Saturday was a day to be proud for anyone associated with field hockey in Anne Arundel County.
Chesapeake won its first state title in school history with a 3-1 victory over Westminster in the Class 3A final, then just a few hours later South River dominated Winston Churchill, 6-0, to win the 4A title. The Seahawks won their fifth state title and first since 2012. The victories give the county 31 state titles, led by Severna Park's 23. The Cougars are the fourth county team to win a field hockey state title, joining Severna Park, South River and Broadneck.
After falling in the region final two years ago and in the state semifinal last year, Chesapeake went a step farther this year under head coach Joan Johnson, who played for the Cougars in the early 80s.
"I'm really proud of South River being here today, too," said Johnson, moments after her team won on Saturday prior to South River's game. "I think Anne Arundel County having two championships would just solidify the fact that we're the best county in the state in field hockey."
While Chesapeake had a few tense moments and was involved in a tie game with 11 minutes left, it scored two goals to clinch the title. South River, on the other hand, turned a one-goal game at the half into a rout with three goals in a seven-minute span in the second half. The Seahawks closed their title run with three straight shutouts and gave up only two goals in the playoffs.
"It's really rewarding and it's validating to know you have such good competition that two of us could come out on top," South River coach Megan Atkinson said. "It's great to see Anne Arundel County do so well and have two state champions."
Two state champions in field hockey is impressive, but it's not the first time the county has pulled it off. Severna Park (4A) and Broadneck (3A) won in 1986, Severna Park (4A) and South River (3A) won in 2000 and South River (4A) and Severna Park (3A) took home state titles in 2005.
The Seahawks have now won five state titles by a combined score of 19-1, including four straight shutouts. The 6-0 victory on Saturday matched the score when South River defeated Catonsville for its last title in 2012.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: South River's Kassidy Bresnahan is the third member of her family to win a field hockey state championship with the Seahawks. Heather Bresnahan won state titles in 2004 and 2005, while Taylor Bresnahan was on the 2012 state-championship team. The Bresnahans have another daughter, Tommi, who is a freshman at South River.
BELICHICK FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS: Six student-athletes from the county were recently awarded scholarships from the Bill Belichick Foundation. Damon Edwards (Annapolis), Nikolas Mejia (Annapolis), Bridget Ralph (Annapolis), Julianna Rankin (Annapolis), Janidy Madera (Severna Park) and Skylar Simmers (South River) were all awarded scholarships and will attend a reception for grant and scholarship recipients in Foxboro, Massachusetts, next spring.
The Bill Belichick Foundation was established in 2013 to provide coaching, mentorship and financial support to individuals, communities and organizations. Focusing on football and lacrosse, its mission is to bring the values of the Belichick family – a love of sports, coaching and team building – to the athletic leaders of tomorrow.
SEVERNA PARK BASKETBALL ALUMNI: The Severna Park girls and boys basketball programs want to welcome back all basketball alumni of the school to the last Friday home game in the old gym. Organizers of the event are asking all who are interested attend both games of the Dec. 16 doubleheader, which begins at 5 p.m. Recognition of all the players will take place during both games. Anyone interested in attending should contact girls basketball coach Lisa Magness at firstname.lastname@example.org.