2021: A year unlike any other for Cincinnati sports

Posted at 9:53 PM, Dec 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-26 11:30:57-05

CINCINNATI — While there might not be "a ton to do in Cincinnati," the city has had some great sports moments in 2021.

The Bearcats smashed college football’s glass ceiling by becoming the first school from a so-called “Group of Five” conference to advance to the sport's four-team playoff.

While in many ways it was the year of the Bearcat, several other highlights happened in Cincinnati sports this year.

Joe Burrow returned from a knee injury earlier than most believed possible. He and former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase have the Bengals in the hunt for the postseason for the first time since 2015. Chase, defensive end Trey Hendrickson and Joe Mixon were named to the Pro Bowl (with Burrow and four others named alternates).

The Bengals also debuted new stripes for the franchise’s first new look since 2004.

Despite a renaissance season from Joey Votto and all-star nods for outfielders Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker, the Reds failed to make the postseason, running out of gas in September.

The sport shut down in December as the owners locked out the players. The strike season of 1994 was the last time baseball has experienced a work stoppage.

While it may feel like the year of the Bearcat, it was not Cincinnati's day at Cintas Center earlier this month. Xavier beat UC 83-63 in the Crosstown Shootout.

FC Cincinnati opened TQL Stadium this year, but only won once in the West End. The new stadium did welcome back Cincinnati native Rose Lavelle, who scored in the fourth minute in the USWNT's game against Paraguay this September. The Mount Notre Dame graduate also assisted two goals in the 8-0 win.

The Western and Southern Open returned to Mason after a year away due to the pandemic.

Three Tri-state football teams celebrated state championships — Winton Woods,Beechwoodand Clinton-Massie. The Warriors routed Akron Archbishop Hoban to capture their second championship ever, while the Tigers and Falcons won close games to earn their hardware.

Mount Notre Dame basketball brought home its eighth state title, while the school's soccer team won its first state championship ever in November.

Trenton native Zach Apple won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics while swimming the anchor leg on the United States men's 4x100m freestyle relay team. Apple, Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni and Becker won the race in 3 minutes, 8.97 seconds, the third-fastest time in history.

The year isn’t over. UC football continues its run to a national title on New Year’s Eve against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.

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