Howard girls track and field coach Tyler Wade has stepped down from his post to focus on coaching football.
As one of the most successful track coaches in the county, Wade led the Howard girls to 12 Howard County championships and nine region titles — between the indoor and outdoor seasons — in his eight seasons at the helm.
“It was obviously a very tough decision. Track at Howard has been a big part of my life,” Wade said. “I love these kids so much. The Howard kids are my family. Saying goodbye to those kids was like saying goodbye to a part of my family.”
Wade said leaving track to focus on the gridiron is difficult, but he added he’s excited for the opportunity to grow as a football coach. Wade, who previously spent eight years as an assistant coach for the Howard football team, will officially rejoin the coaching staff under head coach Ross Hannon. Wade helped the program this past season with administrative duties, but will pick up his whistle again as a coach on the offense working with the quarterbacks and running backs.
“Football is definitely my main sport. It’s the sport I played in college, and it’s a big part of my life,” said Wade, who is a Howard graduate and played center at Towson University. “I’m ready to take the next step in my coaching career. I’m ready for the next challenge.”
While Wade leads the girls team, Howard’s track program is led with crossover coaching from both Wade and Zack Dickerson, who started as the Lions’ boys head coach one year after Wade took over the girls squad. For example, Dickerson, the Lions’ cross country coach, works with the team’s distance runners, while Wade, a former shot put thrower when he was at Howard, coaches the team’s throwers. On top of the girls team’s 12 county titles in Wade’s tenure, the Howard boys team has won six county crowns in that time.
“Wade was a very committed coach, and he’ll be the same for football,” Dickerson said. “It will be tough to replace him, especially because of the relationships he and I had and the relationships he had with the kids. His ability to get kids to sign up is what made us a good team. We always had big numbers, and a lot of people just assume that’s because we’re a big school. There’s a little truth to that, but the reality is he’s going around talking to kids and to gym teachers and trying to find kids for the team.”
Wade said leaving it was “disappointing” to leave the program after the sour end to the spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic. After the season was officially canceled in late April, Wade and Dickerson set up a video chat to tell the team that Wade would be stepping away from the program.
“The kids were blowing up the chat box and some were texting me really nice things, Wade said. “I had to walk away from the meeting because I was going to cry. It was really hard because of how much I care about these kids.”
Marriotts Ridge’s Alexander-Giles makes first hole-in-one
Alana Alexander-Giles, who was a first-team All-Howard County girls golf selection as a freshman at Marriotts Ridge High in the fall, made her first career hole-in-one on May 27 at Rolling Road Golf Club in Catonsville.
Alexander-Giles hit her 56-degree wedge on the downhill par 3 10th hole and watched in amazement as her pink ball disappeared into the hole. She was playing alone, but her mom was there watching and so were a couple other members in the parking lot next to the tenth tee.
“I was more in shock than anything. I wasn’t jumping up and down and celebrating,” she said. “Honestly, my mom was more excited than I was.”
Alexander-Giles has been a member at Rolling Road for over five years, since she was 9, and estimates that she has played that same 10th hole more than a hundred times. It’s the first time, however, on that hole — or any hole in her golfing career — that she has carded an ace.
Since Rolling Road reopened in early May, Alexander-Giles said she has been getting out four times a week to get her game in shape for the summer and hopefully a fall high school season.
During her freshman campaign for the Mustangs, she finished third individually at the county championship tournament (80), tied for fifth at the District V championship (82) and in a tie for 12th in the 3A/4A classification at states (78-82 — 160).
Howard basketball’s Darrion Harris announces college plans
Howard senior Darrion Harris, an honorable mention All-County performer this past winter, announced his commitment last week to continue his basketball career in college at Penn State Abington.
The Nittany Lions, an NCAA Division III program, compete in the North Eastern Athletic Conference.
“Darrion’s relentless work ethic and desire to prove to people that he can play will take him far at the next level,” Howard High coach Seth Willingham said. “[Penn State Abington] runs similar stuff to us, so it should be a good fit for him.”
Harris averaged 15.3 points per game, hit 38 threes and shot 71.1% from the free-throw line as a senior this past season for a Howard team that finished with a 12-11 overall record.
Long Reach wins Sportsmanship Cup
The Howard County Public School System announced last week that Long Reach High School won the 2019-20 Sportsmanship Cup. This is the first time the Lightning have ever received the honor, which the school system started handing out in 1995.
“This is what Long Reach High School and the community is about,” said Joseph Thomas, Long Reach athletics and activities manager. “The credit goes to the coaches and the athletes. They are the reason for this award.”
Coordinator of Athletics John Davis announced the award at the Howard County Board of Education meeting on May 28. The award is decided by the county’s AAMs, who vote on sportsmanship criteria for administrators, coaches, players, spectators, cheerleaders and students.