Hundreds of athletes. Exactly 100 teams. Thirteen different sports. Six high schools. Three separate seasons. One Columbia County prep program with local bragging rights.
With the 2002-03 school year now in the books, the Columbia County News-Times has set out to find the most successful high-school athletic program in the county during the recently completed sports campaign.
The race came down to the wire, but Augusta Christian School powered across the finish line to edge Greenbrier High School. Augusta Preparatory Day School was a close third over Lakeside High School, while Evans High School was a distant fifth and Harlem High School was stuck in the cellar.
In order to determine the overall champion, a point system featuring 10 categories was arranged to reward team and individual performances at the varsity level.
Thanks to a fantastic track-and-field season this spring, Augusta Christian accumulated 300 points for the year, while Greenbrier finished with 265. Augusta Prep totaled 255 points with a surge in spring sports, while Lakeside reigned during the winter season, which helped boost its point total to 235. Evans managed 160 points with a good finish this spring, while Harlem never really got it going and settled for a meager 65 points.
Awarding the crown was no simple task, and although the system devised to rank the schools seems fair, it's not foolproof.
Consider that some schools had more varsity sports than others; for instance, Harlem does not have wrestling or swimming teams, and Augusta Christian does not offer soccer or volleyball.
Lakeside and Evans each fielded 20 varsity teams in 13 sports; Greenbrier had 18 squads in 12 sports; Harlem had 16 teams and 11 sports; Augusta Prep had 15 teams and nine sports; and, Augusta Christian posted points with 11 teams competing in eight varsity sports.
Obviously, the public-school vs. private-school debate, plus the fact that the county's six high schools aren't all in the same classification, complicates the equation.
But despite the inherent competitive differences, this isn't an attempt to compare apples and oranges.
This is simply a way to celebrate high-school sports, and maybe spark some debate in the process.
State title, team - 25 points
State runner-up, team - 15 points
State-semifinal appearance, team - 10 points
State title, individual - 10 points
Region title, team - 10 points
Best record, in-county - 10 points
Region title, individual - 5 points
Region runner-up, team - 5 points
State playoff berth, team - 5 points
State runner-up, individual - 5 points
Augusta Christian - 305
Greenbrier - 265
Augusta Prep - 255
Lakeside - 235
Evans - 160
Harlem - 65
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