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 Mar. 12.
Though many of the spring sports were unable to complete their stories, the Plano area 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 recent weeks, Plano’s top athletes, teams and games have been recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents its eighth edition of The Varsitys, the last of a three-part series.
Best Male Athlete
Connor Brown, Plano West soccer
District 9-6A offered some of the most competitive soccer in the Metroplex, with six points separating third place from seventh prior to the season’s suspension in March. With college-caliber talent abundant on each side in the conference, Brown’s efforts were highlighted specifically by being named the district’s MVP.
Already one of the top goal-scorers in the league, Brown maintained his production in that area — scoring 11 goals as a senior — while upping his assist total from two to eight as the fulcrum to the West attack.
Brown scored or assisted on goals in 10 of the Wolves’ 11 district matches, helping spark a bounce-back year by the Wolves, who had the inside track on their first playoff berth under head coach Brennon Satre.
Brown was a big reason why.
Best Female Athlete
Devin Patton, Plano West wrestling
Patton had been on the cusp of reaching the podium at the state wrestling meet as both a freshman and sophomore — placing fourth both years. The Lady Wolf turned in her best effort ever during her junior campaign, rising not only to the top of the medal stand after winning a state championship but turning in one of the best seasons of any grappler in the state.
Patton went undefeated as a junior, posting a 41-0 record en route to ascending the ranks as the top 128-pound wrestler in Texas. She scored a number of signature victories along the way, be it topping Class 6A’s Nos. 2 and 3 wrestlers in her weight class — Illyauna Martinez of Katy Mayde Creek and Sydney Harper of Euless Trinity, respectively — or 5A’s eventual 119-pound champ Tabitha Woods of Frisco Independence.
Patton picked up wins over Martinez and Harper at the state meet, pinning both in a combined 2:05 of mat time. Of her four victories at state, three required less than 90 seconds.
Patton became just the second girl in West’s history to win a state wrestling title, and with one year left in her career, there’s a chance to further entrench her spot in program lore.
John Paul II boys basketball
One season removed from a trip to the state semifinals, the Cardinals had a year for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools history books in 2019-20.
Smashing a myriad of program records across the board, John Paul strung together its best season ever by any measure.
Win-loss record? The Cardinals went 40-1 on the year.
On-court dominance? The Cardinals won those 40 games by an average of 24.5 points.
Postseason success? The Cardinals captured their first-ever TAPPS state championship.
John Paul was without peer on the stateside private school hardwood, deploying a starting lineup chalked in experience and capable of blitzing opponents in transition with its maelstrom of size and length.
All five of John Paul’s starters — Jalen Tot, Jajuan Tot, Nathan Dominick, Donavon Johnson and Jaylon Tyson — were named to the TAPPS all-state team, with the Tot brothers, Dominick and Tyson set to play ball in college.
For their efforts, the Cardinals finished the season ranked as the state’s No. 1 private school team by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, as well as the No. 41 team in the nation by MaxPreps.