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Carroll Cup: Westminster clinging to the lead after two sports seasons

Carroll Cup: Westminster clinging to the lead after two sports seasons
Westminster's Hannah Dintino runs with the lead during the girls 300 meter dash during the Carroll County Athletic League indoor track championship meet at Hagerstown Community College on Saturday, Jan. 26. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

Westminster is one high school sports season away from retaining the Carroll Cup for 2018-19.

The Owls had a solid fall campaign to take the early lead, and held that advantage this winter despite a fourth-place finish among the rest of Carroll County’s varsity sports programs.

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South Carroll pulled closer thanks to a consistent winter, and came in ahead of the county pack. Liberty was second, and Century came in third.

The Carroll Cup is awarded each year by the Carroll County Times to the school that accumulates the most points based on regular-season standings in each varsity sport. Points are given based on order of finish in the standings, with six for first place, five for second place, going in descending order (ties are broken, if possible, based on head-to-head results).

Bonus points are awarded for any regional or state championships won.

Westminster has 54 points after the fall and winter seasons, with South Carroll (51), Liberty (50.5), and Century (47) creating a crowded top of the standings. Winters Mill is next at 39.5 points, followed by Manchester Valley (27) and Francis Scott Key (13).

South Carroll totaled 23 points in the winter for first place, followed by Liberty (17.5), Century (16.5), Westminster (15.5), and Winters Mill (13).

South Carroll coach Jim Carnes talks with Ryan Gallagher during a Class 2A West Section 1 semifinal playoff game in Eldersburg.
South Carroll coach Jim Carnes talks with Ryan Gallagher during a Class 2A West Section 1 semifinal playoff game in Eldersburg. (Bill Ryan / For the Carroll County Times)

A different Carroll school won each of the five winter county titles, with two sharing one championship — Liberty and Century split boys basketball, Francis Scott Key won girls basketball, Winters Mill took wrestling, Century won boys indoor track, and South Carroll won girls indoor track.

Liberty won a boys hoops county crown for the second year in a row, while Century added a fourth title in the past six seasons. The Lions (20-3) and Knights (20-4) split their regular-season series, but didn’t get a chance to square off in the 2A West playoffs for a third showdown — Oakdale knocked each team out en route to being crowned regional champion.

Senior forward Tristan Kent paced Liberty despite missing the final two games of the year because of injury. Kent was third in Carroll in scoring, and led the county in rebounding and field-goal percentage. The Lions started the season 16-0 and went 11-1 in the Carroll County Athletic League.

Liberty's Jack Merchak takes a shot while covered by Century's Carter Truby during the first half of the Lions' game against Century in Eldersburg Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.
Liberty's Jack Merchak takes a shot while covered by Century's Carter Truby during the first half of the Lions' game against Century in Eldersburg Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Meanwhile, Century set a new program record with 219 made 3-pointers. The Knights also went 11-1 in county play, and crafted a 12-game winning streak before falling to Oakdale in the 2A West Section 1 final.

FSK celebrated its first girls basketball county title in 35 years, and started the season 17-1. The Eagles went 10-2 in CCAL play, and made it to the 1A West Section 2 final in the postseason before losing to Smithsburg, the eventual regional champ.

Winters Mill won the wrestling county crown for a second consecutive season, and the Falcons added their first county tournament title in five years. Carroll County sent 18 wrestlers to the state tournament, but for a second year in a row came away without a champion despite four 2A-1A finalists.

Century won its eighth boys indoor track county meet title in as many years. The Knights followed that with runner-up showings at the 2A West Region meet and the 2A state meet.

Winters Mill's Colby Unkart wrestles Middletown's Jason Guglielmini in the Class 2A-1A West wrestling tournament at Winters Mill.
Winters Mill's Colby Unkart wrestles Middletown's Jason Guglielmini in the Class 2A-1A West wrestling tournament at Winters Mill. (Bill Ryan / For the Carroll County Times)

Jalen Stanton, a senior, put together a signature performance at states with four individual gold medals. Stanton gave the Knights 40 team points by winning the 55- and 300-meter dashes, the 55 hurdles, and the high jump. Century collected 77 points at the 2A state meet; Oakdale won with 81.

South Carroll’s girls indoor track county title was the Cavaliers’ second in a row. The Cavs were runners-up in wrestling and boys indoor track, and earned the lone bonus point of the winter with the girls indoor track team’s 2A West meet crown.

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Westminster had a second-place finish in girls basketball, and thirds in boys basketball and girls indoor track.

The spring sports season is slated to begin March 21.

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