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Magazine honors Wesleyan
Sports Illustrated rates school's athletics one of best in nation

NORCROSS - When you're a small private school nestled in the hustle and bustle of Gwinnett County it's easy to get overlooked.

That's why Wesleyan headmaster Zach Young was a little shocked when he heard the news about his school's athletic program.

Wesleyan was ranked the No. 16 program in the country by Sports Illustrated, as well as the top program in Georgia on Wednesday.

"It's really kind of overwhelming to be recognized in that way," Young said. "We don't think of ourselves as one of the great schools in the state even in Gwinnett County. It's very humbling to us."

Punahou High School in Honolulu was ranked the top program in the country.

It's the third straight year that a Gwinnett County school has been recognized by the magazine. Parkview was ranked No. 7 nationally in 2006 and Collins Hill was No. 9 last year.

"It's quite an honor," Wesleyan athletic director DeWayne Cupples said. "We're quite flattered by them to be recognized."

The Norcross school, which opened in 1996, won four state championships this season. The boys and girls basketball teams became just the ninth to win titles in the same season. The boys cross country won its third straight title and volleyball won its fourth consecutive.

Despite a high school enrollment of just 422 students, Wesleyan also made an impact in the smaller sports like wrestling, tennis and track and field. The Wolves' boys swimming team also scored the most points of a AA team at the state meet.

The boys and girls tennis teams took second at state with the boys making a remarkable run as a No. 4 seed.

"It's a tribute to God, our coaches and students," Young said.

It's no coincidence then that Wesleyan also won Georgia's Class AA Director's Cup, which is given to the athletic program with the most points accumulated.

Wesleyan has 1,030 points with its baseball team still competing in the state playoffs. Lovett has 820 points for second place and Greater Atlanta Christian is third (550).

Wesleyan finished third in the Director's Cup standings the last three years.

"We had a great year from all of our sports. Our fall sports and winter sports had great seasons and our spring sports really came through," Cupples said. "It was just a complete effort from all of our athletic teams."

Walton has the Class AAAAA title locked up, while Collins Hill, Parkview and Brookwood are second through fourth. Brookwood can move up to second with its baseball team still competing in the playoffs.

Dacula finished in ninth place in Class AAAA. Providence is tied for seventh in Class A with its baseball team headed to the semifinals.