Howard County Sports

River Hill golf wins first 4A/3A state title in program history; Benjamin Siriboury, Helen Yeung defend crowns

COLLEGE PARK — River Hill golf knew it had the potential to have a special season.

The Hawks welcomed back defending state champions in juniors Benjamin Siriboury and Helen Yeung to headline a group that finished third as a team at last year’s state finals.


That potential came to fruition at Wednesday’s 4A/3A State Tournament final, where the Hawks captured the first state team title in program history. They finished with 576 points after extending their 14-shot lead in the final round.

“It’s awesome. I consider it the triple crown of the state championship,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “To have two former champions, then have two more join for the team championship, it says a lot. What I like about this team is it’s about the team. Usually, an individual sport like golf is about what I can shoot to be honored at the award ceremony, but this was about what can our team shoot in two days to win this thing. As a coach you saw the wheels clicking after Monday, it was just whether or not we could put it all together again on another day and we did. It’s a delight to see.”


Both Siriboury and Yeung played an integral part in that effort as Mark Berg and Justin Choi rounded out the Hawks’ championship team. The defending state champs entered the finals at the top of their respective leaderboards. Siriboury shot a state tournament one-day record 7-under, 64 on Monday, while Yeung entered Wednesday at a 3-under 68.

Showcasing their veteran experience, both players finished the second day 3-under. For Siriboury, that completed an incredible two-day score of 132 points (10-under), shattering the state tournament record by six shots.

“His focus is what is so impressive,” Graves said. “He’s been in these positions before, being a defending champ is always tough because you have that target on your back. Benjamin keeps in his zone; he stays in his lane and worries about what Benjamin is supposed to do. He very seldom worries about anybody else around him, he believes that someone is going to have to come beat him.”

River Hill's Benjamin Siriboury hits a tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the MPSSAA State Golf Championships at the University of Maryland Golf Course on Wednesday. Siriboury defended his state title to help the Hawks win their first state team championship.

While Siriboury entered the day with a four-shot lead, Sherwood’s Bryan Kim continued to chip away. Kim tallied three birdies on the back nine, trimming Siriboury’s lead to one with two holes remaining. However, Siriboury didn’t flinch as he remained dialed in with his putter. Siriboury parred the par-3 eighth, while Kim double-bogeyed, all but locking up the state title with one hole remaining.

“I was just trying to play really smart golf today,” Siriboury said. “On the front nine my driver wasn’t doing too well, so I switched to a 3-wood, which worked well for me. I just tried to minimize the mistakes, which could possibly take the lead away from me. Sometimes it’s a little challenging, today a couple of Bryan’s putts made me a little nervous. I just tried to tell myself to stay focused and be patient with everything.”

Now with a more comfortable three-shot lead, Siriboury fittingly ended his round with another par, stoic in his celebration of a state title. He finished the two days with pars on 24 of 36 holes, putting efficiently throughout the tournament.

Yeung entered the final round with a five-shot cushion as the only 4A/3A girls golfer to finish Monday’s opening round under par. She parlayed that success into Wednesday’s round, once again being the only 4A/3A girls competitor to finish under par.

“That’s who she is. If you look up the word consistency, you see a picture of Helen smiling at you,” Graves said. “She’s not going to get herself in trouble, she’s going to put herself in the best position to score and you’re going to have to beat her. She’s not going to beat herself.”

River Hill's Helen Yeung watches her tee shot on the ninth hole during the final round of the MPSSAA State Golf Championships at the University of Maryland Golf Course on Wednesday. Yeung completed her state final run with a 13-shot victory.

After finishing even through the front nine, Yeung turned it on down the stretch with three birdies in the final six holes to extend her lead. The veteran completed her state final run with a 13-shot victory, fittingly making a par on the 18th hole to cement her bogey-free state tournament.

“I think having a great mindset, I had a pretty steady calm voice inside my head,” Yeung said. “I think that I comforted myself a lot and put myself in great position off the tee and definitely in great positions from the fairway to attack the pin. That really helped my score with birdies and pars, just trusting myself and trusting my routine.”

That calm gave way to big smiles at the award ceremony, as the Hawks soaked Graves with water and hoisted the state championship trophy.

Marriotts Ridge, Centennial enjoy strong performances

Howard County’s top two teams during the regular season, the Mustangs and Hawks battled it out over the state tournament.

The Mustangs finished tied for second in the team title with several top-five finishers. For the boys, Sangmin Lee tied for fourth overall with 146 points (4-over-par), shooting a consistent 73 on both days.

For the Mustangs girls, both Alana Alexander-Giles and Lila Becker notched top-five finishes. Alexander-Giles ended her two rounds at 152 points, tied for fourth place, while Lila Becker finished second with 149 points. The sophomore improved on Monday’s round by five shots, finishing at 1-over 72, ending her state tournament run with a birdie.


“Going into the state tournament I was just trying to see how low I could shoot,” Becker said. “I was trying to get my stats better, hitting more fairways and more greens. The first day was a little rough, but I definitely came back on the second day and hit a lot more greens, which really helped.”

Marriotts Ridge's Lila Becker putts from the fringe of the seventh green during the final round of the MPSSAA State Golf Championships at the University of Maryland Golf Course on Wednesday.

After winning the Howard County championship, Centennial senior Dustin Stocksdale entered the state tournament playing some of his best golf. That was on full display as the veteran finished third overall at 2-under, improving on his fourth-place finish as a junior.

With an even opening round on Monday, Stocksdale found more success Wednesday with four birdies. Playing in the top group, Stocksdale was just one of three 4A/3A male golfers to finish the state tournament under par.

“It means a lot,” Stocksdale said. “It’s been a really fun four years and a lot of great teammates and friends. It means a lot to medal; I think I beat my total by six or seven shots. Bryan and Ben played ridiculously well and it was a really fun day in that last group.”