Nine Howard County spring sports teams won region titles this past week, and most of those squads know who their next opponents will be.
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association this weekend released the state playoff brackets for boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse and some baseball and softball classifications.
One Howard County team is a No. 1 seed — Centennial baseball in Class 3A — but Reservoir softball will be involved in a coin flip to determine whether it will earn the top seed in 3A.
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 and receiving nominations, will pick players from each of the spring 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.
Schedules for the majority of quarterfinal matchups have been announced. Most quarterfinal games are likely to be played Monday, with a couple pushed to Tuesday due to regional championship games postponed over the weekend.
Here’s a breakdown of the brackets and quarterfinal matchups by each sport:
In Class 3A, top-seeded Centennial (12-1) will host West Region II champion and eighth-seeded Damascus (4-8) at 4 p.m. Monday, while sixth-seeded Atholton (10-3) will travel to South Region II champion and third-seeded Stephen Decatur (11-1) for a 4 p.m. start as well that same day. The Eagles won the East Region I title on Saturday, while the Raiders claimed the East Region II crown.
In 4A, Howard will either be the No. 7 or No. 8 seed depending on the result of the Dulaney-Perry Hall game that is being played Monday afternoon. Either way, the Lions will play an undefeated team — Severna Park, Sherwood or Dulaney — on Tuesday.
Class 3A: 1. Centennial; 2. Kenwood; 3. Stephen Decatur; 4. Chopticon; 5. Towson; 6. Atholton; 7. Linganore; 8. Damascus.
Class 4A: Seeds to be determined Monday.
In Class 2A, No. 6 Glenelg (8-1) will face off on Monday at 5 p.m. on the road against No. 3 La Plata (9-0), which received byes all the way through regionals into the state quarterfinals. The Gladiators on Friday won the West Region I championship with a 16-6 win over Century.
In 3A, No. 6 Marriotts Ridge (8-1) will play at South Region I champion and third-seeded Huntingtown (9-0) on Monday at 4:30 p.m.. Meanwhile, No. 8 River Hill (3-6) will play at North Region II champion and top-seeded C. Milton Wright (11-0) on Monday at 6:30 p.m. The Mustangs won the East Region I title on Saturday, while the Hawks defeated Reservoir for the East Region II crown on Friday.
Class 2A: 1. Parkside; 2. City; 3. La Plata; 4. Kent Island; 5. Oakdale; 6. Glenelg; 7. Hereford; 8. Calvert.
Class 3A: 1. C. Milton Wright; 2. Urbana; 3. Huntingtown; 4. Blake; 5. Towson; 6. Marriotts Ridge; 7. J.M. Bennett; 8. River Hill.
The two Howard County lacrosse teams to win region titles are in Class 3A. In the state quarterfinals, No. 4 Marriotts Ridge (7-1) will host West Region II champion and fifth-seeded Rockville (9-2) on Monday at 5 p.m., while No. 8 River Hill (3-4) will travel to South Region I champion and top-seeded Huntingtown (9-0) Monday at 6 p.m. The Mustangs and Hawks both won their region crowns on Friday — Marriotts Ridge in East Region I and River Hill in East Region II.
Class 3A: 1. Huntingtown; 2. Urbana; 3. C. Milton Wright; 4. Marriotts Ridge; 5. Rockville; 6. Towson; 7. Chesapeake (AA); 8. River Hill.
The only Howard County softball team remaining is Reservoir, as the Gators defeated River Hill on Saturday to earn the 3A East Region II championship.
In the 3A state bracket, Reservoir (13-0) is waiting on a coin flip to determine its state playoff seeding, which likely won’t be determined until after the last region title game is completed on Monday. The Gators cannot be seeded lower than No. 3 and will play at home in the quarterfinals. Depending on their seed, the Gators will host either No. 6 Bel Air (North Region II champion), No. 7 Thomas Johnson (West Region I) or No. 8 Manchester Valley (East Region I) on Tuesday.
Class 3A: Seeds to be determined Monday.
Girls Athlete of Week (June 5): Heather McQueeney, Wilde Lake softball
There was no one player this spring that was solely responsible for the turnaround of the Wildecats’ program, as it truly was a team effort up and down the lineup. There was little denying, however, that the sophomore centerfielder McQueeney was the one that got everything going. As the team’s leadoff batter and leader in the outfield, she had the responsibility of being a tone setter.
“She was our spark plug at the top of the lineup right from the beginning because she can make so many things happen,” coach Tee Dronenburg said. “With her speed, a routine ground ball isn’t routine. Then she gets on base and can go from first to home in a blink of an eye. She was just such a natural fit to get our offense going and then, defensively, she was the captain of our outfield.”
She certainly lived up that billing as an spark plug and leader in games against Long Reach on June 1 and Oakland Mills the following day. Against the Lightning, she went 2-4 with a grand slam home run in a 12-1 victory. Then she followed that up with an inside-the-park home run in a shutout win against the Scorpions.
For the season, she finished with three home runs to go along with a .459 batting average, 22 runs scored and 12 RBI for a Wilde Lake team that won more games (8) than any Wildecat softball squad in the last 20 years.
“She’s got the power, the speed and the ability to hit for average. It really was the complete package,” Dronenburg said. “But for us, as much as those other things, we loved the energy that she brought to get the rest of the girls going.”
Boys Athlete of Week (June 5): Liam Lovering, Centennial track & field
Lovering has been enjoying consistent success as the top male thrower in Howard County this season.
The Centennial senior has won both the shot put and the discus in every meet during the shortened spring campaign. On Day 3 of the Howard County outdoor track and field championships on June 5, Lovering finished in first in both events for his first county gold medals.
“Liam is the ultimate cliché,” said Centennial coach Corey Eudell. “You hear coaches say things about being a leader or a great teammate or being very coachable. Liam is all of those things. He’s a great kid.”
Lovering, who was also a member of the basketball team at Centennial, was one of the top three throwers in the county as a sophomore in 2019. He finished third at counties in the shot put and second in the discus.
Despite missing his junior outdoor track season, Lovering still received an offer to throw at Division I Lehigh University. His personal best in the shot put is 54 feet-2 inches, while his top throw in the discus is 167-6.
Eudell said Lovering’s consistent development throughout his career, aided by coach Al Dodds, has been key to his success this season.
“Liam is a sponge,” said Eudell. “Anything Coach Dodds gave to him, any videos, any drills or training, Liam sucked it all in. He’s just got a great work ethic. Anything he does in life he’s going to succeed because of his drive and his work ethic.”
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Lovering continued his dominance on Saturday at the 3A East Region meet, finishing first in both throwing events and qualifying for the state meet on June 19.