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High School Sports: Our best Carroll County games of 2019, No. 15-11

The year is coming to an end, so the Times put together a countdown of the top high school sporting events covered in 2019.

A Times reporter had to be present for the game to qualify for our countdown. Significance of the event played a major role, as did any championships at stake. We will unveil the top 15 five at a time, starting with No. 15 through No. 11 today.

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15. Liberty’s Emily Brecker, Noelle Htwar win tennis girls doubles state title

Date: May 25

How it happened: Brecker and Htwar came from behind to defeat River Hill’s Maanasa Gurram and Siri Jale in straight sets, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 to cap an undefeated season. The duo trailed 4-1 in the first set but held serve down 5-4 and again at 6-5 to force a tiebreaker. They fell behind 2-0 in the second set and put together two breaks against River Hill’s serve, then broke the Hawks’ serve leading 5-4 to pull out the win.

Significance: Brecker and Htwar’s victory gave Liberty its first tennis state championship in school history.

Quotable: “We’ve worked literally our whole lives for this,” Htwar said. “We wanted this match more than anything.”

Liberty juniors Noelle Htwar and Emily Brecker are the 2019 Carroll County Times Girls Tennis Players of the Year.
Liberty juniors Noelle Htwar and Emily Brecker are the 2019 Carroll County Times Girls Tennis Players of the Year.(Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

14. Liberty girls cross country wins Class 2A state title

Date: Nov. 9

How it happened: The Carroll County and Class 2A West champions placed five runners in the top 20 to win the 2A state title. Freshman Izzy Lucas finished fifth in 20:04.24 followed by senior Sammie Spargo in 20:11.93. Julia Lucas was ninth, Christian Lemaster finished 15th, and Jenna Zietowski came in 16th.

Significance: The victory at Hereford High School gave the Lions their second state championship in six seasons.

Quotable: “It was really hard because we lost a lot of people last year,” Spargo said. “We started over this year with a ton of new people and we all became friends very quickly and that helped a lot with our race today just because of how close we were. We really supported each other throughout the season.”

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A trio of Liberty runners, from left, Julia Lucas, Izzy Lucas and Sammie Spargo, run together in the Class 2A girls race during the MPSSAA State Cross Country Championships at Hereford High School on Saturday, November 9.
A trio of Liberty runners, from left, Julia Lucas, Izzy Lucas and Sammie Spargo, run together in the Class 2A girls race during the MPSSAA State Cross Country Championships at Hereford High School on Saturday, November 9.(Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

13. Gerstell baseball claims first MIAA B Conference championship

Date: May 21

How it happened: Jerry Torrence hit a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Falcons their first baseball title with a 6-4 win over Boys’ Latin, the three-time defending MIAA B Conference champions. The Lakers led 3-1 at the top of the fifth inning, but Gerstell scored three runs to take a 5-3 lead to close out the inning. Boys’ Latin starter Sam Grace threw a wild pitch that brought Torrence in for a 6-3 lead.

Significance: The Falcons had to get past Boys’ Latin in a double-elimination tournament the day before, and Times Player of the Year Reece Early struck out 12 batters in a complete-game effort to lead the Falcons to a 6-3 win that set up the winner-take-all title game at Harford Community College.

Quotable: “It’s an amazing feeling,” said Early of the title. “We have such a small school, and they were all here for us. I’m glad we got to share this with them.”

Gerstell's Reece Early watches the ball soar off his bat for a 2-run home run against Friends during a baseball game at Gerstell Academy on Thursday, April 18.
Gerstell's Reece Early watches the ball soar off his bat for a 2-run home run against Friends during a baseball game at Gerstell Academy on Thursday, April 18.(Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

12. A sweet repeat for Westminster girls lacrosse in 3A state final

Date: May 20

How it happened: The Owls jumped out to an early 6-0 lead over C. Milton Wright, thanks to four goals from Hannah Dintino, and the Owls led 11-2 at halftime. The teams traded off second-half goals before the Owls won15-9 and captured their second state championship in program history.

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Significance: Westminster outscored their playoff opponents 73-19 leading up to the state final and they held every playoff opponent to 10 goals or less. The Owls have been to the state tournament 11 times and were finalists in 2004, 2009, 2011 and 2012 before capturing their first state title in 2018.

Quotable: “I think it’s a momentum thing,” Dintino said. “We’re kind of used to our first halves not being as good so we all wanted to come out with a big first half and show off what we can do so notching in a few goals on all of our parts was something we needed and something that doesn’t normally happen so we really wanted that to be a game-changer.”

Westminster's players celebrate Anna Ruby's goal against Stephen Decatur during the Girls Lacrosse 3A state semifinals at Mount Hebron High School
Westminster's players celebrate Anna Ruby's goal against Stephen Decatur during the Girls Lacrosse 3A state semifinals at Mount Hebron High School(Terrance Williams / For Carroll County Times)

11. Alex Grasso’s goal lifts Century past La Plata for 2A state title

Date: Nov. 15

How it happened: One goal was all the Knights needed, and it came off a free kick from senior midfielder Alex Grasso about 11 minutes into the game. The Knights held off La Plata, the defending 2A state champions, 1-0 to win the title.

Significance: The victory gave the Knights their second state championship in program history. It was the team’s fifth tournament appearance and their first time back in the state final since they won it in 2003.

Quotable: “I don’t think it’s set in yet, but it’s very exciting and good for our program,” Knights first-year coach Trey Howes said. “It’s good for the kids and for our fans and it’s definitely more than I could have expected my first year ... just an unbelievable season and a dream season. Everybody at the beginning didn’t talk about us, didn’t think we could do it, and we’re here. We did it. We’re really happy for them and really happy for our program."

Century players and coaches celebrate as time expires in their 2-0 win over Liberty during a boys soccer playoff game at Liberty High School on Tuesday, October 29.
Century players and coaches celebrate as time expires in their 2-0 win over Liberty during a boys soccer playoff game at Liberty High School on Tuesday, October 29.(Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)
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