Celina Top 10

Celina sophomore Ryan McCoy, right, steers a shot over the net during the Lady Bobcats’ Class 4A state semifinal win over Needville.

As the book closes on 2021, it’s time to look back on the year that was in Celina and Prosper athletics.

This year was clad in noteworthy moments across all sports for Celina and Prosper ISD, including playoff success and championships won at the district and state levels.

The Celina Record sports staff has compiled its top 10 sports stories of the year, concluding with the second half of that lineup.

5. Zdrojewski breaks state scoring record

Celina senior Taylor Zdrojewski’s first season of high school soccer was one for the record books. 

The Celina forward found the back of the net 114 times as a junior, breaking the state’s single-season scoring record along the way.

Zdrojewski did so on April 6 during a seven-goal performance in the regional semifinals against Bullard. She broke the previous record of 109 set by South Hill’s Esmeralda Gonzales in 2016 and finished just 16 goals shy of the national record of 130.

Zdrojewski averaged 4.4 goals per match on the season with 27 coming during the postseason. With Zdrojewski as the catalyst, Celina advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals for the first time in program history.

She added 17 assists on the year and engineered an offense that logged a national-record 243 goals during the 2021 season.

4. Bobcats make history on soccer pitch

History was made across the board for the Celina boys and girls soccer teams, who both advanced to the state semifinals for the first time ever last spring.

The Lady Bobcats closed out their year at 24-2-1 with the boys checking in at 17-8-1. Neither team managed to claim the top seed out of their respective districts, placing second in the regular season before catching fire in the playoffs.

The Celina girls deployed their high-octane offense to outscore opponents 50-0 through the first four rounds, which included wins over Ferris (18-0), North Dallas (13-0), Caddo Mills (12-0) and Bullard (7-0). Although Henderson was quick to strike in its regional final against the Lady Bobcats, Celina responded with four unanswered goals to punch its ticket to state.

The Bobcats, meanwhile, survived in close quarters when called upon. After handling Sunnyvale (3-1) and North Dallas (3-0) in the first two rounds, Celina edged Athens (2-1) and Paris (3-2) by one goal each before conjuring some late heroics in a windy shootout victory over Palestine, 1-0 (3-2 on penalty kicks).

The moment was one both programs got to enjoy together — the two teams were able to play on the same pitch as part of doubleheaders in the regional finals and the state semifinals.

3. Celina XC runs to glory

In years past, the final results of the 4A state meet had been a source of heartbreak for the Celina girls cross country team, which finished as state runners-up in both 2019 and 2020. On Nov. 6, the third time was the charm.

The Lady Bobcats captured their first state championship in cross country since 2002, turning in a resounding effort to finish atop the team standings by 31 points. It was a welcome change of pace from the two years prior, where a combined 10 points stood between Celina and a state title.

Leading the charge for the Lady Bobcats was senior Adele Clarke, who finished third overall after running her fastest time ever at Round Rock’s Old Settler’s Park. Junior Alexis Frick, sophomore Aimee Clarke, freshman Samantha Quiroz and senior Sarah Coblentz all placed within the race’s top 30 among the team qualifiers.

2. Bobcats back in state semis

For the first time since 2015, the Celina football team advanced to the state semifinals — the culmination of a 12-2 season.

It was a familiar sight for the Bobcat faithful, as Celina wore down opponent after opponent with the kind of physicality and brute force that has been central to the team’s success for decades. Look no further than the season submitted by senior Michael Reemts, whose impact on the offensive line resonated throughout 4-4A Division II to the extent that the center was named district MVP.

The Bobcats solidified their legitimacy behind a 2-1 start to the season against three teams — Melissa, Paris and Argyle — ranked in the state’s preseason top 10 in 4A Div. I.

Celina followed that up with a 10-game winning streak with no contest decided by fewer than 34 points before running into a surging Gilmer bunch in the state semifinals. The Bobcats suffered a 27-7 loss that spelled the end of their playoff run.

1. One for the history books for Celina volleyball

There’s always something special when a team puts together a dream season — one that scales heights never before seen in program history. In Celina’s case, 2021 will go down as the high school’s landmark year on the volleyball court.

The Lady Bobcats had one of those aforementioned special seasons, posting a 42-2 record and advancing to the Class 4A state tournament for the first time in program history. Celina went on to finish as state runner-up, falling to reigning champ Decatur in the state title match.

The Lady Bobcats enjoyed a rare level of continuity fresh off their regional quarterfinal run from 2020, graduating just one senior and returning a wealth of production all over the court. Behind that chemistry, Celina racked up 37 wins via sweep and went unbeaten in district play en route to a third consecutive league championship.

Seniors like Megan Hodges, Lexi Manning, Madison Kelley and Lily Neidhart all capped their respective high school careers as key cogs in the Lady Bobcats’ best season ever.

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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