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Howard County girls lacrosse senior spotlight

Members of the Howard County 2020 senior class (clockwise from top left) Glenelg's Ashley O'Byrne, Glenelg Country's Kennedy Williamson, Howard's Kelly Schluederberg, Long Reach's Leah McClelland, Marriotts Ridge's Gracie Kennedy and Reservoir's Sarah Nam.
Members of the Howard County 2020 senior class (clockwise from top left) Glenelg's Ashley O'Byrne, Glenelg Country's Kennedy Williamson, Howard's Kelly Schluederberg, Long Reach's Leah McClelland, Marriotts Ridge's Gracie Kennedy and Reservoir's Sarah Nam.

The announcement officially canceling the spring sports season for Maryland public schools as a result of the coronavirus pandemic means the realization of an unfortunate reality — the high school careers for an entire senior class of athletes has come to a premature end.

In the history books, there will be no county, regional or state champions for the 2020 spring season. All-County honors will not be awarded for the first time in decades.

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Still, the absence of athletic contests does not diminish the fact that the 2020 senior class of spring athletes merits recognition. With that in mind, we reached out to all of the area programs to get information on their respective senior classes.

We will be running the packages featuring each of the spring sports over the next week. Here is the release schedule:

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Thursday, May 21: Boys Lacrosse

Friday, May 22: Girls Lacrosse

Monday, May 25: Baseball

Tuesday, May 26: Softball

Wednesday, May 27: Tennis

Thursday, May 28: Track

GIRLS LACROSSE

Atholton's Olivia Chory looks to pass ahead of a check from Centennial's Sarah Toth in the second half. Centennial takes a 15-10 win over visiting Atholton Tuesday afternoon in Ellicott City.
Atholton's Olivia Chory looks to pass ahead of a check from Centennial's Sarah Toth in the second half. Centennial takes a 15-10 win over visiting Atholton Tuesday afternoon in Ellicott City.(Doug Kapustin / For Baltimore Sun Media)

The seven seniors on the Atholton roster were spread all over the field, promising to provide leadership for the Raiders in a number of ways.

“This is an amazing group of young ladies that really worked together as a team and embodied all that goes with it,” Atholton coach Laura Foerster Puglisi said. “These girls have been amazing to work with, and even more amazing to watch them progress on the field. Our seniors will be missed next year."

Olivia Chory is a four-year varsity player in the midfield that would have likely been a captain for a third straight season, coming off a junior campaign where she scored 26 goals to go along with five assists. She will play next year for East Stroudsburg University.

Makenna Hammill and Lindsay Van Der Meid were other strong senior midfielders, while Violet Flores and Jessica Bell were each returning varsity players on attack. Flores will play lacrosse at Hood College next year, while Bell will play at Hampton University.

Sofia Medilin is a three-year varsity player on defense and Devin Bautz, a previous recipient of the Letterman’s and Coach’s award, was a goalie for the Raiders that is headed to play at North Carolina Weslayan.

Centennial Eagles Midfielder Rasa Welsh breaks through the River Hill Hawks defense at River Hill High School on April 23, 2019.
Centennial Eagles Midfielder Rasa Welsh breaks through the River Hill Hawks defense at River Hill High School on April 23, 2019.(Terrance Williams / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Centennial featured the largest senior class of the county’s girls lacrosse team, featuring a group of 11 graduating players.

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Four-year varsity players Sarah Thorman and Rasa Welsh headlined the group. Thorman is a goalie who is headed to play at Allegheny College next year, while Welsh is a 2019 first team All-County midfielder who is headed to play at Campbell University. Welsh had 49 points as a junior with 33 goals and 16 assists.

Midfielder Carolina Pelligrini and defender Sarah Toth are each three-year varsity players. Pelligrini was a contributor on draw control, defense and also could push forward — scoring the game-winning goal in a victory over Mt. Hebron. Toth, meanwhile is a two-year captain.

Other senior defenders for Centennial were Leah Alkire, Brook Anderson, Hannah Boodin and Kristin Parisi. Melissa Notti was a contributor as a backup goalie in 2019.

Rounding out the Eagles’ senior class is Eliza Andrews and Samantha Suhrcke on attack.

“I will always remember them for their positivity and work ethic,” Centennial coach Bethany Cunha said. “They were welcoming to incoming players and supported their teammates no matter the score. They played with 100 percent intensity always and you'd be hard pressed to find a more conscientious and kind group of girls.”

