June 10, 2023


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Longhorns, take a bow after a blockbuster year

  • Texas crushed it in almost every single sport — even basketball had a good regular season.
  • The Longhorns won three national championships for the first time in 21 years.

Summer’s here, and one more Texas athletic year is in the books, save for the Longhorns baseball team, which is playing so well it might actually be the last team standing in the country.

Needless to say, it’s been a banner season for the burnt orange.

I mean, like really fly some banners.

I’d say three national championships — in women’s tennis, rowing, and men’s swimming and diving — qualify as an insanely crazy-good year, the most in a single season in 21 years. Furthermore, as many as 12 UT teams finished with top-10 rankings, the most since the same number in 2004-05, and seven of those had lofty top-five finishes.

It’s a wonder Texas can afford the light bill for all the times the Tower has been lit up in celebration.

So that brings us to our annual sports quiz, if you care to play along. No real homework necessary.

Texas' volleyball players celebrate their NCAA semifinal win over Wisconsin in April. The Longhorns fell to Kentucky in the national championship match. Texas is in the title hunt every year; could next season bring the trophy?

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1. Which team had the absolute best season?

(a) Men’s swimming and diving.

(b) Women’s tennis.

(c) Rowing.

(d) Volleyball.

(e) Baseball.

Answer: (b) You might have to check back at the end of the month on David Pierce’s baseball team because it entered the weekend just two wins away from a College World Series berth. For now I’ll take Howard Joffe’s female netters, who won 24 straight matches to claim the school’s fourth national title, but Eddie Reese’s bunch in the short suits pulled it off for a staggering 15th time.

2. Who was the Longhorns’ coach of the year?

(a) Eddie Reese, as always.

(b) Howard Joffe.

(c) David O’Neill.

(d) David Pierce.

(e) Jerritt Elliott.

(f) Vic Schaefer.

Answer: (c) I’m tired of giving it to Eddie every year. Besides, he’s retired, I think. Let’s spread the wealth and give it to O’Neill, the four-time national rowing coach of the year. Oars up, everybody. He barely edges out Schaefer, who had an unlikely run to the Elite Eight in his first season.

Texas' Tara Davis takes her victory lap while wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat after winning the women's long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships Thursday in Eugene, Ore. It was her final college meet, and her grandfather gave her the boots for graduation.

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3. Name the athlete of the year.

(a) Sam Ehlinger.

(b) Peyton Sterns.

(c) Pierceson Coody.

(d) Tara Davis.

(e) Logan Eggleston.

(f) Ty Madden.

(g) Charli Collier.

(h) Drew Kibler.

Answer: (c). I have a soft spot for golf, so I’ll give it to Coody, who rose to be the No. 1 amateur golfer in the world for a bit and joined Cole Hammer on the U.S. Walker Cup-winning team. There were so many stellar candidates we really could have expanded this to the whole alphabet.

4. Which athlete overcame the most?

(a) Pitcher Tristan Stevens for persisting in a subordinate role to become No. 1 co-ace with Ty Madden.

(b) Guard Andrew Jones for whipping cancer’s butt.

(c) Lineman Derek Kerstetter for starting his comeback after his gruesome ankle injury against Kansas State.