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Junior varsity programs are often thought to be the building blocks for the future of high school athletics, with freshman and sophomore athletes learning the skills and lessons necessary to develop into the varsity stars of tomorrow.

While the importance of the contributions of these athletes are undeniable, they often perform outside the spotlight.

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In an effort to provide these athletes with some deserved recognition, we contacted each school through their athletic administration to find out about some of the highlights and top performers from the spring season. Here’s what we heard back:

BOYS SOCCER

Atholton finished 4-3-4 in county and 7-3-4 overall under head coach Charles Lidard. The Raiders began their season with five straight victories, including triumphs over county opponents Glenelg and Reservoir.

After a tough middle stretch of the year, Atholton then regrouped to finish strong with wins over Oakland Mills and Hammond.

Atholton's Jason Van Gennip battles for a header in a JV boys soccer game against Howard.
Atholton's Jason Van Gennip battles for a header in a JV boys soccer game against Howard. (photo courtesy of Michael C. Pamukcoglu)

Nico Taber, Sean Boulle and Alec Laraway served as the team’s captains, while Jake Fato was named team MVP as a center attacking midfielder and Luke Kudwa earned the Coaches Award as a powerful fullback. Sophomore Austin Terry garnered the Letterman Award as the team’s vocal keeper, and freshman Tuscan Mulinazzi was named “Unsung Hero” for his effort in defending the goal during a shootout win in the Meade Fall Classic against Annapolis High.

Centennial finished the season 11-1, punctuating its season with a 3-0 victory over Marriotts Ridge.

The Centennial JV boys soccer team poses for a photo after the end of its season.
The Centennial JV boys soccer team poses for a photo after the end of its season. (photo courtesy of Centennial Athletics)

Finishing undefeated at home (4-0-2) and scoring at least once in all but two matches, Glenelg had a strong season under coach Kyle Chick.

“It was such a fun group of boys to spend the season with,” Chick said. “Three of our five losses were by only one goal and we had chances to win all but two of our games all season. Hopefully this young group can use this experience and finish more matches next year.”

Glenelg finished 4-5-3 overall, earning victories over Hammond, Marriotts Ridge, South Carroll and Reservoir.

Sophomores Drew Fulton (3 goals and 2 assists), Jaegon Hibbitts (4 goals) and Jacob Pair (3 goals, 1 assist, along with freshmen Roman Farace (5 goals, 2 assists) and Russell Minni (3 goals), combined to form a formidable offensive attack. Freshman goalie Joey Samsock held down the defense for the Gladiators.

Hammond had a roster featuring 19 freshmen and seven sophomores, with sophomore captains Cameren Spicher and Emmanuel Oyeymi serving as offensive leaders. Sophomores Michael Jatto, Emmanuel Addo and Zachary Lupo, alongside freshman Jack Taylor, provided strong defense all season long.

Freshman breakout performer Noah Gant was a consistent attacking threat that was called up to varsity for the playoffs. Freshman goalie Nathaniel Reyes made highlight-reel saves, while sophomores Heaven Thang and Silas Khai were the standouts in the midfield.

Howard's Chris Herzog dribbles the ball up field while the Lions' bench looks on during a JV boys soccer game.
Howard's Chris Herzog dribbles the ball up field while the Lions' bench looks on during a JV boys soccer game. (photo courtesy of Michael C. Pamukcoglu)

It was an undefeated fall season for Howard (10-0-2 county, 11-0-2 overall).

“Every player contributed to our team's success all year long, but the leadership of Kyle Miller on the defensive end, Ryan Stewart in the midfield, Henry Metzger at striker, along with stellar goalkeeper play by both Griffin Haberern and Lucas Ryerson, made it possible to finish with our second consecutive undefeated season, and best record in the county,” coach Greg Metzger said.

Among the season highlights was a 2-1 overtime win over Mt. Hebron, where the Lions got a goal from Bora Keskin in the final five minutes of regulation to tie the game. The team the won with a goal in the first minute of the extra period.

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“Over the course of the season we grew as a team and overcame a lot of our scoring difficulties that we faced early on in the season,” Metzger said.

Marriotts Ridge finished the season with a 4-6-2 overall record. Nevan Patcha led the offense with six goals, getting solid support on the flanks from Sam Bartley and Ben Dyer to go along with bench production from Caleb Nebiyu, David Lee, Ryan Zhong, Joel Yoon, Mathias Nebiyu and Justin Oh.

Mike Clevenger, Cole Jenkins, Evan Lyons, Christian Lee and Jo John were strong contributors in the middle of the field, while Cory Scott used his experience to take control of the back line. Other strong defenders were Nico Manerelli, Ryan Conroy, William Lefevere, Kyle Samorky and Philip Nguyen.

Aiden Costello was the starter at goalie, getting support from backups Nick Larson and Tyler Bury.

“The team worked well together and adapted to the system well,” coach Paul Courtney said.

