It’s that time of the year again (the end, of course) where we look back at the last 12 months before the calendar runs out and a new year starts. But instead of talking about the best 10 moments of the year like usual, I figured I’d go a different direction: I’m going to write about the things that stuck out to me most in 2021.




The Nebraska Cornhuskers volleyball team, with Sterling native Lexi Rodriguez playing libero, finished second in the country Saturday night, falling to Big Ten rival Wisconsin 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament National Championship game in Columbus, Ohio. The Dixon girls basketball team won twice at the Ottawa tournament, while Rock Falls split two games at the Sterling Shootout, where the host Golden Warriors dropped a pair of games. The Sterling boys won their game at the Genesis Shootout at Augustana College.


The Morrison boys basketball team came back from a five-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter to defeat previously unbeaten Fulton 51-50 on Thursday night. Milledgeville and Eastland both picked up NUIC wins, while the West Carroll girls took third place at the Polo Holiday Tournament. On the mat, Newman's wrestlers swept a triangular against Morrison and Orion.


The Sterling boys swimming team won the title at the 11-team Pretzel Invitational in Freeport on Saturday, while the Dixon girls bowlers took second at the 10-team Panther Invitational hosted by United Township. The Rock Falls boys basketball team finished fourth at the Colmone Classic, and Sterling native Lexi Rodriguez and the Nebraska volleyball team are going to the Final Four after a 3-1 win over No. 2 seed Texas.



Seasons can be special for lots of reasons. For the Rock Falls and Sterling volleyball teams, that term took on completely different definitions in 2021. For their talent on the court, and their leadership on and off of it that helped both the Rockets and Golden Warriors find success in their own ways, Rock Falls senior Maya Sands and Sterling junior Grace Egan are the 2021 SVM Co-Players of the Year.