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Sports

2012 sports moments to remember

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 07:24 PM

David Price stood in a near-empty Tropicana Field early one November evening and nearly sweated through his suit as he listened for his name to be called on live national TV as the American League Cy Young Award winner. In 2012, Price became the first Ray to win 20 games in a season and led the AL with a 2.56 ERA. He beat Detroit's Justin Verlander by four points for the award. "I would love to be in this position more times," Price said. "Very humbled and very blessed to be here right now."

London calling for Colwill

Chris Colwill went from third place to first place during his final six dives at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June in Federal Way, Wash., to earn his second trip to the Summer Olympics in the men's 3-meter springboard. The Brandon native took his first lead in the competition and earned his best score — 99.75 — when he produced a near-flawless reverse 31/2 somersault. "I didn't really worry about where I was because I've been training a lifetime for this, and I know how to do it," Colwill said.

Finally, Fenlon cuts down the net

Joe Fenlon drove the bus that took the Tampa Prep boys basketball team to the state final four, something he has done many times during his long career. But the trip home in March included an unfamiliar yet welcome passenger — the Class 3A championship trophy. Tampa Prep's 58-50 victory against Weston Sagemont in Lakeland added the elusive state title to Fenlon's impressive résumé that lists more than 600 wins. It was Fenlon's eighth trip to the final four and fourth trip to the state title game. "I will cherish this forever," Fenlon said.

Green goes above and beyond

Hillsborough High junior Jeremiah Green outdistanced the field at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in June in Greensboro, N.C., when he won the triple jump with a personal-best distance of 50 feet, 10.25 inches. Green, who cleared 50 feet on three jumps, became the second Hillsborough County product to win a national high school track and field title, joining Dentarius Locke of Chamberlain, who won the 100 and 200 in 2009. "I surprised myself a lot," said Green, who a month earlier won the state Class 3A triple jump title.

Astros select McCullers

Just like his dad, who was selected by the Phillies in 1982, Lance McCullers Jr. was taken with the 41{+s}{+t} pick in the baseball draft, going to the Astros in the sandwich round of June's draft. The right-hander, who was 13-0 with 140 strikeouts during his senior season at Jesuit High, became the 23{+r}{+d} player from Hillsborough County to be selected in the first round of the draft. "I'm extremely honored and blessed to have been selected. I couldn't be more excited and ready to get started," McCullers said after receiving a $2.5 million signing bonus.

Taking a pass in the slot from Marty St. Louis, Lightning forward Steven Stamkos sent a wrist shot to the back of the net for his 60th goal of the season, becoming the first player to reach that plateau since Washington's Alex Ovechkin during the 2007-08 season. Stamkos' goal came in Winnipeg during the final game of the season and drew a standing ovation from the crowd that had booed whenever Stamkos touched the puck that night. "It was unbelievable," Stamkos said. "I had goose bumps."

Run, Doug, run

Four touchdowns and 251 yards rushing? Sounds like a pretty good month for some NFL running backs. Except Bucs rookie Doug Martin did that in one November afternoon against the Raiders in Oakland. Martin ran for scores of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards while setting the franchise record for rushing yards in a game. He also became the first running back in NFL history to have three touchdown runs of at least 45 yards in one game. "I got to step back and just look at it. It's surreal right now," Martin said after the game.

March Madness

Sent to Dayton, Ohio, to play California in the "First Four" in March, the USF Bulls delivered the program's first NCAA basketball tournament victory with a 65-56 victory to earn the 12th seed in the Midwest Region. "We've known all along we have a good team," USF junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick said. "Now we get a chance to show that to the nation." The Bulls, making only their third NCAA tourney appearance, danced for another night by beating fifth-seeded Temple, 58-44, to advance to the round of 32. The run came to an end with a 62-56 loss to another of the tournament's feel-good stories — No. 13 seed Ohio.

USF softball joins the elite

A ground ball to third, the throw to first for the final out in a 2-1 victory against Hofstra and the USF softball team was headed to Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series. The Bulls beat Florida 1-0 for the region title, then took two out of three against visiting Hofstra for the Super Region championship during its groundbreaking season before losing to Oklahoma and LSU at the World Series. "I knew what they could do," coach Ken Eriksen said. "I've been around them all season."

Oh so close for Murray

It was an agonizing end to the SEC championship game when the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs fell 5 yards short of toppling No. 2 Alabama in a 32-28 loss on Dec. 1 at the Georgia Dome. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said he had trouble sleeping for a few nights after the game, which ended when receiver Chris Conley caught a deflected pass and was tackled at the 5-yard line as time expired. Murray, a Plant High product, had career bests in passing yards (3,466) and completion percentage (65.4) in leading Georgia to back-to-back SEC title games. He said he will make a decision on whether to turn pro after the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska.

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