Mt. Hebron's JV boys soccer team huddles together. - Original Credit:
Mt. Hebron's JV boys soccer team huddles together. - Original Credit: (Submitted photo / HANDOUT)

Mt. Hebron was one of the top teams in the county, going 8-2-1 in league play and 10-2-1 overall.

Sophomore captain Emmanuel Bekele led the attack with 11 goals and four assists, with freshman Mark Adja (6 goals and 5 assists) right behind him.

The Vikings’ defense, led by sophomore captains Andrew Magdar and Logan Dunn in goal, registered seven shutouts. Devin Reed held down the midfield all season.

“We had a group of talented, hardworking players who wanted to come out and get better every day of the week,” coach Kyle Farson said. “One of many highlights of the season would have to be a hard-fought battle at Marriotts Ridge where we won 2-0. This was a point in the season that was a huge confidence booster for the boys.”

Four members of the Oakland Mills boys soccer team form a defensive wall against Long Reach during a JV game this fall.
Four members of the Oakland Mills boys soccer team form a defensive wall against Long Reach during a JV game this fall. (Israel Carunungan)

With a 4-6 record, Oakland Mills had one of its most successful seasons in the last decade. A 3-2 overtime win against Hammond, where the team came back from two goals down, was a huge confidence builder and served as the highlight of the season.

“The whole team really had a standout season,” coach Stanley Katongole said. “They had fun and were eager to get better.”

Reservoir finished with a 1-10-1 overall record, defeating Glen Burnie and earning a tie against Hammond. Despite the lack of victories, coach Taylor Salmans said he saw consistent improvement from his team all season.

“Even though they didn’t get the results the wanted, they played 100 percent every game,” Salmans said.

Captains Collin Pham and Ozzy Morales each stepped into and excelled at unfamiliar roles on the field. Midfielders Olav Jenson and Brandon Ferreira also were consistent performers game-in and game-out.

River Hill's Aryan Reddy (14) kicks the ball around the Hammond defense during a JV boys soccer game.
River Hill's Aryan Reddy (14) kicks the ball around the Hammond defense during a JV boys soccer game. (photo courtesy of Audrey Paulino)

Overcoming a good bit of adversity, including a few major injuries, River Hill finished with a 7-2-2 record in county play and 8-2-2 record overall.

“There are not specific highlights I could point out on this season except the extraordinary amount of resiliency this team showed throughout the season,” coach Derrick Jameson said. “This team had a fight in them that no matter the situation they had a believed they had a chance to win.”

Sophomore Gerry Montmayor was the Hawks’ leading scorer with 12 goals and five assists, with sophomore Noah Hanson right behind him with five goals and 10 assists. Sophomore captain Kian Mbi was vital to team leadership, while Antonio Paulino, Will Gochar and Jason Jia were pivotal to the team’s success in the midfield.

Sophomores Alex Kasbeer-Betty, Josh Wauls, Andrew Bian and Rafay Naseem anchored the back line in front of freshman goalie Jiwan Ghoseiri, who played a part in four shutouts on the season.

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GIRLS SOCCER

Atholton ended its season with a 7-4-1 overall record and a 5-4 mark in county play.

Sophomore Katie Hessler and freshman Ali Lubitz both led the Raiders offense with six goals and four assists, while sophomore Jillian Duke and freshmen Talia Fields and Emma Cho were key players on defense. Sophomore Cathy Cole also chipped in with three goals and two assists.

Atholton's Sophia Monsalvo prepares to kick the ball during a JV girls soccer game.
Atholton's Sophia Monsalvo prepares to kick the ball during a JV girls soccer game. (Submitted photo)

Coach Jennifer Smithson said the highlight of the Raiders’ season was a 1-0 win over River Hill.

“The team had an incredible unity both on and off the field, which contributed to their success,” Smithson said.

Centennial went 9-3-2 overall and 7-3-2 against county competition this season.

Eleven players scored goals for the Eagles, with sophomore Terra Oh leading the team offensively with five goals followed by sophomore Leah Han’s three goals. Defensively, sophomore Olivia Jackson pitched seven shutouts in goal for the Eagles.

“A highlight of the Eagles’ season was their ability to move the ball quickly and with accuracy,” said coach Meagan Monfrida. “They worked hard at practice to use their passing strength to control games. Their hard word and dedication led to a winning season.”

Glenelg's JV girls soccer team celebrates a goal.
Glenelg's JV girls soccer team celebrates a goal. (submitted photo)

Glenelg was the top team in the county with a 10-1-1 overall record. The Gladiators, led by captains Emily Robinson and Megan Ball, sported an 18-player roster with 15 girls who scored goals. Freshman Maya Bomhardt led the team in goals and assists.

Hammond went 1-10 overall and 0-7 in county play this season. The Golden Bears, led by captains Navi Arri and Emmi Mercedes, lone win of the season was a 1-0 triumph over Lansdowne.

“We had a productive year, building on foundational skills and working as a team,” said coach Molly Schaefer. “By the end of the year, we had made great strides in ball skills, positioning and communicating as a team. … I am very proud of these players.”

