1. Andrean football wins first state championship since 2004
The 59ers made a lot of history this fall, being only the second undefeated state champion from the area ranked No. 1 in the state.
Andrean won the Class 3A on Nov. 29 when the 'Niners beat Indianapolis Brebeuf, 35-27, at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was Andrean's first state title since 2004.
Trevor Berg rushed for 165 yards and two TDs. Matt DeSomer ran for 62 yards and one score and threw for 137 yards and another score. The biggest score, though, came from Donovan Chandler's 46-yard interception return with a minute left to ice the win. — Steve Hanlon
2. Bowman Academy boys basketball wins 2A state title
For the third time in four seasons the Bowman Academy boys basketball team advanced to play in the state championship at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Eagles won the Class 2A state crown by beating Linton-Stockton, 86-73, on March 23.
Davon Dillard led the way with 24 points. Antonio Pipkin and Justin King had 16 apiece, while Arthur Haggard had 15.
It was Bowman's first title since 2010, when the Eagles won the Class A state crown. With the win the Eagles were bumped up to Class 3A for the 2013-14 season by the IHSAA's "Tradition Factor."— Steve Hanlon
3. RailCats win American Association Championship
After failing to reach the league playoffs in their first two years in the American Association, the RailCats blazed through the 2013 postseason.
Longtime outfielders Mike Massaro and Adam Klein said they entered the season with the dedication to not just make the playoffs, but win the RailCats first Northern League championship since 2007.
The ‘Cats won the wildcard spot, edging out 2012 champion Winnipeg for the final spot in the playoffs. They then beat Fargo-Moorhead in four games to reach the finals to play Wichita, the Central Division winner and holder of the regular season's best record.
With a 9-4 opening win at home, the RailCats headed to Wichita with a 1-1 series tie. They didn't allow the Wingnuts a home win, capturing both games by a run.
The championship was the third for the RailCats, all under manager Greg Tagert. Klein, who hit .533 in the series with five RBIs and scored five runs with four walks, was named the series MVP. — Hillary Smith
4. Late-season push helps Portage win Class 4A state softball crown
Portage softball coach Lisa Hayes had an eventful spring, giving birth to her second child on Easter and watching her team blank Franklin Central 2-0 for the Class 4A state title on June 8.
"Getting to experience two of these great moments in the same two-month span is simply amazing," Hayes said.
Portage, ranked No. 19 in the final state poll, defeated No. 7 Crown Point in the sectional semifinals and then bested both No. 2 Northridge (2-0) and No. 5 Huntington North (2-1, nine innings) in the semistate. Kiley Jones tossed a two-hit shutout in the championship, while Lauren Murray's two-run double in the fourth — Portage's lone hit — was all the offense the team needed. Catcher Haley Hodges won the mental attitude award. — Jim Hunsley
5. Chesterton boys swimmers pick up program's third state title
Kyle Whitaker cannot say he's the only family member with a state team title. Younger brothers Aaron and Ethan helped the Trojans win their third state team crown.
“After watching Kyle and his team get their state titles (in 2008 and 09), it made me want to work hard for it,” Aaron said.
He broke Kyle's state record in the 100 fly and also the state mark in the 100 back. Teammate Blake Pieroni broke the record in the 100 free and also won the 200 individual medley. Pieroni and the Whitaker twins helped break the 400 free relay record. Pieroni and Aaron Whitaker also swam legs on the winning 200 free relay squad. -- Jim Hunsley
6. Crown Point wins state soccer title
The return of Bay Kurtz to Crown Point's boys soccer team this fall lived up to the hype and then some.
Kurtz finished with team highs of 19 goals and 14 assists in leading the Bulldogs to an undefeated season and the program's second state championship in three seasons after defeating Avon 3-1 in overtime.
Kurtz scored Crown Point's only goal in regulation, while younger brother Brad Kurtz and Nate Brower netted the other scores for the Bulldogs.
Crown Point goalkeeper Connor Keaveney notched six saves behind a stout defense led by senior defender Tod Oram.
"(Keaveney) has had our backs all season and I got his," Oram said. "This feels more real than the first one and I'm proud of every boy on this team."
"We started this season and teammates and friends, but we ended it as a family." — Matt Douthett
7. Perfection personified in wrestling
Year in and year out, the region leaves its mark at the state wrestling finals, and 2013 was no exception. Hanover Central junior Stevan Micic (113 pounds), Merrillville sophomore Bobby Steveson (170) and Lake Central junior Gelen Robinson (220) all garnered titles, finishing the season unbeaten to boot. Micic (48-0), the 2012 champion at 106, pinned his way to the finals, where he was pushed to the six-minute horn by Penn's Zachary Davis, prevailing 9-7.
Steveson (39-0) outlasted Riley LaFever (Carroll-Fort Wayne) 5-4. Robinson (49-0) won all four of his state matches by decision, including a 7-2 victory over Kokomo's Fletcher Miller in the finals.
The trio had all accepted college scholarships by the start of the 2013-14 season. Micic will wrestle at Northwestern. Steveson, who moved to Minnesota, has committed to the Golden Gophers and Robinson is Purdue-bound for football. — Jim Peters
8. Portage gets last laugh in gymnastics
Portage and Valparaiso met five times during the prep gymnastics season. The Vikings won the series 3-2, but the Indians captured the one that mattered most. In the state finals at Ball State, Portage edged Valparaiso to capture the crown. The Vikings were the 2012 runner-up and had won three consecutive titles between 2009 and 2011.
The Indians, who defeated the Vikings in the regular season to halt a string of dual wins dating back to 2007, won state for the second time. The first title came in 1975, the third year of the state tournament.
Mackenzie Barcelli, daughter of Portage coach Karen Barcelli, was the floor exercise and all-around champion, while Valpo's Morgan Algozine took firsts in vaulting and uneven bars. The region's 1-2 team finish was the first since 2004 and only the third all-time. — Jim Peters
9. Valpo's Dubsky endures rollercoaster finish to win state golf title
Valparaiso senior Harley Dubsky endured a triple bogey on No. 18, hanging on for a one-stroke victory and the state medalist crown.
Hamilton Southeastern's Mary Ellen Romero missed a par putt on the final hole, clinching the title for Dubsky, who's emotions ran the gamut.
"You can't win with a triple on the last hole, no way," said Dubsky after carding a 68 and 76 in her rounds. "No matter how good I shot (in the opening round), I just completely lost it."
The UNLV recruit also won the mental attitude award, and came around to a more-positive outlook.
"I did really well (in the first round)," she said. "That let me have that cushion." — Jim Hunsley
10. Bishop Noll girls volleyball team reaches state final
Even without a Greater South Shore Conference regular-season championship, Bishop Noll bowled through the Class 2A volleyball postseason to become the first team from Lake or Porter counties to ever reach the IHSAA state championship game.
In 2002, Highland was in the final four, but didn't reach the finals.
With only half of the team as club volleyball players, the Warriors also defied convention that says a team needs players with year-round experience.
Bishop Noll was swept by Providence in the title game, but the Warriors had swept five matches and then won the semistate finals in five games. — Hillary Smith