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Stacie Gado is going out on top.

The longtime Marriotts Ridge field hockey head coach is stepping down after leading the Mustangs to their first state title this season.

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Gado, who amassed a 141-76-4 record in her 14 seasons at Marriotts Ridge, said she is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

“A big part of it is how much time it takes with having a family and a little one,” Gado said. “I want to be able to spend more time with my family. Being a teacher and a coach and a mom and a wife and everything, I felt like I was running all the time.”

Gado is the only field hockey coach in Marriotts Ridge history. After the Mustangs had a junior varsity squad in 2005, Gado has coached the varsity team — turning the program from a one-win team in 2006 to the MPSSAA Class 2A champion this fall. Overall, Gado’s Mustangs have won three county championships, two region titles and appeared in two state championship games.

“I created a document for me of Marriotts Ridge history about four years ago when we went to states to let the girls and their families see where we’ve come from and where we’ve gone,” Gado said. “Our first year, we had one win. Then in a few years we became a .500 (team). Then recently we’ve been one of the top teams in the county.”

Gado said watching her team win the state championship — a 1-0 win over Oakdale — was a fitting end to her career at Marriotts Ridge. Senior captain Emma Gladstein was surprised on Monday night when Gado told the team at its banquet that she would be stepping down.

Marriotts Ridge field hockey defeated Oakdale, 1-0, on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2019, at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, to win the MPSSAA Class 2A championship.

“I had no idea that Coach Gado was leaving,” said Gladstein. “Winning the state title (was) amazing. It was my dream come true, but I know Gado has wanted it too...and she deserves it. I’m glad she is ending on a high note. I’m going to miss her so much, and I hope to play with her in the adult tournaments in the future. The team couldn’t have done it without her.”

Gado won’t be far away from the game, though. She also coaches her 6-year-old daughter in field hockey and is excited to spend more time with her on the field.

“I really enjoyed being with the little ones and seeing her grow and play the game,” Gado said. “Hopefully, she’ll enjoy the game as much as I do, and if she doesn’t, no big deal.”

Marriotts Ridge coach Stacie Gado talks Mustangs field hockey after her team's 1-0 win over Oakdale in the 2A state championship on Nov. 9.

Gado doesn’t know if this is a retirement from coaching in high school. She admits she’ll probably get the coaching itch next August as high school teams prepare for their seasons. For right now, though, she knows stepping down is the right decision for her.

“I don’t know how I’ll feel once the season starts next year,” Gado said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. There will be mixed feelings. It’s definitely bittersweet. I’ll miss sharing my passion with the girls and watching the high school girls grow.”

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