River Hill golf juniors Benjamin Siriboury and Helen Yeung entered this season with a challenging task: defending their Class 4A/3A state titles. While that pressure may have rattled some, both Siriboury and Yeung remained unfazed, excelling on the season’s most important stage.
Siriboury repeated as a state champion, shattering the state tournament record by six shots, finishing at 10-under-par 132. He also finished fifth at the Howard County championship and fourth at the District V championship. Yeung also defended her state title, finishing at 6-under 136 after 36 holes, the only female competitor in her classification to finish under par. She won by 13 shots. She also won the county championship and finished fourth at districts.
Siriboury and Yeung are once again the 2022 Howard County Times/Columbia Flier Golfers of the Year for a third straight season.
“It was great,” River Hill coach Matthew Graves said. “It’s always hard to repeat. You got a target on your back and in this environment, you’re playing the course, you’re not really playing an individual like these other team sports. I think they enjoy the mental grind it takes to prove themselves that they are two of the best players in Howard County, if not the state.
“It made me feel really cool because it wasn’t a fluke. A lot of people say if you win a state championship, ‘Oh it was a fluke.’ To see them back it up, Helen winning by as many strokes as she did and for Benjamin to beat Bryan Kim at Sherwood, who’s a top 10 ranked golfer in the nation, it says a lot. They rose to the occasion and proved to everyone that they weren’t a fluke and said, ‘Hey we’re here until we graduate.’”
However, if you ask both players, winning the 4A/3A state team title for the first time in program history meant even more, finishing with a 576, 28 shots ahead of Marriotts Ridge and Sherwood who tied for second with 604.
“It’s really neat because not only are they worried about the team, but they’re also hanging out with their teammates,” Graves said. “They’re helping them prepare for whatever it might be. That team concept it’s so hard to put into play because it’s an individual sport with a team concept put behind it. Those two took it to a whole different level and really made me feel very comfortable as a coach around them knowing that they were in it for the team.”
Both players’ composure on the course is evident immediately but manifests itself in different ways. For Siriboury, that composure is displayed in his stoic behavior on the course.
“My dad has always told me to maintain your emotion whether you’re doing good or bad,” Siriboury said. “Also, don’t let your opponents or the people you’re playing against see your emotion. I take that into consideration and from playing tournaments, I’ve been used to trying not to show as much emotion on the course and keeping it inside. Let’s say I make a birdie in a pressure situation. I’ll be happy on the inside, but I’ll just try to contain that excitement.”
Meanwhile for Yeung, that mental strength is displayed not allowing negative shots to affect her game. There’s no greater example of that than at the state championships where she played 36 holes of bogey-free golf.
“I definitely do have emotion, but I think I respond to them well,” Yeung said. “I just remind myself why I play the sport and why I love the game and what to really focus on. Not on the history of my shot or what I previously had, I just like to focus on my process and not my outcome. I think that was the main thing that led me to play good golf those two days at states, was just to follow my process and trust my process. I think that’s an important mindset to have in the golf game because sometimes you can let your emotions and your outcome affect how you play, which is a negative thing to do on the course.”
Now both golfers enter their senior seasons with that same target on their backs. However, it’s an opportunity each is welcoming, to cap off their high school careers as three-time individual state champions and back-to-back team champions.
“[Potentially] winning three times in a row and it being my last year in high school golf is definitely really cool just to think about,” Yeung said. “Being able to win is just such a special feeling and being able to represent River Hill will mean a lot as a senior, since I’ll be leaving soon, it’s definitely sentimental.”
“Definitely work harder and try to go for the three-peat, that’s the ultimate goal for the next year,” Siriboury added. “I’ll just keep working hard, focusing on my game and see where it takes me.”
Boys All-County first team
Mark Berg, River Hill, sophomore: Berg finished eighth overall at the state championships (7-over, 149), helping the Hawks secure the team state title. He also finished second place at counties and tying for eighth at districts.
Sangmin Lee, Marriotts Ridge, senior: First team All-County for the second straight season, Lee tied for fourth place at the 4A/3A state championships finishing 36 holes with a 146. He also helped the Mustangs secure the county team title over River Hill, earning seventh place at counties (79) and tied for 18th at districts (85).
Dev Sheth, Howard, junior: Sheth was Howard’s top overall finisher at counties placing third (75). He extended that success at the District V championships tying for 15th (84).
Dustin Stocksdale, Centennial, senior: The Loyola commit and first-team All-County selection for the second straight season, closed his career in a big way. He finished third overall with a 140 at states, also taking second at districts (73) and securing the Howard County title over Berg by five shots (66).
George Williamson, Marriotts Ridge, sophomore: Williamson finished with a team-best score of 24 points, helping the Mustangs capture an 89th consecutive county win over River Hill on Sept. 29. He also finished sixth at counties (78) and tied for eighth at districts (81).
Boys All-County secondteam
Andy Christiansen, Atholton, junior
Justin Choi, River Hill, freshman
Jake Filler, Long Reach, junior
Keagan Graves, River Hill, sophomore
Aidan Kim, Marriotts Ridge, freshman
Ronan Menon, Howard, sophomore
Jonathan Moon, Marriotts Ridge, sophomore
Girls All-County first team
Alana Alexander-Giles, Marriotts Ridge, senior: First team All-County for the second straight season, Alexander-Giles closed her career strongly. She came in second at counties (72) and won by three strokes (74). The senior concluded her career tying for fourth place at states (152) as the Mustangs tied for second in their classification.
Lila Becker, Marriotts Ridge, sophomore: Becker built on a strong freshman year where she was named first team All-County. She took third at both counties (76) and districts (78), ending her sophomore season with her best finish yet, second overall (149) at states.
Erin Jeong, Marriotts Ridge, senior: Also named first-team All-County as a junior, Jeong finished fifth at counties (82) and sixth at districts (83), rounding out a strong female contingent for the Mustangs. She concluded her final season placing 14th at states (166)
Megan Kirkpatrick, Glenelg, junior: Kirkpatrick was the Gladiators’ most consistent golfer all season. She started her season in a big way, shooting 5-under on Sept. 9, setting the record for the best nine-hole match in Howard County history. She earned fourth place at counties (77), second at districts (77) and second at 2A/1A states (146).
Jane Mhonda, Wilde Lake, sophomore: Named second team All-County as a freshman, Mhonda was the Wildecats most consistent golfer throughout this season. The sophomore earned sixth at counties (86) and placed fifth at districts (82), serving as Wilde Lake’s top finisher at both events.
Girls All-County second team
Reagan Hubbard, Centennial, junior
Emma Koech, Long Reach, junior
Amber Kostick, Glenelg, senior
Cate Lee, Atholton, sophomore
Sydney Lynott, River Hill, sophomore
Charlene Pak, Marriotts Ridge, junior
Riyanna Patel, Reservoir, junior