It was an unforgettable year of sports stories in the Rockford region, and as is annual custom, the 13 Sports Authority counts down the top 13 sports stories of the past calendar year, one that 815 fans won't soon forget.
Here's the countdown in descending order:
13. Hononegah's Payton Staman wins a diving state championship, the only state champion in Indians' swimming and diving history.
12. Kate Foster's Spirit of the Flame award after fighting cancer and losing a leg to the disease. USA Gymnastics bestowed the honor on Foster this year.
11. The Year of the Slattery - ISU's Sean Slattery kicked the game-winning field goal against Northwestern, Kyle Slattery recorded his first ever ace in addition to repeating as Men's City champioon, and Jesse Slattery won the Rockford Girls Classic.
10. The Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Blackhawks extend their affiliation agreement for five more years, guaranteeing the continuation of an exciting few years of hockey in downtown Rockford.
9. Belvidere North's girls cross country team wins state as senior Jenna Lutzow caps off an impressive career with an individual crown.
8. Rockford Lutheran's Courtney Sockwell, Freeport's Deion McShane, and Rockford Christian's 4x800 meter relay team all take state titles on the track.
7, Dakota's wrestling program adds another team state title to the case, winning their fourth in a row. Their seniors won state all four years on the mat.
6. Byron's big year - girls basketball wins the 2-A state championship, Nolan Baker and Brady Wilsie win state titles in wrestling, and Tigers boys golf repeats as 1-A state champions.
5. Rock Valley College's tradition of success - RVC men's basketball wins a second national title in three years, and Lady Golden Eagles softball wins its third title in a row.
4. Forreston football's undefeated season, ending with a 1-A state championship, the second in three years for the Cardinals.
3. Dean Lowry drafted by the Green Bay Packers - the Boylan and Northwestern graduate goes in the 4th round to the Packers, and has made an instant impact for the team, recording sacks in back-to-back games in December as a rookie.
2. Fred VanVleet goes pro - the Auburn graduate signs with the Toronto Raptors as an undrafted free agent, and makes immediate contributions at the NBA and NBA D-League level after a successful four-year run at Wichita State.
1. THE END OF THE CURSE - the Chicago Cubs put their 108-year drought to rest with a dramatic Game 7 victory in extra innings of the 2016 World Series to win the franchise's first world championship since 1908, setting off a joyous celebration for the team's long-suffering fanbase.