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Madison HS sports program crowned this year’s best in Northern Virginia by WaPo

Bryce Eldridge pitching for James Madison High School’s baseball team (photo by Jackie Desimone)

The Madison Warhawks have a new award to add to their ever-growing collection of championship trophies.

James Madison High School’s athletic program ranked as the best among Northern Virginia public schools for the 2022-2023 academic year, The Washington Post has decreed based on a scoring system that the paper describes as “well-considered — if unscientific.”

Boasting strong performances from individual athletes and teams across sports, the Vienna school edged out rival Langley High School for the top spot, even though the Saxons actually won five state titles to Madison’s three.

“The Madison Warhawks, long a consistent Class 6 power, top our rankings for the best public program in the Northern Virginia suburbs,” the Post said. “The Warhawks were boosted by their success in several sports. They finished with three state championships (baseball, boys’ lacrosse, girls’ basketball), and six of their programs finished their respective seasons in our top 10 or top 20 rankings.”

Securing its sixth state championship ever and second in three years in June, Madison’s baseball team grabbed the national spotlight last week when star pitcher and slugger Bryce Eldridge got drafted by the San Francisco Giants.

Eldridge was named player of the year by the Washington Post, one of 26 Warhawks to make the paper’s annual All-Met teams recognizing the top student-athletes in the D.C. area — another factor considered in the new best program awards, along with title wins and end-of-season rankings.

The boys’ lacrosse team concluded 13-game winning streak on June 9 with its second consecutive state title, while the girls’ basketball team took the court in March for its ninth title game — the most in Class 6 history — and emerged with a fourth straight championship.

Ranking second on the Post’s list of Northern Virginia’s best high school athletic programs, Langley High School in McLean landed state championships in golf, both boys and girls’ tennis, boys’ swim and dive, and girls’ track and field in the 2022-2023 season.

The Saxons also had 27 All-Mets selections, including coach of the year for girls’ tennis head coach Ellie Wallace, but only one of its teams ended its season in the Post’s top 10 or 20 rankings.

Fairfax, Robinson and West Springfield high school also made the Post’s list of the best public school sports programs in Northern Virginia, landing at no. 7, 8 and 10, respectively.

To come up with its lists, which also honored the top public and private school programs in D.C. and Maryland, the Post’s high school sports staff developed a scoring system that awarded points based on state champion and runner-up status, All-Met selections, and its end-of-season rankings.

While a championship and no. 1 rank were worth 20 points, the most of any factor, a player or coach of the year award garnered more points (10) than an All-Met first-team selection (5) or honorable mention (1), for example.

The full lists and further explanation of the points system can be found in the Post’s story.

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