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, Flower Mound 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, the Flower Mound area’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
Garrett Nussmeier, Marcus football
For years, the Marauders’ identity on offense has centered on a brute-force run game that stacked up among the best in the area.
Marcus has fleshed out its passing game a bit more since Nussmeier stepped on campus, and for good reason.
Nussmeier is in the process of rewriting the Marauder history books at the quarterback position, last submitting a 2019 campaign that resulted in District 6-6A MVP honors. Completing just over two-thirds of his passes for 3,788 yards and 38 touchdowns, Nussmeier led Marcus to its most productive season in more than two decades — posting an 11-1 record and qualifying for the regional semifinals for the first time since 1997.
Nussmeier’s big junior year elevated his stock as a prospect as well, laying the groundwork for a verbal commitment to LSU during the offseason.
Best Female Athlete
Maggie Gholston, Flower Mound swimming
The Lady Jaguars placed third overall at the Class 6A state meet behind arguably the deepest roster in program history. The contributions were widespread — Flower Mound’s girls had all three relays post All-American times — and Gholston added a number of momentous individual efforts to cap a stellar senior year.
Gholston showcased her versatility as one of the state’s top performers in the 50- and 500-yard freestyles, placing fourth in both events at the state. She swam a 23.48 in the 50 free and a 4:52.75 in the 500 free.
She was also a leg in the Lady Jaguars’ 200 freestyle relay, along with alums Jenna Watson, Brooke Dalbey and sophomore Julia Wozniak, which also placed fourth at state.
With numerous school records on her ledger, Gholston had five times recently receive All-American distinction from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association — ranking among the country’s best in the 50 free and the 500 free, as well as in all three relays.
Flower Mound girls soccer
Marcus boys soccer
Between their overwhelming dominance on the pitch to their first-place standings in 6-6A and a rank among the top soccer teams in the country, there wasn’t enough to separate the Lady Jaguars from the Marauders to pick one over the other.
The two programs were on momentous tears before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down their seasons, with both teams on the short list of Class 6A state title contenders at the time of the stoppage.
The Marcus boys had already locked up the district title behind one of the state’s most potent offenses, scoring 45 goals in just 13 district matches as part of a staggering plus-30 goal differential. For comparison’s sake, second-place Irving had a plus-5 when its season was halted.
The Lady Jaguars, meanwhile, did their damage through a stifling defense that allowed only one goal in district play and seven for the season. Flower Mound had a goal differential of plus-43 with one district match remaining.
Both teams raked in a score of all-district and all-state accolades, including MVP nods for Marcus forward Harvey Castro and Flower Mound midfielder Abby Smith.