Bits & Pieces: Despite losses, county squads have secured place in record books

There were two Howard County teams — Marriotts Ridge boys soccer and Glenelg field hockey — that were aiming to make history this fall. Both programs already had shares of the record for most consecutive state titles in their respective sports coming into the year.

And while both of their bids for a spot alone in the record books ultimately came up a little short, they certainly have nothing to hang their heads about.

Marriotts Ridge lost to Oakland Mills in the 2A South region semifinals, spoiling a chance to win the program's fifth consecutive boys soccer crown. Glenelg field hockey, meanwhile, lost its shot at a fourth straight 2A title when Century earned a double-overtime victory in the state semifinals last week.

Coach Kevin Flynn and his Mustangs, along with coach Ginger Kincaid and her Gladiators, should be proud of the incredible journey their teams have made over the past few years. Special recognition goes to the veteran players who have demonstrated the leadership qualities that propelled their teams to the top ranks of their sport in Maryland.

This year may not have ended how they wanted, but looking at the big picture, they are all still winners.

Mount Airy Christian is thriving

It's been quite a sports year for Mount Airy Christian Academy. First, the Academy's middle school teams swept the fall Maryland Junior Athletic Conference Championships. The girls volleyball team went undefeated and beat the Maryland School for the Deaf, 2-0, in the championship. The boys soccer team went undefeated in the MJAC regular season before beating the Barnesville School, 3-0, to claim the title. Additionally, the boys and girls cross country teams completed an undefeated season by winning their championship meet on Oct. 21.

The Lions' four teams combined for a 21-0 record.

The boys varsity soccer team beat top-seeded Salisbury Christian on Nov. 2 in Frederick, 6-3, to take the first Maryland Christian State Tournament Championship.

Wootten clinic a success

I don't know if Coach Joe Wootten's voice held out for two sessions of the free basketball clinic held at Howard on Saturday. The clinic had to be broken down into two sessions because of the size of the crowd. I was told that 500 had pre-registered and even more showed up, making it the largest turnout in the history of this clinic, which is sponsored by the Howard County Youth Program. Wootten, the highly successful coach at Bishop O'Connell, and the son of legendary former DeMatha head coach Morgan Wootten, knows how to handle large crowds, but this had to tax his vocal chords.

Next year, we will either have to tone down the announcements of the free clinic, or we will have to break it down into three sessions. It tells me one thing for sure: youth basketball in Howard County is alive and well.

Iron Girl opens registration

It is hard for me to believe, but TriColumbia — the production company that puts on these wonderful triathlon events in Columbia — has opened registration for the 3rd annual Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon and Family Fun 5k scheduled for April 27, 2014. The way people register for these events in advance, the Iron Girl may be half full by now. So I say if you haven't registered yet, don't put it off another day. Named the "Best Women's Event in the Mid -Atlantic" by Competitor Magazine, the Iron Girl serves as the kickoff event in the Titanium Girl Challenge.

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