Howard's Megan Otchet dribbles up field against Mt. Hebron in a JV girls soccer game.
Howard's Megan Otchet dribbles up field against Mt. Hebron in a JV girls soccer game. (photo courtesy of Manny Rodriguez)

Despite a young roster, Howard ended the season with a 7-2-3 record. Eleven of the Lions’ 17 players were freshmen.

“We persevered through our growing pains,” said coach Jessica McKay.

The Lions were led by captains Sarah Carney, Sydney Weisfeld, Savika Raina and Megan Otchet. Brooke Matney paced the attack with six goals, while Ansley Glasgow and Anna Mueller anchored the defense.

The Long Reach JV girls soccer team shares a laugh coming off the field after playing River Hill this fall.
The Long Reach JV girls soccer team shares a laugh coming off the field after playing River Hill this fall. (Israel Carunungan)

After going winless in 2018, Long Reach won two games this season. The Lightning finished with a 2-10 record. Coach Oliver Male said freshman captain Leah Mitchell was a “standout player” for the Lightning.

“With her energy, effort, bite and quality on the ball, I have no doubt she can make the step up into the varsity program for next year,” Male said.

Marriotts Ridge was one of the top teams in the county, ending its season with a 7-3-2 overall record and a 7-2-1 mark in county play.

Hana Larkins (11 goals) and Sophie Kang (nine goals) paced the attack, while Caroline Albert (62 saves) and defenders Kate Hennigan and Grace Ferbert led the defense.

Coach Sarah Miller said the highlight of the season was a 1-0 win at River Hill.

Oakland Mills went 4-7 overall and 2-3 in county play.

Fladaina Bruno led the Scorpions with eight goals and four assists, while Atoryia McAllister was second on the team with seven goals and three assists.

The Scorpions totaled 18 goals this season after scoring only three last season.

Members of the Reservoir JV girls soccer team pose for a photo during a community service trip to the Arbor Assisted Living Facility this fall.
Members of the Reservoir JV girls soccer team pose for a photo during a community service trip to the Arbor Assisted Living Facility this fall. (Submitted photo)

Reservoir finished the season with a 3-8-1 overall record and a 3-6-1 mark in county play.

Coach Wendell Thomas said the highlights of the season were the scoreless overtime tie with Centennial and the 2-1 win over Wilde Lake. In the victory over the Wildecats, sophomore Joan Saunderson scored both goals — the first goals of her career.

The Gators were also led by freshman Alana Jenne and sophomores Sarah Woods, Katie Herberholz, Madison Roberts and Simone Barrett.

The River Hill JV girls soccer team celebrates a goal during a match against Long Reach.
The River Hill JV girls soccer team celebrates a goal during a match against Long Reach. (Israel Carunungan)

River Hill ended its county season with a 4-3-2 record. Vivian Yao and Libby Kitzinger led the Hawks in the midfield, while Molly Maloney and Tami Mumuney were key on defense.

Coach Amy Weinberg said the highlight of the season was defeating then-unbeaten Centennial.

“The team had a very strong season and improved more and more every day,” Weinberg said. “They always were pushing each other to get better every day and showed great team chemistry.”

Wilde Lake's JV girls soccer team poses for a photo together after a game this fall. - Original Credit:
Wilde Lake's JV girls soccer team poses for a photo together after a game this fall. - Original Credit: (submitted photo / HANDOUT)

Wilde Lake finished the season with a 2-9 record with wins over Hammond and Long Reach.

Coach Kristyn Neubauer said sophomore defender Natalie Figueroa was the “key” to the Wildecats this season. Neubauer said the other standout players on her team were Olivia Morse, Madison Lee and Jenna Eylanbekov.

Among the highlights of the Wildecats’ season was Lee’s goal she scored just 23 seconds into the team’s game against Hammond, setting the stage for a lopsided shutout victory.

FIELD HOCKEY

Centennial was one of the top teams in the county teams this season. The Eagles went 7-1-5 overall and 5-1-3 in county play.

Head coach XiaoYing Van Schaik said the highlight of the season was the Eagles’ 2-1 win over River Hill in overtime.

“That game was played with tenacity from both teams,” said Van Schaik.

Eleven of the Eagles’ 21 players scored or had an assist on the season, with freshman Hayley Harris leading the team with eight goals, four assists and three strokes. Abby Cudizilo, also a freshman, was the second leading scorer on Centennial with seven goals and two assists. Sydney Burke and Rafiah Alam led the defense with five and three defensive saves, respectively.

Glenelg's Lily Davis puts a shot on goal during a JV field hockey game against Urbana. - Original Credit:
Glenelg's Lily Davis puts a shot on goal during a JV field hockey game against Urbana. - Original Credit: (Submitted photo / HANDOUT)

The second best team in the county this season was Glenelg. The Gladiators, led by captains Maura Murphy (sophomore), Reese Allnutt (sophomore), Emmy Piwowarski (sophomore) and Madison Ueltschy (sophomore), finished the year 9-3 overall and 6-1 in county play.

Carleigh Callahan led the team’s scoring with eight goals, while sophomores Sophie Cipolla, Alex Krohn and Lily Davis chipped in with five, four and four, respectively. A strength for Glenelg, though, was its defense, led by freshman goalie Ana Suri. The Gladiators allowed only six goals in 12 games and pitched eight shutouts.

“This team was comprised of a very rare group of girls,” said coach Molly Milani. “Everyone looked forward to games and practices each day. They always had a positive, competitive energy motivating each other to be better.”

With a roster comprised of four freshmen, seven sophomores and two juniors, Glenelg Country School finished 0-7 this season. The Dragons were led by captains Stella Moynihan and Briti Nebhnani, while Laura Kim, Grayce Cooper and Yasmine Tujjar held the defensive line. Goalie Eliza Macaluso ended the season with 53 saves.

The Hammond JV field hockey team poses for a photo together after earning a 5-0 victory over Oakland Mills.
The Hammond JV field hockey team poses for a photo together after earning a 5-0 victory over Oakland Mills. (photo courtesy of Hammond Athletics)

Hannah Haber and Brianna Donato led Hammond this season.

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“(Hannah) never played field hockey prior to this season and ended up getting moved up to varsity by the end of the season,” said coach Ryan Fuentes. “(Brianna) has been playing field hockey for a number of years and was able to help her fellow teammates who had never played before.”

Fuentes said the highlight of the season was the “mentality” the team had during practice.

“Most of the JV team has never played field hockey, let alone any sport before, so to see how far they have come in such a short season and how supportive they are of one another is what I will leave this season remembering the most,” Fuentes said.

Howard finished the season with a 7-3-1 overall record and a 4-2-1 county mark.

The Lions offense was led by Avery Hayden (eight goals, two assists), Nina Cooper (seven goals, two assists), Alyssa Gorny (four goals, four assists) and Taylor Brooks (two goals, six assists), while Katelyn Land and Emily Dipietro were key leaders on defense.

Coach Samantha Earle said the highlight of the season was the team’s overtime win over Mt. Hebron.

“Overtime was a lot of back and forth and the girls were getting tired but fought to each ball and ended up coming out on top for the (overtime) victory,” she said.

Marriotts Ridge's Bella Mulroe (3), Emi Moran (23) and Maisy Clevenger (10) compete in a JV field hockey game against Catonsville.
Marriotts Ridge's Bella Mulroe (3), Emi Moran (23) and Maisy Clevenger (10) compete in a JV field hockey game against Catonsville. (Submitted photo)

Marriotts Ridge was the top team in the county this season. The Mustangs finished 10-0-2 overall and 7-0 against county competition.

The defense, which recorded seven shutouts, was anchored by goalies Amanda Windsor and Molly Marsh and defenders Emma Stepke, Kierstin Delk and Sophia Baxter.

Maisy Clevenger (nine goals), Ella Walchko (six goals), Alex DelMonte (four goals), Camryn Fisher (four goals), Marin Kriner (four goals) and Baxter (four goals) paced the offense.

“It was a pleasure coaching this group of talented, dynamic athletes who came together to support each other to not only make each other better players, but excellent teammates,” said coach Fred Talentino.

Mt. Hebron went 4-7 overall and 3-4 in county this season.

Sophomores Claudia DiTamasso, Peyton Simms and Darby Walton paced the team with five, four and two goals, respectively.

Coach Samanatha Brookhart said wins over Atholton, Reservoir and River Hill all highlighted throughout the season what her girls were capable of.

“Our dominating performance against Atholton was what set the tone for the rest of the season,” Brookhart said. “Our come from behind win over Reservoir was when the team realized how much they were capable of, and we ended the season with a bang with a win over River Hill, which is always exciting.”

Oakland Mills was able to field a junior varsity team for the first time in seven years. Despite going 0-6 overall and 0-4 in county play, Scorpions coach Maddie Regal said the season was “rewarding” because of how much the team grew as field hockey players.

“The girls never lost their drive and passion for the game,” Regal said. “As a coach, I am so proud of each of the girls.”

Reservoir, led by captains Chase Baumann, Samantha Paskill and Emily Ho, finished the season with a 4-8 record. Camila Mendez led the Gators offense with six goals, while Maggie Frisvold tallied 57 saves in goal.

Coach Katelyn Glass tying River Hill was the most memorable part of the season.

“Seeing the girls fight until the end was so rewarding, and they all played their best,” Glass said.

The River Hill JV field hockey team poses for a photo together following a game this fall.
The River Hill JV field hockey team poses for a photo together following a game this fall. (submitted photo)

River Hill went 2-8-1 overall and 1-5-1 in county play.

The Hawks were led on the front line and in the midfield by sophomores Julia Trost, Eden Barnes, Molly Corriere, Jannah Nassar and Laura Peng. Freshman Evelyn Dzubak was the team’s leading scorer with five goals, while Barnes scored the team’s other goal.

