While it's always difficult compiling these Best Of.. pieces, trying to summarize the spring of 2019 proved particularly daunting.
Aside from there once again being a bevy of quality options to choose from, the biggest challenge arose from an extremely compressed postseason schedule that, at times, made providing in-person coverage a difficult task.
With seven local teams from four different sports playing in state tournaments in three separate locations on the same weekend, it was admittedly challenging for me, a single human being with limited teleportation abilities, to see every big moment in person.
As a result, I must confess that some key moments, particularly those listed in the "Biggest Surprise" category, were taken from information gathered from second-hand sources. If you feel this adds a certain fraudulence to my analysis, well, I only partially disagree.
Enough undercutting own credibility. Here's the best of spring!
Best team: West Fargo Sheyenne girls tennis
Though they weren't the only state champion in the area, few teams were as dominant in their sport this spring (or for that matter, the 2018-19 school year) than the 22-0 Mustang girls tennis team.
Even in the rare matches where scores were close, the end result rarely felt in doubt thanks to the singles trio of Monti Knewtson, Preeti Chemiti and Mimi Gu, who had a combined record of 51-2 They weren't the only ones who were consistently dominant, as Sheyenne dropped one or fewer matches in 17 of its 22 wins.
The Mustangs even managed to save their best for last, cruising to three 5-0 wins at the state tournament, including a title match sweep of Fargo Davies, who twice played Sheyenne within a point during the season, which secured their second state championship in four seasons.
Best male athlete: Nsengiyumva Corode, West Fargo track
A front-runner to win this award-type thing all spring, Corode locked it up with a show-stopping performance on the first day of the Class A State Tournament in Bismarck.
Heavily favored to win the triple jump, Corode's recorded a distance of 47 feet, 1 1/2 inches on just his second jump of the day, breaking the previous state tournament record of 46-9, which had stood since 1998. On his final jump, surrounding by clapping teammates and cheering fans in a highly electric atmosphere, he not only eclipsed his tournament record, but also broke the previous West Fargo School record (47-2), with ease, recording a leap of 48-5.
For good measure, Corode captured a long jump state championship the following day, closing his high school career with a distance of 22-10 3/4.
Best female athlete: Preeti Chemiti, West Fargo Sheyenne girls tennis
Call this a "tie goes to the senior" situation, as there was little to separate Chemiti from freshman teammate and fellow unbeaten Mimi Gu, with whom she accumulated a 13-0 record en route to a doubles state title.
The doubles championship, her first in either singles or doubles competition, capped a great career for Chemiti, who was a key figure on Mustang teams that placed either first or second at state in all four of her high school seasons.
It also put an exclamation point on a senior season where accumulated a perfect 28-0 record.
Biggest surprise: How West Fargo won its state softball title
I was careful with the wording of this category, as the Packers winning a 24th state title in 25 seasons likely didn't send many jaws dropping to the floor.
That said, it's hard to imagine optimism was high when West Fargo, which had scored one run on two hits in its previous 13 innings of play against Bismarck Century, trailed 2-0 in the seventh inning of a Class A semifinal against the Patriots. The Packers topped those totals in that inning alone, as a three-run, three-hit frame was capped by back-to-back, two-out RBIs by Jadyn Iverson and Lauren Diemert in a rally that evoked a loud response of "Holy (swear word redacted)" from a certain reporter who was sitting in a Wendy's drive-thru window at the time.
The Packers did it again in the ensuing day's championship, overcoming a 6-3 deficit with a five-run sixth inning against Bismarck. Iverson was again responsible for the tying hit, a two-run homer, before freshman Sophie Ochocki brought the winning runs around with a two-out, two-run double, providing another memorable end to one of the state's most decorated athletic programs.
Best play: Usha Monger's game-winning state soccer goal vs. Fargo Davies
This matchup produced two contenders for this category, the first of which came via Tianna Daniels, who drilled home a goal from midfield to begin the second half of their May 11 meeting.
But Daniels' sophomore teammate Monger may have delivered an even greater soccer oddity when the teams met again in the third-place game of the state tournament...a buzzer-beating goal. As time was set to expire, Monger chased down a deflected shot by teammate Brooke Boyer and gave the Mustangs a 1-0 win by tapping home a winner just before time expired.
The goal was the first Monger scored at the varsity level and helped the Mustangs get payback on an Eagle team that defeated them 4-1 in the 2018 state championship game.
Well, this ended up being longer than I intended, so I'll be brief in closing and just say thanks to everyone who followed along during my first year on the West Fargo beat, even those of you who started social media campaigns to bring about my ouster.