A state championship, exciting news about a huge event coming to Columbus and more local residents making a splash on the national scene. There will be plenty of memories from 2012.
Here’s a look at our top 10, selected by members of The Republic sports staff:
1. North wins boys soccer state title
The Bull Dogs brought the first state soccer championship to Columbus in October with a 1-0 win over Warsaw in the Class 2A final at IUPUI’s Michael Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium.
Brad Shaw, who later was named an All-American, scored the game’s lone goal. North finished 17-1-4 and was ranked No. 14 in the country by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
2. Marathon coming to Columbus
Columbus went the distance this summer when it announced plans for the inaugural Cummins Marathon.
The 26.2-mile race, along with a 13.1-mile half-marathon and 5K, will take place Sept. 28, 2013. It will serve as a qualifier for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
3. North girls basketball is state runner-up
The Bull Dogs made it all the way to the Class 4A state finals in March before falling to North Central 50-48 in overtime.
The loss snapped a school-record 19-game winning streak for North. The Bull Dogs, who won their first sectional title in 16 years, also set a school record for wins in a season in going 23-4.
4. East football ranked No. 1, makes final four
The Olympians made it to the state semifinals in Class 4A before falling to eventual state-champion Cathedral 49-14 in November.
East enjoyed a perfect regular season and finished 13-1. The Olympians were ranked No. 1 in 4A for the second half of the regular season.
5. East’s Gunner Kiel
commits to Notre Dame
It was a whirlwind first few weeks of 2012 for Kiel, who backed off his commitment to LSU and signed with Notre Dame on Jan. 17. The quarterback played in (and East coach Bob Gaddis coached in) the Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7 in San Antonio.
Although he didn’t play his true freshman season, Kiel was part of the Notre Dame team that finished this regular season ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and will play Alabama for the national championship on Jan. 7.
6. Edinburgh wins first boys basketball regional in 61 years
The Lancers knocked off University 83-64 and Hauser 81-59 in March to win the Class A Martinsville Regional, the school’s first regional title since 1951.
Edinburgh fell one win short of a trip to the state finals when it fell to eventual Class A state champion Loogootee 61-50 in the Southport Semi-State. The Lancers finished 23-3.
7. Stevie Brown earns
starting spot in NFL
Columbus East graduate Stevie Brown earned a starting spot with the New York Giants after bouncing around the NFL from Oakland to Indianapolis to New York.
Brown made the most of his starting opportunity with 58 tackles and seven interceptions going into today’s final regular-season game. He was added to the Pro Bowl ballot due to his stellar performance.
8. Former East football
star Blair Kiel dies
One of Columbus’ most famous sons, Blair Kiel, died of natural causes at the age of 50 in April.
Kiel put Columbus East on the map when he led the Olympians to a state football title in 1979. He went on to become a four-year starter at Notre Dame and played seven seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers.
9. Columbus East 23,
Columbus North 20
The football game of the year in Columbus was the battle between its two schools in August.
North quarterback Michael Vogel ran nine yards for a touchdown to give his team a 20-16 lead with 2:00 remaining. But East drove 65 yards in four plays, with Markell Jones taking it the final 21 with 46 seconds left.
10. Tony Stewart makes
Chase but can’t defend title
Stewart put himself in position to win his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase title but finished ninth.
The Columbus native finished the season with three wins, a pole, 12 top-fives and 16 top-10s. The top-10 points finish was the 13th in his 14-year NASCAR career.