WASHINGTON — A note, before we begin. We debated whether or not “top” should mean all positive moments, or if it should include the full spectrum of important results. In the end, we decided the latter was the only fair way to go. That means that this list includes some painful memories for our local teams as well as triumphant ones. This being D.C., it seemed the only fair way to tell the full story of the year that was.
We debated whether or not “top” should mean all positive moments, or if it should include the full spectrum of important results. In the end, we decided the latter was the only fair way to go. That means that this list includes some painful memories for our local teams as well as triumphant ones. This being D.C., it seemed the only fair way to tell the full story of the year that was.
10. James Madison football wins its second FCS national title
Harrisonburg may be on the fringe of our listening area, but the Dukes are the most successful local college football team we’ve got right now. After hammering South Dakota State last weekend, JMU will be playing for a second straight national title. The Dukes knocked off top-seeded North Dakota State up in the Fargodome en route to last year’s title game, a 28-14 victory over Bo Pelini’s Youngstown State. They haven’t lost since September 17, 2016 to FBS North Carolina, a run of 26 straight victories.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
9. The Penguins dump the Caps (again)
Once they fell behind 2-0, and even more so when they went down three-games-to-one, the Caps’ demise at the hands of the hated Penguins seemed inevitable. But they fought back with a victory in Game 5, then went to Pittsburgh and stunned the crowd in Game 6, scoring the first five goals en route to a 5-2 triumph. That meant a home Game 7, a chance to exorcise the demons once and for all. Oh well.
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Patrick Smith
8. John Wall’s Game 6 game-winner vs. Celtics
The Wizards are still looking for their first Eastern Conference Finals berth in decades, but don’t blame John Wall. He kept Washington’s season alive with this deep, hand-in-the-face three to win Game 6 against the Celtics, leaping onto the scorer’s table and raising his arms to the crowd after the final buzzer. The Wiz couldn’t get a road win over the top-seeded Celtics in Game 7, but this shot was arguably the biggest Wall has hit in his career to date.
(Getty Images/Patrick Smith)
7. Local man shatters world record, finishing seven marathons on seven continents in seven days
Ultramarathon running may not register high on your radar of sports interests. But there was probably no singular athletic achievement more impressive last year than what Arlington resident Mike Wardian pulled off. Simply completing the World Marathon Challenge — seven marathons, on seven different continents, on seven consecutive days — is madness enough. That he averaged 2:45:57 per marathon, which equals 6:30 miles over better than 183 miles, is insanity.
(Courtesy: Mike Wardian/World Marathon Challenge)
Courtesy: Mike Wardian/World Marathon Challenge
6. Marcus Johannson ties it in the 3
The Caps bowed out before the Stanley Cup Finals yet again, but not before getting the kind of win that always seems to break against them. After falling behind (no thanks to a terrible bounce) on the road in the third period of Game 6 against the Leafs, the Caps saw Marcus Johannson tuck the equalizer home to force overtime. Six-and-a-half minutes into the first OT, Johannson did it again, scooping the Justin Williams rebound and sliding it home for a series-winning goal.
rd, wins it in OT to send Caps past Maple Leafs
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
5. Congressional Baseball Game takes on new importance
The Congressional Baseball Game has always been a quirky, inside-the-Beltway local tradition for the cross section of national pastime lovers and policy wonks. But after a gunman opened fire on the Republican team practice the day before the game this year, the event was thrust into the national spotlight. In a year of bitter partisanship, it provided a few hours of respite for those involved as well as the crowd watching in person and on television.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
4. Stephen Strasburg, Michael A. Taylor keep the Nats season alive
With all the confusion and controversy heading into Game 4 of the NLDS, there was every reason to believe the Nats could easily collapse and fold. Instead, despite being under the weather, Stephen Strasburg threw perhaps the best game of his life. But despite allowing just three hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out 12, it seemed like it might be for naught until Michael A Taylor crushed a shot through a fierce wind and into the basket over the Wrigley Field wall for a grand slam to put the game out of reach.
3. Giants pick off Kirk Cousins to end Washington’s playoff hopes
This play felt like it was unfolding in slow motion as it happened. As the pocket starts to collapse, Cousins pulls the ball down and, for a split second, looks like he might take off running. Then he reloads, off-balance, floating the ball late over the middle. In a game against an already-eliminated also-ran, it never should have come down to the final drive. But once it did, the creeping feeling of inevitability was always there, that the back-breaker was coming, sooner or later. With another disappointing season coming to a close and more questions than answers about the Burgundy and Gold’s future, this may have been the closest the team will get to the postseason for a while.
2. Maryland men’s lacrosse wins its first national title since 1975; Women’s team wins third title in four years for historic double
The Maryland women’s lacrosse team is an absolute powerhouse, winning three of the last four national titles and 13 overall since 1986. While they continued to dominate in 2017, the men finally broke through, winning their first title in 42 years. That gave the Terps a sweep of the sport for the first time in school history and marked just the third time any university had accomplished the feat.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
1. Game 5 strikes again
When people pressed me for my prediction of what would happen in Game 5 of the NLDS, I said only two things — that I thought it would be high-scoring, and that things would get weird. But none of us could have predicted the alternate dimension into which that game slipped, producing one of the strangest displays of baseball any of us have ever seen. The end result was all too predictable, though, to any D.C. sports fan.
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Win McNamee