Plenty of success accompanied 2021
While the history-making 1-2 finish by Butler's CJ Singleton and Drew Griffith at the PIAA Cross Country Championships is our Butler Eagle Sports Story of the Year, there were plenty of other candidates for that distinction.
Here is the remainder of the county's top 15 sports stories of 2021, selected by the Butler Eagle's sports staff:
2. Mars girls soccer. The Lady Planets continued their run of domination, winning their third consecutive WPIAL and PIAA championships.
Mars is 61-0-2 in its last 63 games and has not lost a game since 2018.
3. Bednar brother act. The Bednar family of Mars will not forget 2021. David Bednar was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates and wound up being named the team's Pitcher of the Year.Younger brother Will, pitching for Mississippi State, was named the College World Series MVP and was drafted in the first round by the San Francisco Giants.4. Alejandro Herrera-Rondon. The Seneca Valley senior wrestler completed the most productive career in program history. He went 39-0, winning the WPIAL title and capturing his third state crown.
5. Grebs grab gold. Knoch twin sisters Emily and Lindsey Greb won the WPIAL doubles title and PIAA Class 2A doubles crown in girls tennis.
6. Butler ends drought. The Golden Tornado football team finished the regular season at 5-4, the program's first winning record since 1997. Butler also reached postseason play for the first time in nine years.7. Gathering gold. North Catholic's Trevor Paschall put together a stellar performance at the WPIAL Track and Field Championships. He won gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, along with the 4x100 relay. Paschall went on to win the state title in the 200.8. Volleyball champs. North Catholic's girls won the WPIAL and PIAA championships in Class 2A. The Trojanettes rallied from an 0-2 deficit in a match to keep their title hopes alive.9. BC3 goes national. The Butler County Community College women's volleyball team completed one of the best seasons in the program's illustrious history, placing sixth at the NJCAA Division III national championships in Minnesota.10. Rock rolls on. The Slippery Rock University football team defended its PSAC West championship with a win over highly-ranked California (Pa.) in its final division game of the season. SRU went on to lose to Notre Dame (Ohio) in the first round of the national playoffs and receiver Henry Litwin received numerous national honors.11. Track and field dominance. Butler's boys and girls teams both polished off 15-0 seasons with WPIAL team championships. The Golden Tornado girls won their fourth consecutive title while the boys claimed gold for the first time in 14 years.12. David Bocci. The Butler senior won the PIAA championship in the 100-yard butterfly to wrap up a stellar high school swimming career. He now swims for Clarion University and has already played a part in two broken records there.13. Finding the net. Seneca Valley's Nathan Prex and Butler's Landon Mohney did that quite often on the soccer pitch in 2021. Prex scored 37 goals this season — a single-season school record — while Mohney tallied 36, breaking his father's career goal-scoring mark at Butler with 69.14. Jacob Wolak. The Slippery Rock High School golfer, playing on a drenched course at Deer Creek Country Club in Hubbard, Ohio, shot an eagle (2 under par) on consecutive holes. His 30 on the back nine marked a course and school record.15. Guinness Brown. The Butler speedster won WPIAL titles in the 100 and 200 meters. He broke the Butler County record in the 200 meters and signed a letter of intent to compete in college at Duke University.