March Madness baby names 2021 the winnersWe’ve voted our way through the month of March, and now the results are in!

Before we get to the big announcement, let’s look at back at this year’s tournament.

We started with sixteen boy names and sixteen girl names:


Noa, Persephone, Navy, Marigold, Marlowe, Magnolia, Enola, Maisie, Laken, Phryne, Zuzu, Vera, Faye, Emilia, Cricket, and Andromeda all competed in the opening round this year.

If you’re curious, eight of those: Maisie, Noa, Faye, Marlowe, Zuzu, Persephone, Andromeda, and Vera also competed in the 2020 contest.


For the boys, Phoenix, Huxley, Torin, Arrow, Wilder, Cove, Emrys, Endeavour, Hayes, Deckard, St. John, Koa, Otto, Raphael, Palmer, and Reid all started out in the opening round.

As for which names also appeared in 2020? That would be Cove, Torin, Reid, Arrow, Wilder, Deckard, Koa, and Hayes.

If that sounds like an eclectic list, it is! March Madness baby name contenders are drawn from the most popular posts during the prior calendar year. And that looks nothing like any other Top Ten list you’ve seen!


Voting narrowed each contest down to just two finalists: Maisie versus Magnolia, and Reid versus Raphael.

On the girls’ side, Magnolia defeated Maisie, with a little over 55% of the vote.

On the boys’ side, Raphael ended up with exactly 52% of the total. That means, for the second year in a row, Reid is the runner-up.

It’s another year featuring names that could belong to siblings. Raphael and Magnolia feel elaborate, but still rooted in history; memorable and distinctive, but still mainstream.

They are the eleventh set of names to earn the title, joining:

  • Nathaniel and Louisa in 2011
  • Arthur and Genevieve in 2012
  • Archer and Isla in 2013
  • Everett and Cora in 2014
  • Finn and Cora in 2015*
  • Theodore and Sylvie in 2016
  • Leo and Wren in 2017
  • Rowan and Eliza in 2018
  • Arlo and Margot in 2019
  • Caspian and Tess in 2020

You’ll note that Cora appears twice. It’s not a typo! After back-to-back victories in 2014/2015, it was decided that past champions were retired from future years’ contests. So we’ll never seen Magnolia or Raphael in future years’ tournaments. (Runners-up, though, can continue to compete – until they win!)

Also noteworthy: Eliza and Theodore won an all-star round of March Madness baby names in summer 2020.

As always, this was a blast! I love seeing how the contests shake out – it’s always a delight and a surprise to see which names win it all.

What do you think of the March Madness baby names victors? Were these your favorites? Would you consider them for a daughter or a son?

favorite girl names 2021 update favorite boy names 2021 update

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Abby, how often do past winners end up in the top 10 hits and have to be eliminated from the competition? It would be interesting to know if the same names are always the most researched here, or once a name becomes more familiar we stop reading about it as often.

    1. KM, thanks for asking – I was just looking at that!

      In general, names DO tend to repeat year after year. It’s a function of two things, though. First, the vagaries of when I wrote the post + whether I’ve updated it. (Older posts tend to be more discoverable in Google, and older *updated* posts often perform better still.) Second, many of the names I write about in-depth here are curiosities that might not even be listed on another site, like Phryne and Endeavour. But pop culture keeps sending people searching for more about those names, and they tend to come here because, well, they get nearly as many words as Ava or Liam.

      Most years, maybe two of the actual top names are excluded because they’re past winners. In 2021, Margot and Tess were past champions that couldn’t compete. In 2020, it was MANY more – Sylvie + Isla made the Top 16 and had to be dropped, but Wren, Louisa, and Cora were also in the Top 20 and couldn’t compete, either – the #21 name, Emmeline, was added. But then in 2018, there weren’t any repeats that had to be excluded.

      So … yes, I really should go back and look at that a little more rigorously because I always find myself with the exact same question!