Battling Bishops score Top 5 national ranking in 2019 MaxPreps Cup
The Bishop England High School athletics program has been the No. 1 program in its classification in the Palmetto State for years, winning the Director’s Cup every year since its inception for the 2001-02 academic year.
Now, the Bishops have again proven to have one of the best programs in the nation.
MaxPreps, a website dedicated to high school sports from sea to shining sea, recently revealed its 2019 MaxPreps Cup results, and the Bishops fared quite well, earning the No. 4 ranking nationally.
To put it in perspective, according to the Digest of Education statistics, there are more than 26,000 public high schools in the United States, and more than 11,000 private high schools.
“It just shows what our kids have accomplished,” said Paul Runey, the Bishop England athletic director and the varsity girls’ basketball coach. “It shows what can happen when you work hard. We’ve never tooted our own horn, but to be No. 4 with 35-36,000 schools is quite an accomplishment.”
Jesuit, located in Portland Oregon, earned the top spot in the 2019 MaxPreps Cup race, followed by Carmel, Ind.
LaSalle Academy, located in Providence, R.I. held the No. 3 position, followed by the Battling Bishops.
It’s not the first time Bishop England has been acknowledged by MaxPreps, which launched its MaxPrep Cup award in 2012. Last year, BE was No. 2 in the Palmetto State and No. 15 in the nation. Bishop England has been a heavyweight every year, including the first academic year (2011-12) when the Bishops were No. 1 in South Carolina and the No. 1 small school (less than 1,000 students) nationally and No. 9 nationally, overall.
In addition to their No. 4 overall national ranking, the Bishops were the No. 1 program in the South, the No. 1 medium school (1,000-2,000 students) in the country, the No. 3 private school in the nation, while claiming No. 2 in the nation for girls’ athletics.
The South Carolina High School League crowns champions in 21 boys’ and girls’ sports and the Bishops won nine state titles during 2018-19.
The Bishop girls claimed gold medals in tennis, basketball, lacrosse, and soccer. Boys’ state titles included cross country, track and field, baseball, tennis and golf.
Despite the accomplishments, Runey says the school’s focus is to develop student-athletes, not jocks.
“If you walk down the hallways at school and see our student-athletes, you might say, ‘That’s it? These are your athletes?’ Our student-athletes do very well in the classroom. Our kids are the perfect examples of the term ‘student-athletes.’”
Runey said the Bishops rarely produce student-athletes who go on to play major-college sports because academics are the top priority.
Currently, baseball player Geoffrey Gilbert (Class of 2019) is at Clemson, while Leo Albano (Class of 2018) is a walk-on for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team.
“But look at girls’ basketball,” Runey said. “We’ve won seven of the last eight state championships and maybe had three or four girls who have gone on to play at the college level, and they played at small colleges. For a lot of our student-athletes, it’s time to be only a student when they graduate from Bishop England.”