The senior class for Chapelgate was headlined by a trio of players — Christina Cummings, Gabriella Little and Addison Mueller — that were set to share captain responsibilities. Defender Mercy Shih, a three-year player, rounded out the group.

Cummings is a strong and aggressive defender, Little a four-year starter at goalie and Mueller a versatile player on both ends from her midfield position.

From left, Glenelg's Megan Writt, Kelsey Morali and Emma LeTellier celebrate their 10-9 win against Marriotts Ridge in a high school girls 2A South region semifinal lacrosse game.
From left, Glenelg's Megan Writt, Kelsey Morali and Emma LeTellier celebrate their 10-9 win against Marriotts Ridge in a high school girls 2A South region semifinal lacrosse game.(Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Coming off four straight seasons winning a region championship — three of those years winning a state title — Glenelg had six seniors on its roster this spring. All were named as captains.

Defender Ashley O’Byrne is a four-year varsity player that was coming off making second-team All-County as a junior. She will play at St. Joseph University.

Megan Writt was set to be one of the team’s leaders on attack, while Meredith Arterburn — who will play at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next year — and Kelsey Morali were going to be anchors in the midfield.

Elizabeth Hesen, who will play in college at Salisbury University, and Gabby Steinberg were tenacious defenders on what was shaping up to be a dominating defensive group.

“We were very excited about our six seniors,” Glenelg coach Nikki Trunzo said. “Their experience on and off the field was going to be the key to us having a successful season. Having graduated 14 seniors [last spring] this group was ready to step up and lead.”

Glenelg Country's Madison Sesay brings the ball up field during an IAAM girls lacrosse game against John Carroll in 2019.
Glenelg Country's Madison Sesay brings the ball up field during an IAAM girls lacrosse game against John Carroll in 2019.(Photo courtesy of Michele Fuhrman)

Glenelg Country’s senior class consisted of defenders Madison Sesay and Kennedy Williamson.

Sesay scooped up 45 ground balls in 2019 and was a four-year member of the varsity team. A three-sport athlete, who also played field hockey and ran indoor track, Sesay will play lacrosse at the University of Maryland next season.

Williamson, who transferred into the program from Roland Park prior to her junior year, had 49 ground balls and made second-team All-County in 2019. She too will be playing lacrosse at the University of Maryland next year.

“These two outstanding student athletes are a huge part of our defense, which helped the team to a second place finish in the IAAM A [Conference] during the 2019 regular season,” Glenelg Country coach Brian Reese said. “They bring speed, quickness and leadership to our back end. Both are great student athletes who will continue to play together next season at the University of Maryland.”

Hammond's Abby Richards defends against Long Reach during a girls lacrosse game in 2018.
Hammond's Abby Richards defends against Long Reach during a girls lacrosse game in 2018.(Israel Carunungan)

The five-player senior group for Hammond consisted of Anna Childress and Abby Richards on attack, Sophie Schaefer and Mia Stott in the midfield, and Far Cuai on defense.

“From the words of Jesse Owens, ‘We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.’ To our seniors, Anna, Far, Abby, Sophie, and Mia, we know your dreams will become your reality because you have exactly what it takes ... they have shown us that over the past four years,” said Hammond coach Lindsay Kolesar.

Howard goalie, Megan Nkamwa protects the ball after making a first half save. Marriotts Ridge takes a 19-10 win over visiting Howard Friday evening in Marriottsville
Howard goalie, Megan Nkamwa protects the ball after making a first half save. Marriotts Ridge takes a 19-10 win over visiting Howard Friday evening in Marriottsville(Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

All seven of the seniors at Howard have been with coach Katelyn Joyce since she took over as the varsity coach in 2017.

Jenna Peed, Kelly Schluederberg and Katie Sloan were all returning All-County performers from a season ago. Peed, a midfielder headed to play at Jacksonville University, was a returning captain that had 38 points in 2019 on the way to being named as the team MVP. Schluederberg, another midfielder who will play at the University of Florida, was the 2019 Offensive team MVP with 56 points. Sloan, meanwhile, is headed to play at Johnson and Wales and was coming off a junior season where she was named the Lions’ Defensive MVP.

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Attack Shea O’Connor was a returning captain that led the team in assists and had 43 points in 2019, while Leah Spalding led the team in draw controls and contributed 38 points as a junior. Spalding is headed to play at VCU next year.

