Following are the 5 biggest sports stories in Union County for the 2021 calendar year, according to The Enquirer-Journal.

Weddington wins basketball title

1. The Weddington boys basketball team went 18-0 during the shortened 2021 season and won the 3A boys basketball state title with a 57-46 win over Northwood on March 6. 

The Warriors were led by junior Chase Lowe, who averaged a team-high 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Other players averaging at least 10 points per game were junior A.J. Cook (13.8) and senior Brock Bowen (10.3). As of Dec. 28, the Warriors boys basketball team is 29-0 in all competitions in 2021.

Spring football season

2. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 high school football season to be moved to the spring of 2021. Instead of starting games in August like normal, most teams began playing their first games back in late February.

There were several playoff teams from Union County, but the one that made the most noise was Monroe. The Redhawks advanced to the semifinals of the 3A state tournament before falling to Charlotte Catholic, 24-14. The Weddington football team fell in the second round of the 3AA tournament to Mount Tabor.

Watts drafted into WNBA

3. Back in April, former Weddington basketball star and Union County all-time leading scorer Stephanie Watts was drafted No. 10 overall by the Los Angeles Sparks. Watts is the highest selection of any former Union County player in any professional sports draft.

Watts was ultimately traded to Chicago before being released in June. Now, Watts is playing professionally for the Sydney Uni Flames. She scored 16 points in her season debut a few weeks ago.

Wingate wins College World Series

4. Perhaps the most surprising single thing to happen this calendar year was the Wingate baseball team winning the Division 2 College World Series. The Bulldogs lost their opening game of the double-elimination tournament but went on to win five straight games to capture the program's first championship.

Wingate was only the third team in D2 history to win the CWS after losing its opening game since the tournament moved to an eight-team format and the first since Florida Southern did it in 2005. This was the first CWS appearance in Wingate baseball history and the school's first national title since the Wingate men's soccer team won the 2016 Division 2 national title.

Former Piedmont standout David Nash -- a redshirt senior -- was named to the all-tournament team after throwing a complete game while allowing one run and striking out seven in Wingate's 5-1 win over Seton Hill during the tournament.

Cuthbertson sweeps states

5. Back in June, the Cuthbertson girls and boys track and field teams won the 3A state outdoor meets. This was the first time ever either the Cuthbertson girls or boys had won an outdoor title.

Leading the charge for the Cavaliers was sophomore Alyssa Preisano, who won the 800- and 1,600-meter races. Preisano's time of 4:57.34 in the 1,600-meter race set a new 3A state meet record. Cuthbertson's girls also won the 4X800 relay.

On the boys side, senior Aidan McNally won the 400-meter race with a personal-best time of 48.33. The Cuthbertson boys also won the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay races.

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