It's fairly commonplace for high school teams to celebrate a state title with the playing of Queen's classic "We are the Champions." It's entirely possible that Columbia (S.C.) Bishop England cued up the Freddy Mercury tune after capturing the Class AA state title too, but that even "We are the Champions" sells the Bishops' most recent achievement a bit short. Yes, Bishop England is the Class AA champion, but they are much more: They're now the champions of the champions ... of all time.
As noted by Columbia CBS affiliate WCSC, Bishop England's title was the 13th straight for the Catholic school, and it's 23rd overall. Those 23 state crowns now rank as more than any other volleyball program nationwide in high school sports.
There is no questioning Bishop England's dominance, after the school rounded off a 31-5 season with a dominant, 3-0 sweep of Chesnee (S.C.) High. As is commonplace for the Bishops, the team got commanding performances from a variety of contributors, with Ellie James finishing with 20 kills and 18 digs, Julianne Dahlman notching 20 assists and Sawyer Swanson recording 16 assists and 15 digs.
With that kind of production from a single triumvirate, it's no wonder that Bishop England cruised to an all-time record state title.
While there is a valid debate to be had about where Bishop England's 23 state titles rank in the all-time annals of prep sports, there is no question that it is an achievement that will be hard to duplicate, let alone surpass. Even more daunting is the realization that the program shows no sign of slowing down. After all, once you've won 13 state titles in a row it's tough for any other squad in your class to hold a realistic belief that it could steal back a state crown.
For now, Bishop England will celebrate for months ahead. Then it'll get back to work with offseason training come springtime. After all, there's another state title to win, it's just 12 months away.
- Sports & Recreation