The top sports stories — good and bad — from 2017 in SLO County

The top sports stories in 2017 covered the spectrum. There was tragedy, thrills and broken records.

The Tribune has compiled a list of 10 of the most read and important stories from the past year. Here’s a look back on the year that was, in no particular order.

Jordan Hasay runs to stardom

Following the loss of her mother in 2016, Arroyo Grande native Jordan Hasay had the best year of her running career. It started with a record-breaking performance at the Boston Marathon in April. Hasay finished in third place and broke the record for an American woman in a marathon debut. The Mission Prep prodigy broke another record at the Chicago Marathon in October, setting a course record with a third-place finish. Hasay said she plans to run another marathon in spring 2018 with eyes on making the U.S. Olympic team in 2020.

Hasay still likes to hang around her hometown to train and will be hosting the Pier to Plunge 5k on New Year’s Day in Pismo Beach.

Paso Robles High’s roller coaster football season

J.R. Reynolds was named head football coach at Paso Robles High School after a successful 2017 campaign. David Middlecamp

Controversy surrounded the Paso Robles High School football team all season. The team lost its head coach after one game, started the season 1-4, lost a key player after he was ruled ineligible and played four different quarterbacks. But interim head coach J.R. Reynolds found a way to lead the team an undefeated league title despite it all.

Sophomore quarterback Hunter Barnhart came up from the junior varsity team to lead the Bearcats to key wins along the way and was named County Player of the Year. And Reynolds was subsequently rewarded with the full-time head coaching position following the season.

Death of Ryan Teixeira

Ryan Teixeira, an Arroyo Grande High School graduate and former baseball standout who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, died in March after two battles with the rare disease. He was 20 years old.

Teixeira’s outgoing personality and fighting spirit captured the hearts of not only the Central Coast but also a handful of Major League Baseball stars. Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner formed a relationship with Teixeira and shared his name with the the nation during the 2017 World Series.

Teixeira’s death was mourned by many who never even met him and thousands turned out to his memorial service. His memory will live on both in his No. 17 at Arroyo Grande High and 17Strong foundation.

Professional surfing returns to the Central Coast

Pismo Beach business owner Andy McKay was tired of California surfers not getting enough opportunities to make it on the World Surf League, so he generated enough support to bring a pro contest back to the Central Coast with the Pismo Beach Open in November. Nearly 100 surfers from around the world participated in the event that was widely hailed as a success, with Ventura surfer Cory Arrambide crowned as the event’s first winner. McKay plans to bring the event back in October 2018 and create new WSL events in Morro Bay and Ventura.

Cal Poly volleyball’s historic season

The Cal Poly volleyball team had the best season in program history, winning a Big West title and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Courtesy Cal Poly Athletics

Cal Poly volleyball had its best season in program history since joining Division I in 1979. Behind the strength of the Van Winden sisters — Torrey (a UCLA transfer) and Adlee — along with a core group of seniors, Cal Poly won 22 straight games in 2017 and became the first team in school history to win an undefeated Big West title (26-2, 16-0 Big West). It was Cal Poly’s first conference title in 10 years and also the first time since 2008 that Cal Poly was ranked in the Top 25, ending the season at No. 21. The Big West title earned Cal Poly an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, where they would beat Denver in the first round before falling to UCLA. Head coach Sam Crosson was named Big West Coach of the Year and senior setter Taylor Nelson was named Big West Player of the Year.

Nipomo High wrestling coach investigated

Alexis Garcia038 (1)
Nipomo High School girls wrestling coach Justin Magdaleno talks to his team at the end of a practice. Joe Johnston

Nipomo High School girls wrestling coach and teacher Justin Magdaleno was investigated by the Lucia Mar Unified School District and placed on paid administrative leave after team members came forward in October with accusations of inappropriate touching and comments.

Magdaleno’s alleged conduct took place within the past year, according to the parents, whose daughters are both under 18 years old.

The district said Wednesday that Magdaleno remains on paid leave while an investigation is being conducted, and he has not been allowed to teach or coach.

Cal Poly’s forgettable football season

It was a season to forget for the Cal Poly football team. A lack of offensive production, high turnover rate and a host of injuries to key players led to a 1-10 record and the worst season in more than 50 years.

Cal Poly hopes to turn things around in 2018 when quarterback Khaleel Jenkins and fullback Joe Protheroe are expected to return from injury.

Shelby Sudbrink dies in car crash

Shelby Sudbrink was a 17-year-old senior at Templeton High School when she was killed after her car crashed into a tree. Coutesy Melissa Blanton

Shelby Sudbrink, 17, was killed in January when her car crashed into a tree while she was on her way to pick up a friend to go to the beach. Sudbrink, who lived in Atascadero, was the captain of the varsity basketball team at Templeton High School. Hundreds of supporters gathered with the Sudbrink family for a ceremony before a Templeton High basketball game days after her death, one of the more emotional moments of the year in local sports.

Her family and close friends are keeping her memory alive with the Shelby Sudbrink Memorial Scholarship Foundation that plans to award an annual scholarship worth almost $10,000 over the course of the student’s college career.

Cal Poly men’s soccer routs UCSB

Cal Poly senior Adam Olsen scored a goal in his final game with the Mustangs, a 4-1 win over rivals UCSB. Travis Gibson

In front of 11,075 fans, the largest crowd to witness an NCAA soccer game in 2017, the Cal Poly men’s soccer team destroyed rival UC Santa Barbara by a score of 4-1 in October. It was just the third time in 24 meetings since 2007 that one side has defeated the other by more than a single goal. Seniors Adam Olsen and Kaba Alkebulan both had goals in their final matches as the Mustangs (7-10-1, 3-6-1) failed to advance to the postseason.

SLO High’s Callum Bolger caps incredible high school career

Callum Bolger capped a fantastic senior season with a state title in the 3,200-meter race. Bolger is now thriving at Stanford. Joe Johnston

San Luis Obispo High School’s Callum Bolger captured the second state title of his senior season this summer at the CIF State Track and Field Championship in Clovis with a dramatic win in the 3,200-meter race. The win made Bolger the first individual state champion from SLO County since Mission Prep’s Jordan Hasay won the 3,200-meter race in 2008. Bolger also won the Division 4 CIF Cross Country Championship a few months prior.

Bolger is now a distance runner at Stanford and coming off a successful freshman season. He was the No. 5 runner on a Stanford team that won its first PAC-12 Cross Country Championship in seven years and finished in fourth place at the NCAA Championships.

Travis Gibson: 805-781-7993, @TravisDgibson

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