010 season was an exceptional one even by the Golden Eagles' high standards.
Clovis West won section championships in nine sports and were runners-up in three others. The Golden Eagles were also nationally ranked in two sports, finishing No. 32 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings and No. 29 in the ESPN Rise national boys volleyball rankings.
The Golden Eagles also won section championships in girls water polo, girls basketball, girls track, girls golf and girls swimming. The boys won section titles in tennis, volleyball and swimming. Clovis West also finished as the section runner up in girls tennis, baseball and boys water polo.
8. La Cueva (Albuquerque, N.M.)
The Bears completed a rare trifecta in New Mexico, winning state titles in football, boys basketball and baseball. They also won state titles in boys golf and boys soccer and finished second in five other sports.
The La Cueva baseball team received the highest recognition for the Bears, finishing ranked No. 5 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Baseball National Rankings. The boys soccer team finished No. 30 in the ESPN Rise fall rankings.
The Bears finished second in the state in girls golf, boys and girls track, girls soccer and girls volleyball. The softball team was also the No. 1 seed in the playoffs before being eliminated prior to the championship game.
7. The Woodlands (The Woodlands, Texas)
The Highlanders had four teams ranked nationally and also made noise during the football, basketball and baseball seasons.
The Woodlands was ranked No. 10 by ESPN Rise in boys soccer in the winter national rankings and No. 35 in girls soccer. The girls won the 5A state champioship while the boys made the semifinals.
The boys cross country team finished the year ranked No. 13 in the nation by DyeStat while the softball team ended the season at No. 28 in the ESPN Rise national rankings and reached the Regional semifinals.
The Highlanders also excelled on the gridiron, winning their first 11 games before falling in the second round of the state playoffs. The boys basketball team won the district while the baseball team had the No. 1 high school player selected in the Major League Baseball draft in pitcher Jameson Taillon.
The boys swimming team won the state 5A meet while the girls team finished sixth. The girls cross country team finished fourth at the state meet.
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
The Bishop Gorman Gaels have long been known for their prowess on the baseball diamond. Now the other sports programs at the Las Vegas school are following suit.
The Bishop Gorman boys basketball team went 30-2, won a state title and finished the season ranked No. 7 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Boys Basketball National Rankings. The girls basketball team also won a state championship, finishing 27-5.
The football team recorded a 15-0 season in which it outscored opponents 787-135 including 62-1 in the state finals against Del Sol. The Gaels open the 2010 season pegged as a Top 25 early contender by MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak.
The baseball program has been, perhaps, the most successful program on campus and the 2010 season was no different. Chris Sheff's club went 36-4, won the 4A state title and finished the year ranked No. 6 in the final Xcellent 25 baseball rankings.
The Gaels also won state championships in girls tennis and girls swimming.
5. Hoover (Hoover, Ala.)
After three years away from the top spot on the Alabama football mountain, the Hoover Buccaneers defeated three-time defending champion Prattville 28-23 to capture the 6A state title.
The football championship was the highlight of the season for a Hoover athletic program that had much to celebrate. The football team, which finished the season ranked No. 17 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, was one of three Hoover teams to receive national recognition this year. The girls basketball team and the boys soccer team also ranked among the top 50 in their sports as well.
The Buccaneer girls basketball team achieved an even higher ranking than the football team, settling in at No. 8 in the final Xcellent 25. The boys soccer team, meanwhile, finished ranked No. 35 in the nation by ESPN Rise in the spring national rankings.
The Buccaneers also dominated in wrestling, and boys and girls track, winning state titles in all three sports. Hoover finished second in the state in boys golf and boys cross country and third in girls swimming.
4. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
If not for a couple of stunning playoff upsets, the Monarchs would rank much higher on this list. The football team was 9-0-1 during the regular season and tied for first place in the West Catholic Athletic League but lost in the first round of the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs to Valley Christian, 22-17.
The softball team went undefeated in WCAL play and had a 27-2 record entering the postseason. However, the Monarchs lost their first-round playoff game to Presentation, 2-1, a team it had defeated for the WCAL championship the week before.
The Monarchs began the school year with one of the most impressive teams in the country. The Archbishop Mitty girls volleyball team started the year ranked No. 1 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and never moved from that spot. Coach Brett Almazan-Cezar's club went 39-0 and captured the state championship while dropping just eight games all season long. Senior Rachel Williams was named the National Player of the Year and Almazan-Cezar was selected as the National Coach of the Year.
