With the book about to close on 2021, it’s time to look back on the year that was in Denton County athletics.
This year was clad in noteworthy moments across all sports for Carrollton, Flower Mound and Lewisville, including playoff success and championships won at the district and state levels.
The Star Local Media sports staff has compiled its top 10 sports stories of the year, beginning with the first half of that lineup.
6. Campbell calls it a career
There isn’t another coach, or employee for that matter, in Lewisville ISD with a career quite like Mike Campbell.
Lewisville’s longtime baseball coach presided over the Fighting Farmers for 47 years, first taking the job back in 1974 and amassing 703 career wins. 2021 wound up being the last for Campbell, who retired at season’s end.
Campbell spent only one other year in his coaching career outside of Lewisville — he plied his craft at the middle school level in Grand Prairie. His first head coaching job came with the Farmers, a job he interviewed for just before turning 23 years old. Ever since, he carved out a career like few others around the state.
The Farmers took off in 1981, advancing to the state quarterfinals — at the time, only three rounds in the playoffs were played prior to the state tournament — before falling to eventual state champion Lubbock Monterey. Lewisville would later make trips to the regional quarterfinals in 1998 and 1999.
Although Campbell won’t lead the Farmers into 2022, that last name is still firmly entrenched in the program. In June, LISD announced the hiring of former Irving head coach Stephen Campbell, Mike’s son, as Lewisville’s next head baseball coach.
7. Creekview brings home hardware
One year removed from a program-best third-place team finish at the Class 5A state meet, Creekview was at it once again in 2021. The Mustangs finished fourth overall and crowned a pair of back-to-back state champions along the way.
It was the familiar one-two punch of alum Mason Ding and senior Conrad Hendriksen pacing the effort. The two reigning state champions carried unbeaten records into the state meet and lived up to that billing — Hendriksen won a state championship at 113 pounds and Ding closed out his high school career on a winning note by winning gold at 220 pounds.
Ding punctuated his tournament with a 45-second win in the finals to become a two-time state champion for the Mustangs.
Creekview sent two other wrestlers to the podium. Senior Nicholas Berumen placed fourth in the 126-pound bracket and alum Connor Morin finished sixth at 152.
8. Marauders strong on diamond once again
Parity was out in full force during the 6-6A baseball schedule, so much so that four teams wound up tying for third place in the district.
Fortunately for the Marauders, they had managed to distance from that chaos after posting a 12-2 record to capture the district championship.
Despite some choppy waters early on, beginning league play at 3-2, Marcus found its footing with a run of 10 consecutive wins to round out district. The Marauders were emphatic during that stretch, outscoring opponents 96-19.
Marcus followed that up with playoff sweeps of Allen, Richardson Pearce and Plano before falling to Southlake Carroll in the regional semifinals.
Pitcher Tyler Schott was named the district’s pitcher of the year, while Jake Duer earned offensive player of the year, and head coach Jeff Sherman was recognized as coach of the year.
9. Memorable year for Marcus volleyball
This season was one many years in the making for Marcus. The Lady Marauders have been on the rise in recent years under head coach Danielle Barker, reprising the level of play that was commonplace during the program’s halcyon days in the late 2000s.
Marcus broke through this year with the program’s first regional quarterfinal appearance since 2011. Along the way, the Lady Marauders earned a share of the 6-6A championship, tying Plano West and Flower Mound — two teams Marcus defeated during district play — atop the league standings.
Led by 6-6A MVP and senior Maggie Boyd, who surpassed 1,000 kills for her career during the season, Marcus picked up playoff wins over McKinney Boyd and Arlington Martin before falling in five sets to rival West.
10. Marcus boys back on top
The homestretch to District 6-6A boys basketball wasn’t without drama. And to Marcus’ credit, all they did was win.
The Marauders won their final six district ballgames and got a little help elsewhere to capture a share of the district championship for the first time since 2012 — the Marcus Smart-Phil Forte heyday of the program.
They tied Coppell at 12-2 atop the league standings, drawing even with the state-ranked Cowboys on the final night of the district schedule — Coppell had to play three games in a span of less than 24 hours due to COVID-related postponements, and was defeated by Plano in overtime, 57-53, in the last of those three matchups. Marcus had split the regular-season series with the Cowboys.
The Marauders parlayed that into a trip to the area finals where it lost to state semifinalist Richardson to wrap up the season at 20-7 overall.