Top 10 sports stories of 2016

Generally speaking, there have certainly been better years than 2016.

But when the events are chiseled down to the construction-consumed patch of wine country that is St. Helena, the bleakness of it all seems less overwhelming.

Refine that down even further – to just sports – then there are certainly some milestones and moments worth remembering.

League championships were won. Carpy Gang turned 80 years old. A local resident became the first person in Napa Valley to reach the CrossFit Games; another continued to rise within the NASCAR ranks. Brand new fields were built at St. Helena High School. Multiple teams hosted playoff games.

Here are our top 10 sports stories, as voted by the Star staff:

1. Construction completed on new baseball, softball and tennis complexes at St. Helena High

After multiple construction delays, which led to some trying times for those involved with Saints baseball, softball and the Little League Juniors team, new fields were unveiled at St. Helena High School this year.

And make no mistake, they are impressive and foster a large-school atmosphere.

The artificial turf fields feature larger dugouts, batting cages, bullpens and can seat 400 or more at each. New lights were installed so practices and games can spill into the evening. That should bode well for attendance since weekday afternoon games usually saw sparse crowds.

The tennis courts were also given a…

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