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A look back by the Towson Times at some triumphant moments made by local male athletes in 2016

Towson players mob goalie Austin Wenck after the Generals won a penalty-kick shootout over Lansdowne in the Class 3A North Region championship game.
Towson players mob goalie Austin Wenck after the Generals won a penalty-kick shootout over Lansdowne in the Class 3A North Region championship game. (File photo)

From state championships to Olympic gold medals, male athletes had many memorable sports moments in 2016 that they can savor for a lifetime.

The Towson Times looks back at some of those amazing feats.

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Back-to-back for Dulaney

Led by Dulaney junior Matt Owens, the Lions won their second straight state cross country state title by the slimmest of margins. Dulaney finished with 97 points, while runner-up Severna Park had 98.

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Owens finished sixth in 16:34.65. Dulaney classmate Brian McCullough placed ninth (16:43.65). "Matt and Brian were absolutely fantastic today and they ran perfect races," Dulaney coach Chad Boyle said.

Junior Connor Martin (25th, 16:59.59), freshman Ethan Samels (31st, 17:09.59) and sophomore Drew Dailey (40th, 17:22.31) completed the top five and junior Brendan O'Brien (50th, 17:27.74) and sophomore Sam Merng (72nd, 17:41.11) ran six and seven for the Lions.

Eric Walz sets record

After winning the 1,600 and 3,200 meter indoor track state titles, Dulaney High senior Eric Walz broke a 33-year old record in the 3,200 meters during outdoor track season, when he ran 9:12 to beat the 9:17 mark previously held by Brian Russo.

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"That's the happiest I've seen Eric, when he broke through," said Dulaney teammate Andrew King. "It was very impressive to see that he dropped that much time."

Calvert Hall soccer shines

Led by seniors Brady O'Connor and Ben Alexander, Calvert Hall (16-4-2) ended the program's 13-year drought by winning the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference soccer title.

Down a goal against Archbishop Curley in the title game, the two standouts pieced together four brilliant minutes of soccer that will long be remembered at Calvert Hall.

Alexander headed home the tying goal after a long cross by O'Connor with 13:46 to play. With 9:41 to play, O'Connor headed home a long throw by James Rosa for the lead.

Jon Ellis tops in county

Towson senior Jon Ellis captured the Baltimore County boys' cross country championship race in a time of 16:03.27.

"It's amazing," Ellis said. "The feeling that I got when I finished there is nothing I can really describe, just a lot of happiness, just really happy."

Dulaney's Matt Owens (16:10.18), Eastern Tech's Taylor Baranoski (16:26.75), Dulaney's Brian McCullough (16:35.09) and Catonsville's Graham Strzelecki (16:36.90) rounded out the top five.

The Dulaney boys and girls won the team championships.

Phelps ends career

At his final Olympic Games, Towson High graduate and swimmer Michael Phelps won six medals — five gold and one silver — at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

In his career he won 23 Olympic gold medals and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing all of them.

Loyola swimming on top

For the 20th time in 21 years, Loyola Blakefield won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference swim title after rolling to a 505-375 win over runner-up and host McDonogh.

New coach Matt McDonough, who succeeded Keith Schwertle, guided the Dons to the championship.

The Dons started strong and claimed victory in the 200-yard medley relay behind senior Ben Brown, sophomore Ben Shropshire and freshmen Will Pelton and Matt Clark.

Towson plays for coach

In Towson High's first trip to the state soccer semifinals since 2008, the Generals held Mt. Hebron scoreless for more than 60 minutes, but Hebron finally solved Towson's seemingly impenetrable defense in the Class 3A game and emerged with a 1-0 win.

Jared Simowitz won a ball on the right side and then played a perfect cross to Trevor Namie on the far post for what ended up being the deciding goal.

It was the first goal scored against Towson (14-3-2) in just under 300 minutes of game action, as the Generals came in having posted back-to-back double-overtime shutouts in the region semifinals and finals.

"So much credit to Towson, they really came out and played us perfectly and lived up to everything we had heard about them," Mt. Hebron coach Mike Linsenmeyer said.

On Sept. 21, the Towson boys' soccer team raised money for men's cancer awareness in honor of coach Randy Dase before the game against Sparrows Point.

Dase, 62, hadn't been with the team this season and was making a successful recovery from prostate cancer and could not attend the game.

After surgery on Sept. 1, he was deemed cancer free one week later and was set to return to the Towson sideline and the classroom, where he has taught for 40 years, in mid-October.

In the game on Sept. 21, they defeated Sparrows Point, 2-1, and raised $900 with all the proceeds donated to the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital in honor of Dase, who has coached for 29 years.

It was a complete surprise to Dase until the team's three captains — Adam Coplai, Jack Baker and Austin Kirts — stopped by his house a few days after the game with photos and a recap of the special event.

Coming tomorrow: The Towson Times look back at the memorable sports moments by female athletes in 2016

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