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High Hopes: 2019’s Best TCU Sports Moments

Hey, it wasn’t all bad! Let’s remember some of the fun games, too.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, it wasn’t all bad. Though Colin tried to put you through TCU Athletics hell on Monday, I am here to try and drag you up from the muck and help you remember the good times.

I present to you, in no particular order, the ten best moments of TCU Athletics in 2019.

Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

  • The Frogs enjoyed some championships in 2019, but the biggest winners of all were the women of TCU’s Air Rifle team, who took home a National Championship in March in Morgantown, WV. Led by freshman Kristen Hemphill, who became the Frogs’ first individual Air Rifle National Champion and sophomore Elizabeth Marsh, who took home the smallbore title, the Frogs won their first natty since 2012 in the sport.
  • It was a disappointing season for TCU Basketball in a lot of ways, but there were some bright spots in 2019 for the Horned Frog hoopers, including an upset win over then #17 Iowa State. Three Frogs dropped 17 points (Desmond Bane, Kouat Noi, and Alex Robinson), but it was the Kendric Davis show; the freshman point guard had 22 as he took over down the stretch on 7-10 shooting. It was a critical road win for a TCU team that was in desperate need of a bubble-bolstering victory.
  • Speaking of basketball, you may have seen how the women’s 2019 is coming to a close — with a 9-2 record as they head to conference play. They’ll be looking to repeat some of their late-season success of the spring, when they won six of seven games, including five in a row and a victory over #18 Iowa State. The Frogs also sent two grads to the pros — center Jordan Moore and forward Amy Okonkwo. Though they fell short of making March Madness, they clearly built a foundation for the momentum that they’re riding into 2020.
  • A pair of Big 12 Champions highlight or next high; triple jumper Chengetayi Mapaya took home the title as did Lily Beckford (600-yard run). Mapaya wasn’t done though, as he took home a national championship in the same event on the final jump of his career, setting a personal best in the process. The four time All-American was TCU’s first track national champion since Ronnie Baker did it in the 60m in 2016.
  • They weren’t champs, but TCU Soccer played for a Big 12 title, losing a heart-breaker to WVU, and made their fourth straight NCAA Tournament. Though they fell 1-0 in the opener at Arizona, the Frogs graduated just two seniors and should have a bright future in 2020.
  • In talking about post-season tournaments, we would be remiss to not the run TCU Baseball made in the Big 12 Tournament last spring. It was a disappointing regular season for the Frogs, who finished under .500 in conference play (11-13), losing series to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas Tech. For a team that had such high hopes heading into the season — and one of the best pitchers in college baseball — it was hard to fathom them missing the postseason entirely (and for a second straight year). But, they weren’t going to go down without a fight, rolling through the conference tournament, upsetting #18 Baylor and #11 Oklahoma State in back to back games to make the championship round. Though they fell to the Cowboys in the final, we got one last vintage Jared Janczak performance and it was enough to convince the committee that they deserved a spot in the 64 team play-offs. TCU would not make it out of the regional round, but the future is bright in Funky Town for sure.
  • In addition to their strong finish, the Diamond Frogs got off to the best start of any TCU team in 2019 — whipping then #1 Vanderbilt 10-2 in their second game of the season. TCU jumper all over wunderkind pitcher Kumar Rocker and held the powerful Commodores offense at bay behind a strong Jake Eissler performance, while racking up the runs behind Austin Henry and Jake Guenther. The win justified the preseason hype and at least temporarily gave Frog fans hope that a return to Omaha wasn’t out of the question.
  • Baseball didn’t have all the success when it came to beating ranked teams; TCU Football’s utter demolition of a ranked University of Texas team restored order when it comes to this rivalry series. And it didn’t hurt that they did it in some flashy new kits, either. It was freshman quarterback Max Duggan’s coming out party, as the red-headed wonder threw for 300 yards and earned a place in TCU Football lore when he willed himself into the end zone for a decisive score, throwing up the Frogs as he took the Horns down. With the win, TCU made it 5 out of the last 6 over Texas, ensuring that it’s the purple people who run this state in college football. At least for a month, when Baylor took the mantle (despite the fact that MAX WAS IN). And honestly, you could argue that the 3OT loss was still one of the year’s best games, even if it ended in heartbreak for the Horned Frogs.
  • The best moment of the year for TCU Football might have come off the field though, when LJ Collier and Ben Banogu were selected in the first and second rounds, respectively, giving the Frogs a pair of early picks and furthering the narrative that Gary Patterson develops NFL talent — especially on the defensive side of the ball — at an elite clip. Neither player was a high-level recruit; Collier, out of tiny Munday, Texas, was a two star prospect whose only other offer was Texas Tech, and Banogu saw a late-high school knee injury shrink his opportunities, ending up at Louisiana Monroe before transferring to TCU. While Collier dealt with injuries in Seattle, limiting him to three tackles in just 11 games, Banogu came on strong late, finishing with 2.5 sacks, 11 tackles, and a forced fumble. Both are expected to be big time contributors in 2020.
  • Last, but certainly not least, was TCU Tennis’ run to the Elite Eight (once again). Despite Cameron Norrie turning pro in 2018, the Horned Frogs continued to play at a truly elite level under coach David Roditi, who shepherded a talented crew led by star Alex Rybakov deep into the NCAA Tournament once again. Rybakov for his part was exceptional individually as well, playing in the semi-finals of the singles tournament.

And hey, if these happy moments didn’t do much for you, don’t forget, we have a whole new year, and a whole new decade, ahead.

Let’s win lots and lots in 2020.