Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs stood beside the University of Maryland clubhouse and clutched the state championship trophy close to his chest.
After watching that elusive first state title slip through his team's grasp three consecutive years, he wasn't letting this one out of his sight.
"We're going to take good care of this … a lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to make this possible," Dubbs said. "This group, of course, deserves most of the credit, but this is also for guys like Chris Yoo who helped build the program the last few years and never got to win one of these.
"The kids deserve this moment, it's certainly been a long time coming."
Marriotts Ridge ended up with a two-day total of 611, 23 strokes better than second-place Glenelg (634).
The Mustangs, which raced out of the gates with a program-record 294 total in the opening round Oct. 22, managed to avoid the pitfalls that cost the team leads of six shots in 2009, three shots in 2010 and 16 shots last fall. In a lot of ways, this year's group of Bennett Buch (138), Joe Dorsch (169), Michael Dorsch (156) and Rachel Lee (148) was battled tested.
"It feels amazing to finally break that chain," said Lee, a junior. "We had learned a lot from the last couple years when we went ahead and then lost. That probably helped this year."
Buch was the catalyst. Described by Dubbs as the Mustangs' "missing piece of the puzzle," the freshman rolled his way to a state-record total on his way to capturing the boys individual championship.
He says he kept the team in the back of his mind most of the final round, even as he found himself battling with three other guys for the individual lead.
"I had heard some pretty interesting stories about the past three years and it sounded pretty bad, so I wanted this for them," Buch said. "It definitely goes through your mind that every shot doesn't just help me, but it helps the team."
While the final score was fairly lopsided, there was a point on the second day when things did get a little tenuous. Midway through the round, following Marriotts Ridge senior Joe Dorsch's worst hole of the day, Glenelg had actually closed to within seven shots of the Mustangs.
The Gladiators, led by Steven Segrist (153), Young Lee (156), Greg Leake (161) and Matt Forester (164) were only 3-over as a team on the day at the time. Marriotts Ridge, meanwhile, was 21-over.
"You start thinking 'Here we go again,' and the hardest part as a coach is, because we're off scoring another group, you aren't able to watch," said Dubbs, who was receiving score updates via text message.
But as quickly as the lead had shrunk, Marriotts Ridge managed to open it back up thanks to some steady play down the stretch. Glenelg, which still finished 10 strokes better than its opening day score, faded slightly from its hot start and was forced to settle for second ahead of Century (649) and Kent Island (663).
"Marriotts Ridge played phenomenal golf and they put us in a hole we had to dig ourselves out of. And, even though halfway through the (second) round I thought we had a chance, 28 strokes really is a lot to have to make up," Glenelg coach Chris Beil said. "You can't be too upset, though, with second place."
In the 3A/4A classification, Wilde Lake was the county's top finisher. The Wildecats, making their first state championship appearance, compiled a 632 total to finish fourth behind Wooton (603), Urbana (626) and Walt Whitman (627).
Tyler Silberberg (142) and David Yancich (153) were both top 20 finishers for Wilde Lake.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun