Top 10 sports stories for 2009
One week ago today, 2010 kicked off and 2009 became history. With the previous year now a thing of the past, it's time to pick the top 10 local sports stories for 2009. Note to readers, this list is subjective and the opinion of this sports editor.
10. Staples boys hockey reaches state championship game. The Staples-Weston co-op boys hockey team played for the Division III title. Although the Wreckers lost 3-2 in overtime to St. Joseph, they took the school by storm and had many fans support them in their quest for their first state title since 1981.
9. Streaks coming to an end: The Staples boys indoor track team won nine straight state titles from 2000-08, taking home the gold in Class M and Class L. Staples was bumped up to Class LL and fell short to a loaded Danbury squad and settled for second, ending its streak of state titles.
Not all finished streaks were negative. The Staples boys basketball team qualified for FCIACs for the first time since 2004 and despite losing in the first round to Trinity Catholic, it came back and pulled off an upset over St. Joseph in the first round of the Class LL playoffs. The Weston girls basketball team qualified for the Class M tournament for the first time since 2005 and despite a first round exit at Ellington, the Lady Trojans returned most of their players this year and are poised to make another run this coming March.
8. Weston indoor track domination: The Weston girls indoor track team won its third straight Class S title and Weston's boys track team won its second Class S title in three years. Both teams also maintained their SWC superiority as well, with the girls winning their fifth straight title and the boys winning its fourth SWC title and five years.
7. People in the news: See next week's column for the top newsmakers for 2009.
6. Staples baseball repeats: Unlike in 2008 when it was the seventh-seed, Staples was the top-seed and repeated as FCIAC champions by beating Westhill in a rematch.
5. Golf and tennis teams reign: Three local golf teams won state titles with the Weston girls winning its first state title, the Weston boys claiming the Division III title and the Staples boys taking the Division I title. In addition, Weston's boys and girls won the SWC titles. Weston continued its dominance in boys and girls tennis as well with the boys winning their eighth straight Class S and seventh straight SWC titles while the girls won their third straight SWC and Class S titles, extending their winning streak to 64 matches.
4. Staples football wins FCIAC title: The Staples football team won its first FCIAC title since 2003 and was ranked No. 1 in the state after its 34-0 win at Trumbull on Nov. 13. Staples held that No. 1 ranking until its 28-21 overtime loss to Cheshire in the Class LL finals. The Wreckers finished the year at 12-1.
3. Staples gymnastics: The Staples gymnastics team hosted a meet at Staples for the first time since 1986 (the Lady Wreckers have their home meets at Weston Middle School) and this was a big meet, the FCIAC championship. The Lady Wreckers won their first FCIAC title since the program was resurrected in 2001 after a 15-year hiatus, edging Darien by .175.
2. Staples boys volleyball: The Staples boys volleyball teams owns the FCIAC and Class L. Staples won its eighth state title in nine years, the last four in Class L (2005 was its only blemish) and seventh straight FCIAC title. The Wreckers increased their winning streak to 80 matches.
1. Staples boys soccer: The Staples boys soccer team had a magical fall, winning its second straight FCIAC title and first Class LL title since 1993. The Wreckers ended the year as the top-ranked team in New England and fifth-ranked team nationally.
Overall, 2009 had a lot of highlights and happenings and choosing the top stories wasn't easy. While 2009 provided lots of highlights, including some that weren't mentioned in the previous list, here's hoping 2010 will be even better.