Madison Hare, who will play at Mount St. Mary’s, was a team leader in defensive ground balls and goalie Megan Nkamwa posted a 0.45 save percentage a year ago.

“The Howard seniors are amazing young women and lacrosse players,” Joyce said. “They are all leaders on the field, and when they come together to accomplish something, they can’t be stopped. All seven of them have been on varsity with me since my first year coaching at Howard, so I can’t imagine a team without them. Their heart, their passion, and of course their weirdness.”

Long Reach's Leah McClelland during a girls lacrosse playoff game against Atholton in 2019.
Long Reach's Leah McClelland during a girls lacrosse playoff game against Atholton in 2019.(Israel Carunungan)

The Long Reach senior class was led by a pair of captains in Leah McClelland and Sabrina Gurung, along with returning starting goalie Grace Valdez.

McClelland was a second-team All-County midfielder as a junior after finishing as the team’s leading scorer with 40 points and was a four-year starter on varsity. Gurung led the defense with her hustle, while Valdez showcased a great work ethic in goal.

Jillian Berko is another two-year varsity player on defense, Amani Garrett was a transfer into the program from Meade on defense, and Aisha Khetib had battled back from an injury last season to become a contributor on attack for the Lightning.

Marriotts Ridge's Eloise Clevenger gets past Westminster's Hannah Dintino before firing a second half shot on goal. Marriotts Ridge defeats visiting Westminster, 15-8, Thursday afternoon in Marriottsville
Marriotts Ridge's Eloise Clevenger gets past Westminster's Hannah Dintino before firing a second half shot on goal. Marriotts Ridge defeats visiting Westminster, 15-8, Thursday afternoon in Marriottsville(Doug Kapustin, for the Baltimore Sun Media Group)

While small in size, the four-player senior class for Marriotts Ridge was instrumental to the team’s success a year ago on the way to finishing as county champions.

Gracie Kennedy and Eloise Clevenger were both returning first-team All-County players, each finishing among the top 10 scorers in the county as juniors. Kennedy, who registered 68 points from her attack position last year, is headed to play at Virginia Tech in college. Clevenger, who had 61 points from her midfield position in 2019, will play lacrosse at the University of Maryland.

Kayla Brusco was a workhorse for the team in the midfield and showcased great flexibility. She will play lacrosse in college at Virginia Commonwealth University. Emma Miller rounded out the senior class as one of the county’s top players in terms of controlling the draw, while also providing big minutes on defense and maybe even on offense this spring. She will play lacrosse at McDaniel College.

"This senior class had a 2020 Vision this year; it was so clear to us. We were working hard and ready for the journey,” Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady said. “While it had stopped us in the moment, these seniors have left a legacy that our younger players admire. It's a legacy of humility, laughter, positivity and effort. Those will all take you far not only on the field, but in life, too."

Mt. Hebron's Olivia Suazo is defended in back of the net by Centennial's Lauren Pelligrini in the second half. Visiting Mt. Hebron takes a 14-13 win over Centennial in a regional playoff game Friday afternoon in Ellicott City.
Mt. Hebron's Olivia Suazo is defended in back of the net by Centennial's Lauren Pelligrini in the second half. Visiting Mt. Hebron takes a 14-13 win over Centennial in a regional playoff game Friday afternoon in Ellicott City.(Doug Kapustin / For Baltimore Sun Media)

Mt. Hebron had a six-player senior class that included plenty of experienced faces, particularly on defense.

Ally De Bels was one of the leaders of the group as a four-year varsity starter on defense, excelling in terms of communication and showcasing a hardworking, positive attitude for the team’s underclassmen. She will play lacrosse at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Twins Alexa and Olivia Suazo provided lots of strong minutes after joining the program in 2019. Alexa was one of the team’s most consistent defenders, while Olivia was a starter on attack as a junior and finished with 42 points.

Also starring on the defensive end for the Vikings were seniors Emily Coliano, who battled back this offseason from a torn ACL, and Kate Fleck, who was one of the team’s fiercest competitors. Mackenzie Strozyk rounded out the Mt. Hebron senior class as a midfielder who used her hustle to excel on groundballs, particularly on the draw.

“Our senior class this year will be remembered as bringing athleticism, spunk, humor, hustle, and a competitive spirit to our team,” Mt. Hebron coach Samantha Brookhart said. “They always wanted the best for all of their teammates. I feel terrible about how our season ended because this team was special, and my seniors were determined to lead the team to certain goals we had talked about. Emily, Ally, Kate, Mackenzie, Alexa and Olivia will all be missed so much, but their futures are so bright.”

