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Inside NU’s top stories of 2018

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It was a great year to cover Northwestern sports. Here’s what we’re proud of.

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Northwestern vs Utah Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

January

English/British monarchs ranked by potential basketball ability

Clearly, the most important NU-related news last winter was alumna Megan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry. In honor of the announcement, Tristan Jung ranked the English/British monarchs by basketball ability. There’s going to be royalty on the basketball team at some point. Consider this a scouting report.

February

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that, they stepped off their floor for the final time

It was a disappointing finale for Northwestern’s 2018 men’s basketball seniors, to say the least. Here’s our story from their final home game, a loss to Wisconsin.

Losing to Rutgers: The Survival Guide

So. You lost to Rutgers. Here’s how to carry on.

March

The top 10 remixes of Northwestern’s fight song

Weird stuff happens on this website between March and August. Sometimes, it’s valuable, like this countdown of the top 10 remixes of NU’s fight song.

April

Northwestern football family takes on new meaning for TJ Green and Bennett Skowronek

As spring ball wrapped up, Talia Hendel described the tight-knit relationship between Bennett Skowronek and TJ Green, who are teammates and cousins.

Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern puzzle just got another piece, but he’s after much more

“Quit bitchin’, quit belly-achin’, become part of the solution and let’s go.” The words that rang in the opening of Ryan Fieldhouse, and perhaps, the arrival of Northwestern football as a true Big Ten contender. Caleb Friedman wrote about Pat Fitzgerald’s explosive comments and where Fitz felt the Wildcats needed to go.

May

Courtesy of Keith Bohrer

Meet the most competitive Northwestern sports team you’ve never heard of

They practice three times a week and lift twice more. Their captains design plans for workouts and communicate via Slack. They’re a club team, but they compete at the highest level in their sport. Back in May, Davis Rich took a look at the Northwestern men’s ultimate frisbee team as it prepared for the Ultimate National Tournament.

Thanks to three superb seniors, Northwestern women’s tennis is perfectly balanced— and back where it wants to be

On the eve of the NCAA Tournament, Noah Coffman wrote about Maddie Lipp, Alex Chatt, and Erin Larner, the trio of exemplary seniors that led NU women’s tennis back to the edge of greatness.

Northwestern revokes Jordan Lathon’s admission

Inside NU broke the news that NU revoked 2018 men’s basketball recruit Jordan Lathon’s admission to the school.

June

NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter Johnson’s second act is Northwestern’s biggest

The biggest NU-related news of the first half of 2018 may have been Hunter Johnson’s announcement of his intention to transfer to Northwestern from Clemson. The former five-star recruit redshirted in 2018, and figures to be the favorite to take over Clayton Thorson’s role in 2019. Caleb Friedman wrote about the importance of Johnson’s arrival in Evanston.

Zach Pereles drops the mic: Thoughts on a wonderful four years

An Inside NU legend says goodbye. Former EIC Zach Pereles penned one final column as a student before graduating from Northwestern.

A town, a bond, a star: How Paddy Fisher became the face of Northwestern’s defense

Paddy Fisher enjoyed a breakout 2017 when he was named Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the Year. This is the story of how Katy, Texas, the football-crazed town Fisher calls home, shaped NU’s next great middle linebacker. It’s also the story of how tragedy created brotherhood between Fisher and safety Travis Whillock.

August

His status still uncertain, Clayton Thorson enters a legacy-defining season

“Shoot the gap”: Confidence keyed Nate Hall’s rise, and now it’ll determine his future

On the eve of the 2018 season opener, we published two features on a couple of NU’s most important players — one on Clayton Thorson and one on Nate Hall. Both were recovering from ACL injuries, with their abilities still unclear for the Purdue game. For Thorson, 2018 would be his last chance to get to Indianapolis. For Hall, 2018 represented a challenge: to regain the confidence he played with at the end of the the previous season.

September

NCAA Football: Duke at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

OP-ED: The RPO Menace is the most serious threat to football (and America) today

After NU got pantsed by Duke thanks to a bevy of RPOs, Fitz called the play “the purest form of communism.” We had some fun with that.

On Northwestern, Akron and being something

Northwestern lost to Akron, and the incomparable Tristan Jung mused on the game, running, and the Broadway musical “Hamilton”, concluding that if NU couldn’t escape its cycle of stagnation, it will never be good enough. After a Big Ten West title, it’s hard to say NU is stagnating, but this story is worth a read.

October

Courtesy of Gunnar Vogel

The Man of Clay: Gunnar Vogel is Northwestern football’s actor extraordinaire

A human interest story in the middle of a long season: learn about Gunnar Vogel, a reserve offensive lineman who starred as a giant man of clay in a NU student director’s film.

As Travis Whillock returns, the Katy-NU connection is complete

The other half of the Katy-NU duo, Whillock did not play during his first two seasons in Evanston. This story details his recovery from injury as he returned to the field midseason. He played in nine games in 2018, totaling 50 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

November

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, Northwestern football is a champion again

On a cold night in Iowa City, NU finally became a champion. Caleb Friedman recounted the gravity of the Big Ten West clincher.

The improbable, Chick-fil-A-filled story of Northwestern’s 2014 win over Notre Dame

As NU prepared to host No. 3 Notre Dame, Joe Weinberg talked to members of the 2014 Northwestern team, which beat the Fighting Irish in South Bend. Here’s the retrospective on a remarkable night in northern Indiana.

A homecoming, a celebration and a beginning: Welsh-Ryan Arena is back, and it’s unrecognizable

Our story from the re-opening of the renovated, unrecognizable Welsh-Ryan Arena.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

“Look what he was able to do”: The growing legend of Isaiah Bowser

Isaiah Bowser cam out of nowhere to rejuvenate NU’s rush attack. He overcame a whole lot more to simply get to Northwestern. This is the story of how strength in the face of trauma got Bowser to where he is today.

Tommy Doles is everything Northwestern could want in a football player — and more

The senior offensive lineman often goes overlooked on the field. He’s also one of NU’s best representatives off the field, regularly volunteering and annually showing up at Dance Marathon in a Captain America suit. Avery Zimmerman wrote about a student-athlete who attacks every aspect of his life with vigor.

December

NCAA Football: Big Ten Conference-Football Championship-Northwestern vs Ohio State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For a day in Indianapolis, Northwestern was a football school

Northwestern may have lost the Big Ten Championship, but the Wildcats did not go quietly. Neither did the vocal purple contingency, including thousands of students bussed from Evanston to Indianapolis. It was awesome.