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Cast your vote for the greatest high school sports program in state history – The Collinsville Press
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Cast your vote for the greatest high school sports program in state history

The Avon High boys soccer team celebrates after earning a piece of the Class L state championship in November 2014.

CHESHIRE, July 24, 2020 – This is not how the CIAC envisioned celebrating their 100th anniversary of CIAC-sponsored high school athletics would be going.

The CIAC was founded on May 5, 1921 and their first state tournament was the 1922 boys basketball tournament. A century later, the COVID-19 coronavirus has laid waste to interscholastic sports in Connecticut and around the United States.

There has not been any interscholastic sports since March when the contagious virus, that has killed more than 148,000 Americans to this point, stopping last winter’s high school basketball, swimming and hockey tournaments before they could be completed.

The entire spring sports campaign was cancelled and we will find out what the CIAC hopes to do this fall early in August.

The CIAC is looking back to more exciting times with their Sports Dynasty Tournament where fans can choose the top high school sports program in the past century.

The tournament will feature 32 high school programs with online voting determining who advances and who eventually is selected the winner.

Twenty-six programs with the most CIAC championships in their respective sports are automatically entered leaving six spots to be filled.

The CIAC has begun online voting for the six teams to join the Sports Dynasty tournament and 15 teams are in the running. Voting closes on Wednesday, July 29, at 5 p.m. for these final six entries to the tournament.

The initial voting has begun at and subsequent tournament voting will be available at  and on CIAC’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“There are so many great programs that have provided wonderful memories and pride to their schools and communities over the years, and we hope this tournament offers a way to celebrate that great history and give fans something to rally around right now,” said Joel Cookson, CIAC director of Media and Sports Information.

Among the contending programs for the final six slots in the tournament are the Farmington High boys soccer program and Simsbury High girls gymnastics program.

A model of consistent success for the past 50 years, Farmington has captured at least two state boys soccer titles in every decade since 1970, and shows no sign of slowing down having earned four titles since 2010. It has 18 championship-match appearances and 12 titles since reaching its first final in 1973 and has not gone more than six years between a finals appearance.

The Simsbury High girls gymnastics team was a powerhouse program that burned brightly for 12 years. Today, the team doesn’t exist. Still, Simsbury piled up an impressive 18 gymnastics championships during its dominant run. The Trojans captured their first title in 1975 and from 1975 to 1987 the squad won a remarkable 12 titles, including a run of 10-consecutive championships from 1978 to 1987.

Other big-name teams include the Coventry High girls volleyball program, Cheshire High girls swimming, New Britain High football, Hand High football and St. Joseph-Trumbull football.

Coventry appeared in 13 Class S championship games in girls volleyball between 2003 and 2018, winning 11 titles while the Cheshire girls swimming program has won 43 state titles, including 14 State Open championships. The Rams also set a national record for consecutive dual meet wins (281) from 1986 through 2011.

In football, St. Joseph is current in the midst of an outstanding run. The Cadets have won three consecutive state championships and are 15-3 in CIAC title games. Hand has played in a CIAC championship game 20 times and has won 13 times.

The CIAC began hosting a football tournament in 1976 but before that time, a state champion was declared by sportswriters voting in polls. New Britain has won four state titles since 1976 but before that season, the Golden Hurricanes claimed 29 state championships. In 1938, they were invited to Florida to play in an unofficial national championship game.

No Canton or Avon teams were selected for the event. The Canton program with the most state championships is the field hockey program that won eight Class S titles from 1985 through 1998.

In Avon, the boys soccer team has won nine state titles, including five in six years from 1984-89. The girls soccer program has won five state crowns.

The Granby field hockey program is one of the 26 automatic entries in the tournament. The Bears have played in the state finals 23 times, winning 13 titles and sharing one.

Sports Dynasty Automatic Entries

Local teams in the Sports Dynasty contest
Final 32 bracket
Granby girls field hockey

Seeking spot in final 32 bracket
Farmington boys soccer
Simsbury High girls gymnastics

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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