It was a year of uncommon sportsmanship, of loss, of individual accomplishments and collective ones -- 2014 was a year to remember for Catonsville-area sports.
Comet with integrity
Catonsville High 2014 graduate Calloway Lee was presented with the seventh-annual Hayley Milbourn Integrity Award.
The award honors a local high school athlete who demonstrates extraordinary character. he received the award at the boys and girls high school Athlete of the Year banquet at The Baltimore Sun.
Catonsville wrestling coach Eric Warm nominated the 17-year-old Lee for the integrity award based on his overall character, which was epitomized during one match in the Baltimore County wrestling tournament.
In the semifinals, Lee led Western Tech heavyweight Necho Freeman 1-0 when Freeman sustained a serious injury to his arm. Instead of taking advantage of the situation, Lee stood up and motioned to the official. Lee eventually won the match and earned praise and the award for his sportsmanship.
He finished second in the county tournament and went on to take fifth in the state tournament.
Lee, who also played football at Catonsville, rushed 25 times for 112 yards (4.5 avg.) at Minnesota State Community and Technical College this past fall.
Longtime volunteer passes
Bill Hawkins, who spent 40 years coaching and volunteering for the Catonsville recreation softball and basketball programs, died Sept. 10 at the age of 88.
In December of 2002, Hawkins was one of 10 inaugural inductees to the Catonsville Recreation and Parks Hall of Fame for his dedication to both of the programs.
In 1996, Hawkins coached a recreation softball team that included five girls who were the daughters of mothers Hawkins had also coached in the past.
Bassler in U.S. Amateur
Catonsville native Matt Bassler played in the United States Amateur Championship golf tournament and was near the top of the leader board for his first nine holes when he shot 2-under par.
But he played the back nine in five over to finish with a 74 on the first day of the stroke play competition at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.
Although he didn't advance to the match play portion of the U.S. Amateur, he was thrilled with the chance to play in the prestigious tournament
"It's the best amateur tournament in the world." Bassler said. "It was a great experience. Atlanta was great, the course was great." Over Labor Day weekend Bassler won his seventh Rolling Road club championship when he defeated Rick Sovero in the finals.
Maja Wichhart, a three sport athlete at Catonsville High, finished sixth finish in the heptathlon at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics under-17 age group at Turner Stadium in Humble, Texas.
Wichhart, who plays volleyball and basketball and was the top scorer for the Comets on the outdoor track team, scored 4,370 total points in the event held during the summer. She will attend Colorado University in the fall on a track scholarship.
More track stars
Western Tech's Carrington Akosa won three individual state championships at the Maryland State outdoor track championships.
The Catonsville resident captured the 100-meter dash (10.62), 200 (21:15) and 400 (48:45) in the Class 2A boys meet.
In the girls 2A state meet, Western Tech's Sharon Dorsey won state titles in the 200 (24:49) and 400 (55:24) and teammate Rebeka Holt won the 800 (2:13.45) and was second in the 400 (55:24).
The 800 relay team of Tiffany Trinh, Holt, Morgan Prioleau and Dorsey won a state title, as did the 3,200 team of Dorsey, Alexandria Willridge, Tori Taylor and Holt.
Girls lacrosse overcomes adversity
The Catonsville girls lacrosse team lost six of its first eight games, but rallied to win seven of the next eight before falling 15-5 in the Class 4A-3A state championship game to Severna Park.
In the state semifinals, the Comets trailed Sherwood 5-4 late in the first half when senior captain Brooke Stevens was injured with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. The team responded with six straight goals and an 11-8 victory that advanced them to the state finals.
Junior Lauren McDonald, the Catonsville Times Co-athlete of the Year with Jenn Nonn, led the Comets with 49 goals and 31 assists.
Trio wins national title
Deb Milani (Catonsville High graduate), Casey Pepperman (McDonogh) and Jen Mendez (Seton Keough) all played on the University of Maryland women's lacrosse national championship team that defeated Syracuse 15-12 in the title game.
All three of them started their lacrosse careers in the Catonsville recreation program.
Wolverine champs on mat
Western Tech seniors Tejon Anthony and Austin Harrison won Baltimore County wrestling championships.
Anthony won the 138-pound crown for his third county championship in a row. Both wrestlers also reached the 100-win mark during the tournament. Harrison hit the historic milestone in the championship bout at 170 pounds.
