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Top 10 female athletes of the MaxPreps eraAug 21, 2012 How fitting that on the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the United States women dominated the London Olympics?
Only two countries won as many gold medals as the 29 earned by the U.S. women, which won 58 medals in all, better than all but three countries.
In a competition against American men, the women had more golds (29-17) and overall medals (58-45).
How fitting too that MaxPreps celebrated its 10th anniversary this month, just in time to look back at 10 of the greatest prep female athletes during that span. There have been some great ones - hundreds left off this list.
The athletes were judged on their accomplishments while in high school almost exclusively, but if two prep careers were equal, then their post prep days were taken into account. Those considered needed simply to attend high school between August 2002 and August 2012. 1. Missy Franklin (Regis Jesuit - Aurora, Colo.; 2013 graduate)
Who else really? As many great prep female athletes as we've seen over the past decade, the one in the most current prime-time spot is the obvious winner.
After all, what high school athlete accomplished more on a world stage than Franklin, who took home five medals and set two world records from London? Beyond her physical accomplishment, she was also a great ambassador for the sport and her country.
2a. Nneka Ogwumike (Cy-Fair - Cypress, Texas; 2008)
Following an All-American volleyball season, Ogwumike was named the 2007-08 MaxPreps and Gatorade National Basketball Player of the Year. For doing both, she easily earned National Athlete of the Year honors by both entities.
She had 414 kills in the volleyball season when the Bobcats went 37-3, losing in the state 5A semifinals. On the basketball floor, she led her team to a 39-2 record, 35 straight wins, a state title with averages of 18.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.
She earned a full ride to Stanford, where she starred for four years before moving on to the WNBA. She was the first overall pick of the 2012 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
2b. Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair - Cypress, Texas; 2010)
Two years after Nneka came her younger sister and the numbers, accomplishments, charisma and charm were much the same. She also followed her sister to Stanford.
Her statistics were actually a little more dominating. In volleyball she had a staggering 634 kills her senior year, which ranked in the top five nationally, and led her team to a 34-10 record.
In basketball, she averaged 22.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals, also leading a team with one less Ogwumike than Nneka, to a surprising state title and No. 5 national ranking.
Like her sister, Chiney was the MaxPreps Basketball and Athlete of the Year.
4. Candace Parker (Central - Naperville, Ill.; 2004)
Besides being the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year in 2004, and a two-time USA Today National POY, Parker was only the fifth woman at any level to dunk in a basketball game.
She was a three-time state player of the year and averaged 22.9 points and 13.2 rebounds in her career. Parker went on to a banner career at Tennessee, was the first pick of the 2008 WNBA draft and was the league's MVP in 2008, her rookie season.
5. Allyson Felix (Los Angeles Baptist; 2003)
Felix's fame peaked just weeks ago, winning three gold medals at the London Olympics, the 200 meters and both relays.
But she was a star in the making in high school as she was named the National Athlete of the Year her senior year by Gatorade and Track and Field News.
In 2003, she helped USA to a gold in the 400-meter relay and was third in the 200 (22.93 seconds) at the Pan American Games. She also won a gold medal as part of the USA 1,600 relay team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the same year she took home the silver in the 200.
She bettered all that and was one of the top stars at the games in London, becoming the first American woman to win three golds in athletics at an Olympics since Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.
6. Skylar Diggins (Washington - South Bend, Ind.; 2009)
Diggins had a remarkable career at Washington and was the MaxPreps Basketball Player of the Year in 2008-09 when she averaged 29 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 5.4 steals per game. She led the nation's No. 2 team to a 26-1 record.
She was also the MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game and the WBCA All-American Games in the same week. She holds school records in career points, single-season points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
Beyond all that, she was a great ambassador for girls basketball before moving on to Notre Dame and bringing that program to national prominence.
7. Brittney Griner (Nimitz - Houston; 2009)
Diggins beat out Griner for National Basketball Player of the Year that season, but it was one of the toughest choices we ever had to make.
Griner was clearly going to change the game of women's basketball and her senior year she was sensational, averaging 27.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 7.7 blocks per game. She set a national record that year with 25 blocks in a game and she led Nimitz (37-2) to its first state title.
While Parker was the first to dunk, Griner made it look routine. She dunked 52 times in 32 games as a senior and had seven in one game. She was even more of a force on the defensive end with 318 blocks her senior year.
She's made a huge impact at Baylor, where the Bears just won the national title and finished 40-0, the most wins in NCAA history. Griner averaged 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5 blocks per game, earning her Associated Press Player of the Year honors.
8. Katie Ledecky (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart - Bethesda, Md.; 2015)
While Franklin stole the swimming thunder in London, 15-year-old Ledecky, the youngest member of the U.S. team, probably rose the highest and pulled off the biggest shocker.
She went wire-to-wire to win the 800-meter freestyle in an American record of 8 minutes, 14.63 seconds, winning by more than 4 seconds over runner-up Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain (8:18.76).
Ledecky broke the American record set by the legendary Janet Evans in 1989, a record of 23 years. Ledecky will be only a sophomore this season at Stone Ridge.
9. Tina Charles (Christ the King - Middle Village, N.Y.; 2006)
One of the most decorated female basketball players, Charles was selected the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year her senior year after averaging 26.5 points, 14.8 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game. She led her team to a No. 1 ranking nationally and to 57 consecutive wins over two seasons.
The 6-4 post went on to win a national college title at Connecticut in 2009, broke several school records and was the overall No. 1 pick in the 2010 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. She was WNBA Rookie of the Year (2010), WNBA All-Star (2011) and a two-time WNBA rebounding champion (2010, 2011).
10. Claressa Shields (Northwestern - Flint, Mich.; 2013)
Yet another 2012 Olympic story, the 17-year old from Flint was the only American boxer to win gold after she defeated Russian Nadezda Torlopova 19-12 in the finals of the 165-pound weight class.
Shields didn't compete in an open-division tournament until 2011, and she claimed the middleweight title and was named top over fighter while qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials. She was the youngest boxer at the Olympic Trials as well and became the first U.S. fighter to capture gold since world super middleweight Andre Ward in the 2004 Athens games as a light heavyweight.
Shields also became the second-youngest boxer to ever win an Olympic gold medal in boxing and the first female to do so. She'll be a senior in the fall, and was featured in our Beyond the X series.