Top 13 sports performances of 2016

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BRIDGEPORT, W.VA (WDTV) - 13 - We begin the list of the top performances with one of the best efforts in WVU football history. It is a performance somewhat overshadowed because it came in a 28-point loss. On November 17th, WVU junior running back Justin Crawford rushed for 331 yards against Oklahoma on 24 carries. He finished the game thirteen yards short of Tavon Austin's single-game school rushing record.

12 - Performance #12… 30-win seasons are rare in high school baseball with a compressed schedule and a short window to get games in around the spring weather. But the Bridgeport Indians accomplished the feat in 2016, ending the year 30-6 while collecting their third consecutive Class "AA" state championship.

11 - Performance #11… College softball pitchers can rack up a lot of innings, but Hannah Vet's performance in the Mountain East Conference Tournament Championship round was brilliant. Needing to beat Charleston twice to win the title, the West Virginia Wesleyan sophomore tossed a 5-hit shutout to win game one. She then pitched into the sixth in game two, then re-entered in the seventh to close out a 5-3 win, giving the Bobcats their first MEC tourney championship. Vet logged 13 and 2/3 innings, allowing just one run.

10 - Performance #10… Another lengthy pitching performance in a postseason tournament. In the Big 12 tourney opener against Oklahoma, WVU senior Ross Vance was pressed into relief duty after starter Michael Grove was injured just two batters into the game. Vance went the rest of the way, tossing 8 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball allowing just one hit in the 6-0 win.

9 - Performance #9… A pair of local athletes dominated the girls state track and field championship. Clay-Battelle senior Hannah Carreon swept all four of her events, winning the 100, 200, the 300 hurdles and setting a state record in the 100 hurdles. Bridgeport junior and WVU-bound McKenna Smith also won four events, setting state records in the 100, 200, 300 hurdles and a new all-classes record in the 400.

8 - Performance #8… The best season in the history of Gilmer County football was authored by the 2016 Titans. Steve Shuff's crew went 11-1, falling to the eventual state champions from Saint Marys in the quarterfinals. Gilmer set a program record for victories and posted their first winning season in three decades.

7 - Performance #7… Philip Barbour has long established themselves as of the premier volleyball programs in the state. This year's performance raised the bar even higher. The Colts went 21-3-4 en route to the Class "AA" state title. Their level of play in the postseason was impressive. PB was all seven of their postseason match ups, dropping only a single set in the process.

6 - Performance #6… Fairmont State football turned in the program's best season in five decades. The Falcons went 10-2, advancing to the national playoffs for the first time since 1988. The ten wins were the most ever in a single-season for FSU and they finished second in the MEC behind national semifinalist Shepherd.

5 - Performance #5… Season-long excellence for the WVU women's soccer team. The Mountaineers were ranked #1 in the national coaches poll for the majority of the year. Nikki Izzo-Brown's crew went 23-2-2, advancing all the way to the national championship game. West Virginia closed the season with Big 12 regular season and tournament titles and a #2 national ranking.

4 - Performance #4… At times overlooked in the local sports landscape, the WVU rifle team enjoyed success at the national and international levels in 2016. The Mountaineers won their fourth consecutive and eighteenth overall national championship in March. Then in August, sophomore Ginny Thrasher claimed the first gold medal of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, winning the ten meter air rifle competition.

3 - Performance #3… For the first time in fifteen years, a Class "AAA" school swept both the boys and girls basketball state championships. The Morgantown ladies completed a 3-peat with a win over Huntington. A week later, the Mohigan boys also defeated the Highlanders in overtime, giving MHS their first-ever boys hoop title.

2 - Performance #2… The dethroning of one of the state's best basketball dynasty by the crew from Glenville. The Gilmer County Titans a 42-41 win over Huntington St. Joseph's in the Class "A" state championship game. The Titans were seeded second and entered states at 22-2, yet they were underdogs in the matchup. They became the first public school to win a Class "A" title in 13 years. Kylie Shuff led the way for Gilmer with twenty points.

1 - Performance #1… And finally, the performance of the year in local sports… Fairmont Senior's run to the Class "AA" state boys basketball title will long be remembered but the play of Darhius Nunn was the stuff of legend. In three state tourney games, Nunn played all 96 minutes. He scored 54 points, dished out 21 assists and had 15 steals in wins over Bluefield, Bridgeport and Poca.