Wednesday marked the 27th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year.
It’s the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so why not put a high school spin on the concept?
Over the past school year, Flower Mound has showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it is only appropriate to put the last season of local citywide sports into an award-winning perspective. In the coming weeks, the city’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents the seventh edition of The Varsitys.
Flower Mound boys soccer vs. San Antonio Lee (April 20)
The Jaguars hoisted their first-ever state championship in boys soccer in 2019 and did so in dramatic fashion, outlasting Lee in a shootout, 1-0, in the Class 6A state title game.
Dubbed the “Cardiac Jags” during their voyage to state supremacy, Flower Mound’s mettle shined through plenty in the match’s closing moments with a perfect 4-of-4 on penalty kicks – capped by a goal from Brock Clayton to seal the win. Joe Perryman, Peyton Wheeler and Shane Popieluch also found the back of the net.
Ruthless in its efficiency during the shootout, the Jaguars’ seminal victory provided plenty of defensive highlights as well, courtesy of a banner afternoon in net for Landon Leach, who turned away multiple penalty kicks from Lee and was named the MVP of the championship match.
“This tops everything,” said David Doyle, Flower Mound head coach, after the match. “It so much easier to play than to coach because you don’t really have to think about anything. You just have to react. To see how hard these kids have worked and go through the season with them and to see them rewarded is an incredible feeling.”
Natalie Cook, Flower Mound cross country and track
The latest in a long line of dominant distance runners in Lewisville ISD, Cook performed far beyond her years during a freshman campaign that included breakout seasons in both cross country and track.
In the fall, Cook was front and center for a Lady Jaguars team that placed second overall at the state cross country meet, taking fifth overall with a 17:03.91 that was the top finish for the eventual silver medalists.
During track season, Cook translated that success to the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, medaling in both events at state. She clocked personal-record times as well, posting a 4:50.09 for third place in the mile and a 10:24.96 and second place in the two-mile.
Both times shattered the school records in each event and figure to be rewritten a few more times before Cook’s high school career concludes.
The Year of the Jaguar
Flower Mound turned in its greatest overall athletics year in 2018-19, and among the best ever within Lewisville ISD, winning state championships in volleyball and boys soccer to highlight a score of accolades for the athletics program.
The Jaguars’ football team set the tone by hoisting their first-ever district championship in early November, only for the volleyball program to complete their best season ever with a Class 6A title mere weeks later. Additional district titles followed in boys soccer and softball, with Flower Mound adding dominant postseasons for its baseball team (five rounds deep in the playoffs), the cross country teams (boys third at state, girls second), the girls swim team (third at state) and several members of the track and field team.
Overall, Flower Mound checked in at No. 3 in the UIL’s Lone Star Cup standings in 6A following its benchmark athletics year.