What was Seattle's sports story of the year?
We end the 2012 sports year with the Seahawks steaming toward the playoffs and the possibility of the NBA returning to Seattle more real than at any time since the Sonics left. But those were just some of the stories. Check out the highlights and then vote for your favorite below:
-- Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson emerges as a star, leading the Seahawks to consecutive 50-point games this month. It helps that Marshawn Lynch has turned into one of the best running backs in the NFL. The Seahawks have won their share of close games, including a victory decided by Golden Tate’s controversial TD catch that helped end the officials lockout.
-- Chris Hansen’s proposed NBA-NHL arena in Sodo creates controversy, but receives approval from the Seattle City and Metropolitan King County councils. Now all Hansen has to do is find NBA and NHL teams.
-- Felix Hernandez throws a perfect game in a Mariners season that didn’t offer much else to cheer about. Six Mariners pitchers combined on a no-hitter but the Mariners hitters struggled, again, leading the team to move in the fences at Safeco Field.
-- The hiring of Mike Leach to coach Washington State’s football team made news. Then Leach kept making news but won just three games in a wild first season that included accusations of abuse and an overtime victory in the Apple Cup.
-- Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian earns two Olympic gold medals, becoming the first U.S. swimmer to win the 100-meter freestyle in 24 years. Sue Bird and Hope Solo were among other state athletes to win gold.
-- The unbeaten Bellevue High School football team earns the No. 1 national ranking, wins its fifth consecutive Class 3A state championship behind its dominant defense.
-- The Washington Huskies go to their third straight bowl game behind a defensive turnaround that began with Justin Wilcox replacing fired coordinator Nick Holt.
-- Western Washington wins the NCAA Division II men’s basketball title. Longtime coach Brad Jackson leaves after the season, taking a job as an assistant coach on Lorenzo Romar’s Washington staff.
-- Max Browne commits to USC, then leads unbeaten Skyline to the Class 4A state football title with a record-setting season. Earlier this month he was named the Gatorade national player of the year.
-- Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten help the Washington Huskies win the Pac-12 regular-season title but they miss the NCAA tournament after losing early in the conference tournament. Ross and Wroten were later the first UW teammates selected in the first round of the NBA draft the same year.
-- Washington’s men’s crew is dominant, winning another IRA national varsity eight and becoming the first team to sweep all five races at the IRAs.
-- Sounders FC trades for forward Eddie Johnson, who earns the MLS comeback player of the year award and leads the U.S. National men’s team.