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Then and Now: Science Hill's field of dreams built on success

Douglas Fritz • Dec 2, 2019 at 1:22 PM

If James Earl Jones did a voice over about the history of athletics at Science Hill, he might want to reach into his Field of Dreams vault and change a few words.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been success. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But success has marked the time. This city, this school, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.”

Overall, Science Hill has won 23 state team championships since earning its first back in 1935. The Hilltoppers also have their share of state runner-up finishes.

Titles Sport
4 Baseball
4 Boys golf
4 Tennis
3 Boys basketball
2 Girls cross country
1 Boys cross country
1 Boys  track and field
1 Girls track and field
1 Girls golf
1 Girls tennis
1 Girls wrestling

One of the first times Science Hill put its name on the statewide map came in 1947 in baseball. The Hilltoppers scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning and defeated Franklin by a score of 1-0 in the semifinals. History came knocking on Friday, June 13, at Sulphur Dell in Nashville. Science Hill defeated Memphis Christian Brothers by a score of 3-0 as Ralph Carrier tossed a three-hit shutout.

It was the first of four state baseball championships for the Hilltoppers, who also won in 1962, 1963 and 1998.

Science Hill’s first-ever team state championship came in 1935 in boys’ track and field. Sprinter and hurdler Charlie Fleming was the standout, winning three individual titles. On the girls side, the Lady Hilltoppers won the state team title in 2009.

Science Hill captured its only boys’ team cross country state championship in 1963. The girls got into the mix in 1994. They ruled the state again in 2008.

Boys’ basketball earned its way onto the gold ball map with its first championship in 1990. The Hilltoppers conquered the state again in 1994 and 1995. The magical run from 1990-95 was part of the heyday for head coach George Pitts, whose teams were constantly knocking at the door of state success and found themselves ranked nationally as well.

The girls are still seeking their first-ever basketball state title, but finished runner-up in 2012 and 2013. This year’s team has the look of one that could compete for the state’s biggest prize.

Boys’ golf made a splash with its first state team championship in 1959. It took 42 years to get there again as the Hilltoppers won in 2001 and 2003. The 2018 squad pushed the total to four gold balls. The girls golf team captured its lone team title in 2013.

In tennis, the boys’ program has enjoyed the top spot four times. The Hilltoppers won in 2002 before earning a threepeat under Pete Zannis in 2007-09. On the girls side, Science Hill won a state title in 2009.

The soccer program has enjoyed some terrific seasons, but both the boys and girls are still seeking their first titles. The boys have finished as state runner-up four times. Volleyball is also seeking its first state title.

In wrestling the boys are looking for their first state title, but the Hilltoppers were state runner-up in dual wrestling in 2018. The girls won a team title in 2015.

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