Huntley maintained a remarkable level of play in all sports throughout the chaotic 2020-21 sports year.
Out of 16 sports in which the Fox Valley Conference had all 10 teams competing, the Red Raiders had only three finishes outside the top three spots.
Huntley closed particularly hard in the IHSA’s designated “summer” season (the usual spring sports) with three first-place finishes, three seconds and one seventh and is the Northwest Herald All-Sports Award winner for the sixth consecutive time.
The award started in 1990 and determines the FVC’s best school for combined boys and girls sports. Ten points are given for firsts, nine for second and so on in the 16 sports. No other school had won the award more than four straight years.
Huntley finished with 126 1/2 points, Jacobs was second with 110 1/2 and Crystal Lake Central was third with 103. Prairie Ridge was fourth with 90 1/2 and Burlington Central, with the smallest enrollment in the FVC, made a remarkable jump from eighth to fifth in its second year in the FVC with 87 points.
“We are so proud of our teams and coaches for their incredible efforts during this unprecedented year,” Huntley athletic director Glen Wilson said. “Their dedication, flexibility, determination and support from their families is one of the greatest memories from the past year. The teams and coaches’ energy was contagious and great motivation to face the many challenges of COVID.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the IHSA to adjust its schedule and put some sports’ seasons in doubt that they would even be played. Eventually, the IHSA jammed most of its sports in from the middle of February through late June, with everyone getting a season.
And Huntley thrived again.
The Red Raiders won FVC titles in girls tennis, baseball and softball, shared a title in boys tennis and won a division championship in football. They had runner-up finishes in girls cross country, boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling and boys and girls track and field.
“It was a blessing to get back on the field again,” Raiders baseball coach Andy Jakubowski said. “Our seniors gave everything they had for the betterment of the team. They have persevered and left a legacy for our younger student-athletes so they can understand how to overcome obstacles just like they did with a lost  season.”
The baseball team finished 32-2. The softball team was 35-7 and took third in the Class 4A state tournament behind standout pitcher Briana Bower.
In girls track and field, sophomore Alex Johnson won the Class 3A long jump at the state meet.
Barry Wells coaches the boys and girls tennis teams. The boys shared the FVC championship with Jacobs, while the girls managed to knock off Jacobs, a three-time FVC champion.
“I think the girls finished second place three times and third once in the previous four years, so to finally get over the hump to win our first FVC title was huge,” Wells said. “Our boys team only had our full lineup for one conference meet all year because of injuries and quarantines, so to end the season tying with Jacobs was something special. I was really proud of how they came through under pressure.”
Wells said the Huntley coaches keep tabs on the other school teams’ successes throughout the year.
“All of the coaches are very busy with family, school and coaching, but we all follow each other on Twitter and like each other’s posts and come to support in person when we can,” Wells said.
2021 Northwest Herald All-Sports Award
1. Huntley 126.5
2. Jacobs 110.5
3. Crystal Lake Central 103
4. Prairie Ridge 90.5
5. Burlington Central 87
6. Cary-Grove 81.5
7. Crystal Lake South 68
8. Hampshire 62.5
9. McHenry 60.5
10. Dundee-Crown 52.5
Note: The Northwest Herald’s All-Sports Award is given each year to the Fox Valley Conference school with the best overall sports for boys and girls. First-place finishes are given 10 points, second place nine and so on. Girls golf and boys and girls swimming were not counted because not all 10 teams compete in those sports.
Here is the list of all the Northwest Herald All-Sports Award winners.
2014: CL Central
2013: CL Central
2012: CL Central
2011: CL Central
2009: Prairie Ridge
2005: Lake Zurich
2003: Lake Zurich
2002: Lake Zurich
1997: Crystal Lake Central
1996: Crystal Lake Central
1995: Crystal Lake Central
1994: Crystal Lake Central
1993: Crystal Lake South
1992: Crystal Lake Central
1991: Crystal Lake Central