On defense, River Hill was led by freshman Katelyn Sharp — along with sophomores Riley Martin and Ainsley Little — in front of goalie Kate Conlon.

“The girls worked hard as a team, and I am super proud of how much they learned and grew as players this year,” said coach Marni Rosenbaum.

Wilde Lake accomplished its best record in several years, ending its season at 6-3-1.

The Wildecats were led by captains Haley Lawson and Bryn Ordovensky and sophomores Liana Mullican and Jayden Killian.

Coach Nancy Stefan said the highlight of the team’s season was a 1-0 win over Thomas Johnson in overtime.

FOOTBALL

Atholton won its first six games this fall and finished with a 7-2 record as one of the best teams in the county.

Tra Evans was the Raiders’ MVP. The wide receiver and defensive back was a captain and “stood out because he is a utility player and was a valuable player on both sides of the ball,” said coach Avery Briscoe, before he was moved up to varsity for the playoffs.

John Prajka, a wide receiver and linebacker and another team captain, Maximus Smalls, also a wide receiver and linebacker, and Miles Scott, a quarterback and safety, were also standouts for Atholton.

The Raiders finished with two shutouts against Mt. Hebron (26-0) and Marriotts Ridge (36-0) and allowed fewer than 10 points per game.

With eight returners and 16 new players with no football experience, Centennial went 2-7 and earned its first win in several years.

“Fundamentals and coaching the basics were the focal point this season,” Eagles coach Dominic Peters said. “We were a team of 24 young men that competed on Fridays and worked hard at daily practices.”

Freshmen Fabrel Yahya-Moore, Marquette Pogue, Jake Thomas and Andrew Lee were standout players on offense, while Marquette Pogue, Max Voeltner and Carter Watson were the keys to an “aggressive” defense.

“The team played well together and believed in the process of consistent improvement,” Peters said. “The Eagles had a never-quit attitude on the field.”

The highlight of the season was their first win, a 20-6 victory against Southern-AA in Week 5.

“We were able to move the ball quickly and efficiently,” Peters said. “The guys worked hard and were focused at practice. We used an aggressive running and passing approach to control the game. Their hard work and team preparation finally paid off in the victory.”

2019 JV Football: Glenelg @ Long Reach User Upload Caption: Glenelg's Ronnie Miller runs the ball in a JV football game against Long Reach. - Original Credit: photo by Israel Carunungan
2019 JV Football: Glenelg @ Long Reach User Upload Caption: Glenelg's Ronnie Miller runs the ball in a JV football game against Long Reach. - Original Credit: photo by Israel Carunungan (Israel Carunungan / HANDOUT)

Despite a 4-4 record, Glenelg scored double-digit points seven times and outscored by 72 points.

"This year was different year for sure,” Gladiators coach Joe Derwent said. “Two new opponents in Urbana and Westminster this year allowed us to see where we stacked up against in other counties. Though we did not win those games, we fought extremely hard to have a chance to tie in the final moments. This team worked extremely hard this year to get to where they were at the end. They bonded as a group as the season went along, and by the end were playing for each other."

Hammond's Nathaniel Lamb (25) and Nick Thomas celebrate a touchdown in a JV football game against Catonsville.
Hammond's Nathaniel Lamb (25) and Nick Thomas celebrate a touchdown in a JV football game against Catonsville. (LATISHA WILLIS)

The best team in the county was Hammond, which finished a perfect 9-0 and earned six shutouts on the year.

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The defense was the strength of the team. The unit allowed only three points per game and was led by sophomores Nick Thomas, John James, Nahkire Williams, Nathaniel Lamb, Kendric Owens, Carter Jones and Daniel Blandford-Ordonic.

The offensive and defensive lines included all sophomores and was “a huge factor in our team’s success,” coach Jaleel Moore said. As a result, the Golden Bears ran for 2,259 yards and the offense averaged 29 points per game.

Sophomore Nathaniel Lamb had 794 yards rushing with seven touchdowns; freshman running back Kamari Fassett added 942 rushing yards and 12 scores; sophomore Nick Thomas had 466 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns; sophomore Carter Jones played multiples positions on offense and tallied more than 200 yards of total offense; and freshman quarterback Jordan Campbell went 24 of 41 passing for 665 yards and 10 touchdowns to go with 131 yards rushing and three scores.

“This team has grown and gotten substantially better from the first scrimmage to the last game of the season. It was amazing working with the sophomores for two seasons in a row and watching them grow over that span,” Moore said. “The sophomores also have yet to lose a home game at Hammond in their short stint thus far. The students work hard, came together, matured and ultimately becoming an undefeated football team this season would be the highlight on the season.”

Howard struggled this season and failed to win a game, as coach Ed Holshue said the inexperienced Lions battled injuries and some back luck all season.

“Although there were many close games, adversity always won out despite improvement over the course of the season,” Holshue said.

