Marriotts Ridge and River Hill boys and girls golf teams all entered Wednesday’s Howard County championship undefeated in county play. But the Mustangs teams were the ones to keep those marks intact.
Marriotts Ridge’s boys won, 87-77, its 89th straight county win; the girls won, 79-76.
Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs was asked after what he’s most proud of.
“The picture of them standing together,” Dubbs said. “It’s not the matches or anything, it’s how cohesive it is with those kids. They care about each other and that’s what matters.”
George Williamson paced the Mustangs boys with 24 points, with pars on six of nine holes. Jonathan Moon scored 22, while Aidan Kim and Sangmin Lee scored 21 and 20 points, respectively.
“I definitely had [the streak] in the back of my mind,” Williamson said . “There is definitely some nerves there, but I was also really excited because I know there’s great players backing me up. If I just go out and play my game I know I can put a good score up.”
His success, along with Moon in the second pairing, played an integral role in Marriotts Ridge’s victory, as River Hill’s first pairing of Benjamin Siriboury and Mark Berg posted 29 and 22 points, respectively. Siriboury was the only player Wednesday to finish under par, racking up seven pars and birdies on both par 5s.
“He’s the epitome of a big-time golfer in Howard County,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “He shows it, he walks it, he plays it and he’s so good to see because he doesn’t show any emotions on either side. You know that he’s going to give you every ounce in every match that he plays in regardless if it’s a regular season match, county, district or states.”
Moon and Williamson outshot the Hawks’ second pairing of Keagan Graves and Cole Spies by 20 points. As Moon and Williamson walked up the green on the par 5 ninth hole, the Mustangs victory inched closer. Both players finished with a par on the final hole, as Moon’s par putt officially secured the county title and the staggering 89th consecutive victory.
“I get choked up only because I think about the kids who’ve come through the program,” Dubbs said. “You look at the constant, some of these kids weren’t even in school, they were kindergartners back when this thing started. That’s what really gets to me. They all run through my mind. It’s not just one good class of our four kids, it’s been really great kids who’ve worked really hard. It makes it special.
“I always sit there and think can we get to the end of the season, because I try not to think about it. The worst thing is I don’t want them to feel the pressure of having to keep the thing going, that’s the hard thing.”
The girls match was a tighter affair with all eight players scoring at least 15 points. Alana Alexander-Giles spearheaded the Mustangs girls output with 23 points; Lila Becker chipped in 22.
Alexander-Giles and Becker were Marriotts Ridge’s first girls pairing, helping to set the tone with the two highest scores. Erin Jeong and Charlene Pak made up the Mustangs’ second pairing finishing with 18 and 16 points, respectively. All four golfers have been mainstays for Marriotts Ridge’s girls throughout the season, building their undefeated record.
“To see them work as hard as they do and see it pay off for them, it’s the ultimate compliment,” Dubbs said. “To only win by three, that’s a heck of a match. That’s really close. Once again, you try to minimize the pressure on them, but once again they still produce.”
Juniors Helen Yeung and Carolina Herrera led River Hill, each with 22 points. Herrera’s season-high score qualified her for the county tournament. Julia Baek and Sydney Lynott finished with 17 and 15 points for the Hawks.
“I think it’s good for the kids that even though we lost, we took some learning lessons from it, especially ones who haven’t played in that environment before,” Graves said. “This is a sport where if you can’t control your mental state things fall very quickly. I think, all in all, was I happy with the result? Of course not, you’re never happy coming in second. At the same time, I think it was a learning experience that I cherish for us playing on both sides, boys and girls.”