I have lost count of how many of these "interesting numbers" columns I've done in a row now, but, suffice to say it's enough that you should know I'm having a good time putting them together.
That is a strange feeling, because writing columns is hard work. There are some weeks when I don't have anything to say at all, don't have any memories to draw on, don't have any extra special national sports news that I can use as a jump-off point, and I'm stuck. I used to do power polls, but I was turning this column into nothing but a weekly ranking of the UCBAC teams, and was handed an executive order to knock it off. And, that's enough rambling. Here's some numbers that stood out for me over the past few weeks:
147: That is the approximate number of times I've looked down and to the left while viewing the MPSSAA boys soccer regional brackets, only to be confronted with alien information that scrambled my brain for three seconds. You see, I'd gotten used to the three regions that contain UCBAC teams (1A North, 2A East, 3A North) being situated on the lower left side of the four-part tournament sheets, and this year, two of them have moved to the other side, so I wind up scanning the school names like a madman and getting panicky when I don't see any Harford County representatives (Colonel Richardson, where the heck is that!). The 2A East is still sitting down on the lower left side though, and I appreciate that.
Four: That would be the number of UCBAC-on-UCBAC boys soccer matchups that were slated to take place in the 2A East District VII Sectional tournament Thursday and Friday. Before I go any further, here's a quick explanation of how the 2A East tries to muddy the tournament waters: Rather than have one 16-team bracket, the 2A East is broken down into a pair of eight-team competitions (District VII and District VIII). The district title game is the same as the regional semifinals, and the two district champs meet in the 2A East title championship. Well, the District VII sectional is comprised entirely of local teams, and since it's so packed there's no first-round byes, and we have eight UCBAC teams going at each other right from the start. There's top-seeded Patterson Mill playing eighth seed Joppatowne, fifth-seeded Fallston play fourth-seeded Edgewood, sixth-seeded Harford Tech playing third-seeded Elkton and second-seeded Rising Sun playing seventh-seeded North East. It's four games, eight teams, all local. Of course, there will only be four teams left when it's over.
Five: That is how many MPSSAA boys soccer championship teams Harford County has produced over the last 39 seasons. The last came in 1992 when Fallston took the 1A title. That's a pretty long stretch for a region that has some great soccer programs. Fallston has come tantalizingly close recently, getting to the finals three times in the previous four seasons, but there still hasn't been a championship trophy in 20 years now. Maybe this will be the season.
Five: That would be the total number of strokes that separated Bel Air Golfers Matt Hottman and Nick Loiodice at three different championship tournaments this season. The duo, who led Bel Air to an undefeated regular season, finished in a tie for 10th at Wednesday's MPSSAA state finals at 149 strokes apiece. At the Harford County championships, Hottman shot a tournament-best 72, while Loiodice took third with a 76. The District VII finals saw Hottman shoot a 73 to top the field, and Loiodice was one stroke behind in second place. If you've got one golfer who's putting up scores like that, your team is going to be in good shape, but with two of them you wind up tearing through most of your competition, which is exactly what Bel Air did this year.