Dec. 30—When looking back at the year that was, there has been plenty to remember.
It was a year that saw fewer and fewer cancellations due to COVID-19, coaches changing places and trophies being handed out in person as the THB Sports Awards returned to in-person ceremonies after a two-year online exile.
But the moments to be most celebrated and honored took place by the local athletes on the fields and courts of the Madison County area. Here are the top 10 moments of 2022 from the local high school sports scene:
1. LEGENDARY RUN
For the second time in three years, the Frankton girls basketball team overcame early tournament odds and advanced to the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Finals. After being drubbed by Linton-Stockton in 2020, the Eagles returned and gave a much better performance, falling 52-44 to Forest Park despite 15 points from sophomore Amaya Collins and a one-point lead with under three minutes to play.
Thanks to the heroics of area player of the year Lauryn Bates, Frankton defeated top-five opponents Winchester at regional and Fairfield at the semistate to advance and finished with a 23-6 record, matching the program mark for wins in a season.
2. FOUR-TIME FINALIST
Although her fourth straight trip to the state golf finals did not provide the storybook ending, there was no denying the impact Lapel's Macy Beeson has had on the area.
The four-time area player of the year capped her career with four Madison County championships, two state titles and sectional and regional titles. She was medalist in 28 of 30 career dual meets and in 38% of her 36-hole tournaments. She made par or better on 88% of the holes she played during her career.
After the season, Beeson announced she will continue her golf career at Western Michigan.
3. GEOFFREYS NETS STATE FINALS
Anderson's Jamison Geoffreys won the singles sectional championship for the second straight year and added a regional title and subsequent trip to the state finals. She finished her two-year Anderson career with a 41-3 record, with all three losses coming to the state's No. 1 player at the time they met.
The two-time area player of the year has continued her tennis career at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida.
4. RUNNING TO LAVERN
After no area runners advanced to the cross country state finals the last two years, five Madison County athletes — Liberty Christian's Noah Price, Lapel's Cameron Smith and Sophie Goodwin and Pendleton Heights' Ava Jarrell and Andrew Blake — made the journey to the Lavern Gibson course in Terre Haute this season.
In the boys race, Price was 41st, Smith was 63rd and Blake came home in 84th. Price was the first Lions runner to advance to the state finals, and Goodwin was the first Lapel girls runner to do so.
5. STATE PODIUMS
Three area athletes stood tall in Bloomington during the spring with podium finishes at the state track and field finals.
Anderson had a pair as sophomore Tremayne Brown led the way with an eighth-place finish in the boys high jump and Malena Higgins was ninth in the girls shot put. Alexandria's Jada Stansberry also placed ninth with a school-record run in the girls 400-meter dash.
6. SOFTBALL SEMISTATES
Very successful seasons finished in different fashion, although both at semistate, for Pendleton Heights and Madison-Grant.
The Arabians finished 25-7 after being stopped by Class 4A No. 1 Roncalli and Florida commit Keagan Rothrock 7-0 at Bedford-North Lawrence while the Argylls (24-6) were edged 4-3 by Eastside on a seventh-inning trick play in Warsaw.
It was the first regional championship for Madison-Grant since 2016 and for Pendleton Heights since 2013.
7. GAINBRIDGE TRIO
Area wrestlers also earned their way to the state finals stage, including one who scored a podium finish in his second straight finals.
Daleville's Julius Gerencser (138 pounds) and Jackson Ingenito (195) were joined by Frankton junior heavyweight Hunter Branham in qualifying for the trip to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Gerencser moved up two spots from the previous year with a sixth-place finish and wrapped up his career with a 28-5 record for the season and 136-19 overall. Ingenito, also a Broncos senior, lost Friday and finished with a 28-7 mark while Branham finished at 28-8 after bowing out Friday night.
8. BOMBS AWAY
After enjoying a breakout 2021 season, Frankton junior Makena Alexander had one of the most explosive offensive softball seasons the area has ever seen.
She led the area in a number of offensive categories, including batting average (.658), slugging percentage (1.607), home runs (20) and RBI (56), setting school records in round-trippers and slugging percentage. She did so despite being walked 30 times, over half of which were of the intentional variety.
9. DIAMOND BREAKTHROUGH
Anderson rolled to its first baseball sectional championship since 2012 after defeating Mount Vernon 13-7 in Fortville.
Senior Jacob Lee led the way for the Indians with a .447 batting average and tied for the area lead in doubles (11) and runs scored (37). Connor Stephenson belted a two-run home run in the sectional finale for Anderson, whose season ended at 17-13 following a loss to Cathedral at regional.
10. BACK ON TOP
In claiming its first Madison County boys basketball title since 2014, Anderson left no doubt it was back on top of the sport in the area.
Anderson beat Lapel in the final by a tournament-record 35 points and won its three games that week by a combined 84 points, also a record. The Indians were led by area player of the year Ty Wills, who scored 21 points in the county championship game. Anderson went on to win 20 games and was undefeated in winning the North Central Conference outright championship.
Contact Rob Hunt at email@example.com or 765-640-4886.