The trio of seniors for Oakland Mills were Anna Farley, Cori Lawson and Kiana Macharia, with all three spread out over the field.

Farley was an attacker and defender that excelled as someone who could play almost any position. Lawson was nursing an injury this spring but was one of the team’s top scorers as a junior, including a multi-goal game against Meade. Macharia, meanwhile, played in seven games and made 25 saves as a junior — including helping lead the way to a double-overtime victory against Glen Burnie.

“This group of seniors has been a joy to coach during their time at Oakland Mills. They all were highly motivated and came to practice ready to get better every day,” Oakland Mills coach Jamie Twardowicz said. “We will miss having them in our program. This group of seniors was an example of what being a team player looked like. They were constantly cheering on their teammates and always put the team above themselves. We appreciate all of their hard work and will miss them in our seasons to come.”

Reservoir's Sarah Nam, right, takes aim at Old Mill's goal as Stella Cote, left, and Allyna Threatt try to defend during a girls lacrosse game at Reservoir High School on Tuesday, April 10.
Reservoir's Sarah Nam, right, takes aim at Old Mill's goal as Stella Cote, left, and Allyna Threatt try to defend during a girls lacrosse game at Reservoir High School on Tuesday, April 10.(Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The Reservoir senior class of four players was headlined by three-year varsity starter Sarah Nam. She finished with 86 career goals, making second-team All-County as a junior as a midfielder despite being a natural defender. Nam will continue her lacrosse career at Catholic University.

Ashley Ho is a two-year varsity player who converted from attack to defense, developing into a contributor with a new set of skills. Jaslyn Saenz is another two-year varsity player, only having played lacrosse since she was a freshman, but still developing into an anchor on the team’s defense. Rianna Nunes missed her junior season but was back stronger than ever for her senior year on attack.

River Hill Hawks Midfielder Lindsay Smith attempts a shot against the Centennial Eagles at River Hill High School.
River Hill Hawks Midfielder Lindsay Smith attempts a shot against the Centennial Eagles at River Hill High School.(Terrance Williams / For Baltimore Sun Media)

River Hill had four defenders, two midfielders and an attack among its senior class. Lindsay Smith, who will continue her lacrosse career at Lindenwood University, finished last season with 25 points and was slated to be a leader this spring in the midfield. Jamie Caine in was another workhorse in the midfield, while Olivia Schwab was slated to take on an expanded role on attack.

Carly Angel, Kelly Key, Greta Kluckhuhn and Kaela Wilson were all going to be contributors on the team’s defense, which was aiming to build on a 2019 season where the Hawks held five opponents to seven goals or less.

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“This senior class is one to be remembered. To see the growth that the seven seniors have had over my four years of coaching as both lacrosse players and amazing young ladies is truly remarkable,” River Hill coach Amy Weinberg said. “They work hard, hold each other accountable and lift our whole team up in the time of need. These seniors bring energy, they understand the culture of the program and hold their other teammates to the same standard, and they will be winners in life after lacrosse.”

Wilde Lake goalie Anna Boyer plays defense next to the goal during a girls lacrosse game against Long Reach in 2019.
Wilde Lake goalie Anna Boyer plays defense next to the goal during a girls lacrosse game against Long Reach in 2019.(Israel Carunungan)

As the lone two seniors for Wilde Lake, midfielder Aliyah Hodges and goalie Anna Boyer were each key cogs for the Wildecats.

Hodges was pulled up to varsity midway through her freshman season despite being a first-time lacrosse player at the time and has grown over the years to excel no matter what position she was asked to play. “Her versatility provided her the ability to find ways to continue earning a starting position each season,” Wilde Lake coach Michael Rhodovi said. “Leading by example through her actions on field, keeping her cool under pressure, and never backing down from a conflict … best describes what makes Aliyah a standout player of great importance to our team.”

Boyer joined the team last year as a junior, having never played lacrosse before and still won the starting position. She finished the 2019 season with 121 saves, helped hold four opponents to four goals or less and was named a captain this spring. “She has proven to be a highly intelligent young woman of strong character, possessing an incredible work ethic and is always looking to improve and expand her game,” Rhodovi said. “Anna is a natural leader and passionate competitor.”

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