State championships over the past few weeks, and the last couple of months, have been another reminder of the nontraditional high school athletic controversy in the 1A division.
If you’re new to this seemingly never-ending issue, nontraditionals are defined as metropolitan-area charter and magnet schools and non-boarding parochial schools that don’t necessarily adhere to strict district lines like rural, small-town traditional schools.
Most nontraditionals have been around for about 20 years, so their rate of winning state titles is rather eye-opening.
These schools don’t just win in some sports – they dominate, effectively eliminating any chance that a traditional program can even compete at the state championship level.
Soccer provides a sport where it seems like a long shot that a rural, small-town traditional school will ever again win a state title.
Community School of Davidson beat Franklin Academy 6-0 on Saturday in the girls 1A final to become the eighth straight nontraditional team to win a state crown.
Nontraditionals have also won nine of the last 10 titles. If not for Southwest Onslow in 2012, it would be 10 straight.
The last six, and seven of the last eight state championship games, have been all-nontraditional matchups. If not for East Carteret in 2014, the last eight state finals would have been all-nontraditional matchups.
In the second round of the girls playoffs this season, there were 16 teams remaining. Four of them were traditional schools. Only two (East Carteret, Manteo) of the final eight were traditional.
East Carteret, at No. 7, was the lone traditional school located in the top 10 of the final MaxPreps 1A rankings.
It wasn’t much different two months ago.
Pine Lake Prep beat Franklin Academy 3-1 in the 1A boys state final to become the fourth consecutive nontraditional team to win a state title
Five of the last six state champions have been nontraditionals. If not for Wallace-Rose Hill in 2016, it would be six in a row.
The last four state finals have been all-nontraditional matchups as have five of the last six.
The final four in the playoffs this season were nontraditionals. Only two (Rosewood, Manteo) of the final eight were traditional schools.
Manteo, at No. 6, was the lone traditional school in the final top 10 of the MaxPreps 1A rankings.
Last week, Community School of Davidson became the fourth straight nontraditional school to win a boys golf state title. Nine of the last 10 state champions in the sport have been nontraditional schools. If not for Mount Airy in 2016, it would be 10 in a row.
And it just goes on and on.
Nontraditional schools have won 10 state titles in a row in girls cross country. In boys cross country, they’ve won the last four, as well as seven of the last nine.
Nontraditionals have won the last six state crowns in both boys and girls tennis. Each of those were all-nontraditional matchups in the boys finals, while four of the last six were all-nontraditional matchups for the girls.
Nontraditionals have won six straight in boys basketball. If not for East Carteret in 2015, nontraditionals would have won 10 state crowns in a row. Instead, they’ve taken nine of the last 10. Five of the last six finals have been nontraditional matchups.
Nontraditionals have also won five state championships in a row in volleyball.
This nontraditional dominance at the state level started about a decade ago.
A handful of nontraditional schools were moved up to 2A in the latest realignment, so we’ll see if that makes a difference over the next four years. There are, however, still plenty remaining to continue this kind of state title control.
(Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)