Top sports moments of 2011

Coach Scott Bostwick gives a pep-talk to the NW football team after practice. Bostwick passed away  June 5, 2011 of a heart attack, but he continues to live on with the Bearcat family.

It's that time of year once again, to recount everything that happened last year and promise to make changes, that most of us won't follow through with, this year.

As is the case with sports, so let's look back on some of the defining moments in Northwest sports from the past year.

The clear-cut No. 1 would have been the legendary Mel Tjeerdsma retiring; however, that happened three days too early to make the list. Anyway, here goes my best shot at summarizing an entire year into just five blurbs.

No. 5: Men's basketball turnaround

While this isn't complete, it does merit a spot on the list because of the way the last three seasons have played out. The men started out 9-0, their best start since 2003-04, and still sit atop the MIAA rankings with just one blemish on their record.

The men have missed the MIAA Tournament the last three years and are all but in if they continue playing the way they are at this point in the season.

No. 4: Wrestling club wins first national title

While not a sanctioned team, the wrestling club winning the National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championship has to be on this list, if for nothing more than the sheer fact that they won a national title.

Beating out schools such as Kansas State, Iowa State and Ohio State for a national title is no small feat, and most of that team returns for a shot at a repeat.

The program also registered a pair of All-Americans, and are gunning for a repeat this year.

No. 3: Women's basketball makes their first Final Four

The women's basketball team had a major resurgence last year, similar to the one the men are experiencing now, but theirs ended in St. Joseph in the Final Four, the school's first time making it to that stage of the postseason.

They racked up a 29-5 record, also the best in program history, and saw Gabby Curtis named the program's first All-American.

The awards and honors piled up for this team, making it a lock for one of the best sports moments for Northwest from 2011.

No. 2: The Bearcats make it to the quarterfinals despite all of the adversity they faced this season

The fact that this team made it as far as they did is an accomplishment in itself because it's extremely difficult to make the playoffs for eight straight years, especially with the playoff set up.

Whether it was Tjeerdsma retiring or his replacement Scott Bostwick dying last summer, injuries to key players or deficits that looked too great to overcome, this team did it.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Northwest came back from double-digit deficits to win, despite only getting limited minutes from a pair of their captains.

Sure, the magic ran out against Pitt State, but what they accomplished is not to be overlooked.

And No. 1: Scott Bostwick passes away

This moment is not meant to be celebratory, but it certainly defines the Northwest football season and shows that when people come together they can overcome a lot.

Coach Bostwick's death brought the University and community closer and helped everyone rally around the team and believe that the impossible was probable. Sure, the dream fell short, but this team and the circumstances made sure that Bostwick's first season was memorable.

There you have it. Those are the moments I believe highlighted the last year in sports at Northwest. Now, here's to hoping that 2012 brings some amazing feats as well.

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