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Top 10 Towson Times memorable sports moments from 2020

From right, Dulaney's Ryan Conway grabs a loose ball as New Town's Martaz Robinson defends in a game won by New Town, 77-66, in January of 2020. Conway scored 55 points, including 45 in the first half in a win over Hereford last year.
From right, Dulaney's Ryan Conway grabs a loose ball as New Town's Martaz Robinson defends in a game won by New Town, 77-66, in January of 2020. Conway scored 55 points, including 45 in the first half in a win over Hereford last year. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

The COVID-19 health nightmare affected people across the entire country in many adverse ways in 2020 and sports in the Towson area were not immune to being infected with change.

Cancellation of spring seasons in March before they even started left fans with no games to watch and athletes without games to look forward to or the ritual of daily practices to bond with teammates.

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Private school athletics returned in the fall briefly, but when the coronavirus numbers escalated they were shut down again.

The Towson Times sports staff looked at the top 10 memorable moments in the news in 2020.

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Ryan Conway explodes on the court

Ryan Conway will play at Seton Hall University next year.
Ryan Conway will play at Seton Hall University next year. (HANDOUT)

Dulaney junior guard Ryan Conway scored 45 of his career-high 55 points in the first half of the Lions’ 96-58 victory over Hereford.

Conway, who committed to play at Seton Hall University. Conway exploded for 31 points in the second quarter and converted 12 three-pointers by halftime. At one point, he made eight straight three-pointers.

“Once you get hot, it’s just like shooting at a hula hoop,” said Conway, who played just 22:20 minutes and added 8 steals and 4 assists.

Dulaney boys dominate indoor track in county

Dulaney's Abdul Henley clears a hurdle on his way to winning the 4A boys 55 meter hurdles during the MPSSAA Indoor Track State Championship Meet at Prince George's Sports Complex on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Dulaney's Abdul Henley clears a hurdle on his way to winning the 4A boys 55 meter hurdles during the MPSSAA Indoor Track State Championship Meet at Prince George's Sports Complex on Tuesday, Feb. 18. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The Dulaney boys won for its fifth straight Baltimore County crown. Dulaney’s boys topped the field with 88 points and Milford Mill was second (68).

Dulaney boys got individual titles from Adam Madro (pole vault), Abdul Henley (55-meter hurdles), Tyler Dailey (800) and Zak Audia (1600).

The 4X800 relay team of Jalen Gorrier, Parker Klausner, Robert Gehman and Max Fisher also won a county title.

Henley’s time of 7.70 in the 55 hurdles was a school record.

Towson got a dramatic win from Peter Sorensen in the 3,200 meters.

Sorensen led the race, but with less then 100 meters remaining before Pikesville’s Kaleb Berhanu took the lead, despite being behind by over 30 meters.

Sorensen immediately kicked it into a higher gear and pulled it out at the finish. Sorenson clocked 10:10.27 and Berhanu finished in 10:12.37.

Towson’s girls got a banner performance from junior Madeline Till. She won the 800 (2:30.11) and 1600 meters (5:24.61).

St. Paul’s girls wins B Conference crown

St. Paul's Alex Sawyers, left, and Destiny Ryles celebrate a 58-54 victory over Mt. Carmel to win IAAM girls basketball B Conference Championship game at Stevenson College.
St. Paul's Alex Sawyers, left, and Destiny Ryles celebrate a 58-54 victory over Mt. Carmel to win IAAM girls basketball B Conference Championship game at Stevenson College. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Destiny Ryles scored a game-high 25 points, including four free throws in the final 24.1 seconds, as St. Paul’s held off Mount Carmel, 58-54, for its second straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship.

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St. Paul’s (23-3) ended the season on a 14-game winning streak.

As Destiny goes, we go,” St. Paul’s coach Pat Conrad said. “[She’s] just solid; unbelievable basketball player, unbelievable young lady.”

Esprit Cha (15 points) and Madison Beale (nine) aided the offense.

