From beginning the year with strict restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the return of some semblance of normal, 2021 had pretty much everything, far and wide.

From magical state championship runs, first ever state appearances and much more, plenty of people made major headlines in the past calendar year.

Here's the first in a three-part series, looking at our area's top stories from 2021, starting with Nos. 15-11.