Earlier this fall, we kicked off our 2019-2020 National Championship, a competition to determine and celebrate the school with the most deeply connected sports community across our network.
With an unique insight to 2,500 local communities across 40 states, we used criteria such as content popularity, coach involvement and student body engagement to make ‘sense of community’ quantifiable. By putting numbers to community, we were able to determine the school with the most impactful athletic department and strongest support system. We’re thrilled to announce that our 2019-2020 National Champion is South Carolina’s Easley High School.
Located due west of Greenville, a two and a half hour drive from both Atlanta and Charlotte, Easley High School’s athletic department headed up by Athletic Director Gill Payne coasted past their competition. They published over 100 pieces of content from July 2019 to August 2020. Their most popular post, the Fall Signing Day photo gallery, earned over 104,000 page views – which, to put into perspective, is as if everyone who lives in the city of Easley viewed it five times.
A true community effort, the Green Wave had nine coaches contributing scores, rosters and articles to their site, snagged several VNN employee votes for their positive impact within our organization and is supported by local advertisers including State Farm agent Meg Boyles. Together, they earned the title of South Carolina State Champion, South Region Champion and National Champion.
Our runner-up Region Champions include Godinez High School (CA) in the West, Noblesville High School (IN) in the Midwest and Sherwood High School (MD) in the Northeast. These schools produced some of the best content across our network, generating over 1,000 page views on nearly every post. A few of their most popular pieces include a story about the Noblesville’s girls basketball home opener and photos from Sherwood’s varsity football matchup vs. rivals Blake High School. Each of these schools had over 40 coaches signed up to contribute to their athletics sites, helping to keep their communities informed and involved.
Beyond our National and Regional Champions, we also awarded 32 State Champions across the country and recognized the top communities in the four categories of the competition. By using a variety of criteria and accounting for factors like enrollment, we aimed to give schools of all sizes an equal shot at winning – and were able to recognize small schools with big community pride.
Category top placers:
- Relationships and development (based on VNN employee votes): Northmont High School (OH)
- Coach involvement (based on the number of coaches signed up): West Bloomfield High School (MI) and Eastview High School (MN)
- Community interest (based on the percentage of a school’s enrollment interacting with the athletics department online): Bellaire High School (OH)
- Community engagement (based on the quality of content and interest shown by the community): Easley High School (SC)
- Alabama: Hoover High School
- Arizona: Scottsdale Preparatory Academy
- Arkansas: Benton High School
- California: Godinez High School
- Colorado: Gateway High School
- Florida: South Fork High School
- Georgia: Parkview High School
- Idaho: Nampa High School
- Illinois: Dunlap High School
- Indiana: Noblesville High School
- Iowa: Grinnell Community High School
- Kansas: De Sota High School
- Kentucky: Henry County High School
- Louisiana: John Curtis Christian High School
- Maryland: Sherwood High School
- Massachusetts: Ludlow High School
- Michigan: West Ottawa High School and Lapeer High School (tie)
- Minnesota: Monticello High School
- Missouri: Jefferson High School
- Nebraska: Millard West High School
- Nevada: SLAM! Charter School
- North Carolina: D H Conley High School
- Ohio: Reynoldsburg High School
- Oklahoma: Blanchard High School
- Oregon: South Salem High School
- Pennsylvania: Ringgold High School
- South Carolina: Easley High School
- Tennessee: Maryville High School
- Texas: Temple High School
- Utah: Maple Mountain High School
- Virginia: Cosby High School
- Wisconsin: Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School
Congratulations to all of the winners of our 2019-2020 championship!
Interested in connecting your local community through sports? Schedule a demo of VNN and join a network of like-minded athletic directors: vnnsports.net/schedule-demo.