Nick Schiefelbein gets 100 wins on the mat

Dulaney's Nick Schiefelbein pins Kenwood's Keyshawn Matthews. Schiefelbein earned his 100th career victory in his final match last year.
Dulaney's Nick Schiefelbein pins Kenwood's Keyshawn Matthews. Schiefelbein earned his 100th career victory in his final match last year. (Ulysses Muñoz, Baltimore Sun)

Dulaney junior heavyweight Nick Schiefelbein won Baltimore County and regional individual titles and needed four wins in the state tournament to notch 100 career victories.

He got exactly that many after losing his first match and reeling off four straight wins and reaching the milestone, while finishing fourth at 285 pounds in the Class 4A/3A bracket.

Schiefelbein was 42-3 last season and has a 100-21 career mark.

At 132 pounds, sophomore Sarah Sunday captured a title in the girls state tournament by pinning both of her opponents in the semifinals and finals.

Six golds at state track meet

Towson High's Damone Moore was a state champion in the shot put during the last year's indoor track season. He was also was a standout running back and the 2020 Towson Times Male Athlete of the Year.
Towson High's Damone Moore was a state champion in the shot put during the last year's indoor track season. He was also was a standout running back and the 2020 Towson Times Male Athlete of the Year. (Courtesy photo)

The state championship indoor track meet provided state title celebrations for six area athletes.

In the Class 2A meet, held on Feb. 17 at the Prince Georges Sports and Learning Complex, four girls from Carver A & T captured a state title in the 4X200 meter relay.

Seniors Karah Moore, Chioma Mbah and Khaid’a Brown and junior Bryanna Dawson won the event in a time of 1:45.94.

Towson did most of its scoring in shot put where they placed three athletes in the top five, led by state champion Damone Moore (51-feet, 10.75 inches). Cory Gray was second (51-01) and Jamiel Carlton was fifth (50-10.25).

Moore, a standout running back for the football team, was selected as the 2020 Towson Times Male Athlete of the Year.

The Dulaney boys also produced a state champion when senior Abdul Henley captured the 55 hurdles (7.63).

Brocato returns to Towson as games get cancelled

From left, Towson High School boys lacrosse head coach Rick Brocato and his assistant coach Randy Dase are Towson alumni. Dase was Brocato's coach and mentor.
From left, Towson High School boys lacrosse head coach Rick Brocato and his assistant coach Randy Dase are Towson alumni. Dase was Brocato's coach and mentor. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

At Towson High, new boys lacrosse coach Rick Brocato came out of retirement to coach at the school he graduated from in 1981.

Brocato stepped down from coaching lacrosse at St. Paul’s in 2017 after 17 seasons, leaving as the program’s all-time wins leader with 241.

His team’s first scrimmage was Thursday, March 12, the same day Gov. Larry Hogan announced mandatory closing of schools and suspension of athletics.

“We had our first scrimmage against Manchester Valley on Thursday and going into the locker room there wasn’t going to be a Friday,” Brocato said. “At least we got a scrimmage in and we got 10 practices in.”

Brocato had two stints At St. Paul’s, (1995-1999, 2006-2017) and he won a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title in 2010.

Dulaney siblings make college lacrosse decisions

Dulaney's Justin White, who graduated in 2020, will play lacrosse at Wagner College and his younger sister, Sammy, a junior, will play at Northwestern University in 2022.
Dulaney's Justin White, who graduated in 2020, will play lacrosse at Wagner College and his younger sister, Sammy, a junior, will play at Northwestern University in 2022. (Photo by John Bowers)

Dulaney senior Justin White and his younger sister, Sammy, didn’t get to play for the Lions last lacrosse season because the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools and athletic activities.

But that didn’t stop colleges from pursuing them for their programs and both committed to Division I schools.

Justin, who had 54 goals and had 15 assists as a junior, will play for Wagner University and Sammy, who is a senior this fall and was the Towson Times Female Athlete of the Year as a junior, will play at Northwestern University.

