SAN DIEGO — As 2019 comes to a close, we take a look back at the best San Diego sports stories of the year.
It was a hard list to narrow down. In the past year, Encinitas resident Mitchy Brewsco landed the first 1260 in history. The San Diego Fleet came and went. Landon Donovan signed with the San Diego Sockers and brought a USL team to America’s Finest City. Gary and Mary West from Rancho Santa Fe saw Maximum Security win and lose the Kentucky Derby, a disqualification the first of its kind in the sport. The San Diego Seals made it to the playoffs in their inaugural season. The San Diego Gulls advanced to the Calder Cup Western Conference Finals. Daulton Hommes led Point Loma Nazarene all the way to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball championship game for the first time in school history.
Here are FOX 5’s top sports stories of 2019:
5) Torrey Pines High School Girls Volleyball: The lady Falcons became national champions for the first time in school history to cap off a remarkable season. Torrey Pines ended the season on a 23-match winning streak to finish with a record of 39-2 that also saw them win their first state title.
4) San Diego State Football/Men’s Basketball: The Aztecs football team won 10 games for the third time in five years and won the New Mexico Bowl, their first bowl victory since 2016. It’s not even March but the madness on the basketball court is back at Viejas Arena as the 2019-2020 SDSU’s Men’s Basketball team is off to its second-best start in school history.
3) Kawhi Leonard: The SDSU product led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title and won his second career NBA Finals MVP award. Leonard returned to Southern California and signed with the L.A. Clippers in the offseason.
2) Stephen Strasburg: The West Hills High School graduate and fellow Aztec helped the Washington Nationals win the World Series for the first time in franchise history and also earned MVP honors. Strasburg and Leonard became the first players from the same university to win finals MVP awards in the same year.
1) Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.: The rebirth of the San Diego Padres infield began in Spring Training with a record-setting $300 million contract for All-Star third baseman Manny Machado. Then, exciting top prospect Fernando Tatis J. made the opening day roster and both have shown glimpses of what could be a bright future for the Friars. They looked great on the field together and may look even better next year when they bring back the brown.