Last year, a column highlighting the Top 10 local sports stories of 2010 appeared in the paper. Several readers made positive comments and many asked for The Times to repeat this style of article for 2011.
After combing through my archives, here are my picks for Top 10 local sports events of 2011.
#9. Monett Lady Cubs team wins 20 games. The Lady Cubs finished the season 20-7 overall and 6-1 in Big 8 Conference play. The 20 season wins and the six conference victories were the most since 1996, and the team's .740 winning percentage was the highest since the 1985-86 season.
#8. The 1971 state champion Monett Cubs football team is honored. In Monett High School's illustrious football career, the Cubs have claimed the state title twice. The first of these titles came in 1971. This fall, members of that state championship were honored, and The Monett Times featured a recap of the special season.
#6. The Monett WaterThrashers win the Tri-State Conference championship. Led by a 33-point performance by Chloe Ridgley, the Monett WaterThrashers continue to be one of the most popular and competitive summer programs in the area. This year, the WaterThrashers won the overall team title at the Tri-State Championships at Claremore, Okla. The championship was the 10th in the last 12 years for the historically powerful team and the first for second-year coach Christin Janssen.
#5. Monett golfer Jacob Fair takes second at state. The Cubs' golf phenom won the silver medal at the Missouri State High School Activities Association's golf tournament at Silo Ridge in Bolivar. Fair recorded a four-over-par 76 on the first day of the state tourney and was a stroke better on the final day, shooting a 75. In the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), Fair has rocketed near the top of the rankings. Fair was ranked 493rd a year ago by the AJGA, but after three second place finishes on the AJGA tour and a Missouri Amateur championship, Fair is ranked 15th in the Class of 2010 and is listed as the 27th best golfer in the nation.
#4. Monett goes three for three at the state wrestling meet. Thousands of crazed wrestling fans packed the Mizzou Arena in February and watched the top 112 wrestlers from around Missouri compete for state titles. Monett's Chase Brennan, Ethan Davis and Chris Renteria advanced to the finals, and each wrestler became a state champion. Brennan prevailed 11-7 against Cole Reynolds from Ste. Genevieve. Davis became only one of 70 wrestlers to become a three-time state champion. Renteria forced a neutral restart with 10 seconds left in his match. On the restart, Renteria shot under his opponent's leg, tipping him over to score 2 points with the takedown, and with seven seconds remaining, held on for a 3-2 victory.
#3. Nine area athletes inked national letters of intent to play collegiate athletics in the past calender year. One of the duties that I enjoy the most at my job is covering area athletes when they sign to continue their sports careers at the collegiate level. It's a significant achievement since only one in every 1,500 athletes gets that opportunity. Verona's Tristan Carrasquillo signed to play basketball at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark. From Monett, Hunter Glouse also signed to play basketball at John Brown. Marcus Enloe, of Monett, agreed to play baseball at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. Monett's Jake Smith inked to play baseball at Park University in Kansas City. Pierce City senior Sara Stearns signed the dotted line to play softball at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin next season, and Cubs golfer Jacob Fair will be puttering around in the Southeastern Conference as a member of the University of Missouri Tigers' golf team. Purdy continues to churn out productive athletes. Riley Veith will play baseball at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., and Cody Hall decided Hard Work U was the place for him and he will play baseball at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout. Purdy's Addy Roller will play basketball at Wyane State College in Wayne Neb..
#2. The Monett Lady Cubs win districts in softball. For the first time since 2004 and only the second time in school history, the Monett Lady Cubs softball team captured the Missouri Class 3, District 12 title. The second-seeded Lady Cubs upset the top-seeded Carl Junction Lady Bulldogs 2-1 at Monett's North Park to claim the crown. Tied 1-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Josee Krueger drew a one-out walk and scored on an Andrea Soriano sacrifice bunt. Allie Krueger was nothing short of spectacular in the pitcher's circle. Allie threw seven innings, allowed one hit, walked two and struck out 10. The Lady Cubs achieved 18 victories this season, which is the most in the program's history.
#1. The Purdy Lady Eagles win the school's second state basketball title. Chants of "we're number one" from the Purdy student section filled Mizzou Arena in Columbia in March as the Lady Eagles captured the Missouri Class 2 state championship with a 55-49 win over Couch. The Lady Indians connected on their first five 3-point attempts and led 17-12 at the end of the first period. Purdy outscored Couch 16 to 3 in the second quarter to take a 28-20 lead into the intermission. Addy Roller led the Lady Eagles with 20 points and 4 rebounds. Shelby White finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds. Brooke Swadley and Shelby Scott chipped in 6 points apiece, and Audrey Patton added 4 points.