The latest champion in USA TODAY High School Sports' America's Best contest series has been crowned.
Nashville (Ill.) was voted as America's Best Girls Program after receiving 166,260 votes in the final round. Pueblo (Colo.) South came in second after a strong showing with 149,860 votes in the national round.
Nashville is a town of 3,500 residents, and the high school, which draws from a wider area in Washington County, has an enrollment is 415. Nashville's girls programs have combined since 200 for 42 conference championships, 35 regional championships, 17 sectional championships, 13 super-sectional championships, 16 Elite Eight appearances, three fourth-place state finishes, five third-place state finishes, one runner-up at state and four state titles.
And now - a national championship.
"Nashville is a sports town and people got behind it," Nashville athletic director Neil Hamon said. "It was just community involvement and support, and that's the way things have been around here for a long time."
The contest started with 255 schools, with the overall strength of all the individual girls programs as the criteria for inclusion. After a state and regional round, it came down to 10 finalists: Oneonta (N.Y.), Dover (Pa.) Area, St. Paul's Episcopal (Mobile, Ala.), Nashville (Ill.), Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.), Minnetonka (Minn.), South (Pueblo, Colo.), Dimond (Anchorage, Alaska), Northern Highlands Regional (Allendale, N.J.) and St. Thomas More (Lafayette, La.). Pueblo South received the most votes in the regional round with nearly 100,000; Dover Area and St. Thomas More were the wildcards.
More than 2,000 different schools have been involved in at least one of the America's Best contests, with past champions hailing from Missouri, Vermont, Illinois (three times), Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The America's Best contest series launched in November 2012. Previous national champions have been: