As the book closes on 2022, it’s time to look back on the year that was in Allen-area athletics.
This year was clad in noteworthy moments across all sports for Allen and Lovejoy, including playoff success and championships won at the district and state levels.
The Allen American sports staff has compiled its top 10 sports stories of the year, concluding with the second half of that lineup.
5. Eagles get over hump, return to regional finals
The 2022 season was a long time coming for the Allen tennis team.
Having elevated to seemingly perennial top-10 status on the tennis courts, the Eagles' ascent included another milestone this fall in advancing to the regional finals for the fourth time in the past six seasons and taking down a longtime rival along the way.
Allen scored a measure of revenge during the regional quarterfinals in eliminating defending Class 6A state champion Plano West, 10-3, for the first time in the rivalry's history. The six-time state champion Wolves had ousted the Eagles from the postseason the previous three years.
Allen defeated West three times during the 2022 season, wins that fell in line with another strong year for the program. The Eagles captured a third consecutive District 5-6A championship, going unbeaten at 7-0 and posting an overall record of 24-2.
Allen scored playoff wins over Marcus (10-1), Richardson Pearce (12-0), West (10-3) and Keller (10-4) before dropping a 10-8 verdict to Southlake Carroll in the regional finals.
4. Hood breaks HR record
Allen alum Sami Hood closed out her decorated high school career on a historic note, breaking the single-season Dallas-area home run record after clubbing 20 during the 2022 season. She complemented that production with a .477 batting average, 51 hits, 12 doubles, four triples, 64 RBIs, 55 runs, 27 walks drawn and 32 stolen bases.
Hood's first homer came on Feb. 15 in a wild 13-11 win over Sachse and her second came just two days later against Princeton. By the time Allen began 5-6A play, Hood was sitting at nine homers — just three shy of eclipsing her previous season-high mark of 11.
Hood's bat stayed hot all season, clubbing her record-setting homer in the area round of the playoffs against Irving Nimitz on May 7. She was the catalyst for a season that saw Allen advance to the regional quarterfinals for the second straight year.
Hood went on to be named 5-6A MVP, Star Local Media all-area MVP, DFW Fastpitch Player of the Year and a MaxPreps first-team All-American.
3. Lady Leopards go back-to-back
The Lovejoy girls cross country team made good on the defense of its Class 5A state championship, rolling to a resounding repeat during the state meet on Nov. 4 from Round Rock's Old Settler's Park.
The Lady Leopards' depth was a trump card no other program in their classification could match, and they backed that up by placing each of their top five runners within the top 11 of the 5A final. In doing so, Lovejoy amassed a 5A-record 28 points to distance from second-place Boerne Champion's 85 and capture the fourth state title in program history.
The team's championship-winning cast included senior Amy Morefield (fifth), junior Sara Morefield (sixth), freshman Camryn Benson (ninth), junior Peyton Benson (10th) and junior Kailey Littlefield (11th).
The Lovejoy girls weren't alone on the podium either, as the school's boys cross country program earned a second-place finish at state. The Leopards tallied 108 points to finish behind only Grapevine's 56, led by a ninth-place run from sophomore William Carlson.
2. The dynasty marches on
Allen continues to operate in rare air on the wrestling mats, now winners of 13 consecutive UIL state championships for their boys team and two straight for the girls.
One of the great dynasties in UIL athletics, Allen turned in another momentous season in completing a second consecutive sweep of the 6A team championships — something that had never been done in UIL wrestling history prior to the Eagles' first doing so in 2021.
The program produced four individual state champions to go along with their team titles, with Kade Moore and Jasmine Robinson capturing back-to-back championships and the duo of Vincenzo Oliva and Mohamed Elgouhari finishing atop the podium for the first time in their final high school meets.
As a sophomore, Robinson went undefeated in high school competition once again on her way to a 6A title at 165 pounds. She pinned all four of her opponents at state and received most outstanding wrestler honors.
She'll carry the torch from graduating seniors like Eliana Martinez and Tabiah Walwyn-ton, who helped elevate the Lady Eagles to a championship program, while the Allen boys reload in hopes of extending their state championship streak.
1. Coaching carousel
Allen made national headlines in March 2021 following the decision to hire longtime college coach Chad Morris to lead the Eagles' football program. That union lasted for just 14 months, as Morris resigned from the position on May 13 — the day after Allen's spring game.
Allen ISD said Morris had an opportunity to return to coaching college football. In July, Morris was hired as an offensive analyst at South Florida.
It marked an abrupt end at Allen for Morris, who coached the Eagles to an 11-3 record and a spot in the regional finals during the 2021 season.
Morris' lone season at Allen wasn't without its peaks and valleys, but the Eagles found their footing as the season progressed. The team captured its 16th consecutive district championship and advanced four rounds deep in the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Just 10 days after Morris' departure, AISD named Lee Wiginton, formerly of Midlothian Heritage, as the Eagles' next head football coach. Allen posted a 7-4 record this past season, qualifying for the bi-district round of the playoffs.