The offensive unit of the Long Reach JV football team huddles together during a game against Woodlawn this fall.
The offensive unit of the Long Reach JV football team huddles together during a game against Woodlawn this fall. (Israel Carunungan)

Long Reach had a roster full of first-time football players and finished with a 2-6-1 overall record.

The Lightning had six key returners that pushed the newcomers, and though they struggled at times being a cohesive unit, “when we put it together it was a sight to behold,” coach Barry Bankins said. “The majority of our games came down to making a play or two to win, and we fell short a few times, but the team never lost its fight and that alone made me so proud of this group. We stayed focused on fixing our mistakes and just trying to be better than the day before.”

Of the 33 players that dressed for each game for Mt. Hebron, 22 had never played football before. It lost its first six games but rallied to win its final three, including two shutouts.

The Vikings were led on both sides of the ball all season by sophomore captains Everett Armstead (LB, FB, P), Aaron Krafft (LB, TE, RB) and Kameron Wilson-Anderson (DB, WR, RB). Solid sophomore contributions came from quarterbacks Jacob Nixon and Cooper Bear, who ran the offense efficiently, while the offensive line was anchored by Rayan Overcast (C, DL), Kyle Kpabitey (OL, DL) and Kahlil Morton (OL, DL). Rounding out the sophomores, the receiving core included Troy Galabuzi (TE, DE, LB), Connor Heinlein (WR, S), Ryan Lewis (WR, RB, CB) and Dennis Scott (WR, LB).

As for the freshmen, Clay Lancelotta (TE, DE, K/P) proved to be versatile in all phases of the game and was a very accurate kicker and punter. Elijah McKenzie (DB, WR), Tyler Goloday (OL, DL, LB), Todd Khan (OL, DL), Sahith “Bean” Mada (OL), Samuel Jordan (OL, DL), Paris Jeremiah (DL, RB) and Dean Stoehr (DB, WR) impressed with their hard work and tenacity.

Mt. Hebron’s play of the year came during its homecoming game against Centennial when freshmen Akhil Karumuri threw a strike to Andrew Mason for a 60-yard score.

Krafft led the team in touchdowns (4) and interceptions (3).

Oakland Mills went 5-4 and was led by a strong running game and a defense that allowed only 51 points.

The offensive line, coach Renato Gonzales said, was the key. The unit consisted of tight ends Victor Santana and Alex Tiley; tackles Taye Watson and Jorge Valverde; guards Hassan Kamara and Roman Mastramico; and center Isaiah Grenway. Freshmen quarterbacks Cyrus Thomas-Ray and Stephen Camile were strong contributors and Trevin McHargh was the team’s leading rusher.

Defensively, sophomore defensive tackle Peyton Howell led the team in tackles for loss, and outside linebacker Kharles Ngansi led the team in overall tackles.

The Scorpions’ season highlight was beating Long Reach, 6-0, on a fake field goal in the last minute of the game. They also beat Glenelg, 7-0, with a touchdown in the final minutes and took down River Hill, 20-7, behind a dominant defensive performance and 200 yards rushing.

Led by sophomore captains Arjun Sighn, Jayson Simo and Isaac Alphonso, River Hill finished 6-3.

The offensive line was the strength of the Hawks’ rushing game, with first year players Karl Birzack, Ryan Wienberg, Miguel Pena-Rivera, Christian Delauney and Alphonso, as well as tight end Tyler Windsor, leading the way.

Myles McDuffie brought “much-needed experience at quarterback,” coach Jay Hull said, and they had three key rushers in Simo, Sighn and Edward Stanley to go with Devron Johnson at the split end position.

“The defense played with reckless abandon all year,” Hull said, and was led by freshmen linebacker Dylan McCollough and safety Bergen Remick. “The defensive line was a strong group with Eli Wallace and freshmen Tony Miller. Ethan Burnett was a freshmen linebacker helping us at all three spots.”

In addition, River Hill was strong on special teams. Eric Key missed just one extra point on the season with long snapper Riley Finkelston.

Wilde Lake finished 6-3 overall with just six sophomores on the team.

Edrees Farooq was the team MVP and lined up at running back, wide receiver and quarterback throughout the season, while Adrian Cole, Will Burns, Ja Bonner and sophomores Frank Dominguez, Dedrick Eddigngton Jr. and Kavari Phillips were the other leaders for the Wildecats.

VOLLEYBALL

Atholton finished 3-8 in county and 5-13 overall this fall. The Raiders were captained by sophomores Isabella Valles and Ore Olurinde and freshmen Carmen Cheatham.

“This season’s JV continually adjusted as we moved players around to establish the season’s lineup, concluding the season with a convincing 2-0 win against a much-improved Hammond squad,” coach Rob Moy said. “Perhaps more important was the initial promise of the team as they played excellently in the multi-team scrimmage and the annual Westminster Tournament where they managed to place in the gold medal bracket.”

