Retired Pearl River coach and athletic director Tom Doherty ranks the top high school sports teams in Rockland County during the school year.
The fall sports season has not started yet, but Doherty is turning his ranking skills elsewhere. This week, he ranked the greatest team sports competition in the history of Rockland County High School sports.
Below are his rankings, in order, after an explanation of the process he used for the rankings.
I included a combination of several performances--single season results, multi-seasons streaks, and some historical milestones. Many of the feats below were recommended to me during the Spring season by the readers of Doherty's Dandy Dozen.
This is by no means a definitive version. It is only one man's opinion. As I have stated many times in my Dandy Dozen publications over the last two years that my only agenda items are to promote interest and discussion on Rockland County sports. I welcome your reactions, opinions, omissions, additions, etc. at firstname.lastname@example.org I hope that you enjoy and share with other members of the Rockland County Sports Community!
# 1 -- Pearl River Girls Cross Country (Coach Dan Doherty)--Active Winning Streak of 32 Sectional Championships in a Row
Beginning with the first five titles in Section Nine--1979, 80, 81, 82 & 83 and continuing with the next twenty-seven in Section One--1984, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 & 10, the Running Lady Pirates have firmly established themselves as Rockland's Greatest Dynasty of All-Time.
Consider the following Rockland Records:
- Most State Championships (8)--1980, 81, 82, 83, 88, 89, 94 & 99
- Most Consecutive State Championships in Row: (4)--1980, 81, 82, & 83
- Second Place Finishes at States (13)--1984, 85, 87, 90, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98, 2000, 01, 08, & 10
- Third Place Finishes at States (7)--1979, 86, 95, 2002, 04, 06, & 07
- Program Dual Meet Record (1977-2010)--273-4, an All-Time Winning .986%
- Dual Meet Winning Streak(1990-Present)--181 Straight Current Streak
# 2-- Nanuet Football Team (Coach Rich Conklin) Went Undefeated, Untied & Unscored Upon
What makes this even more special was the fact that in 1989 all their games and all their practices were on the road due to the field construction at Nanuet High School.
The Golden Knights went 10-0 and were declared the #1 Team in the State Class "C-D" Poll by the New York State Sportswriters Association. They outscored their opponents by a combined score of 239-0, even as their "starting teams" went to the bench early in most of their games.
They defeated Bronxville in the final game of the season (a Section One, Conference III Bowl Game) by a score of 21-0. What a shame that the Official New York State Football Championships did not begin until 1993 and the Golden Knights never got the same opportunities to advance in Sectional, Regional, and State Championship Games like today's teams.
# 3--North Rockland Baseball Team (Coach John Sottile) Won Three State Championships in a Row.
What a run! The Red Raiders won Large School (Class A) Titles in 1992, 1993, & 1994. During this "Three-Peat," their record was as follows: 1992 (25-1), 1993 (23-4-1) & 1994 (24-2) for a combined three year run of an amazing 72-7-1.
In the championship games, they were dominating.
- In 1992, the Red Raiders beat Lockport (Section 6) 11-3
- In 1993, they beat Utica Senior Academy (Section 3) 11-6
- In. 1994 they took down Horseheads (Section 4) by a score of 7-0.
#4--Albertus Magnus Girls Basketball (Coach Lorraine Moylan) Became the First Team in Rockland History to Win Back-to-Back State & Federation Titles.
The Lady Falcons won consecutive State Class B & Federation B Titles in 1991 & 1992. During that run, they were 23-3 (1991) and 21-6 (1992) for an outstanding combined record of 44-9.
In 1991 they defeated Rochester Aquinas Institute (Section 5) in the Class B State Championship Gamem 71-39, and topped St. Joseph Hill of Staten Island (CHSAA) by a score of 54-45 in the Federation Class B Championship Game.
In 1992, they had two thrilling one-point victories, beating Queensbury (Section 2), 66-65, in the state game and bested St. Joe's again in the Federation Game by a score of 53-52. To this day they are the only Rockland team in boys and girls history in any sport to ever win back-to-back State & Federation titles.
#5--Albertus Magnus Boys Cross Country Team (Coach Dick Weis) Won the New York State Class B Title with 17 points, lowest in Boys Meet History.
Considered by many to be "The Most Dominant Team" in Rockland County sports history in any sport for a single season. They went undefeated in dual meets, invitationals, the county meet, sectional meet, Eastern States Meet and the State Class B Championships. Their 17-point total still stands as the lowest boys score in the 61 year history of The New York State Championship Meet, outscoring second place Bishop Grimes by a whooping 86 points.
