Silver medals, gold medals, region titles, national tournament berths, they’re all a part of our top five sports story lines of 2021.
Sorting the list from first to fifth was an unenviable task because all five of our top stories could stake claim to the top spot.
Here’s how we ranked them:
1. Estrada wins silver in triple jump
Beeville’s Allie Estrada won her second straight silver medal at the UIL State Track and Field Championships in the triple jump in May.
“It feels good to be able to medal again in my last year,” Estrada said at the time. “I wish it could’ve been the gold, that’s what I was hoping for, but I had fun and gave it my all so I’m satisfied with my performance.”
Estrada took the lead in the event on her second attempt, but fell to second in the third round when Midlothian Heritage’s Leah Anderson posted a jump of 38 feet, 10 1/4 inches.
In the final round of jumps, Estrada posted her best jump of the day, clearing 38-5.
It was Estrada’s second silver medal-winning performance in three years in the event at the state meet, and her third overall appearance at state. She finished second to Silbee’s Honestee Holman in 2019 and was sixth in 2018.
“It means a lot to be a two time medalist,” Estrada said. “I’ve worked hard for it. There’s been lots of ups and downs in the process; there’s been some disappointments, but also some amazing memories.”
Estrada, in her prep career, won two silver medals at the state meet, two gold medals and a silver medal at the regional meet, and multiple district and area championships.
“It’s been a pleasure representing my school and my hometown,” Estrada said about her high school career. “If I could do it all over again, I would.
“I’ve had so much support behind me and it feels so great to know that everyone was cheering me on all four years.”
2. Moreno, Lopez bring titles back to Bee County
Beeville’s Amidy Moreno and Skidmore-Tynan’s Marina Lopez both won state powerlifting titles in March.
Moreno, the top-ranked lifter in her weight class entering the state meet, won the 181-pound 4A state championship at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association State Championships.
She won the weight class by 125 pounds over Gainesville’s Ashlyn Garrison with a total weight of 1,100 pounds.
“It feels amazing. God bless. All praise to God. If it wasn’t for God, I don’t know what I would do,” Moreno said after clinching the gold. “He’s really helped me through everything I do. Every time I go up to lift, I always do a sign of the cross just to ensure that I have him with me by my side.”
“It means everything to me. I won a ring. It’s just everything,” Moreno added about what it means to be a state champion. “It shows that I really worked for this.
“All my hard work and my coach’s help paid off.”
One day before Moreno’s dominating effort, Lopez claimed the 105-pound 3A championship.
The Skidmore-Tynan sophomore set or tied her personal record in all three disciplines, set a state squat record and jumped her total by 35 pounds to claim the title.
“It’s kind of a shock,” Lopez said after clinching the title. “For it being my second year in powerlifting ... it’s just a shock, there’s nothing else to say.
“I’m pretty excited about it.”
Lopez posted a winning-total of 710 pounds to win the gold medal.
Her 265-pound pull on the dead lift clinched the title.
“The moment I put down the bar was kind of scary because I was waiting for the judges to flip their switches,” Lopez said about the last lift, which matched her personal record in the event.
“Seeing those whites light up, it was just like, ‘Wow, I did it. This is crazy.’”
3. Coastal Bend baseball team wins district title
The Coastal Bend Cougar baseball team clinched its first ever trip to the NJCAA World Series by winning the South District championship in walk-off fashion over Tyler in May.
Coach Brian Bauerle’s charges earned their ticket to the national championship tournament by taking a best-of-three series from the Apaches at Mike Carter Field in Tyler.
Coastal Bend won the first game of the series 7-0 behind a stellar outing from pitcher Preston Allen.
Tyler evened the series the next day with a 12-3 win.
The Cougars clinched the district title in the rubber match with a 7-6 walk-off win in 11 innings.
Ryan Davenport delivered the winning hit, scoring Bret Copeland from second with a single into left.
Davenport was named the NJCAA Division III Player of the Week just days later.
The Cougars won another extra-innings affair in their debut at the NJCAA World Series in Greeneville, Tennessee, before falling in back-to-back contests to end their season.
4. CBC soccer team claims Region XIV title
Coastal Bend College’s men’s soccer team won the program’s first region championship in May, beating Blinn 2-1 in its regular season finale in Beeville to clinch the title.
“If you had told me that this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have believed it to be honest with you,” Butler said after his team’s postgame celebration, which included several rousing renditions of the popular chant “¡Campeones!, ¡Campeones!, Olé, Olé, Olé.”
“It’s a credit to the president, to the athletic director, to all of my boys.”
The win gave CBC its fifth straight victory, which was also a first for the program.
Coastal Bend entered the district tournament as the No. 2 seed, but lost in the semifinals to Tyler.
The season continued, though, thanks to an at-large bid to the national tournament, where the 11th-seeded Cougars knocked off eventual champion Salt Lake Community College 1-0 in their debut.
The Cougars didn’t make it out of the group stage, however, finishing the season 10-4-2.
5. Ladycats run to region finals
For the second time in three seasons, the Skidmore-Tynan girls basketball team ran all the way to the Region IV championship before falling just a win shy of the state tournament.
The Ladycats, under the watch of coach Tim Stowe, shared the District 29-3A title with Aransas Pass, blasted Falfurrias and Santa Rosa in the first two rounds of the postseason, edged Santa Gertrudis Academy by three in the regional quarterfinals and then blew past Lago Vista in the regional semifinals to reach the regional championship.
Bishop stopped Skidmore’s run there, though, besting the Ladycats 54-51 in double overtime in Kingsville.
“They have nothing to be ashamed of, and really nothing to be sad about. They gave it their all,” Stowe said after the season-ending loss.
“I told them, ‘How else would you rather lose? If you have to lose, how else would you rather lose than to be in the fifth round, the regional final game, and to go into double overtime?’
“If you’re going to lose, that is absolutely the way you want to go down. I’m very proud of them.”
“Personally, I’m not going to lie, it was my best season yet,” standout guard Jasmine Terry said. “I know every year is special, but this year, I don’t even really know how to put it into words. It was just special.”
Four other stories were considered for inclusion on our list of the best sports storylines of 2021. They are, in no particular order:
• Beeville girls basketball team wins seventh straight bi-district title
• Mikaitlyn Anderson wins district, region wrestling titles on way to state berth
• Skidmore-Tynan volleyball team wins first area championship
• Beeville football team returns to playoffs, wins bi-district crown