Athletes and coaches who’ve won championships have often said the only thing harder than making it to the top of one’s sport or league is staying there.
The girls’ soccer program at University School of Jackson did that this year when they won their second consecutive Division II-A state championship in October.
That feat is the reason the Lady Bruins are honored with the inaugural honor from The Jackson Post, Sports People of the Year.
The award is designed to honor the person or people who best exemplify excellence through competition during the previous calendar year, whether it be by winning a championship or showing determined competitiveness over the course of an entire season.
The Lady Bruins’ championship win came against Battle Ground Academy, who was playing in its fourth consecutive state championship game, winning the first two including one over the Lady Bruins in 2020. USJ won the game, 2-0.
Their state championship appearance came after the Lady Bruins defeated Silverdale Academy, a team whose school is in the host city of Chattanooga, 4-1.
USJ finished its season 19-2, continuing its run of success at the top of its classification and bringing another state championship to campus.
It came a year after the Lady Bruins went a decade without winning a championship despite coming close multiple times during that 10 years.
When USJ broke through for the title, it was the first championship for head coach Paul Conway, who’s been a mainstay for soccer in Jackson for two decades after coaching at Lambuth and leading the local travel club.
Since the season has ended, three seniors have solidified their intentions for soccer after high school is complete.
Morgan English signed with Mississippi State in November.
Betha Pucek and Lilly Kate Varino announced their commitment to Chattanooga.
Conway and the Lady Bruins will try to continue their run of success for a third consecutive championship in 2023 after losing 12 seniors from this year’s team.
Brandon Shields, email@example.com