On March 1 at the Skate Frederick rink, Marriotts Ridge raced out to a three-goal lead in the first period and then held off a furious Glenelg comeback to emerge victorious 4-3 and capture the program’s fourth title in the last six years.
“I’ve definitely become a believer in that whole, ‘It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season’ thing, especially when it’s two good teams,” said Marriotts Ridge senior captain Ben Watson. “I know for us coming into this year’s [final] we had that mentality of believing there’s no reason that we can’t do the same thing to them that they did to us last year.”
POLL: Each week this spring, we are letting the community help pick a Howard County boys and girls Athlete of the Week. Our staff, after consultation with coaches, will pick players from each of the fall sports and then let voting decide the rest. To participate, either vote below or click here for the boys poll and/or click here for the girls poll by 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Watson was the hero in the Serio Cup final as a sophomore in 2019, scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals in an overtime victory for the Mustangs. Fast forward to this year as a senior, he said reclaiming the Cup was very different but just as sweet.
“It’s hard to compare them because the atmosphere this year with no students and barely any fans was just so different. But they were both really fun, and I will say that there’s something special about ending high school with a championship,” Watson said.
Watson and the Mustangs wasted little time exerting their will in this year’s final, scoring three times in the first seven minutes.
Alex Clingerman kicked off the scoring 2:52 in off an assist from Jackson Choi. Then Watson made it 2-0 about 90 seconds later on a goal assisted by Noah Ekman. Finally, Garrett Smith upped the lead to three with a goal off a feed from Noah Henderson.
“We came in stressing getting off to a big start, so to get those three goals so quickly and to have them come from three of our seniors was absolutely huge,” Marriotts Ridge first-year head coach Jacob Beschner said.
But as pleased as he was with the initial effort, Beschner also knew the Gladiators were not going to go out quietly. Glenelg, after all, had gone 10-0 during the regular season against county opponents and outscored its opposition 74-19.
It took just 28 seconds after Marriotts Ridge’s third goal for the Gladiators to get on the board, as Carson Stickley scored unassisted to make it 3-1. Luke Welsh, assisted by Stickley, added another goal before the end of the first period to cut the Mustangs’ lead to one.
Then, 4:14 into the second period, Glenelg drew back even on Stickley’s second goal — this time off a feed from Tommy Tracy.
“That is too skilled of a team to think they aren’t going to score some goals, so I don’t think any of the guys were surprised,” Beschner said. “We just knew that is was up to us to regroup, and I give a lot of credit to our seniors on the bench for speaking up and keeping everyone focused. Their leadership really showed.”
Marriotts Ridge junior Casey Jones ended up putting his team back in front for good off an assist from Evan Lyons, 13:40 into the second period.
Neither team scored in the third, as Mustangs goalie Spencer Daniels made a couple big saves to preserve the one-goal advantage.
Watson said it was an emotional moment for him after the game.
“It kind of settled in after we finished celebrating that high school hockey is really over,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m so grateful that we got this last season together. I know back before the season started, we weren’t even sure that we would get to play so to get as many games as we did … it means a lot. The fact that we ended as champions, well that’s just even better.”
Marriotts Ridge’s Clingerman and Glenelg’s Tracy were named to the Maryland Student Hockey League 2021 first team. Howard County players named to the second team are Glenelg’s Stickley, Reservoir’s Nickolas Hoover and Wilde Lake’s Matthew Parker.
Mike Heitzmann finds goal with Terps
River Hill 2015 graduate Mike Heitzmann, who was named boys soccer Player of the Year as a junior in high school and a first team Howard County All-Decade selection, is a redshirt senior this spring for University of Maryland men’s soccer. And, over the past week, he has arguably made some of his greatest impact plays for the program.
On March 7, Heitzmann made his first career start in a win against Wisconsin. Then, four days later, he started again against Michigan, scoring the first goal of the game in the Terps’ 2-1 victory.
For Heitzmann, it goes down as the second goal of his collegiate career at Maryland and the first since he found the back of the net as a redshirt sophomore against Ohio State in October 2018. The Terps went on to win the national championship that year, and over the course of the season, Heitzmann appeared in five games.
Earlier this year, he was honored as an Academic All-Big Ten selection.
HCPSS expands capacity at sporting events
Two weeks ago, the Howard County Public School System released its rules for spectators ahead of the start of the fall sports season.
To abide by the state’s capacity guidelines at the time, each player was given two passes to hand out to family or friends to attend home games only. That meant parents couldn’t attend their child’s game if he or she was playing on the road.
However, the school system loosened those restrictions this past week following Gov. Larry Hogan’s statewide orders that increased capacity restrictions for large venues to 50%.
“The passes remain in place, but you can use them at home or away games,” said Howard County Coordinator of Athletics John Davis.
Now, each player will be given two passes for every game, both home and away.
Guests must still wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“We will continue to assess levels of attendance and adherence to the health guidelines, and hope to expand these limits as soon as we feel confident in doing so,” said Howard schools Superintendent Michael Martirano in an email to the community on Thursday.
Marriotts Ridge football coach Marcus Lewis wins teacher of year award
Every school year, Marriotts Ridge’s senior class votes on their favorite teacher.
This year, the senior class at the Marriottsville high school chose physical education teacher Marcus Lewis, who is also the coach of the Mustangs’ football team, to be the Class of 2021 Teacher of the Year.
“I am extremely honored,” Lewis said. “To be selected by the student body, which I was hired to serve, and recognized by them is extremely humbling. It’s amongst the best awards I’ve received during my 25-year teaching/coaching career.”