Atholton’s middle attack was led by sophomores Tiara Kidd (21 kills), Rehanna Diallo (8 kills) and newcomer Sofie Hogue, while freshman Annie Zhou (15 kills, 10 aces) and sophomore Isa Valles (10 kills, 14 aces) were also key.

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The back row defense was led by Ore Olurinde (serving 91 percent with 11 digs), Winnie Kopparapu (15 digs), Naomi Gedion and Italia, foreign-exchange student Silvia Scata. Rebecca Wu (18 aces, 33 assists) and Carmen Cheatham (17 aces, 39 assists) were also solid contributors.

Centennial started the season 1-4 but reeled off seven straight wins to finish 8-6 overall and 7-4 against county opponents.

“The JV team’s volleyball IQ and ability to play comfortably together continued to grow throughout the season,” coach Kenny Mills said. “We stayed focused on our ability to develop better ball control and focus on strong serving and defense first. Doing this then allowed us to develop a stronger offense and compete with the tougher teams.”

Sophomore Kelly Sterenberg (8 blocks, 12 kills), sophomore libero Yan Yang (113 digs, 19 aces, 90 percent serving, 13 assists, 9 kills) and Rebecca Donovan (50 assists, 10 aces) — all captains — were instrumental in the turnaround, as were freshman hitter Jenny Dong (49 kills, 58 digs, 15 aces, 97 percent serving), freshman hitter Abi Griffin (71 kills, 25 Aces, 40 digs) and sophomore middle blocker Jessica Cyriac (76 assists, 30 digs, 9 aces).

Other contributors were sophomores Riley Stile, Megha Mellacheruvu, Atrina Vedadi, Ester Moreno and Krystal Wu, and freshmen Emma Booth, Grace Chen, Melissa Qin and Ximing Luo.

“This year’s team set and accomplished so many goals from start to finish and having the opportunity to coach and be a part of that was amazing,” Mills said. “It was exciting to see every player on the team improve skills and develop knowledge of this fast-growing sport.”

Glenelg's Eleni Koutsohears and Brenna Rutter slap hands as teammate Stella Wolf looks on during a JV volleyball match against Oakland Mills.
Glenelg's Eleni Koutsohears and Brenna Rutter slap hands as teammate Stella Wolf looks on during a JV volleyball match against Oakland Mills. (submitted photo)

Glenelg had 11 sophomores and only one freshman this season and finished 7-7 overall and 6-5 in county play.

“These talented young ladies jelled together from the first time they stepped on the court,” coach Michelle D’Ascenzo said. “Their skill set was never in question, the talent ran deep for this squad of 12 and we constantly worked on believing we could do great things both on and off the court. These young ladies did not disappoint.”

Among the Gladiators’ standouts were libero Sarah Parker, who D’Ascenzo called steady and reliable. Setter Katelin McSally along with her twin outside hitter Abigail McSally “brought a strong, yet unique, chemistry to the group. Their leadership and ability to stay positive and focused while encouraging their teammates got us through some of our toughest battles,” D’Ascenzo said.

Freshman defensive specialist Ella Beesler, who was originally the setter, “was instrumental in closing deficits with her serving and she brought an energy to each game with her aggressive, leave it all on the court play.”

“Each year I make it my goal to make our varsity coach’s job harder and harder when it comes time for varsity tryouts for next year,” D’Ascenzo said. “Given the improvement in skills and the commitment in attitude my team developed during out season, I’m confident that I succeeded in my goal.”

Glenelg Country School capped the fall season with a 6-8 record overall and a 3-4 mark in the Interscholastic Athletics Association of Maryland C Conference.

Hana Tujjar and Sofia Vallejo, both Juniors, led the young team as captains. Vallejo led the team in aces and assists this year, sophomore Jordan Oseghale led the team in digs, and freshman Abby Coppin in kills.

“This was a development year for these young players,” coach Alli Krist said. “We look forward to a strong start next fall!”

Hammond's Rylal Koroma goes up for a block in a JV volleyball match against Oakland Mills. - Original Credit:
Hammond's Rylal Koroma goes up for a block in a JV volleyball match against Oakland Mills. - Original Credit: (submitted photo / HANDOUT)

It was a rebuilding year for Hammond, which finished 3-11 overall.

“The majority of the players came in with very little playing experience,” coach Jeff Maynard said. “Only a couple of the girls had previously played any club ball. In addition, only two players were returning from the 2018 JV team. ... However, the record does not really reflect the effort that this amazing group of girls put into practice nor the heart with which they played every match.”

The strength of the team was its serving. Mayoli Feliho, Maddie Berning, Trinity Thompson, Cassie Lassey, and Rylal Koroma racked up a lot of aces against opponents

“Strong serving kept us competitive in many of the games,” Maynard said.

Blocking was an issue early on in the season but improved with the growth of Cassie Lassey, who had the most memorable highlight by shutting down an opponent’s middle attack four times during a single game.

Like its varsity counterpart, Howard was one of the best teams in the league and finished 12-2 overall and 9-2 in the league.

