By any measure, 2015 has been a banner year for sports in and around Kansas City.
Especially, and quite literally, for the Royals, who’ll finally get to raise another World Series championship flag over Kauffman Stadium thanks to their five-game victory over the New York Mets in the Fall Classic.
But the Royals weren’t the only ones to win a title this year. Sporting KC claimed the U.S. Open Cup, Kansas played to a record 11th straight Big 12 men’s basketball championship (before being shocked by Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament), FC Kansas City won back-to-back National Women’s Soccer League crowns in the same year the U.S. won the Women’s World Cup, and Northwest Missouri State won its fifth national title in football.
Here are the top 10 regional storylines of 2015, as determined by members of The Star’s sports team.
1. Royals beat Mets in five games to win first World Series championship in 30 years, attract an estimated 800,000 for victory parade through downtown
2. Eric Berry’s fight back from a fall 2014 cancer diagnosis includes a full recovery and Pro Bowl nod in 2015
3. Chiefs win opener, lose five straight, then become first team in NFL history to win their next eight games
4. Mizzou football players’ strike, Gary Pinkel’s resignation after disclosing he has cancer, promotion of Barry Odom to head coach
5. Kansas wins 11th straight Big 12 basketball title, then loses 78-65 to Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament
6. K-State coach Bill Snyder is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame with a 187-94-1 record (not including 2015) in 23 seasons in Manhattan
7. Sporting Kansas City adds another title to its trophy case, winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
8. FCKC wins its second straight National Women’s Soccer League title after sending four players to U.S. team that wins World Cup
9. Northwest Missouri State wins fifth national championship, beating Shepherd 34-7 in the Division II title game at Sporting Park
10. Kansas volleyball team enjoys best season in program history, advancing to Final Four before losing to Nebraska in NCAA semifinals