It wasn't even 10 years ago that high school golf in Howard County was still operating as a club sport. There were no golf bags with team names, some teams didn't have coaches and there was almost no recognition for the area's top players.
Things sure have changed quickly.
This fall, for the second straight year, Howard County produced both the boys and girls individual winners at the state championship tournament at the University of Maryland Golf Course. Atholton's Bryana Nguyen won her second straight title by seven shots with a state record two-day total of 8-under par, while Glenelg's Steven Segrist captured the boys crown in a sudden-death playoff.
In addition, Marriotts Ridge cruised to the 1A/2A team title by a state-record 71 shots. Throw in four county boys among the top 10 individuals, along with three of the top five girls, and it was truly a memorable week.
High school golf may never be viewed on the same level as football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer or field hockey. But with how far the area's programs have come since 2005 when the sport achieved varsity status, maybe it's time to start paying a little closer attention.
The sport of golf takes a great deal of dedication and focus. To play well, student athletes have to practice daily, for hours at a time. And despite that time commitment to honing their craft, I would bet that most of the young people involved in high school golf are doing well academically as well.
Both the sport and learning in school require good time management. From the results, I would guess that our golfers are managing both very well.
Congratulations to Bryana, Steven and the Marriotts Ridge golf team for an exceptional season. And here's to many more years of continued success for them and all of the other top young golfers in the county.
McFadden makes history
It was in April of 2006 that Tatyana McFadden, as an Atholton High School student, won the right to compete in high school track meets alongside able-bodied runners. That was a milestone then and now she has reached another milestone by capturing the Wheelchair Division of the New York Marathon to become the only athlete — male, female or able-bodied — to win four marathons in a single year.
Tatyana had previously won the Chicago Marathon in 2009, the New York Marathon in 2010, and the Chicago and New York Marathons in 2011. She was a multiple gold-medal winner at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championship in Lyon, France. Prior to that she won medals at the 2004 Athens Summer Paralympics and the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.
She's come a long way in a very short period of time and, the scary part is, she seems to only be getting better.
In recent months, I have been told that a number of former local athletes have been ill with a number of ailments, some minor and some fairly serious. I am requesting that if you know someone who isn't doing well, call to show your concern or go and visit.
I have visited some very sick friends in recent years and I can tell you that it is very hard to see a friend in pain or slipping away. But you never want to say that I should have gone to see him or her and then it ends up being too late.
Go and visit them and tell them how much you care for them. We do not live forever and someday we might just be in their shoes. And when I say to visit them, don't look at your watch every couple minutes and leave right away. We all need to know that someone cares.