“Howard had a group of very hard working and driven athletes this season,” coach Kristen Flint said. “... The team's strong defensive game allowed both of our setters to run an offense and the distribute the ball to all of the hitters.”

The team’s statistical leaders were: Sophomore setter Ayanna Pharoah (37 aces, 82 assists, 45 digs); freshman defensive specialist Jordan Burgess (37 aces); sophomore libero Shannon Campbell (29 aces, 82 digs); sophomore outside hitter Alayna Drnach (30 kills, 36 digs); freshman right side hitter Anna Plecas (42 kills, 4 blocks); and sophomore middle blocker Sanaya Srivastava (25 kills, 9 blocks).

Pharoah was a leader on the team, Flint said, and has a high volleyball IQ and was consistently making smart plays, while Srivastava, Drnach and Plecas were also key pieces to the offense. Campbell was the leader defensively.

Among the season highlights was the Lions’ win against Reservoir.

“The team was very focused coming into the match,” Flint said. “We had strong blocking and smart offense that helped us win the first game. After the dropping the second set, we brought our energy back into game three. We had a couple great serves and defense plays to get a lead to start off the third game. The team kept their intensity up the entire third game to win the match.”

The Long Reach, back right, and Reservoir JV volleyball teams huddle together during a match this fall at Long Reach.
The Long Reach, back right, and Reservoir JV volleyball teams huddle together during a match this fall at Long Reach. (Israel Carunungan)

Long Reach finished the season with a 3-12 overall record and 2-9 in county play.

Captain Isabella Mora had 15 digs and 5 aces against Hammond and was named “Player of the Game.” Captain Kailey Young, in her second year on JV, was a middle who seamlessly transitioned to the outside and brought great spirit to the team. Glo Florentino was a first-time player who coach Jennifer Van Oosten said, “was so driven to be our starting libero she helped us defeat Hammond and was an essential part of the team.”

“The match against Hammond was a turning point in the season where the team really started to jell and fight for what they wanted,” Van Oosten said.

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While the Mt. Hebron varsity team won the county title, the JV team also excelled and finished with a 12-2 overall record and 9-2 in the league.

Emma Kate Bates and Peyton Donnell were the top scoring hitters, while freshman libero Sydney Sherman “dominated” in the back row, according to coach Danielle Borgia. Sophomore setter Logan Scarbath was the team’s best spot server and Jessica Iveljic was the team’s spiritual leader.

The Vikings won their pool and finished second at the Northern Tournament. They also beat Marriotts Ridge in three sets.

Reservoir was one of the best teams in the county and finished 11-3 overall and 8-3 in the league.

The Gators finished second at the Oakdale Tournament and were led all season by two skilled setters, sophomore Ava Robaitallie (54 assets, 24 aces) and Maddie Wilson (84 assists, 25 aces). The middle hitters, freshman Madison Hill (36 kills, 22 blocks, 33 aces) and sophomore Anjola Omolewa (20 kills, 10 blocks), were the go-to players offensively.

The highlight of the season came when they beat Mt. Hebron. They were coming off a two-match losing streak and lost right-side hitter Kelsey Holmes to the varsity team, and after falling into a six-point hole in the first set, Reservoir rallied to win the match in two sets.

While the 3-11 record may reflect an unsuccessful season, Oakland Mills coach Jason Kolasinski said the individual growth of the athletes would prove otherwise.

“What impressed me the most was the proficiency, aptitude and skill exhibited by this group of young women who, for the most part, do not play volleyball year-round,” Kolasinski said. “With a sport as versatile as volleyball, perennial training is an option, but regardless of that possibility many of the students are preoccupied with other sports, be it basketball, track or anything else. It is difficult not to be supportive of this facet; embracing the variety of skills, that one athlete can bring to a variety of sports.

“Overall, the young women displayed a relentless nature and never-say-die attitude when faced with formidable opponents and tough situations. I am extremely proud of my JV team and hope that they continue to explore volleyball as an enjoyable, competitive and challenging sport.”

River Hill's Brooke Laumann, left, and Zoe Frye smile as they sub during a JV volleyball match.
River Hill's Brooke Laumann, left, and Zoe Frye smile as they sub during a JV volleyball match. (photo courtesy of Michael Chicarelli)

River Hill went 11-3 and had several exciting matches this season.

Among the season highlights were two three-set wins against Howard and Centennial. Both matches went to a deciding third game that the Hawks won each time by a score of 15-13. They also won their pool and reached the quarterfinals of the Westminster Tournament.

“Anna Liu and Brooke Lauman helped lead the defense play with strong roles as the libero. Our defensive specialists Zoe Fry, ViChi Tran and Grace Jiang not only played defense but also played offensive with their back-row attacks,” coach Michael Colonna said. he setters, Victoria Zhang and Molly Tran, organized and ran our offensive game plans. Emma Orlando and Alexis Amadieguw were our middles that led the team in blocks. Tiffany Liu, Grace Pavalko, Christina Liu and Taylor Leonard were our outside hitters.”

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