MILWAUKEE — 2018 will go down as one of the most dramatic years in Wisconsin sports history. With so many moments and events making headlines, we’ve narrowed them down — picking out the top six sports stories of the year.
COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 01: Arike Ogunbowale #24 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs during the third quarter in the championship game of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four at Nationwide Arena on April 1, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs 61-58. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
They were the shots seen and heard around the world. Milwaukee native Arike Ogunbowale hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to win the national championship game — giving Notre Dame its first title since 2001. To get to the title game, Ogunbowale also made a buzzer-beating three-pointer in the national semifinal game.
COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 30: Kristina Nelson #21 and Arike Ogunbowale #24 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate the play during the second half in the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four at Nationwide Arena on March 30, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Connecticut Huskies 91-89. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Look for her to go very high in the WNBA Draft in 2019 after her senior season.
From playoffs to pinstripes, the Wisconsin Badgers football season didn’t live up to its preseason hype or No. 4 ranking. Losing five games, including the axe to Minnesota, the Badgers ended up in the Pinstripe Bowl, where they beat Miami.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 27: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball in the first quarter of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor, the Doak Walker Award winner, finished the season with more than 2,000 yards rushing, and the Badgers ended up at 8-5.
Heisman hype will be sure to follow in the 2019 campaign.
Jerry Kramer entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame after decades of waiting.
CANTON, OH – AUGUST 04: Jerry Kramer and his daughter Alicia react as they unveil his bust during the 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The final piece of the Lombardi era to find his place in Canton, he did it with class and humility, finally donning a gold jacket alongside his Hall of Fame bust.
The Milwaukee Bucks made a change on the bench, hiring Mike Budenholzer after letting Jason Kidd go. Under new leadership, the Bucks saw many more three-pointers falling, much better defense and an MVP front-runner in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
MILWAUKEE, WI – APRIL 20: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks over Aron Baynes #46 of the Boston Celtics during the second half of game three of round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs at the Bradley Center on April 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Look for a playoff run in the coming year.
The Milwaukee Brewers got to enjoy champagne and beer showers three times.
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 07: Manager Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates in the locker room after his team won Game Three to clinch the National League Division Series by defeating the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 7, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The Brewers won the game 6-0 and the series 3-0. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 19: Ryan Braun #8, Lorenzo Cain #6 and Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 19, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
The Crew claimed the National League Central title, reaching the National League Championship Series, only to come up one game short of the World Series.
Christian Yelich would earn the National League MVP award after leading the Brewers back to the playoffs.
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 15: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers slides across home plate to score on a double to left field by teammate Ryan Braun #8 (not in photo) during the first inning of Game Three of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Next season will bring higher expectations for the Brew Crew.
The disappointing season led to the firing of Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy after the Packers loss the Arizona at Lambeau Field.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 02: Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers watches from the sideline during the second half of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field on December 02, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Joe Philbin took over on an interim basis for the final four games, with the Packers failing to reach the postseason for a second straight year.
Players like Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb, among others, might have played their final game with the Packers on Sunday, Dec. 30 vs. the Lions at Lambeau Field — a 31-0 loss for the Packers.
Other notable moments in 2018 included the end of summer baseball for Wisconsin high schools, as all teams will play spring baseball in 2019 — the absence of a Wisconsin team in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998, and Steve Stricker was a vice-captain for the Ryder Cup team that lost to Europe.