A little over a week ago I posted a poll not he top sports stories of the year. You all voted, so here they are:
10. Women’s Track & Field Finishes 8th at NCAA Meet (5 votes) - It was the best finish in program history and the 4x400 meter relay team very nearly won a national title before fading late and getting caught from behind. Purdue finished with 34 points overall, just 19 behind eventual champion USC. Purdue recorded the following performances:
Brionna Thomas - Third in the 400 meters.
Chloe Abbott - Fifth in the 400 meters.
Devynne Charlton - Second in the 100-meter hurdles.
Symone Black - Fourth in the 400-meter hurdles.
4x400 Meter Relay - Second Place.
Savannah Carson - Sixth in the Long Jump.
Micaela Hazelwood - 10th in the Discus.
9. Purdue Baseball Reaches NCAA Tournament (6 votes) - On April 14th Purdue was shelled at home by Minnesota 18-8 to fall to 15-15. The following Tuesday a 3-1 win at Indiana State in 10 innings started a tremendous finishing kick where the Boilers won 22 of the next 26 games to reach the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in program history. Purdue had a program best five weekend sweeps of Big Ten foes in Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland, Northwestern, and Michigan. Purdue ended up finishing second in the league and wins over Ohio State, Michigan, and Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament sealed a No. 2 seed in the Chapel Hill regional. The Boilers would lose twice to Houston once there, but a win over North Carolina A&T in an elimination game gave Purdue just its second NCAA win ever and as many as 38 wins overall for only the second time. This was all after going a dismal 10-44 just two years prior. Jason McGowan and Nick Dalesandro were later both drafted in the MLB Draft.
8. Steele Johnson Wins 1-Meter NCAA Championship (7 votes) - It was a fifth career national championship for Johnson, who already has an Olympic medal to his credit as well. A foot injury has limited him his season, but he is second in school and NCAA history in terms of total titles behind David Boudia.
7. All-Americans Everywhere (9 votes) - In addition to All-America honors for the above mentioned divers and track athletes Purdue had several other All-Americans. Carsen Edwards was a Second Team and Third Team All-American by a few services and won the Jerry West Award. Rondale Moore was Purdue’s first All-American in football since Ryan Kerrigan. Sheridan Atkinson was named a First Team All-American in volleyball while Blake Mohler was a Second Team selection. Punter Joe Schopper was also named as an Academic All-American.
6. Football Beats Three Ranked Teams (12 votes) - Purdue had lost 18 straight games against top 25 opponents since its last win over one, and that was against a 2011 Illinois team hat lost its final 6 games of the season. It makes perfect sense, then, that the Boilers were a spotless 3-0 against top 25 teams. Purdue beat Boston College, Ohio State, and Iowa all at home while they were ranked. Ironically, Purdue would go 0-4 against unranked teams at home, losing three of those not he final play of the game.
5. Jeff Brohm Signs Too 25 Recruiting Class (18 votes) - It was Purdue’s best recruiting class in 15 years and one we will rely on heavily in 2019. Purdue features only 22 scholarship juniors and seniors on the 2019 roster. They are the remaining players from the Darrell Hazell regime, so the 2019 season will be the first to rely primarily on Brohm’s recruits.
4. Isaac Haas Breaks his elbow (21 votes) - It wouldn’t be a promising Purdue basketball season without a “what if”. The Boilers won 30 games for the first time in program history. We came about as close as you can get to a second straight Big Ten title without winning it (a single rebound). We received our highest seed in the NCAAs since 1998, but Dominik Heinzl got tangled with Haas and pulled him to the floor, shattering his elbow Purdue’s Final Four hopes ended. Would we have beaten Texas Tech and then Villanova with a healthy Haas? It remains to be seen, but Purdue certainly would have had a much better shot. It was a bittersweet ending to four great careers.
3. Men’s Basketball Wins Record 30 games, Reaches Sweet 16 (30 votes) - It was a great, but ultimately frustrating season. Haas, Vincent Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Dakota Mathias, and Carsen Edwards had Purdue among college basketball’s elite for most of the season. A school record 19-game winning streak saw the Boilers get as high as No. 3 nationally. It seemed like a second straight Big Ten title and No. 1 seed were assured, but a missed rebound at home vs. Ohio State started a three-game Big Ten losing streak. For the second time under Matt Painter and only the second time in Big Ten history a team won at least 15 conference games, but did not win at least a share of the league title. Purdue would finish second in the World University Games, Second in the Big Ten, Second in the Big Ten Tournament, and reach the second weekend of the NCAAs, but it was agonizingly close to being so much more. Purdue’s five regular season losses were by 15 total points. And before you can say Painter can’t win close games this crew won seven games by 5 points or less.
2. Jeff Brohm Turns Down Louisville (220 votes) - The bowl game loss was anti-climactic, but the Boilers faced a tense few weeks after Louisville fired Bobby Petrino. They came hard after Brohm, the native son, but he ultimately turned them down. It remains to be seen how it works out as Purdue is 13-13 under Brohm in two seasons, but there is little question that he has rebuilt the entire culture of the program. After as bad as things were under Hazell 13-13 is a triumph, and several of those 13 losses were as close as can be. In a few years we may look on Brohm turning down Louisville as a landmark day.
- Purdue 49, #2 Ohio State 20 and Tyler Trent’s Story (747 votes) - Could it really be anything else? Tyler’s story has captivated the nation and I am convinced it has kept him alive as long as he has fought so far. That night in West Lafayette was magical as Purdue not only beat the No. 2 Buckeyes, but stomped them before a national TV audience. It was the biggest win for the program probably since the 2000 season and the highest rated we have beaten in more than three decades. The lasting impact is Tyler though. He has inspired so many and has raised so much money for cancer research because of his humility and desire to serve. Even in his short time left he is still working hard and striving to achieve more so others might benefit. Tyler is a true Boilermaker.