It’s a question with no “right” answer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun letting high school sports fans weigh in on the question to try and determine the top CIAC Dynasty of the first 100 years of the CIAC. That is exactly what is underway with the CIAC Sports Dynasty Tournament. Legendary players, iconic coaches, and piles of championships abound with this collection of teams. After the first-round of voting thirty-two historically great programs enter the bracket and vie for the distinction as the top dynasty in Connecticut high school sports, as chosen by the fans. The contenders are broken into four bracket regions displayed below, with two brackets featuring only girls or boys programs, and the other two with a combination. But all four have dynastic programs that represent high school sports excellence. The teams that advance from brackets #1 and #2 will face off in the semifinals, and the same for brackets #3 and #4.
Online voting, both on CIACsports.com and social media for 48 hours in each bracket will determine who moves on in round one. The current voting options will be shown immediately below, and you can see the other brackets in the tabs. The results from each round of voting will be shared the following the conclusion of that round. The competition will run through most of August as fans determine the top high school sports program of the first 100 years of the CIAC.
First Round Voting
Matchup: A pair of programs that have emerged as dominant since the turn of the century get the voting started in bracket #4
Darien Boys Lacrosse: The Blue Wave boys lacrosse team is a blueprint for how quickly a dynasty can form. In 25 years of CIAC-sponsored championships in the sport, Darien has earned titles 14 times and boasts a sparkling 14-2 record in finals and has been nationally ranked on multiple occasions.
Glastonbury Girls Cross Country: Glastonbury did not have a single cross country title in the first 31 years CIAC sponsored Championships. They have more than made up for it this century. The team has piled up 14 titles since 2004, including four State Open titles. They have added another eight runner-up finishes, making them one of the most dominant and consistent programs of the 21st century.
Matchup: Two small school legendary girls sports programs from different seasons and different eras of success meet up.
Westbrook Girls Basketball: If you are talking about dominant stretches for high school dynasties, you can make the case Westbrook girls basketball in the late ‘70s and ‘80s might rank highest. The team played in 11 championship games from 1977 to 1989 and won nine titles during that stretch including a run of six-consecutive titles which is the longest streak in CIAC girls basketball history.
Immaculate Girls Soccer: A relatively recent entry as a dynastic program, Immaculate captured its first title in 1995, then went on to a dominant run in the 2000s, capturing 14 championships in all and 10 from 2003 to 2012 and then added three more in this decade.
Matchup: Opposite corners of the state represented in a pair of programs that have both piled up championships in the spring.
Staples Boys Volleyball: Staples wasted little time demonstrating its plans to reign atop Connecticut high school boys volleyball. The Wreckers won titles the first three years CIAC sponsored championships in the sport, and have totaled 11 titles and 13 title-match appearances since it debuted in 2001.
East Catholic Boys Golf: The race for the winningest boys golf team is a tight one, with three teams all having earned double-figures in titles. But East Catholic captured its 13th — and most — championship in 2019, giving them 13 overall and five titles since 2010.
Matchup: A dominant historical boys program takes on a more recently dominant girls program in this compelling matchup.
Darien Girls Lacrosse: Darien played, and lost, in girls lacrosse finals in two of the event’s first three years. The Blue Wave has not lost much since then. The team is a perfect 10-0 in finals since then, and in the relatively brief history of the championships has captured four more titles than any other team.
Wethersfield Boys Soccer: Seven boys soccer programs have reached double-figures in state championships, but none can match Wethersfield’s 15 titles. It earned many of those victories in the early years of the tournaments, but has maintained its prominence with five championships in six finals appearances since 1999.
First Round Voting
Matchup: Two programs that claimed first title in the 1970s and have continued to excel.
Daniel Hand Gymnastics: Girls gymnastics is amongst the toughest sports to decipher the most dominant program, but the Tigers have a claim with their 18 championships tying for the most in the sport. They have also stood the test of time with their first title coming in 1978 and its most recent in 2017 capping a run of five-straight championships.