What a shame that the Falcons passed up running in the first ever New York State Federation Championships (Won by Nanuet,) to compete in Pennsylvania that day. Who knew what the Feds would become?
#6--Tappan Zee Boys Swimming Team (Coach Dan Rafferty) Dominated the Boys New York State Championship Meet.
The Dutchies under the direction of Coach Dan Rafferty had perhaps the greatest showing of any Rockland County boys or girls team in a New York State Championship Meet/Tournament this past season. They finished in first place this year (2011) with 170 points, Horace Greeley was a distant second with 92 points. During the two-day meet, they garnered four All-American Titles, three state champions, two state records, and four Section One records.
Even more impressive was the fact that Swimming does not have Class Championship Meets like most other sport, but just one title meet bringing together every swimming school in the State regardless of school size.
On another note, I wish the NYSPHSAA would establish an official team championship scoring in swimming so we could call Tappan Zee the Official State Championship rather than just the No. 1 Team at the State tourney.
#7--Suffern Ice Hockey (Coach John Orlando) Became the First "Down-State" School to Ever Win a New York State Ice Hockey Championship
What makes this an even greater accomplishment, the Mounties are still to this day, the only "Down-State" Team to ever win a state title (Division I & II) in the tournament's 32-year history (1980-2011).
They finished with an outstanding record of 20-3, defeating Massena (Section 10) by a score of 4-3 in the 1992 New York State Division I Championship Game.
#8--Haverstraw and North Rockland Football (Coaches Ralph Cordisco & Joe Casarella) Put Together an Amazing Streak of 42 Winning Seasons in a Row.
Under Coach Ralph Cordisco, this amazing streak began in 1968 and ran for 12 years until his retirement in 1979. Coach Joe Casarella did not miss a beat, keeping the Red Raiders the premier football program in Rockland County. During Joe's tenure, the streak continued for 30 more years from 1980 to 2009.
Considered by many to be the highlight of this run was the Red Raiders winning the first ever Large School New York State Championship (Class A) in 1993, defeating Jamestown (Section 6) in the Carrier Dome by a score of 24-12.
#9--Tappan Zee Boys Cross Country (Coach Hugh Short) Became the First Rockland Team in Any Sport to Win a State Championship.
In only the fifth running of the New York State Boys Cross Country Championship Meet, the Dutchmen harriers brought the State Class B Title back to Rockland in 1954! They outscored Garden City (Section 8) by a narrow 102-104 margin for the victory.
This would put Rockland County on the map in New York State circles that his led to another 36 state team championships in all sports in Rockland County History.
#10--Congers High School Boys Soccer, forerunner to Clarkstown High School, which was the forerunner of North and South, (Coaches Charles Trowbridge & Joe Tacchino) won the Rockland County Championship 24 out of 25 years.
Under Coach Charles Trowbridge, the Lakers won seven consecutive titles from 1931 to 1937. They lost to Spring Valley in 1938 and then won nine more consecutive titles from 1939 to 1947.
Trowbridge then retired and his successor, Coach Joe Tacchino won 8 more consecutive championships from 1948 to 1955 bringing the title streak to 17 in a row and 24 out of 25 years from 1931 to 1955. A quarter of a century of soccer supremacy that may never be seen again.
#11--Spring Valley Boys Basketball Team (Coach Lou Kliewe) Became the First Rockland County School to win a New York State Basketball Championship.
Coach Lou Kliewe led the Tigers to Rockland County's first and only New York State Boys Basketball Championship in the 34-year history (1978-2011) of the Tournament. They defeated Bishop Ludden (Section 3) in the 1982 Large School (Class A) Championship Game by a score of 85-68. In the Federation Class A Championship Game they lost a heart-breaker (56-55) to nationally-ranked Ben Franklin (PSAL), which was led by Walter Berry, who went on to star at St. John's University.
#12--Pearl River Boys (Coach Tom Doherty) & Girls Cross Country (Coach Dan Doherty) Teams Became the First School in New York History to Win Both State Titles in the Same Season in the Same Sport.
1980 was the year and Great Neck South H.S. (Section 8) was the place, as the Pirate Harriers swept both State Class B Titles.
The lads won their second State title in two years by defeating second place, East Aurora (Section 6) by a score of 66-75.
The girls won the first of their record eight titles by edging second-place JFK Somers (Section 1) by a score of 91-93. Not only was this a New York first, but it also believed to be among the first in the nation to accomplish this feat.