With the book about to close on 2017, it’s time to look back on the year that was in Plano-area athletics.
This year was clad in noteworthy moments across all sports in the Plano area, including playoff success and championships won at the district and state levels.
The Plano Star Courier sports staff has compiled its top 10 sports stories of the year, concluding with 2017’s top five.
1. Coody goes for gold, Wolves seek silver
Tim Glaze: Plano West junior Parker Coody has earned several golfing accolades in his high school career, but the 2017 state medal will hang particularly well from his neck.
The University of Texas commit was crowned overall individual champion at the Class 6A state golf tournament with a two-day score of 139, narrowly edging Mathew Denton of Austin Westlake and William Moll of Houston Memorial (140) for the top spot. Coody shot a 4-under-par in Round Two and finished 5-under-par for the tournament.
Along with his brother, Pierceson Coody, and Andy Lopez, who both shot a 142, the Wolves finished in second place as a team with a total score of 579.
Under head coach Rick Hardison, West has been a mainstay at the state tournament, but 2017’s double-dose of medals was particularly sweet for the program.
2. Headley, Brockman medal at state
Matt Welch: Plano Senior was well-represented on the medal stand at the Class 6A state track and field meet last spring.
That included a gold medal for alum Alexandra Headley, who capped a banner high school career by winning the shot put with a throw of 42-7 1/4. Headley posted that mark on just her second throw of the meet, with only one other competitor clearing 42-0.
Meanwhile, alum Charles Brockman solidified his standing as one of the state’s top hurdlers by medaling in two races in his final high school meet. Brockman took second in the 300-meter hurdles (36.68) and third in the 110 hurdles (13.79).
3. PCA’s trophy case grows
Matt Welch: Another year, another bevy of state championships for Prestonwood Christian Academy.
The Lions hoisted state titles on the gridiron and basketball court in 2017, with both coming in dramatic fashion. In February, the Lions extended their championship streak on the hardwood to six consecutive years, edging Bishop Lynch, 45-42. The win was all the more gratifying for Prestonwood, considering it had been swept by the Friars during the regular season.
In December, the Lions’ football team orchestrated a memorable performance in erasing an 18-point deficit to beat Houston St. Pius X, 42-41, for its fifth Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state title.
The program also got a strong season from its girls golf program, which placed second overall at the TAPPS 6A state tournament and featured gold- and silver-medal showings from junior Julia Gregg and senior Mikayla Bardwell.
4. Hillyard takes 3rd at state
Tim Glaze: Plano Senior junior runner Ashlyn Hillyard had a cross country postseason to remember in 2017.
She started off with a District 6-6A championship, then rolled through regionals with yet another top individual score, easily qualifying for her second straight state tournament appearance. But after failing to finish in the top 10 as a sophomore, Hillyard dominated this year’s state circuit.
With a late push, Hillyard crossed the finish line in third place, earning a state medal to cap off one of the more successful cross country seasons in recent memory. With one more year of eligibility before she runs collegiately, Hillyard has set a goal of sweeping her senior year races with first place finishes at district, regionals and state.
5. West tennis back to state semis
Matt Welch: Despite a different roadmap than usual, the West tennis team once again found itself competing in College Station at the state tournament.
The Wolves shook off the heartbreak of the program’s first district loss in nearly 18 years, a 10-9 setback against Allen in September, and posted a 20-3 record prior to a 10-5 loss in the state semifinals to Houston Cypress Ranch.
West topped a who’s who of opponents along the way, including two wins over those same Eagles – the last coming in the regional finals – as well as Southlake Carroll and El Paso Coronado en route to the program’s eighth consecutive state tournament appearance.
Always a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court, West graduates just six seniors from this year’s state semifinalist squad.