Granby Memorial Field Hockey: For 47 years CIAC has held field hockey championships, and just under half those years you could count on seeing Granby Memorial playing for a title. The program won the first title in 1973, and won its 13th in 2019 so there is no sign of this field hockey juggernaut slowing down.
Matchup: Dominant programs from the winter and spring square off after both added to their tallies in 2019.
Southington Softball: Southington softball added to its championship tally with its 18th title in 2019. That is seven more than the next closest softball program and the Blue Knights have been the measure of consistency winning seven times in the 80s, four times in the 90s, and another five times since the turn of the century.
Hillhouse Girls Indoor Track: Winter sports championships are not limited to the basketball courts for Hillhouse as the Academics girls indoor track program has piled up 21 titles including six Open crowns since the program captured its first title in 1994. The team has never gone more than five years between championships.
Matchup: Rivals in the pool for decades, Cheshire and Greenwich meet in the opening round of this competition.
Cheshire Girls Swim & Dive: Cheshire’s 43 state titles ranks as the third most of any team in any sport, and it also has 14 Open titles to its name, including the most recent one in 2019. The rivalry between the Rams and Greenwich has defined the sport since the late 1970s and Cheshire also holds the distinction of setting a national record for most consecutive dual-meet victories with 281 from 1986 to 2011.
Greenwich Girls Swim & Dive: In comparison to the successful boys program, Greenwich girls swimming started a little more slowly. But it’s been full speed ahead since its first championship, and now the program’s 47 titles rank as the second most in any sport. The Cardinals have 19 State Open titles, adding to that total with four in the past five seasons.
Matchup: A pair of dominant spring programs from different parts of the state meet up in the opening round.
New Canaan Girls Tennis: New Canaan’s 21 state titles are seven more than any other girls tennis program. The team’s dominance was at its apex during an astonishing run at the start of the century when the Rams won a title in 13 of 14 seasons, including a run of 10-straight championships from 2004-to-2013.
Bloomfield Girls Outdoor Track: Sprinting, running, throwing, jumping; the Bloomfield girls have historically been good at everything when it comes to track & field. That includes winning championships as the Warhawks have totaled 30 titles in outdoor track & field including seven Open titles despite an enrollment that typically has them in Class S or M.
First Round Voting
Matchup: Runners take center stage in a matchup between a pair of programs that were at their most dominant in the 1970s and ’80s.
Hartford Public Boys Outdoor Track: One hundred years is a long time, which may be best represented by Hartford Public’s Boys Outdoor Track & Field team whose 23 titles ranks as the most in the sport and dominated the ‘70s earning seven Open titles and 14 championships overall in the decade. The last title came in 1995 but the closest program is still five away from tying their total.
St. Bernard Girls Cross Country: It’s been more than a decade since St. Bernard earned a girls cross country title. But good luck finding a team that had a better run (no pun intended) than they did for nearly two decades. Between 1973 and 1992 the program won 20 titles (including six State Opens) and then added another three since then for its total of 23 state crowns.
Matchup: A pair of standout winter programs square off, both of which have asserted themselves in the last few decades.
Hillhouse Girls Basketball: The “House Family” just keeps adding memorabilia to the family room as the program added its best-in-sport 10th title in 2019, becoming the first girls basketball program to reach double digits. And when the team reaches a final, they generally win. Hillhouse is 10-2 in girls basketball state championship games.
Danbury Wrestling: In Connecticut high school wrestling since the late 1980s there are a lot of incredibly strong programs — and then there is Danbury. The Hatters have piled up 38 CIAC titles (16 Open/22 Divisional) and also routinely challenge for the New England Championships as well. The program won 10-straight Open crowns from 2001 to 2010 and is on a current streak of four-straight Open titles.
Matchup: Two stellar FCIAC programs meet for some conference bragging rights and the opportunity to advance.
