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Howard County spring junior varsity athletes lay groundwork

As temperatures heated up outside this spring, so did the play of Howard County’s JV programs.

Growth and development by the individuals who will populate varsity rosters in the coming seasons was evident through personal achievement and team success both on the scoreboard and off of it.

In an effort to provide these athletes with some deserved recognition, we contacted each school through their athletic administration to find out about some of the highlights and top performers from the spring season. Here’s what we heard back:

BASEBALL

Led mostly by freshmen, Centennial finished 5-10 this spring. The Eagles were led on the field by team MVP Andrew Fritz, who was pushed into the catching position unexpectedly after an early-season injury and had a .333 batting average.

Experienced sophomores Drew Buckmaster, Curtis Gilliece, Christian Walker, Connor Lashley and Atharv Ananth provided leadership to freshmen pitchers Ian Parrish, Grant D’Angelo, Sean Conway and Joe Hall. Buckmaster, Walker and Lashley made up the starting rotation.

Gilliece commanded the infield at first base and Christian Walker and Lashley guided the outfield alongside Christian Ochoa and freshmen Sean May, Will Egan, Martin Hilser and Austin Roch.

Glenelg ended the season with an 8-6 record and was led by pitchers Spenser Flavin, Jake Durkin and Colin Estes and catcher Gavin Henley. Braeden Sumpter paced the team offensively.

Hammond went 5-10 this spring and coach Tim Brown said the team came together as a family from day one and never looked back.

“Seeing them grow everyday both mentally and physically to compete and win against a very tough opponent by not giving up and staying alert for the entirety of the game was amazing,” Brown said. “All of the hard fought wins this year were great and I could not have asked anything better of my team.”

Among the standout players for the Golden Bears were Cal Hewitt, a team captain who anchored the starting pitching staff and had three games where he threw a complete game with fewer than 70 pitches. He also performed at the plate, batting .390 with a team-high four doubles.

Brown never had to worry about Chase Johnson. The sophomore played mostly in center field, but also caught several games. His arm strength, speed and footwork at catcher and his aggressiveness as a base runner stood out.

Another sophomore, Marcus Lopez, was the starting shortstop and leadoff batter who had a knack for turning singles into doubles. He also stole 12 bases during the season.

Like their varsity counterparts, there was no county team better than Howard this spring. The Lions led the league with a 13-1 record in county and 16-1 overall.

“This was my fourth year as a part of this baseball program and each year I give these kids so much credit,” coach Johnny Jackson said. “The high school baseball season is a grind; we hit the field six days a week starting March 1. We were not a very complete team in the middle of March; however, we were playing our better baseball towards the middle and latter half of the season.”

Overall, Howard had a run differential of 187-47 and batted .406 with an on-base percentage of .505 as a team. The team also stole 40 bases in 45 attempts and the pitching staff pitched to a 2.53 ERA with a .176 batting average against.

Freshmen Dylan Aguilera and Jake Keller were the two offensively leaders. Aguilera batted .431 over 68 plate appearances, drove in 18 runs and led the team in doubles with five. He also tied for the team lead in triples and home runs.

Keller led the team in hits with 24 over 52-plate appearances while also recording 18 RBI on the season. Sophomore Terry Saunders was another force in the middle of the lineup, batting .442 while also racking up 18 RBI.

Sophomore Carson Robinson “was a headache for opposing teams,” Jackson said. Robinson finished the season with a .475 batting average and led the team with 24 runs scored. He also stole 10 bases on the year.

On the mound, three sophomores anchored the pitching staff: Ryan Anderson (25.1 innings pitched), Van Switzer (25.1 IP) and Matt O’Connor (22.2 IP). Each had four wins and Anderson led the staff with a 0.83 ERA. Switzer led the team in strikeouts with 30, and O’Connor had a respectable 1.85 ERA.

Long Reach coach Kenny King called the season “one heck of a ride” with lots of uncertainty. The varsity team took the Lightning’s three middle-of-the-order hitters and their top three pitchers, but the JV team still managed to win six of their last seven games en route to winning a school-record 11 games.

“We quickly found out that this was a team full of heart, fight, grit and ‘dawgs,’” King said.

