Jimmie Johnson’s historic seventh title, Connecticut’s fourth straight NCAA title are Aiken Area Progressive’s top sports stories of 2016
Two sports that do not get a whole lot of respect from the mainstream sports media – women’s basketball and auto racing – made historic headlines that will last a lifetime.
And thus, that’s why two events that happened in those sports are the Top Sports Stories of 2016.
Before we get to those, let’s countdown the other ten biggest sports stories:
- Erica Kinsman gets $950,000.00 in damages from Jameis Winston and Florida State. After more than 24 months, Mr. Winston and FS finally settled on the Title IX claims Ms. Kinsman made against them.
She alleged that FS deliberately hid sexual assault claims against current Tampa Buccaneer Mr. Winston “to protect the football program” and Mr. Winston, who later won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to the 2013 national championship. Ms. Kinsman accused FS of violating the federal gender-equity law Title IX with a “clearly unreasonable response” that forced her to leave FS as the case became public 35 months ago.The January 25 settlement requires FS to commit toward rape prevention and awareness of sexual assault.As part of the settlement, FS will maintain those commitments for at least the remainder of the decade while publishing annual reports detailing its steps to stop and address on-campus sexual violence.
“I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students,” said Ms. Kinsman in a statement released by her attorneys. “My hope is that the federal investigation of my complaint by the Office of Civil Rights will produce even more positive change, not just at FSU, but across the country.”
- Bryan Clauson is killed in a sprint car crash. Verizon IndyCar and former NASCAR xfinity Series driver Mr. Clauson was killed in a sprint car crash in the Sunflower State.
Mr. Clauson’s family released the following statement, on August 8:
Last night, the 7th of August, we said goodbye to our son, my fiance, our friend, Bryan Clauson. He was surrounded by family and friends and we were grateful that we could experience his final moments with him.Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane. However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan’s day, or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans.
Mr. Clauson drove sprint cars for Tony Stewart.
The USAC organization called it “one of the darkest days of the 60-year history”.
USAC was formed in 1956.
- Clemson hammmers USC 56-7, goes on to win the ACC title. A rivalry game, it was anything but.
It was a night of terror for visiting USC, as the Clemson Tigers mauled the Gamecocks 56-7 in one of the worst losses for the Gamecocks in the history of the annual US 76 rivalry.
The Tigers went on to defeat Virginia Tech to get into the playoff for the second season in a row. They and Alabama, the team that defeated the Tigers for the championship in January, are the only two teams to make more than one appearance in the college football playoff.As if football was not enough, Clemson defeated USC in men’s basketball 62-60 to knock the Gamecocks out of the Associated Press Men’s Basketball Top 25.
- Kerri Walsh Jennings suffer first-ever Olympics loss.
The US beach volleyball ace and her partner, April Ross, suffered a controversial loss in the semifinal round of beach volleyball to the hands of Agatha and Barbara, who lost their gold medal match to Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst the following day.
The main controversy was several borderline calls that ended up in the favor of the Brazilian duo.
Ms. Ross and Mrs. Jennings wound up with a bronze medal.
- Thomson gets slaughtered by Cartersville in GHSA Class AAAA state championship game. The Thomson Bulldogs ended up with a puny participation trophy after they were slaughtered by the undefeated Cartersville Purple Hurricanes 58-7.
It was the first time the Bulldogs had ever lost a state championship game in their six appearances. It was one of the worst losses in Thomson football history.
- Georgia Tech beats Georgia 28-27. For 47 minutes and 30 seconds, it looked like the Bulldogs was going to retain their recent dominance over the Yellow Jacket.
Then came Que Searcy.
Mr. Searcy scampered into the end zone with only 30 seconds left in regulation and, after the defense caught a wide open Jacob Eason hail mary, the Yellow Jacket handed the Bulldogs a loss.
- The NFL, NBA and NWSL decide to take higher measures to protest racism and bigotry in the United States. Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe and other patriotic athletes decided to use their powerful voices to put an end to business as usual during sporting events.
Not surprisingly, Trump conservatives got triggered by the fact that people are done with business as usual.
Expect these protests to continue well into the Trump years, whether his voters like it or not! We at Aiken Area Progressive approve of sitting and kneeling during the slave anthem called the Star Spangled Banner, as it is much more peaceful than rioting.
- Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA title. Lebron James finally brought an NBA title to his native Cleveland, Ohio.Mr. James and Kyrie Irving dispatched the 73-win Golden State Warriors at their home in Alameda County, Calif. with 41 points apiece in the pivotal Game 5, which turned the series in the Cavaliers’ favor, in a game that Mr. Draymond Green was suspended for.
- Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup in year a major icon dies. The Pittsburgh Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby, won the Stanley Cup four games to two over the San Jose Sharks, clinching the crown in the visiting Shark Tank by a final score of 3-1.
Kris Letang got all four go-ahead goals for the Penguins in the series.
The title came almost two months after Prince died.It was the first Stanley Cup title for the Penguins since 2009, the year Michael Jackson died.
- Los Angeles Sparks win WNBA title, Candace Parker dedicates title to former college coach. It took 1,017,598 of the 1,017,600 seconds to determine a WNBA champion for this year.
On the 1,017,598th second of the season, Nneka Ogwumike made the title-clinching shot for the Sparks, as they defeated the Minnesota Lynx 77-76.After the game, Ms. Parker, who has the collegiate record for most dunks by a woman, dedicated the title to Pat Summitt, who died on June 28.
- (tie) Jimmie Johnson wins his record-tying seventh Sprint Cup title; Connecticut wins record-breaking fourth consecutive NCAA Women’s Title. And now, we are on the two biggest sports stories of 2016.
The Connecticut Huskies, led by Brianna Stewart, vanquished conference foe Syracuse 82-51 to give Ms. Stewart what she was after when she made a decision to go to UConn on National Signing Day 2012: win four consecutive titles.“That was the goal coming in as freshman and to carry it out as seniors, it’s unbelievable,” Ms. Stewart told ESPN. “We’re going out with a bang. That’s it. We did what we were supposed to do.”
The Husky women became the first program in either men’s or women’s basketball to win four consecutive titles.
The win also broke a tie head coach Geno Auriemma had with California-Los Angeles men’s basketball head coach John Wooden for the most national championships in college basketball by a male head coach.
And as impressive as that was, it was outmatched by an achievement on the track.
Jimmie Johnson did not take the lead in the Round of 4 championship race until the green flag waved for the last restart of the season on Lap 266 of the Ford EcoBoost 400, shortly after Carl Edwards, the strongest of the Round of 4 finalists, was eliminated in a multi-car pileup.
That is when he darted past Joey Logano and Kyle Larson and never looked back as he took not only the 80th checkered flag of his career, but the history-making seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup title.