The 29th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on Saturday.
It's the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so Star Local Media has decided in recent years to put a high school spin on the concept.
The 2020-21 school year won’t be soon forgotten by the athletes, coaches and fans involved, as high schools adapted to the change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and managed to play out a full year of high school sports.
During that time, the Allen area has showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it’s only appropriate to put the last year of local sports into an award-winning perspective. In the coming weeks, the city’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents the ninth edition of The Varsitys.
Best Performance: Allen’s Braxton Brown at the Class 6A state wrestling tournament
Already cemented as one of the most decorated wrestlers in Allen’s storied history, Brown finished his high school career among rarified company by winning a state championship all four years with the Eagles.
Brown did so by authoring a dominant run in Cypress during the 6A state tournament on April 23-24. Competing at 120 pounds, Brown won all three of his matches at state via pinfall, including two — in the quarterfinals against Katy’s Phoenix Medrano-Martinez and in the finals against Humble Kingwood’s Micah White — in less than one minute.
Brown, who will continue his career at Maryland, became just the fourth boys wrestler in UIL history to win four individual state championships and the third from Allen, joining alums Nick Cobb and Braeden Redlin.
Best Coach: Kim Fullerton, Allen boys soccer
Fullerton has kept the Eagles on an upward trajectory since he took over the boys soccer program in 2016.
Already coaching Allen to its first-ever district championship and a run to the regional semifinals, Fullerton helped the Eagles to their deepest playoff run ever last season.
Allen’s 2021 campaign culminated in the 6A state semifinals in a shootout loss to Rockwall-Heath. Fullerton coached the Eagles to their brightest pastures on the pitch by instilling a tireless work ethic in a senior-laden roster and constructing an offense that averaged more than three goals per match for the season.
Although Fullerton was quick to direct any praise the way of his players during the season, he was recognized his efforts as the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Region I-6A coach of the year.
Biggest Upset: Allen baseball defeats Prosper, April 20-24
The competition was heated in 5-6A baseball, so much so that three teams (Allen, Prosper and Denton Guyer) all wound up finishing in a three-way tie for second place.
Prosper entered the season as the projected favorite to win the district and looked to be on its way after a 7-0 start to 5-6A play and the No. 3 ranking in 6A, according to the Diamond Pro/THSB top 25.
The Eagles had their conference title hopes rocked in part due to a two-game series loss to an unranked Allen team that sported just a .500 district record at the time.
Allen edged Prosper by scores of 4-3 and 1-0 — pulling ahead in the sixth inning Game 1 on April 20 courtesy of an RBI single by Lathan Van Ausdall and riding 7.2 shutout innings pitched by Brett Tanksley in Game 2 on April 24. In the latter, Allen won in eight innings thanks to a Justin Scott RBI single.