The sophomores, King said, led the way. The team won five one-run games and had four walk-off wins at home.

“We entered the bottom of the seventh down two runs against Atholton, down one against Glenelg, tied against Marriotts Ridge and River Hill, and found a way to come out on top in each game!” King said. “Simply incredible.”

Sophomores Chris Stanford led the team in average (.553), on-base percentage (.667), stolen bases (15), RBI (24) and runs (16). Sophomores Cole Fleischer, Cole Bosley and Ian Carunungan — and freshman Connor Bosley — each batted over .300 and had on-base percentages above .480.

Their pitching leaders were Cole Fleischer and Cole Bosley, both of whom had four victories. Joel Navarro had two.

Under first-year coach Aaron Carman, Marriotts Ridge went 11-5 in county and 12-5 overall.

The Mustangs were led offensively by sophomore C/1B Zach Rotter (.413 avg,. 10 2B, 17 RBI), freshman infielder Jordan Peguese (.381 avg., 5 2B, 1 HR, 14 RBI), freshman INF/OF Brandon Lake (.385 avg., 11 RBI), sophomore centerfielder Max Crockett (.321 avg., 20 SB) and sophomore INF/OF Gus Clark (.339 avg., 16 RBI, 15 SB).

On the mound, sophomores Drew Ross, Graham Houck, Nick Lienhard, Lake and freshman Nicholas Russo all posted a sub-2.00 ERA. Marriotts Ridge also got contributions also from sophomores Drew Leader and Karlyle Yarema and freshman Jordan Peguese.

“I couldn't have asked for a better group of players with whom to begin my high school coaching career,” Carman said.

Oakland Mills managed just four victories this season but was involved in “countless” one-run games, coach Dustin Stout said.

Several players stood out for the Scorpions, however. Heath Franklin played almost every position on the field, Kiyon Pitts was their most consistent outfielder, and Cameron Canter was their ace on the mound and played third base and hit the ball well. Kevin Holderman played shortstop and also caught several games.

“Overall, I was happy with the progress we made as a team,” Stout said.

Reservoir went 10-6 overall this spring and had steady contributions from many players.

Jake Lee led the Gators by hitting .463 in 41 at-bats with a .551 on-base percentage, but seven other players batted .300 or better: Travis Thompson, Mehul Sreenivas, Ryan Knisley, Connor Goodman, Ben Davis, Tyler Lehrfeld and Nate Del Tufo.

Davis was called up to the varsity team and earned a win against River Hill. Thompson went 4-1 with a 0.75 ERA and 32 strikeouts in just 18.2 innings, and Knisley punched out 37 batters in 30.1 inning with a 1.84 ERA.

“Solid pitching and hitting kept us in every game, for the most part, this successful year,” Reservoir coach Zachary Nunn said. “A strong freshmen class will definitely push the program in a positive direction next year!”

With 16 freshmen and its largest roster ever, River Hill finished the season strong by winning six of its final seven games to finish the year 10-5 in league play and 10-7 overall.

The Hawks’ pitching staff paced the Hawks. Sophomores Tyler Della Noce, Clyde Smith and Daniel Maiorana, along with freshmen Karl Birzak and Michael Flaim, helped the team finish with a team ERA of 2.53. Twelve different players got an opportunity to pitch in games.

Leading the way at the plate was team MVP Will Kilcoyne, who finished the year hitting .328 with 19 hits, including six doubles, and scoring 11 runs with eight RBI batting leadoff.

Defensively, their most improved player, Joey Pickus, led the team. He won catching competition early in the spring and finished the year with a .990 fielding average.

Among the season highlights was Kyle Martin throwing out the tying run at home to end the game against Mt. Hebron in a River Hill victory; Alex Shim’s walk-off hit to beat Glenelg; Ryan Lynn’s three-run home run to beat Oakland Mills; and Tyler Della Noce’s gem on the mound to beat Marriotts Ridge to end the season.

SOFTBALL

Atholton had its best JV season in eight years, ending the year at 9-9-1.

Despite having only 12 players and five who never played before, coach Jessica Grady said this year was “one of my favorite seasons” coaching.

