What do you remember most about high school sports in the past decade? Maine South, Joliet Catholic and Driscoll in football, Jon Scheyer, Derrick Rose and Shaun Livingston in boys basketball and Candace Parker in girls basketball come to mind immediately.
But there were others. And the rise of Whitney Young in boys basketball and Whitney Young and Bolingbrook in girls basketball at the end of the decade bodes well for the quality of competition that can be projected for the future.
Here's a look at the top 10 teams/athletes for the last 10 years:
1. Maine South football. The Hawks posted a 117-12 record and three state championships and settled for two seconds. They closed the decade by sweeping two straight Class 8A titles while winning 28 games in a row. And they produced three Players of the Year--Sean Price, Charlie Goro and Matt Perez.
2. Driscoll football. The Highlanders won an unprecedented seven state titles in a row and 110 of 124 games. But declining enrollment forced the Addison school to close its doors in 2009. Ironically, one of Driscoll's best players, Nick Campanella, transferred to rival Montini and starred on the Broncos' 2009 Class 5A state championship team.
3. Joliet Catholic football. The Hilltoppers won five state titles and 111 of 127 games under coach Dan Sharp. J.R. Zwierzynski, Chris Jeske, Joe Benson, Chris Clancy and Bill McKeon were among the team leaders.
4. Prospect football. Coach Brent Pearlman produced three state championship teams in five years.
5. Jon Scheyer. He led Glenbrook North to one state championship and scored 3,034 points in his career to rank No. 4 in state history behind Chico Vaughn, Andy Kaufmann and Jamie Brandon. In a legendary feat, he scored 21 points in 75 seconds and finished with a single-game record of 52 points in a quarterfinal game. But his team lost to Proviso West 85-79 in the championship game of the 2005 Proviso West Holiday Tournament.
6. Derrick Rose. He led Simeon to successive state titles in 2006 and 2007.
7. Shaun Livingston. He led Peoria Central to successive state titles in 2003 and 2004, then became a lottery pick in the NBA draft.
8. In girls basketball, Candace Parker led Naperville Central to successive state titles in 2003 and 2004, then went on to star at Tennessee and the WNBA. Marshall's Cappie Pondexter also went on to star at Rutgers and the WNBA. And Whitney Young and Bolingbrook emerged as state powers.
9. In wrestling, Montini won five state championships and the Beebe brothers, Chase and Conor, each won four individual titles.
10. In girls swimming, Rosary emerged as the dominant program in the state, winning the last four state titles in a row as Mary Descenza and Olivia Scott swept multiple individual titles.
Can you think of any team or individual in any sport that deserves to break into the top 10?