Greenwich Field Hockey:One of the teams to advance from the initial vote, it took Greenwich four tries to break through with its first field hockey championships, but the Cardinals became accustomed to it pretty quickly. Greenwich has earned 10 championships in 17 appearances, piling up trips to the finals and titles in the ‘70s, ‘80s and first decade of the 2000s as they reached double figures in titles with their last championship in 2009.
Danbury Boys Indoor Track: Winter championship season has been very good to Danbury in multiple sports, including indoor track and field where the Hatters have piled up 27 titles including 13 State Open crowns. A sparkling run of seven State Opens in nine years beginning in 2001 highlights the resume.
Matchup: Two standout volleyball teams that have not met in CIAC tournament play square off to see which advances in this tournament.
Darien Girls Volleyball: The CIAC girls volleyball tournaments had taken place for 28 years before Darien won its first title. The Blue Wave then made themselves at home, winning a total of 17 titles and going 17-2 in finals, and claiming 10-straight titles from 2001 to 2010. Darien was 15-0 in its first 15 trips to volleyball finals.
Bloomfield Girls Outdoor Track: If your team wanted a volleyball title in Class S since the turn of the century, you were going to have to deal with Coventry. The Patriots appeared in the Class S final 13 times from 2003 to 2018, highlighted by a run of 10-straight appearances. Coventry has gone 11-2 in those appearances and their 11 titles in just 20 years ties them for fourth-most in the sport.
First Round Voting
Matchup: Two dominant FCIAC individual sport programs square off that combined have won a total of 113 CIAC titles.
New Canaan Boys Tennis: Pick a decade, any decade, and you will see the New Canaan boys tennis team capturing state championships. After claiming two titles late in the 1960s the Rams have earned at least six titles in each succeeding decade, helping them to their sport-best total of 34.
Greenwich Boys Swim & Dive: The number looks like it must be a misprint. Eighty. Eight-Zero. That’s how many state titles Greenwich boys swimming & diving has earned over the years. The Cardinals’ 35 State Open titles is 16 more than any other boys swimming program’s total championships.
Matchup: Two high-profile sports representatives meet up with the football program that has the most titles against the baseball team with the most CIAC crowns.
Ansonia Football: As predictable as the leaves coming down in autumn, Connecticut high school sports has Ansonia football. The Chargers’ 20 CIAC titles is five more than the closest team, and it has played in a championship game 11 more times. In other words, Ansonia has played in a CIAC football championship game in 70-percent of the seasons since the postseason began.
Waterford Baseball: In the sport that is often referenced where tournament upsets can happen most often, Waterford has been a pillar of consistency, winning at least one championship in every decade since 1968. In 11 championship wins, they’ve allowed a total of 11 runs.
Matchup: A pair of teams that have dominated the winter sports landscape over the history of the CIAC meet up with league bragging rights also at stake.
Fairfield Prep Ice Hockey: Boys ice hockey is one of the longest running CIAC championship sports and since the Jesuits won their first title in 1977, Fairfield Prep has been the dominant program. The team has piled up 18 championships during that time, and another four appearances in championship games.
Hillhouse Boys Basketball: The school most fans think of first when they think Connecticut High School basketball, Hillhouse has 10 more championships than the next winningest boys basketball program. They won a title in every decade and the longest stretch between championships was just 16 years.
Matchup: Fall sports champions from a pair of schools of choice in very different sports square off in this contest.
Xavier Boys Cross Country: The thirty-three titles for the Falcons cross country team ranks in the top-5 for most championships in any sport, and the team has piled up 13-more boys cross country titles than the next closest program. One-third of the 33 championships are State Open titles against the top teams.
St. Joseph Football: The debate over the top high school football program in Connecticut is always a lively one, and the St. Joseph Cadets can make a case. They rank second in championships (15) behind only Ansonia in the sport, but can point to their sparkling 15-3 record in CIAC title games and with thriving in the highly-competitive FCIACl as high marks on their resume.