“Our hitting and defense improved so much,” she said.

Centennial improved on a sub .500 season last year to finish 9-4 in county play, winning seven of its final eight games.

The Eagles were led by sophomore pitcher Nour Eloseily, freshman pitcher Madison Ceglia, catcher Delanie Tucker, shortstop Alejandra Urquiaga and utility Leanne Marcotte.

The highlight of the season for the Eagles was a 13-11 win over Reservoir in the final game of the campaign, avenging an earlier defeat to the Gators.

“This was a very fun and productive year,” said coach Ed Fowler. “(It’s) always nice to end the season with a big (win).”

In his first year as head coach, Jason Monjes led Glenelg to a 7-7 county record. Monjes is also the Gladiators’ varsity volleyball coach.

Catcher Elizabeth Smolen led the Gladiators with a batting average north of .300 and a home run against Marriotts Ridge. Infielder Emma Corrick paced Glenelg with an on-base percentage over .400.

Alex Kaufman and Lindsey Bosley each struck out about six batters per game in the circle. Defensively, captain Maya Schenk and Jasmine Shearer made big plays in the infield, while Skylar Scott and Molly Small locked down the outfield.

The highlights of the season for Glenelg were wins over River Hill and Atholton. The Gladiators scored two runs in the seventh to top the Raiders 12-11, with Smolen delivering the walk-off hit.

Hammond went 6-12 overall and 6-11 in county play.

Krista Goodwin and Jessi Vick led the team at the plate. Goodwin had four home runs and 56 stolen bases. Vick hit two homers and led the team with 18 RBIs. Marlee Hunter was second in the team in RBIs (18) and stolen bases (43).

Marisa Lopez was the Bears’ top pitcher, striking out 85 batters on the season.

“Marisa Lopez persevered and improved her pitching skills and was a true model for grit and resilience,” said coach Maria Ferraro.

The top team in Howard County was Howard, which finished the season with a 15-0 record.

Despite having 10 of their 12 players as freshmen, the Lions outscored their opponents by an average of 12 runs a game.

The Lions were led by freshman Maddie Coleman, who dominated in the circle for the first half of the season before being pulled up to varsity. Her top performance of the year was a 12-strikeout game against Marriotts Ridge.

Kaylee Dela Santos and Morgan Gross paced Howard at the plate with five and four home runs, respectively. Captains Megan Brady and Erin Gorchboth also were steady contributors on both offense and defense.

The highlight of the season was a 16-11 win over Reservoir, which was Howard’s closest game.

“This game challenged my players,” said coach Jessica McKay. “They had to do what they had been doing all season long — supporting each other and forcing themselves to improve their play with every pitch.”

Long Reach went 0-13 this season. Twelve of the Lightning’s 14 players were playing softball for the first time.

“These girls are tougher than they know,” said coach Keith Williams. “It takes mental fortitude to stay upbeat and stick together when you are facing adversities.”

The highlight of the season was a 15-run performance against Oakland Mills.

Freshman pitcher Lhaiba Bhatti, sophomore shortstop Destinee Pressley and sophomore third baseman Mickey Santos led the way for Long Reach.

Marriotts Ridge followed up its 15-0 campaign last year with a 15-1 record this season.

The “most memorable” game of the season was a 6-2 win over Chesapeake.

The Mustangs were led in the circle by Carly Goering, Cara Delmonte and Lauren Tolle.

“They consistently shut down most teams,” said coach Brent Ault.

Leah Chen, Krysta Cartee and Caroline Kahl led the Mustangs at the plate. Livvy Mahon and Kenzie Ryan were defensive leaders.

Under first-year head coach Ryan Smith, Oakland Mills finished with a 2-11 record.

The highlight of the season was a 16-10 victory over Long Reach.

“It was hard fought, and it gave the girls the confidence boost that they needed to keep improving,” said coach Ryan Smith.

Jayla Spearman stepped up to lead the defense from her shortstop position, while Sherelle King was the Scorpions’ top hitter and excelled by being aggressive on the bases.

Reservoir finished the county season with a 9-5 record.

The Gators had nine different players pitch this season, some of whom were in the circle for the first time.

