The 28th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on June 21.
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.
This has been a year that nobody will soon forget with the COVID-19 pandemic touching every facet of life, including high school sports, which saw its athletic year truncated on March 12.
Though many of the spring sports were unable to complete their stories, Carrollton showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it is only appropriate to put the last year of local varsity sports into an award-winning perspective.
In the coming weeks, Carrollton’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents its eighth edition of The Varsitys, the first of a three-part series.
Hebron vs. Coppell, volleyball (Oct. 29)
Although both teams were assured playoff berths, the Lady Hawks and Cowgirls played with a state tournament-level intensity in their regular-season finale — a five-set thriller that was amplified by an energetic environment and a pair of loud, loyal fanbases.
The action on the hardcourt matched the vibrancy of the crowd, with Coppell seizing momentum midway through with wins in sets two and three for a 2-1 lead on the Lady Hawks. The Cowgirls even sprinted out to a 19-15 lead in the fourth set before Hebron rallied behind a 10-2 run to force the decisive fifth frame.
The two sides traded the lead three times and were tied six more during the final set. But it was Hebron that mounted a late charge with six of the match’s final eight points, the last coming on an ace by Isabelle Ousby that careened off the hands of the Coppell back row to seal a 3-2 win and clinch the No. 3 seed in the district.
Harmony Sample paced Hebron with 14 kills, while Coppell’s Madison Gilliland chipped in 16.
Trey Wooten, Creekview boys basketball
Although the Mustangs fell short of earning a spot in the postseason, the program still enjoyed a breakout campaign from Wooten.
As a sophomore, the combo guard took the reins as the top scorer in the Creekview arsenal as the season progressed. Early in the district schedule, Wooten posted at least 20 points in games against the league’s top two teams — Newman Smith and Highland Park — before submitting a monster performance against Conrad on Jan. 17. In pacing his squad to a 71-67 victory, Wooten scored a game-high 31 points.
That win triggered a stretch of four straight victories for the Mustangs, who ultimately tied for fifth place in 11-5A at 5-9.
Showcasing a deadly touch from the outside behind his high-arcing jump shot, Wooten was named 11-5A’s newcomer of the year.
COVID-19 shuts down high school sports
For many involved in high school sports, March 2020 is a month that will live in infamy for years to come.
As the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic seeped into the sports world — the first major domino to fall came on March 11 with the NBA’s suspension of its season — it was only a matter of time before the impact hit home with local high school programs. On March 12, the UIL made its first move with the suspension of the state boys basketball tournament, and one day later, suspended all interscholastic activities for what would ultimately be the remainder of the school year.
In addition to the state boys basketball tournament, high school soccer, baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field teams all had their seasons cancelled — spelling an unfinished ending to the school year for high school seniors across the state.
The ongoing pandemic has rocked the national sports landscape, with its lasting impact still without resolution as concerns loom over the status of fall sports.