For one team it was a return to glory and for the other is was a continuation of one of the county’s all-time longest runs of dominance.
In both cases, it was a good day to be a Marriotts Ridge golfer on Tuesday at the Timbers at Troy.
The Mustangs’ girls golf team scored 61 points, earning a sweep of Centennial (50 points) and River Hill (48) to secure the program a piece of its first county title since 2015. Not to be outdone, the Marriotts Ridge boys scored 90 points to secure a sweep of their own over Centennial (88) and River Hill (78) to extend their county-match winning streak to 76 straight and also wrap up a piece of this fall’s county crown.
During its historic run, there have been plenty of big moments, but Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs ranks this year’s sweep — in a battle of three teams that came in undefeated for both the boys and girls — right near the top of the list.
“This one is really, really special because it was both teams and they really had to come out and earn it. You look at the numbers each of the teams were putting up coming in and, I’ll be honest, I was nervous,” Dubbs said. “But I think all the hard work the kids have put in during practice these last couple weeks really paid off. I’m just incredibly happy for them.”
Marriotts Ridge senior Faith McIlvain talks about the Mustangs' tri-match sweep of Centennial and River Hill at the Timbers at Troy on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The traditional leaders did their part for both Mustangs’ squads. Faith McIlvain (25 points) and Alana Alexander-Giles (21) set the tone for Marriotts Ridge in the first girls group, while Akash Marakath (24) and Justin Allen (23) played to their scoring averages in the top boys pairing.
But what ultimately pushed each team over the top was their depth. Sydney Bivens scored a season-high 13 points for the girls and Daniel Tuma scored a season-high 26 points to lead all scorers for the boys.
“These matches come down to getting someone to step up and deliver the unexpected. Today that was Sydney and Daniel,” Dubbs said. “From those more experienced players, you kind of know what you are going to get and each team has a couple of those. So when you have someone else in that second or third group elevate their game, that’s what pushes you over the top.”
In the girls match, Centennial (9-1) hung close for awhile behind strong play from Morgan Taylor (21 points) and the duo of Erin Jeong and Sussie Park, who each scored 12 points. Taylor had one string of three straight pars and Jeong’s day was highlighted by a chip-in for birdie on the par 4 fourth hole.
Ultimately it just wasn’t enough to stay with the Mustangs and the Eagles lost for the first time as a team since 2017.
“Alana had a very strong start to her round today and I think that just helped to motivate us both and get the adrenaline running,” McIlvain said. “I think we both help to support each other throughout every single match we’ve played together — and we’ve played together almost every match this season.
“She really keeps me more positive throughout the round and I think that’s really important.”
River Hill ended up in third on the day, with Adrienne Lesho (17 points) and Mehar Sandhu (15) leading the way.
In the boys match, Marriotts Ridge was actually in third place in the team competition after five completed holes.
It was Centennial, which was led by Dustin Stocksdale (26 points) and Ty Sams (25), that came out on fire. Both Stocksdale and Sams birdied the par 3 fifth hole to, at the time, put the Eagles ahead by two on River Hill and six over Marriotts Ridge.
But as the round wore on, Marriotts Ridge rallied and the top players from both Centennial and River Hill found a bit of trouble. The Eagles played their final four holes in 10-over par as a team, while the Hawks were 17-over during that same stretch.
Jackson Graves finished as the top player for River Hill with a score of 24 points.
Marriotts Ridge sophomore Daniel Tuma talks about the Mustangs' tri-match sweep of Centennial and River Hill at the Timbers at Troy on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.
Marriotts Ridge, on the other hand, played its final four holes in a combined 2-over-par to surge to the victory.
Tuma, who made three birdies on the day, said the encouragement from his teammates and a strong short game carried him through his round.
“Today, for the most part, I had some good putting — I didn’t three-putt and had three birdies — and it helps to have a lot of confidence in Akash and Justin in the first group,” he said. “They both gave me pep talks going into the match, which helped me mentally.”
Marriotts Ridge will look to put the finishing touches on an undefeated season for both its boys and girls on Wednesday when it squares off against Reservoir at Waverly Woods.
GIRLS BOX SCORE:
Marriotts Ridge 61, Centennial 50, River Hill 48
MR (10-0): Faith McIlvain 25, Alana Alexander-Giles 21, Sydney Bivens 13, Narya Konadi 2.
C (9-1): Morgan Taylor 21, Erin Jeong 12, Sussie Park 12, Hannah Fang 5.
The Scorpions captured the Iron Skillet for a second-straight year, edging the Golden Bears by a point behind big days from Alex Tamai (17 points) and Heath Franklin (15). Oakland Mills scored a combined five points on the final hole to emerge victorious.
Tim Stryker scored 16 points to lead the way for Hammond.