“That the team was able to win games no matter who was pitching was really reflection of the anchor behind the plate, freshman catcher Ava Hehir-Keys,” said coach Dave Burke.

Freshman Sophie Pereira scored a team-high 31 runs out of the leadoff spot. Freshman Riley Malwitz led Reservoir with 32 hits and 11 extra-base hits. Freshman Faith Hope smacked 30 hits and six triples, while freshman Clare Andrews tallied 28 hits.

Great leadership from its captains — sophomore Anika Satapathy, freshman Laura Mason and freshman Kaylin Galindo — set the stage for a strong season for River Hill.

Coach Lindsey Glascock said the highlight of the spring was a 23-7 win over Glenelg late in the season. The win followed a lopsided loss by the Hawks to the Gladiators early in the year.

“This showed how much our team had improved over the season and was one of the best games we played as a team,” Glascock said. “It showed the girls what they were capable of when they played together as a team and kept their spirit up.”

The Hawks’ top offensive players were sophomore Mackenzie Kleinberger, Mason, freshman Bella Seo, freshman Julia Trost and Satapathy.

Wilde Lake had a winning season, finishing the year 9-7 in county play and 10-7 overall.

“Having the opportunity to come back and teach and coach at Wilde Lake has been extremely rewarding for me,” said coach and former Wilde Lake softball player Kourtney Harrison. “I loved every moment on the field as a player at Wilde Lake and have enjoyed giving back by coaching even more.”

Erin Conover was the Wildecats’ top pitcher. She struck out 147 batters for the season, including 17 against Oakland Mills. Jordan Grimes paced the Wildecats at the plate with a .569 batting average and 39 RBIs. Shania James had 52 stolen bases and 29 runs scored.

GIRLS LACROSSE

Atholton finished just under .500 in county play (4-5) and overall (5-8) this spring. Among the highlights was an 8-7 win over Centennial, helping the Raiders avenge a one-goal defeat against the Eagles last year.

In that game against the Eagles, Atholton got two key saves by goalie Autumn Wenstrom in the final minute.

“Thirty-four seconds left on the clock never felt so long, but Wenstrom managed to guard the ball in her stick until the final whistle blew for the victory,” said coach Tina Bui.

Overall, the Raiders were led on offense by freshman Alina Thyregod (25 goals), freshman Mary Murphy (17 goals) and freshman Thalia Shoemaker (17 goals). Wenstrom anchored the defense at goalie with 96 total saves.

Despite having zero returning players, Centennial coach Kelsea Valance was happy with her team’s performance. The Eagles finished the season 4-5 in county play and 5-7 overall.

“Our team this year had zero returners, a fresh-slate if you will, but was made up of 18 strong, coachable, dedicated student-athletes,” Valance said.

The highlight of the Eagles’ season was their comeback against Patterson Mill. Centennial was down by five goals with 10 minutes remaining and came back to win 14-9.

“It was an amazing win for the home team and one I will never forget,” Valance said.

Centennial’s leading scorers were Blaire Latona (25 goals), Emma Bush (15 goals), Katherine Roybal (12 goals) and Callie LasCasas (10 goals). Ellen Landrum (95 saves) and Amaya Cunningham (39 saves) each came through with big games at goalie.

One of the top teams in Howard County was Glenelg. The Gladiators finished 6-0 in county play and 11-1 overall. The team’s only loss was to Notre Dame Prep.

“This year, I feel we played the toughest JV schedule one could find, and finishing 11-1 is a great tribute to the hard work everyone put in throughout the year,” said Glenelg coach Chris Beil. “We lost a tough game versus NDP, a game we had an 8-3 lead at one point. That game I think showed us what type of team we had, a team that can compete with anyone.”

Beil said the team’s best win was an 8-5 triumph over Saint Stephens.

“We had multiple players show their growth in that game,” he said.

The Gladiators’ top scorers were Anna Towle (28 goals, 10 assists), Alana Scheinberg (17 goals, 14 assists), Molly Sloan (19 goals, nine assists), Carleigh Callahan (16 goals, 12 assists) and Molly Metz (10 goals, 22 assists). Freshmen Emily Renehan, Lily Davis and Abby McSally made things difficult for opposing offenses in front of freshman goalie Amelia McCarthy.

