The 29th ESPY awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year, aired on Saturday.
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 year 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 the start of its athletic year delayed by one month.
Though fall and winter sports experienced shutdowns because of positive COVID cases at numerous high schools across the state, The Colony was able to complete all of its sports seasons.
Starting this week, The Colony’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized with nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents its ninth edition of the Varsitys, the first part of a three-part series.
Boys soccer defeats Frisco Liberty in shootout
The Colony senior Victor Esquival-Ventura scored the game-winning goal as the Cougars beat Frisco Liberty, 1-1, (4-2 penalty kicks) in a shootout on March 25, punching their ticket into the area round of the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Sophomore goalkeeper Bryan Carrillo made two diving stops as the Cougars never trailed in the shootout portion of this Class 5A bi-district playoff game.
The first goal came in the 20th minute. Senior Elijah Elias earned a free kick which landed on the foot of fellow Cougar senior Franklin Corona. Corona’s initial shot was saved, but he kicked the rebound past the Liberty goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead for The Colony.
Liberty continued to remain aggressive and all of that pressure paid off in the fifth minute of the second half. Jonathan Siv blasted a long-range shot underneath the crossbar to level the score at 1-1.
The victory was one of 17 on the season for the Cougars, who won their first district title since 1998.
Elijah Elias, boys soccer
Having overcome a bout with cancer while in the seventh grade, alum Elijah Elias was one of nine seniors on the roster that helped to lead the Cougar boys soccer team to their first playoff win in seven years and their first district title since 1998.
A Colorado Christian University signee, Elias worked hard at his craft to become a top-flight midfielder, with the ultimate reward coming this season when he was named the District 10-5A midfielder of the year. He finished tied for the team lead in goals with 13 and was also credited with six assists.
Elias scored two goals for The Colony in a season-ending 3-2 loss to RL Turner in the area round of the UIL Class 5A playoffs, both via penalty kick.
“He quickly won the hearts of his coaches and teammates and showed remarkable resilience to make up for time lost off the field as he fought a debilitating disease,” said Lee Weddall, The Colony head coach. “We know that Eli will excel in Colorado as he continues to show the world that miracles do indeed come true.”
Coleman wins national title with Oklahoma
The 2020 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, The Colony alum Jayda Coleman hit a solo home run and added a two-run double as Oklahoma defeated Florida State, 5-1, in the championship game of the Women’s College World Series on June 9.
It was the fifth national championship that was won by the Sooners’ softball program.
In the second inning, Coleman hit a solo homer to bump Oklahoma’s lead over Florida State to 2-0. Coleman’s mother, Deana, who is the head softball coach at The Colony, was handed the ball.
Coleman later punctuated Oklahoma’s win by hitting a two-run double off the left field wall, giving OU a 5-1 advantage.
For the season, Coleman hit .444 with nine home runs, drove in 32 runs and was 20 of 24 on stolen-base attempts. She was one of three finalists for NFCA/Schutt Sports Division 1 Freshman of the Year. OU’s Tiare Jennings won the award.