We have seen a real surge of interest in high school sports over the last several years. The growth spurt coincides with the big increase in coverage of major college recruiting in basketball and especially football. Now with the USA Today High School Sports app you can get on the bandwagon and track high school sports locally and across the country. The free universal app requires iOS 5.0 and covers a lot more than just football and basketball. The list includes:
- Track & Field
- Field Hockey
When you first open the app you can choose what region of the country you are interested in following. The app uses your device's GPS to pick your location or you can choose about fifty more from a list in the Settings. Once you have made you decision, the news and scores available in USA Today High School Sports are geared toward that choice. You will be able to access the latest news, video highlights, photos, and features.
You will also find current USA Today rankings of the top teams in various sports from around the country. Users can also select previous years and find out how their teams ranked at various points during earlier seasons. The app also provides a wrap up of all the previous week's scores from the Top 25 teams.
One feature I found interesting is The Predictor. USA Today High School Sports uses current statistics and other data to predict the outcome of future games involving your team and future opponents. Or you could select some of the top ranked teams from around the country to see how your team would do if they matched up against them. In the example below I matched last week's top ranked team Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas against last year's national championship and currently fifth ranked team, Booker T. Washington of Miami. I tried the games twice swapping the home teams in each case. At home Booker T. wins a close four-point victory but loses by a single point if the game was played in Las Vegas.
The local coverage available in USA Today High School Sports is provided by newspapers and television stations from around the country. The app has fifty-five local affiliates and that provides fairly good coverage from around the country. However the app has some glaring holes. In California, the nation's most populated state, you will only find two affiliates, one in Palm Springs and one from Sacramento. There is no local coverage from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego. In Texas there are five affiliates but none west of Dallas, and in Florida, one of the top high school football states in the US, we find five affiliates but none from Miami which is arguably the home of the best high school football in the country.
USA Today High School Sports offers a lot of news and other features you won't find in other apps and provides a national perspective. However you might find more localized apps do a better job if your primary interest is in your local teams.