Metz, Megan Goodman, Towle and Bell Wolven all anchored the team as captains.

Hammond coach Amy Holly said sophomore captains Hallie Benda and Rebecca Maeregu led the Bears this season. Hammond finished the season 4-6 in county play and 5-7 overall.

“(Benda) was a leader on and off the field. She helped pull our defense together and communicated throughout the whole game,” Holly said. “(Maeregu) was a leader from the beginning of the season, always motivating others to try their best and communicating with coaches. On the field, she helped run the attack with her loud presence and fast drives to the goal.”

Holly added that freshman Jenna Kreh was a key contributor as the team’s center.

As one of the better Howard County teams, Howard was led by captains Madi Rozgonyi (32 goals), Bailey Shakespeare (21 goals) and Shannan Cooper (18 goals). The Lions ended the season 5-2 in county play and 9-4 overall.

Alayna Dnarch and Emma Somers also contributed on offense, scoring 14 and 10 goals, respectively. Emily Greisman and Tori McArthur were defensive leaders.

Coach Samantha Earle said the highlight of the season was a come-from-behind win against Mt. Hebron.

“We fought from behind the entire game, and within the last few minutes of the game were able to tie it up, go ahead and then win possession on the final draw to be able to kill the clock for a one goal victory,” Earle said.

Paige Ditter (24 goals) and Maci Wong (11 goals) served as anchors for Long Reach.

“Paige is a strong midfield and attack player and natural leader on and off of the field,” said coach Steven Satterfield. “… (Wong) is a stealthy player who has a true passion for the sport.”

The Lightning were led in goal by Bella Barbino, who stepped in as the team’s goalie and recorded nine saves in two games. Alyssa McClure also provided Long Reach with versatility at several positions.

“We overcame many obstacles throughout the season,” Satterfield said. “In the end, we grew stronger as individuals, as a team and as a program.”

Oakland Mills was another top Howard County team this season, ending the season with an 11-1 record.

Kylie Tracy led the Scorpions’ offense with 30 goals, while Yasmine Megdiche led the midfield with 40 draw controls and Katie Oliver saved 39 shots in goal. Riley O’Brien and Erin Oliver led the defense with nine caused turnovers apiece.

The Scorpions lost the first game of the season before winning 11 straight.

“Our team worked well as a unit,” said coach Nicole Twardowicz. “The chemistry on both sides of the ball helped maintain a successful season.”

A team that improved this season was Reservoir. The Gators were 3-9 overall and 3-6 in county play. They scored more goals this season and were only shut out once as opposed to three times last year.

The highlight of the season was a 7-4 victory over River Hill, in which sophomore Maggie Scicchitano had a hat trick and sophomore Isabella Brown scored twice.

“It was by far our most complete game of the season with everyone contributing in some way,” said coach Wendell Thomas.

Scicchitano led the Gators with 10 goals and two assists on the season. Overall 11 different players scored at least once. Emily Cumaco tallied a team-high three assists.

Freshmen goalies Karla Carranza and Maddie Roberts tallied 71 and 46 saves, respectively. Freshmen Kiersten Jewell and Meron Nephtalem developed into Reservoir’s top defenders.

River Hill finished its season 2-9-1 overall. Coach Philip Vangeli said the highlight of the season was a second-half comeback against Rising Sun. The Hawks were down 6-3 at halftime and came back to tie the game 9-9.

River Hill’s two wins were against Long Reach and Wilde Lake. Aisha Arain and Molly Gray, who each scored 14 goals, led the Hawks on offense.

Gray, Arain, Sarah Lee, Kristen Park and Avery Bacon all had had at least one hat trick this spring.

Goalie Vivian Yao saved 53 shots in eight games.

“Vivian showed steady improvement throughout the year and recorded 10 saves against Marriotts Ridge,” said coach Philip Vangeli.

Despite returning only four players, Wilde Lake went 6-5-1.

Sophomore captain Meriam Salehi, who scored 28 goals and tallied 30 draw controls, led the Wildecats. Abby Churilla added 11 goals, and Jillian Ingram, Ella Hollida and Amaiya Sancho all tallied six goals apiece.