The Monarchs capped the year with a spectacular baseball season that saw Mitty finish 31-3 with a Central Coast Section Division 1 championship. The Monarchs blasted Bellarmine 12-0 in the championship game and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings. The Monarchs also had one player, shortstop James Roberts, selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The Monarchs also won CCS championships in boys and girls basketball and girls swimming. The boys volleyball team was the CCS runnerup.
3. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)
Jesuit captured six state championships in Oregon while earning national recognition in five sports. In addition to being MaxPreps.com's No. 3 overall sports program in the country, Jesuit also ranks as the nation's top mid-sized school program.
The Crusaders had great success in girls soccer, finishing No. 1 in the nation in the ESPN Rise fall national rankings. Jesuit also ranked high in girls cross country, finishing No. 8 in the national rankings by DyeStat.
The boys cross country team, which finished second in the state meet, was ranked No. 50 nationally while the state champion boys basketball team finished the year ranked No. 22 in the Xcellent 25.
The girls volleyball team, which was the runner-up in Oregon, ended the year ranked No. 33 in the Xcellent 25 and had the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Elizabeth Brenner.
Other state champions for Jesuit include boys and girls track, boys tennis and girls swimming. Jesuit finished second in football, girls basketball and girls golf.
2. Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii)
The Buff' N Blue dropped to No. 2 in the MaxPreps Athletic Program of the Year rankings after finishing in the top spot the past two years. Punahou dominated the individual sports state championships in Hawaii, winning 17 state titles total. The Buff N' Blue also were ranked nationally in boys and girls soccer and boys volleyball. Only Mater Dei's national ranking in five major sports (boys and girls soccer, baseball, boys and girls basketball) prevented Punahou from staying at the top for a third straight year.
Punahou's top team was undoubtedly the boys volleyball team, which finished the year ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN Rise. The boys soccer team finished the year ranked No. 24 by ESPN Rise for winter programs while the girls soccer team finished ranked No. 38.
Punahou also won state titles in baseball, boys air riflery, boys swimming, boys and girls wrestling, boys and girls golf, girls cross country, girls judo, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and girls water poll.
1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Mater Dei High School has the No. 1 athletic program in the country, according to MaxPreps, and Monarch fans have Cory Hahn to thank for it.
An amazing individual performance by Hahn in the Southern Section Division I baseball championship game was enough to lift Mater Dei into the No. 1 spot in this year's ranking of the top 10 athletic programs in the United States. Hahn pitched six perfect innings in the championship game against Dana Hills, had a game-saving defensive play and also knocked in the winning runs to lead the Monarchs to a 2-0 victory.
The win capped a 20-10 season for the Monarchs and put them at No. 42 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings and No. 3 overall in the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings. Hahn was named the Orange County Player of the Year by the Orange County Register and was also selected in the MLB draft.
The section title was one of four the Monarchs landed and one of six sports where Mater Dei was considered by a national ranking service. Considering the size of the Southern Section (close to 500 schools), a section title would be comparable to a state title in all but a handful of states across the nation.
The Mater Dei girls basketball team gained the most notoriety during the season, finishing the year ranked No. 1 in the nation by the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings and No. 2 by the Xcellent 25. The Monarchs won the California Division II state championship 58-43 over Carondelet and had one of the nation's top players in Kaleena Lewis.
The boys basketball team was also ranked among the top teams in the nation after winning the Southern Section Division I championship. The Monarchs finished the year No. 8 in the Freeman rankings and No. 17 in the Xcellent 25. Mater Dei fell just short of winning a state title, however, losing to eventual state champion Westchester in the Southern California Regional.
The Mater Dei water polo team also won the Trinity League and captured the Southern Section Division II championship.
While the boys and girls soccer teams did not win section titles, they were both ranked among the top teams in the country by ESPN Rise. The girls soccer team finished the year ranked No. 47 among winter soccer programs while the boys were ranked No. 48.
The Mater Dei softball team, which won the Trinity League, was also ranked among the top teams in the country by ESPN Rise, finishing at No. 23 overall with a 24-3 record.
Medium Schools Program of the Year
Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)
Small Schools Program of the Year
UMS-Wright Prep (Mobile, Ala.)
The Bulldogs dominated the 4A level in Alabama to earn the MaxPreps Small Schools Program of the Year honors.
UMS-Wright, with an enrollment of just under 400 students, won state titles in nine sports: boys track, A girls track state, girls tennis, boys tennis, boys cross country, girls cross country, baseball, boys golf, and boys soccer.
The Bulldogs were also second in girls soccer, a semifinalist in girls volleyball and a quarterfinalist in football.