The top half of 2019’s top stories in Celina/Prosper athletics

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Celina season opener

The Bobcats started off the 2019 campaign at the newly opened Bobcat Field against Frisco Memorial.

Celina and Prosper sports had yet another successful year in 2019, keeping its rich winning traditions alive.

Between Celina and Prosper football each making the playoffs while competing in brand new stadiums, this past year will be another to remember.

Let’s take a look back on the year that was in Celina and Prosper athletics, now with the top half of that lineup.

5. The Star hosts Plano-El Paso matchup

Although this story happened just outside of Celina, it hit close to home when the matchup between Plano Senior and El Paso Eastwood nearly did not happen when Plano ISD announced on Aug. 15 that, citing safety reasons and the timing of the matchup, it was cancelling the game.

The decision generated statewide attention and a flurry of social media backlash, with PISD reversing course one day later and reinstating the game — shifting the location from Murphy’s Kimbrough Stadium to The Star in Frisco to satisfy the school district’s security concerns.

Lebanon Trail and Fort Worth Arlington Heights were scheduled to play at The Star that night, but both teams agreed to move their game to Toyota Stadium.

4. Celina volleyball makes history

For the first time since 2013, the Celina volleyball team reached the regional tournament and was a game away from getting to state.

The Lady Bobcats, led by head coach Ginger Murray, is fresh off one of their more impressive seasons in recent history and even swept their first four opponents to begin the playoffs.

Celina finished with an overall record of 30-12 and brought home a district title, besting the likes of rivals Aubrey, Melissa and Sanger in the process.

3. O’Connell scampers to state championship

After standing in the shadows of Plano Senior’s Ashlyn Hillyard a year ago, Prosper sophomore distance-runner Aubrey O’Connell asserted herself as a force to be reckoned with in 2019.

The sophomore sensation brought home the gold this year at state cross country with a time of 17:05.95, which was nearly seven seconds ahead of the next runner.

O’Connell also led the Lady Eagles to a second consecutive first-place finish at the regional meet, and Prosper cross country very well could be a state front-runner in the coming years.

2. Prosper football makes epic run

Of all of the runs that Prosper athletics made all across the board in 2019, whether it was baseball, girls basketball or volleyball, the most impressive postseason ride came on the gridiron.

The Prosper football team entered this past season with high expectations and some believed the Eagles could legitimately rival Allen in district play following some dominant victories early on.

Embarrassing defeats to Allen and Jesuit soon followed and those same pundits had quickly departed from the Eagles’ bandwagon.

However, Prosper got back on track just in time for the playoffs where it not only advanced beyond the second-round boogeyman, but made it all the way to the fourth round.

There, the Eagles gave a high-powered Rockwall program all it could handle before eventually falling to the Yellow Jackets, 59-42.

1. Celina football opens new stadium

After playing its games on Friday nights for decades at Bobcat Stadium, the Celina football team kicked things off this season with a brand-new stadium and indoor facility.

Bobcat Field played host to the Bobcats’ season opener, and although Celina started things off in its new stadium with a loss at the hands of Frisco Memorial, the Bobcats went on win their next four games played in their new home.

Celina went on to make the postseason once again and was eventually bounced out in the area round at the hands of eventual state runner-up Waco La Vega.

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