“These ladies really came together as one team and worked together to win games, assist goals, cause turnovers and stay composed during all aspects of this season,” said coach Kelly Vieira.

Erica Sweitzer locked down the defense for Wilde Lake in front of goalie Sonia Sebadduka (55 saves).

BOYS LACROSSE

Atholton finished with a 3-6 county record (4-8 overall) while being led in goals by Andrew Osterman and on defense by goalie Garret Walsh.

Among the season highlights was a victory over Winters Mill that saw Walsh come through with a big save and deliver a cross-field pass to Ryan Hernandez for a score to seal the win.

“The team grew leaps and bounds this season and I’m thrilled to see our performance next year,” coach Michael Lake said.

It was a winning county season for Centennial, which ended the spring 6-3 in league play and 6-6 overall.

Freshman attack Josh Flick was the team’s leading scorer with 43 goals and 10 assists, while attack Sam Bussink (14 goals and 16 assists) and midfielder Brendan Hlibok (11 goals and 5 assists) were consistent forces offensively as well. Sophomore Owen Burk and first-year goalie Evan Dietrich were the leaders on defense.

Dietrich played a large role in a 9-8 victory over Howard to close the season, making 14 saves. “It was the best overall game that they played all season after having an up-and-down season,” coach John Spaide said.

On its way to an undefeated county record of 7-0 (11-2 overall), Glenelg steadily improved.

“We had a few overtime wins that truly demonstrated the character of this team,” coach Jeff Shear said. “As a cohesive unit, the team really came together in the last few weeks of the season.”

Goalie Stephen DeSantis was the anchor of the defense and “never caved under pressure,” according to Shear. Nicholas Kingsbury and Kevin Pak were consistent on defense as well.

Evan Whatley and Connor Iannarino stood out on offense for the Gladiators.

Hammond finished with a 1-8 record that was highlighted by a one-goal victory over Long Reach for the team’s first win in two years. The Golden Bears also had a close loss against Wilde Lake, 3-2.

Defenders Scaria John, Femi Adebisi and Toks Aboloye locked things down in front of strong play from the team’s two goalies Jaden Afedi and Wasaq Adebisi. On the other end of the field, attack John Holmes, Victor Rangle and Robert Campos — along with midfielders Quinn O’Neil, Jordan Brown and Saim Rizvi — were the Golden Bears’ top contributors.

Howard finished the season with a 5-7 record, but four of those losses were by one goal and coach Craig Calton said it was still a very successful season in many ways.

“With every starter from last season moved up to varsity, this team had to find it's groove in a way that few of our competitors deal with,” Calton said. “Our hopes are that this rebuilding season was successful in turning our young athletes into battle-tested veterans for the seasons to come.”

Gavin Smith was the heart of the Lions’ offense on attack, while Ian Shryock was the team’s face-off specialist that also contributed on the offensive end.

Bryce Banghart was a sophomore that led the way in the midfield, while Will Stephanos and Adam Asifo were standout defenders in front of sophomore goalie Joe Kayed.

Led by first-year head coach James Adrian and assistant coach Darin Belechto, Long Reach finished 1-9 this season.

“While the win-loss record was disappointing, the team development was encouraging. This year's team featured many freshmen and first time players,” coach Darin Belechto said.

Notable returners and team leaders for the Lightning were Andrew Hardy, Sam Chin, Logan Dinh, James Anderson and Micah Seghetti.

The leading scorers for Long Reach were Anderson, Nick Roby and Dinh. Freshman goalie DJ Belechto was named team MVP and anchored the defense alongside defender Jason Silva.

Marriotts Ridge was one of the top teams in the county this spring, finishing with a league record of 7-1 and an overall mark of 9-3.

“The team improved as the year went on. We had some fun and won some games,” coach Matthew Richter said.

Thomas Coakley and Tyler Gladestone provided strong play at goalie, helping lead a defense that also had strong contributions from Phil Schutty, Casey Pung, Braeden Savoy, Eric Ellis and AJ Angerita. Defensive midfielders Emilio Biagoli and Luke Jantac were also key players on that end of the field.

