After finishing third in last year's South Central Conference All-Sport Standings, compiled by Staunton teacher and coach Steve Moore, the Greenville Comets were back atop the annual rankings, but with some company.
Both Greenville and Carlinville would earn four South Central Conference titles apiece and would tie for the top spot with 117 points. Hillsboro, who finished first last year, would come in third with 112 points.
The Cavaliers would earn championships in girls golf, girls soccer, football and boys soccer, dispelling the notion that success in either of the latter two sports comes at the expense of the other. In fact, Carlinville has finished either first or second (including ties for those two spots) in the SCC in both boys soccer and football in each of the last four years.
The Comets would earn their titles in girls tennis, boys tennis, baseball and boys basketball, marking the fifth time in the last seven years Greenville has had at least a share of the boys basketball crown. Oddly enough, the championship in baseball was Greenville's first since 2011 (when the conference was split into two divisions), despite having a history of solid teams on the diamond.
Hillsboro would tie Pana for the second most titles with three each. The Toppers took championships in softball, boys golf and girls basketball, with the latter two making an impact at the state level, finishing third and fourth respectively.
The golf team has been one of Hillsboro's top performing programs, with conference championships in each of the last three years to go along with a fourth place finish in 2016 and a second place finish in 2017 to go along with last year's third place finish. With everyone returning, 2019 may be the year for the elusive state championship.
In addition to boys golf, the Toppers have also had success at the conference level in boys soccer (8.57 points per season over the last seven years), girls basketball (8.14 points per season) and boys and girls tennis, which were also both over eight points per season, due in part to the limited number of schools that have tennis teams (four for girls, three for boys).
While the Toppers dropped two spots, Pana jumped up three, going from seventh in 2017-18 to fourth in 2019 with 110 points. The Panthers did well in the sports that most of the SCC competition also participates in as they were atop the "full team" standings with 77.5 points, eight more than Carlinville.
Pana took conference titles in three of the ten sports on the full team list, winning in volleyball and boys and girls track. They were also second in football, third in softball and girls soccer and tied for third in boys basketball.
Over the last seven years, the Panthers have been near the middle of the pack, averaging a fifth place finish in the overall rankings, always finishing between fourth and seventh.
Greenville has the best average finish since the 2012-13 season, 1.43, while Carlinville is second at 2.43. The Comets haven't finished worse than third, while the Cavies haven't finished worse than fourth.
Roxana, fourth on the average finish list with 3.43, just ahead of Hillsboro 4.14, would finish fifth this season with 107 points. This is just the second time that five teams have finished with more than 100 points in the overall standings, a good example of some of the parity in the conference, at least amongst the top schools.
The Shells would win two conference titles, sweeping cross country this year, while Vandalia would earn the other SCC championship in wrestling.
Roxana would be followed in the overall standings by Staunton (88.5), Litchfield (87), Vandalia (72), Southwestern (66) and Gillespie (58.5). The Miners, the smallest school in the conference with an IHSA enrollment of 370 this year, have finished tenth in the overall standings each of the last five years.
Of the top four spots in average overall finish, three belong to schools with the largest enrollments: Greenville (530), Roxana (550) and Hillsboro (509). Carlinville is the only outlier, with 442 students, the fifth most in the SCC.
With football being one of the driving forces of conferences and the sport's move to districts in 2021, the landscape of the South Central could change in the next few years. Who will stay? Who will go? Only time will tell.
South Central Conference
2012-13: Greenville 124.5
2013-14: Greenville 135.5
2014-15: Greenville 125.5
2015-16: Roxana 116.5
2016-17: Greenville 109.5
2017-18: Hillsboro 119.5
2018-19: Carlinville/Greenville 117