This school year saw the debut of the Power 10 during the basketball season, as we put together a combined ranking of the large and small schools into one top 10.
This spring, we expanded the Power 10 to include teams from all sports. It was a ton of fun to put together, even if the task was always a tough one. The feedback was positive — unless, perhaps, you were a fan of a team that wasn't mentioned.
As with any rankings, a hot streak or a breakthrough performance by a team in a particular week would move them up the charts. But now all seasons are complete and all the stories have been told.
Here's our final version for the spring season, and there was no trouble picking No. 1:
1. Clarence softball. The Red Devils were the only Western New York team to win a state championship this spring and are the clear choice for this spot. Clarence not only became just the third Section VI team to win a title in the state's largest class (North Tonawanda, 1988; Kenmore West, 2002), it romped its way to the final with run totals of 12, 18, 18, 18 and nine. In the championship game, the Red Devils defeated nine-time state finalist Cicero-North Syracuse, 3-1, with an all-around performance in which they defended small-ball, got great pitching from senior Katie Bull and, of course, had timely big hits.
2. Hamburg boys lacrosse. Certainly the top team in its sport in Western New York, its resume is enhanced by a pair of strong national victories over Langley (Va.) and Brother Rice (Mich.).
3. Bishop Timon-St. Jude lacrosse. Victory over Iona Prep gave the Tigers the Class B state Catholic title, one of three championships awarded by the NYSCHSAA and the first one won by a Monsignor Martin Association team. Timon's double-overtime loss to Brother Rice, a team Hamburg beat by one goal, keeps it tucked behind the Bulldogs.
4. Canisius rowing. Three state championships, two medals at the Canadian nationals and several boats qualified for the two major national regattas.
5. Lancaster baseball. Earned the top spot on what was a crowded large-school mound all season by winning AA title with wins over Clarence (semifinals) and Niagara Falls (final).
6. St. Joe's baseball. St. Francis spent significant time in these rankings after it rode a 12-game win streak to the Georgetown Cup final, but the Marauders and coach Paul Nasca swept the best-of-three series for their first title since 2005.
7. Sweet Home track. The Panthers earned two state championships as Wayne Gordon sped to the 100-meter Federation title in 10.96 and senior Stephanie Izard powered to a strong victory ?in the pentathlon with 3,374 points, 231 more than the runner-up. Gordon's Fed title is impressive in that it came against the Federation field, which includes the best from the entire state, including New ?York City's public and Catholic schools.
8. Clarence girls golf. This team sport competes during the fall. How does it get in the top 10 during the spring? When Michigan-bound senior Cat Peters wins the state championship (Red Devils junior Jackie Kim finished tied for 36th).
9. Grand Island baseball. After the most amazing comeback anyone could imagine, the Vikings went on to make the state championship game in Class A.
10. Hamburg softball. Tremendous 21-win season had just one loss, by one run (2-1 defeat to Jamesville-Dewitt in the state semifinals).
> Honor roll
Frewsburg baseball, Hamburg girls lacrosse, Silver Creek boys lacrosse, Frewsburg softball, Sacred Heart softball, Nichols girls golf, Niagara Falls baseball and softball, St. Mary's School for the Deaf girls track, St. Francis baseball, Orchard Park boys tennis, Nichols boys tennis.
> State championship pages
The next three Monday Extra pages in the sports section will honor some of the best in high school sports:
* The Clarence softball team will be honored with a state championship poster page on Monday.
* The individual state champions from the spring will be spotlighted on July 2.
* A final Power 10 ranking, accounting for the entire 2011-12 high school sports year, will be published July 9.