Every year local high school sports teams produce memories and championships. This year was no different. There was Gilman ice hockey, Bryn Mawr tennis, Park girls lacrosse, Friends girls soccer, Gilman volleyball and Roland Park volleyball all winning championships. And there was Shane Cockerille overcoming illness to win a wrestling title.
Those were among the top local sports highlights for 2013. And this is the time of year we remember those stories.
A lack of mat time couldn't slow Gilman's Cockerille
The circumstances seemed far from ideal for Gilman's Shane Cockerille to win his second straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.
Cockerille, now a reserve quarterback on the University of Maryland football team, missed six weeks of the wrestling season last winter because of mononucleosis. He lost 20 pounds.
He was finally cleared to return to practice one week before the tournament, but spent most of that time playing football in the International Bowl in Texas.
That left him just a single day of practice before the MIAAs. Remarkalby, it wasn't a problem.
Cockerille dominated Pallotti's Yami Cristobal at 220 pounds, winning a 12-2 major decision. He went on to enjoy more postseason success, finishing second in the Maryland State Independent Tournament and third at National Preps.
Cockerille's MIAA performance in February still sticks in the mind of coach Bryn Holmes.
"I think it speaks to the type of athlete he is to win after practicing one day," he said. "I don't think too many guys can do that."
Friends girls soccer
Things ended exactly the way the Quakers had hoped.
Seniors Eliza Harris, Amy Lieber, Abby Corkum, Mackenzie Gerrity and Izzy Blaock won a championship in their final game in early November.
The Quakers beat Roland Park, 1-0, to claim the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference title, thanks to a goal from junior Rachel Kehoe.
For the five seniors and their coach, Nick Gill, the experience was particularly meaningful. They had been together for four years.
"Seeing them go out with a championship is really special," Friends coach Nick Gill said.
Gilman ice hockey
Gilman coach Zach Collins took watching film of tough losses seriously. Collins viewed the 9-4 setback in late January to Boys' Latin six times.
And the film study paid off for Collins and his players.
Gilman captured the MIAA B Conference championship in mid-February with a 6-2 victory over defending champion Boys' Latin.
"It was very motivational," Collins said of watching film. "We were able to identify some things that we did pretty poorly."
Brice Tucker and Mike Schahfer had two goals each for the Greyhounds and goalie Chris Walsh made 35 saves.
Bryn Mawr tennis
The Mawrtians could pile up the titles for years to come with their young talent.
Freshmen Lily Burchell and Cameron Corse guided Bryn Mawr to its first Interscholastic Atheltic Association of Maryland A Conference championship since 2008, when the Mawrtians shared it with Roland Park.
And Burchell's and Corse's efforts helped dethrone four-time defending champion Roland Park this fall.
Corse captured the No. 1 singles title, topping Severn's Addie Hinton while Burcell secured the No. 2 singles crown by beating McDonogh's Julie Lazer.
"We have never had two players who were nationally-ranked," Bryn Mawr co-coach Kate Brendler said of Corse and Burcell, who both boast United States Tennis Association national rankings.
Bryn Mawr's doubles team of senior Maggie Oros and junior Krisyna Hermanova also contributed to the Mawrtians' title, winning a decision over Severn's Anna Mann and Susan Morrell.
Park girls lacrosse
No coach has won more IAAM B Conference championships than Robin Cardin Lowe since the league started awarding them in 2000.
The Bruins earned a fifth title by beating Friends, 15-12, in the title game in mid-May. They finished with a 13-2 record.
Park midfielder Sara Lessans had a memorable game, totaling six goals and an assist.
Midfielder Rachel Hettelman chipped in four goals for the winners.
Roland Park volleyball
The Reds ended their championship drought in convincing fashion in early November, sweeping Mercy, 25-23, 25-12, 27-25, in the IAAM B Conference final.
The title must have really meant something to Roland Park second-year coach Shawn Slater and his players since Mercy was the favorite to win and the Reds lost in the final to the same team last year.
"The thing I told the girls was, 'No one would second guess you if you beat them in three games,'" Slater said.
The performances of junior outside hitter Oliva Stevens, sophomore Bailey Andrews, sophomore libero Ariana Rodriguez, senior middle blocker Cece Finney and juniors setters Libby Klutz and Sarah Chassman led the Reds to their first title in a decade.
When the Greyhounds knocked off three-time defending champion Loyola Blakefield for the MIAA A Conference title, it ended four years of frustration.
Gilman lost in its last two title match appearances (2009 and 2011).
So Chris Kohler (15 kills), Toren Ginsberg (11 kills), Connor Paskoff (8 kills), Will Richardson (6 kills, 5 blocks), Tyler Wakefield (22 assists) and Jack Auen (21 assists) wanted to go out a winner.
"Everyone else in the league had one star," Gilman coach Neil Gabbey said. "We didn't. We were very balanced."