Two teams with players accustomed to being in the national spotlight now headline the SIMA FAB 50 boys rankings.
Perennial national title challenger St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) is No. 1, followed closely by Archbishop Curley (Baltimore, Md.). Unfortunately these teams will not meet in 2017 -- at least not on the high school field. Interestingly, though, St. Benedict's is full of club players from Cedar Stars Academy, while Curley features plenty of Baltimore Celtic influence -- and as club teams they have gone head-to-head at various showcase events.
While both are perfect at the midway point of the season, remaining that way will be difficult.
St. Benedict's, which already has wins over two defending state champions, face two more defending state champs in the next two weeks and has a clash with Prep School power Berkshire (Mass.). A perfect run through that schedule would be hard t argue against for the national No. 1 ranking. By contrast, Curley plays in what is one of the most competitive leagues in the county -- the MIAA, which has put four teams in the SIMA FAB 50 in the past two years and six teams in the national rankings in the past five seasons. Only once in the history of the MIAA has a team gone perfect for the season, and that was McDonogh during its national title season of 2013, which interupted a run of four national titles in five years for St. Benedict's.
On the girls side this week, Strongsville (Ohio) took a trip to Massachusetts and tied two of the state's top teams. Those results, when coupled with how the teams fare the rest of the way, will go a long way in determining the SIMA FAB 50 Top 10 this year.
BIG MOVERS: BOYS: Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.). Gibbons jumped from No. 46 to No. 17 after disposing of former Top 25-ranked Heritage (N.C.) 4-1. The outcome also returned the No. 1 ranking in Raleigh to the Crusdaers. ... GIRLS: Beavercreek (Ohio). Beavercreek made the biggest move among the ranked girls teams, going from No. 48 to No. 39. The move was set in motion by a number of upset losses by teams ranked Nos. 26-40 last week.
NEWCOMERS: BOYS: No. 19 Forest Hills Northern (Grand Rapids, Mich.), No. 23 Peters Township (McMurray, Pa.), No. 27 Parkland (Allentown, Pa.), No. 29 La Cueva (Albuquqerque, N.M.), No. 31 Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.), No. 42 St. Charles North (St. Charles, Ill.), No. 47 Commack (N.Y.), No. 48 Providence (Charlotte, N.C.) and No. 50 [Haddonfield Memorial nj-m] (East Haddonfield, N.J.). ... GIRLS: No. 40 Cibola (Albuquerque, N.M.), No. 42 Mercer Island (Wash.), No. 43 Loveland (Ohio), No. 44 Wall Township (Wall, N.J.), No. 45 Peters Township (McMurray, Pa.), No. 48 Baylor School (Chattanooga, Tenn.), No. 49 Bishop Kelly (Boise, Idaho).
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