Barton sets milestones
Catonsville High senior girls basketball player Taylor Barton became the first Comet in school history to surpass 1,000 points and 600 rebounds during her career.
Barton joined Sandy Wasserbach and Shamika Williams in the 1,000-point club when she scored the basket in the Comets' 66-44 win over Woodlawn on Feb. 19.
Catonsville (22-4) went on to play in the Baltimore County and regional championship games, but they lost in both of them.
Memorable night on pitch
The Catonsville boys soccer team lost just four games all season, but it was its 12th and final victory, in the regional quarterfinals, that was the most exciting win of all.
Comet junior goalie Eric Sheppard thought about diving one way, but changed his mind and dove to his right to make the final save and give Catonsville a 5-4 victory over Perry Hall in a penalty-kick shootout in the Class 4A North Region playoffs.
The game was scoreless after 100 minutes of field play that included 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes.
Catonsville's Liam Llorin, Jake Parrott, David Owens, Mike Gagnon and Ray Rada had successful PK's for the Comets.
In the first half the Comets lost team captain and leading scorer Daniel Kim to a broken collarbone in the first half of the victory.
In the regional semifinals, Catonsville was eliminated by Dulaney on penalty kicks. It was the third time they lost to Dulaney, including the county championship game.
Changes at Catonsville High
Gary Lynch took over as Catonsville High girls soccer coach.
He replaced James Fitzpatrick who retired after he led the team to the state championship finals in 2013.
Fitzpatrick was named as the new athletic director at Catonsville High.
"Once a Comet, always a Comet," said the Catonsville resident, nicknamed 'Fitz.'
The 57-year-old Fitzpatrick, who graduated from Catonsville High in 1975, has taught at the school since 2002 and coached girls soccer there for 12 years.
Lynch's Comets finished 11-3-3, but lost in the county and regional championship games.
Field hockey beats the best
The Catonsville field hockey team went 12-4 and, although they didn't play in the Baltimore County championship game or win a regional title, the Comets did beat both teams — Hereford and Dulaney — that played in the county title game.
Catonsville lost in the regional finals to Old Mill after beating Dulaney in the semifinals.
Seton Keough twins on top
For the second year in a row, Seton Keough and Mount de Sales met in the finals for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference softball championship.
In 2013, the Sailors rallied from five runs down for a 7-6 victory.
In 2014, Seton Keough scored five early runs and cruised to an 8-1 victory.
Hailee Clampitt belted a grand slam in the first inning, her twin sister, Allison, led off the game with a double and scored the first run, and pitcher Kelly Lynch pitched a complete game.
UMBC goes to final four
In his 24th season as head coach of the University of Maryland men's soccer team, coach Pete Caringi took the Retrievers to the NCAA College Cup final four for the first time in school history.
UMBC won at Wake Forest (penalty kicks), at Maryland (1-0), at Louisville (1-0) and at Creighton (PKs) in the tournament.
Goalie Billy Heavner was unscored on in the NCAA tournament until Virginia scored in the first half of its 1-0 victory over the Retrievers in the national semifinals.
UMBC finished 14-6-5 and won 10 in a row before the loss to Virginia.
Golfer on par
Justin Jarvis, a Gun. Rd. resident and member at the Rolling Road Golf Club, qualified for and played in the 2014 United States Mid-Amateur at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.
Approximately, 6,000 amateur golfers tried to qualify from all over the country, and the final field consisted of the top 264.
Jarvis earned the spot in the Mid-Amateur by finishing second at a qualifier at Norbeck Country Club in which the top five finishers earned spots.
Jarvis was 16-over par in stroke play and didn't qualify for match play.
First win for Bluefin swimmer
The Woodbridge Valley Bluefins honored several senior swimmers in their final home summer meet, including Mike Jacoby, Mike Krakat, Eddie Lowry and Claire Cerand.
Jacoby's win in the 15-18 butterfly was his first of the season.
While Chartwell did not have any swimmers entered in the event, Jacoby's Bluefin teammates who were entered: Krakat, Rotimi Shonaiya, and Jared Stein decided not to race to support Jacoby.
They dove off the blocks and walked along the lane in the pool and cheered on Jacoby as he won the race.
Jacoby, who played in the Arbutus Challengers Division Baseball League game for children with developmental and physical disabilities in the spring, also competed in a relay race with some of his senior teammates.