Schutty and Pung also pushed forward to help out an offense, which saw Topher Kennedy, Phil Simpson, Caden Manwiller and Jack Whalen finish as some of the Mustangs’ point leaders. Midfielders Charlie Burd, Mac Clevenger, Aidan Glover, Christian Bahk and Carter Ryan shouldered some of the scoring load as well.

Mt. Hebron improved on its record from last spring, going 5-2 in county and 7-5 overall. Team captains Hayden Aberdeen, Everett Armstead, Nick Machiran, Sam Mitchell and Nate Peterson led by example and performed well in crunch time, according to coach Michael Tittsworth.

“This season was successful in many ways,” Tittsworth said. “They were genuine teammates, helping and supporting each other regardless of their skill level. Watching players buy into our team concept was very rewarding.”

Among the season highlights for the Vikings was a Friday night overtime victory over Centennial.

After opening with a lopsided victory, Oakland Mills kept rolling and finished above .500 (5-4-2) under first-year coach Andrew Neely.

“We started our season with a great rainy-day win against Reservoir, 9-1. This was important because it was my first game ever as a head coach of a team and the boys played with great heart and intensity,” Neely said.

The Scorpions finished strong as well, winning their final three games against Landsdowne, Wilde Lake and Hammond.

Sophomore co-captain Matt Hamann was the team’s leading scorer with 28 points (24 goals, 4 assists), while sophomore co-captain Michael Claxton was right behind him with 21 points (16 goals, 5 assists). Hamann, Claxton and Devon Tan all had hat tricks at least once.

Other standouts were freshman Nick Humphrey (10 goals, 3 assists and 78 groundballs) and sophomore faceoff and defensive star Alejandro Ramirez (team-leading 86 groundballs).

With 20 of its 27 players on the roster never having played lacrosse before, Reservoir had its share of growing pains on the way to a 1-11 overall record.

“The focus this year was on learning the sport and improving our skills each day,” coach Robert While said. “Their commitment to that goal never wavered and the student-athletes were eager to work every practice and game.”

Sophomore attackman Mitch Baer was the leading scorer for the Gators, while Beckett Leary and Aidan Pazulski provided support. David Spikes, Lucas Turner, and Brian Keys were some of the standout newcomers at midfield. Ali Damani showed a lot of improvement at the faceoff X this season.

Freshmen Jason Menson and Dayton Dubrul were defensive leaders, with steady contributions coming from Oswaldo Garcia, Jason Quijada and Jay Patel in front of goalie Jason Ellinger.

River Hill got strong play from a number of different players on the way to a record of 4-5 in county and 5-7 overall.

Sophomore captains Grant Heidebrecht and Jacob Safeer were the backbone of the team, both starring on the defensive end of the field in front of freshman goalie Charlie Kluckhuhn.

Freshman Will Gochar seldom came off the field as a midfielder, while freshman Jack McKormick ended the season as one of the Hawks’ leading scorers from his midfield position.

“Our team was incredibly raw, having only a handful of players that had ever played lacrosse before,” coach Kennedy Paynter said. “We went from hardly being able to catch and throw to putting together several complete, and impressive, games by mid-season. This team's improvement is a testament to our great coaches, including Matt Morton and Brian Decker, and our player’s overall dedication and commitment to our team.”

Wilde Lake had a strong season (3-3 county, 4-6 overall) and ended up having seven of its players called up to varsity for the playoffs — all of them getting playing time in a match-up against Glenelg.

“This was a great developmental team … with only one returning player we were young and inexperienced at the beginning of the season,” coach Tony Bell said. “With hard work, extra commitment and wall ball after practice, the team started developing a great chemistry and love for the game. I had to run them off of the field after practice because they wanted to stay and put in extra work and it really paid off.”

Sean Barnes (11 goals), Elijah Queen (10), Evan Robinson (8), Ben Hulit (3), Damon McTavish (3), Nasir England (3) and Zach Smith (2) were all offensive contributors for a balanced attack. Trey Jenkins, Marcos Garcia and Lucas Julian led the defense in front of goalie Carlos Alarcon, who finished with 105 saves this spring.

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