2012 top local sports stories

<em>The top sports stories of 2012 were voted on by various writers, reporters, and editors of the Cache Valley Media Group. Each person compiled a list of what they considered the top 10 sports stories for Cache Valley from the past year. Each entry was given a numerical value, with the top story in a list being awarded 10 points and the bottom story in a list being awarded one point. The results are as follows.</em>

<strong>LOGAN—</strong> The past year in sports was one of the most exciting and record-setting in the history of Cache Valley. The Utah State University football team reached new heights, local prep sports provided some thrilling moments, and the Aggies received a lot of national attention. Here are the top 10 local sports stories of 2012.

1 – Utah State football has breakout season: There were so many different storylines during the 2012 Aggie football season, that a top 10 list could be compiled simply relating to that. However, all of those events combined here to reach the top spot on the list. For the first time ever, the USU football team recorded double digit wins in a season, finishing with an 11-2 record. The Aggies also went 6-0 at home (a first) and 6-0 in conference play (a first). USU won its first Western Athletic Conference title, and the school’s first outright title since 1936. The Aggies culminated their season with the first bowl win in 19 years, and only the second in school history. USU also defeated rival Utah for the first time since 1997, and finished the season in the top 25 rankings for the first time since 1961. Needless to say, it was a banner year for Utah State football.

2 – Following the incredible season that the USU football team had was a related item, that being the departure of head football coach Gary Andersen to Wisconsin and the promotion of offensive coordinator (and former USU quarterback) Matt Wells to replace him. Just a couple weeks removed from turning down multiple BCS job offers and committing to stay at USU for another year, Andersen was offered the Wisconsin job and bolted for the Badgers. The Aggies wasted little time in replacing Andersen, promoting Wells less than 72 hours after the initial news of Andersen’s departure broke.

3 – Moving on to the USU men’s basketball program, injured guard/forward Danny Berger provided the next story on the list when he collapsed in practice and his heart stopped. Berger was revived by the quick actions of USU assistant athletic trainer Mike Williams, and is on his way to a full recovery. The medical emergency caused the Aggies game with rival BYU to be postponed until later in the year, and garnered national attention from multiple media outlets, including Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

4 – The next sports story in our list was a combination of a couple of events that happened within just a few days of each other, and involved the entire athletic department at Utah State University. First came the release of USU’s new athletics logo and rebranding program. The Nike designed logo also included brand new equipment and jerseys courtesy of Nike. Within days of the release of the new logo, it was also announced that Utah State would be leaving the Western Athletic Conference and joining the Mountain West Conference – a move that proved to be crucial as the WAC will no longer field a football league next season and the rest of the conference is greatly diminished.

5 – Coming in at the fifth spot was the first prep sports story from the valley. Following an embarrassing loss at home in the first round of the state playoffs last season, the Mountain Crest Mustangs made a run all the way to the state title game in 2012. The Mustangs had the No. 1 team in the state, Timpview, on the ropes and nearly pulled off the upset. Miraculous plays by the Thunderbirds kept the game alive and Mountain Crest eventually lost in double overtime.

6 – The prep sports trend continued in the sixth spot, with Sky View high school bringing a state championship back to the valley. The Bobcats Volleyball team rolled to a perfect Region 5 record – nearly winning every set along the way – and easily made the championship game. Once again, Timpview stood in the way. Sky View won the first and third sets, but fell behind in the deciding fifth set, before rallying in thrilling fashion for an 18-16 win.

7 – Utah State University checks back in at No. 7, as the women’s soccer team won the WAC regular season and the conference tournament for the second consecutive year. The Aggies also advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year before eventually falling to rival BYU (who lost to eventual National Champion North Carolina) in Provo.

8 – Utah State University got plenty of publicity during the NFL draft as well. Back in April, two Aggies were drafted by the Seattle Seahawks – Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin – and both players have been an integral part of the Seahawks surprising season. Wagner has been particularly impressive as he leads the team in tackles and is in the running for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Running back Michael Smith was also drafted by Tampa Bay, giving the Aggies three players drafted in 2012.

9 – The USU women’s basketball team checks in at No. 9 as the Aggies won the Western Athletic Conference for the first time, and recorded the most wins in program history. Despite falling in the conference tournament and missing out on the NCAA’s, the USU women posted the best season in school history. The Aggies also welcomed a new coach in 2012 with the addition of Jerry Finkbeiner.

10 – Rounding out the top 10 is a prep athlete from the valley who shattered a state record in 2012. Various athletes from the valley performed very well and won state titles at the 4A State Track &amp; Field Championships back in May. However, none may have had a better meet than Sky View junior (now senior) Brenna Porter. Porter took state in two events – the 100 and 300-meter hurdles – and finished second in the 200-meter dash. Her crowning achievement came in the 300-meter hurdles as she set a new state record with a time of 42.25 seconds – the fastest in the state in any classification.

Honorable Mention:

Kerwynn Williams breaking the WAC record for all-purpose yards, LOTOJA death and possible sabotage scandal, Gary Andersen named WAC Coach of the Year, MC Lacrosse team wins state title

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