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FHS boys soccer named National Champions
Student Sports crown's Culbreth's two-time state champs as No. 1 in the the nation

With a shout of raw excitement, Farragut High School soccer coach Wallie Culbreth left some wonderful news on a friend's answering machine Thursday evening.

"We are the National Champions. I think that's cool, don't you?"

About a month after winning its second consecutive Class AAA state championship, the FHS boys soccer team (24-2-0 record) got the great news late Thursday afternoon.

The Student Sports publication — who has one of two nationally recognized high school soccer polls — released its final FAB 50 poll where the Admirals remained No. 1, making them national champions for 2004.

This was also a reversal of fortune for FHS and Student Sports' No. 2-ranked team from Tacoma, Wash., Bellarmine Prep (final 20-0-2 record). In the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll — the other nationally recognized poll — Bellarmine was crowned National Champion and FHS No. 2.

Despite the two losses as compared to Bellarmine's unbeaten season, "They looked at our competition, the teams we played and who everybody else played," said Culbreth, who has been head coach of the FHS boys for three seasons. "It's something that we really wanted and thought we might accomplish this year.

"I definitely know that I had a team that was high caliber."

Two Farragut opponents finished among the nation's top 50: Christian Brothers of Memphis (No. 9) and Oak Ridge, a three-time victim against the Admirals who finished No. 2 in the state, ended up No. 38 nationally.

The Admirals also came full circle, as evidenced by the Student Sports article proclaiming Farragut as national champions: "It’s a saying everyone has heard: 'It’s not how you start, but how you finish.' In the case of the Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.) boys soccer team, it ended the spring campaign the same place it started – FAB 50 No. 1."

Although having to wait for the final rankings about 10 days longer than what Culbreth was orginally told, "it was definitely worth the wait," he said.


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