HS: Top teams set for Smoky Mountain clash

HS: Top teams set for Smoky Mountain clash
by Sheldon Shealer
March 10, 2016

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — It's possible that the nation's No. 1 spring boys soccer team will be determined at a three-day tournament in the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee.

At the very least, national titles hopes will be dashed for many.

Six current SIMA FAB 50 teams and three other regionally ranked teams will be participating in this year's Smoky Mountain Cup, a 64-team event that almost overnight vaulted into the national spring limelight.

No. 1 Norman North (Norman, Okla.), No. 5 Dalton (Ga.), No. 12 Omaha South (Omaha, Neb.) and No. 14 J.L. Mann (Greenville, S.C.) are the top SIMA FAB 50-ranked teams at the March 31-April 3 event, which is hosted by Gatlinburg-Pittman High School at the picturesque Rocky Top Sports World facility.

Norman North, Dalton, J.L. Mann and No. 37 McCallie School (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will go head-to-head as part of the Clingman's Dome Division. Omaha South will be favored in the four-team Mount Guyout Division, which features Fort Payne (Ala.), which recently tied Dalton. No. 50 Mauldin (S.C.) will be favored in the Mount Chapman Division. The divisions are named after the highest points in the Smoky Mountains, with the Clingman’s Dome Division being the highest peak.

The event started in 2014 as a small tournament of Tennessee Valley schools. Last year, it expanded to 40 schools from three states and this year 64 teams from seven of the 13 spring-playing states have registered.

“We wanted to build something special,” said Zach Schrandt, to runs the event. “It was a ton of work. … We saw a lot of other (spring high school) tournaments had one or two really good teams, but that was about it. I felt if we could get one or two of the top teams, others will follow – and that’s what happened.”


  • Norman North, with only three starters from last year’s state title-winning team, is the team with both the most to win and lose, nationally, at this event. A 3-0 showing in Tennessee could make Norman North hard to dislodge from No. 1. Meanwhile, anything short of perfection will result in the No. 1 spot changing hands.
  • J.L. Mann and Mauldin are carrying the torch for South Carolina. J.L. Mann is ranked No. 3 in the state, and a 3-0 run by the defending state champions would validate the lofty rankings of the top Palmetto State programs.
  • Although the field is loaded with Tennessee teams, the only ranked participant is McCallie School. Again, McCallie’s performance, coupled with its highly competitive in-state schedule, will be key in gauging the top Tennessee programs against their national counterparts.
  • Omaha South will be the first Nebraska team to ever travel so far east for high school soccer. Already, Omaha South is talking about partnering up with Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) to have both nationally ranked programs attend the event in future years.


Related Topics: SIMA FAB 50 / Event
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