Final marathon special for Lutherville resident

Lutherville resident Gene Fritzel gets in an exercise jog in his neighborhood. The local marathoner completed his final marathon in his own neighborhood on Oct. 10.
Lutherville resident Gene Fritzel gets in an exercise jog in his neighborhood. The local marathoner completed his final marathon in his own neighborhood on Oct. 10. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Lutherville resident Gene Fritzel has run 240 marathons, including one in every state, but a race through his own neighborhood on Oct. 10 may have been the most memorable of all.

His neighbors helped him celebrate his retirement from marathon running by organizing the Country Club Park Victory Lap Running Festival.

Fritzel, 70, had planned on ending his marathon career by running in person at the Baltimore Running Festival on Oct. 17, but the race was held as a virtual event because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“I’m so glad that Baltimore didn’t have their marathon this year because it gave me a chance to run in the neighborhood and the people knew about it and the signs that were out, and it became such a neighborhood thing and it was just an overwhelming experience,” Fritzel said.

Neighbors Nadine Fenchak, Brian Kavanagh, Pedro and Michelle Hackshaw, Mark Malone and Dana Brener were instrumental in getting the race in motion.

Calvert Hall soccer nips Loyola Blakefield

Calvert Hall's Gabe Glikin dribbles the ball as he is chased by Loyola Blakefield's Bryan Clagett in the Cardinals' 2-1 win over the Dons in early November.
Calvert Hall's Gabe Glikin dribbles the ball as he is chased by Loyola Blakefield's Bryan Clagett in the Cardinals' 2-1 win over the Dons in early November. (Ulysses Muñoz)

When MIAA resumed sports in the fall, the boys soccer game between rivals Calvert Hall and Loyola was one of the big early-season games.

Calvert Hall sophomore goalie Nate Jones stopped a penalty kick midway through a scoreless first half and then Cody Angelini and Rich Monath scored goals for the host Cardinals to lift them to a 2-1 victory.

“Players made plays today,” Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand said. “Give credit to Loyola — they made us work. We didn’t play our best game, but we did enough and with the 10-game season, when you get three points at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.”

Because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, the MIAA season was canceled after only three more games and the Cardinals finished 4-2.

Turkey Bowl streak ends

Calvert Hall College's Cole Herbert, center, runs for his third touchdown of the game against Loyola Blakefield in the third quarter of Calvert Hall's 33-10 win in the 100th Turkey Bowl in 2019. No game was played between the two rivals in 2020.
Calvert Hall College's Cole Herbert, center, runs for his third touchdown of the game against Loyola Blakefield in the third quarter of Calvert Hall's 33-10 win in the 100th Turkey Bowl in 2019. No game was played between the two rivals in 2020. (Kenneth K. Lam)

On Saturday, Nov. 21 football players were told in a Calvert Hall auditorium that the Turkey Bowl — one of the nation’s longest running Catholic school rivalries — would not be held for the first time in a century.

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The game against Loyola Blakefield, which has been played continuously since 1920 — and on Thanksgiving since 1929 — had survived the Great Depression and two world wars.

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Perhaps because of that resilient history, players and coaches had hoped and believed the schools would figure out a way to stage the Thanksgiving rite during the coronavirus pandemic, even if it had to be played with few or no fans.

But the schools jointly announced on Nov. 21 that “this treasured tradition” would not continue this season because of Baltimore County’s limits on social gatherings designed to curb the spread of the virus, which is surging in the state and nation.

“We were supposed to have practice at 9:00,” said Calvert Hall senior quarterback Amir Jenkins, who won two previous Turkey Bowls and considers the matchup unique because “everybody is locked in” and the winner receives a shiny silver trophy of a football. “Coach [Josh Ward] said there is no Turkey Bowl and no more season. It was just like, a loss of words. Nobody wanted to say anything.”

“When you live in the 2020 COVID world, you kind of prepare for anything.,” said Loyola Blakefield coach Anthony Zehyoue said. “Even when we got the news, it was still gut-wrenching.”

Glenn Graham and Kyle J Andrews contributed to this story.

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