There were many local sports stories that captured the area’s attention this past year. Now it’s time to count down the top 10 from an eventful 12 months.

8. Volleyball excellence on display once again

Area volleyball teams had a ton of success during the regular season during the 2019 campaign — as always.

However, it was in the postseason that the local squads really began to shine.

For the second straight season, New Braunfels took down an Austin-area powerhouse in the opening round of the playoffs. The Lady Unicorns swept Westlake 3-0 at Johnson High School in Buda and capped their season with 30 victories.

The Cougarettes also claimed a bi-district trophy after taking care of business against Austin Bowie in three sets. Canyon collected 34 wins this year and finished second in District 26-6A behind eventual UIL 6A state tournament qualifier Clemens.

Meanwhile, the Lady Hawks continued their first-round dominance by winning their sixth straight bi-district match. Canyon Lake defeated Salado 3-1 in Georgetown.

The teams in TAPPS had even more success, as John Paul II advanced to the Class 4A state tournament in head coach Gabrielle Otero’s first season. New Braunfels Christian Academy captured the 3A state title and will be mentioned again later in the countdown.

7. Local billiards players making noise on a global stage

A local trio of up-and-coming billiards standouts have helped put the city of New Braunfels on the map on the national and world levels of competition.

Lazaro Martinez III and his brother, Gabriel Martinez, can be found sharpening their skills on the felt at local pool hall Bob’s Billiards, where they routinely beat adults and come home with tournament trophies and other various prizes.

Lazaro and Gabriel have already had success in larger events in Las Vegas, and Lazaro even earned the chance to compete in the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) Cyclop World Junior 9-Ball Championships in Cypress, Greece earlier this year. Lazaro finished tied for fifth place after going 2-2 in four matches.

Jaden Acuna, the son of the owners of Bob’s Billiards, just recently began competing in larger events and won his first one in Las Vegas while participating in a field of 129 players.

The future appears very bright for all three young billiards enthusiasts, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see any of them claim a world title one day.

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