What a year.
From a tennis court in Vineland to Lincoln Financial Field, from Anaheim, California, to Wildwood, there were noteworthy accomplishments and feats.
On the professional front, Philadelphia Eagles fans are still enjoying a thrilling ride on the Wentz Wagon, even though its driver is gone for the season.
And who knows? They may even win their first NFL championship in 57 years.
Speaking of drivers, Stafford Township native Martin Truex Jr. turned in one of the most dominant seasons in recent history en route to winning the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup championship.
Here are 10 special moments that helped make 2017 special.
10. Tess Fisher nets a championship. Fisher, a senior at Vineland High School, turned in the most dominant season of any local girls tennis player. She went 45-0 and capped it by winning the state individual girls singles championship. Fisher, who is headed to Rutgers University, set a state record for career victories while earning a 159-3 record.
9. End of an era. Dave Troiano retired as Wildwood High School girls basketball coach in October, ending an extraordinary career. He posted a 682-326 record in 39 seasons and helped the Warriors win four state Group I championships and nine S.J. titles. And he accomplished it while coaching at one of the state’s smallest schools.
8. “Come Fly With Me. ...” Wildwood Crest light-heavyweight Chuck Mussachio, one of the best and most popular local fighters for more than a decade, announced his retirement in January. Mussachio (19-4-2, 5 KOs), 38, would enter the ring with his trainer/father Al Mussachio to Frank Sinatra music and often wore a fedora.
It has no playoff implications this time, but games between the longtime NFC East rivals are almost always compelling. Philadelphia clobbered Dallas 37-9 in their first meeting of the season.
7. Coe qualifies for major championship. Joanna Coe, a 2007 Oakcrest High School graduate, placed second in the LPGA T&CP National Championship in September to qualify for the 2018 Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club outside Chicago in June. Coe, 28, is the director of junior golf at Baltimore Country Club in Maryland.
6. Szcz the Day. In the season after they won the World Series, the Chicago Cubs traded Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate Matt Szczur to the San Diego Padres in May. Szczur, an outfielder, has been an even bigger hit off the field, however. He has raised thousands of dollars in support of bone marrow transplants through his Matthew Szczur Foundation via the sale of Szcz the Day shirts, original paintings and his annual Szcz the Day fundraiser.
5. It’s Destin-y. Mainland Regional High School swimmer Destin Lasco won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke at the state Meet of Champions as a freshman last winter and set state records in both events. He also anchored the Mustangs’ winning 400 freestyle relay.
4. Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame created. Although it’s been going through a slump in recent years, Atlantic City has been synonymous with big-time boxing for decades. That history was celebrated in May with the creation of the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. The late Arturo Gatti, local trainer Bill Johnson, promoter Don King and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson were among the members of the inaugural class.
3. Mike Trout hits a milestone. Trout, a 2009 Millville High School graduate, suffered through some injuries for the first time in his career but still enjoyed a solid season for the Los Angeles Angels. One of his highlights came in late September when he smashed his 200th career home run. Trout, who turned 26 in August, joined Hall of Famers Jimmy Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in history with 200 homers and 1,000 hits by their age-25 season.
2. Eagles flying high. The Eagles are enjoying a special season. At 13-2, they’re one win away from setting a franchise record for victories. In addition to winning the NFC East, they have home-field advantage for the upcoming playoffs.
Three-and-out with the veteran defensive back.
1. Martin Truex Jr. laps the field. Truex, who grew up in Stafford Township, entered the final race of the NASCAR Cup Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month needing only to finish ahead of three other drivers to claim the series championship. He wound up winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 to put an exclamation point on an amazing season.
David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears in Wednesday’s and Sunday’s print editions and online.
Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg