NFCASTARKVILLE, Miss. - The Woodlands High School in Woodlands, Texas begins the season as the nation’s top-ranked team in the initial USA Today/NFCA High School Top 25 poll for the 2011 season, which was released Thursday by the Association.

The Highlanders have opened play with a 26-0 start, including three consecutive shutouts in district play this past week.

Paige McDuffie has been leading The Woodlands in the circle. McDuffie is 19-0 with a 0.53 ERA. Second baseman Alyssa Jorgensen leads the offensive attack with a .539 average.

Following The Woodlands in this week’s ranking is American Heritage (Plantation, Florida), Etiwanda (Etiwanda, California), Valencia (Valencia, California) and Alexander Central (Taylorsville, North Carolina).

Both the States of Texas and Florida lead the way with five ranked teams each. California follows with four teams, while North Carolina has three. Last season’s final No. 1 team – North Davidson (Lexington, North Carolina) – opens at 21st this season.

The USA Today/NFCA Top 25 is compiled by state representatives from across the country.

Records for this week’s poll include all games played through March 27, 2011.

For the complete poll, click

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