The high school spring season came to a close last week, but not without some standout individual efforts and memorable teams.
While no Carroll team won a state title this season in track and field, there were some fine individual performances.
* North Carroll's Francine Hewes came out of nowhere to win the Class 2A long jump, topping her previous best by nearly a foot with a jump of 16-10.
* Liberty's Julie Cox closed out a stellar career with her first state title, dominating the field in the 300-meter hurdles in 45.2.
* Francis Scott Key's Dani Deeds carried the Eagles throughout the postseason, leading them to second-place finishes in the county, regional and state meets. In the state meet, she took second and third in the 100 and 200, respectively.
* Westminster's Kenya Warfield and Brandon Duval both came home with individual state titles. Warfield flew 5-5 to capture the high jump, while Duval won the 800 with a time of 1:55.9.
* The Westminster 3,200 relay team of Gunter Kroe, Wade Shank, Jay Merker and Duval came up big in the regional meet. The regional team title came down to the final relay race and the foursome responded with a win to push Westminster past runner-up Perry Hall. It was the Owls third consecutive regional title.
Track wasn't the only sport in the county that produced bright moments.
* South Carroll's Joe Goodwin edged out teammate Charlie Kuykendall for the county batting title. Goodwin batted .509 on the year, while Kuykendall hit .508. Liberty's Amy Wolff ran away with the softball batting title, hitting a whopping .561.
* Liberty's Ross Yastrzemsky was the top county scorer in boys lacrosse, finishing with 20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points. Teammate John Monar had a county-leading 29 goals on the season. North Carroll's Danielle Miller was the top scorer in girls lacrosse with 41 goals and 17 assists for 58 points, edging Liberty's Val Swomley (39 goals, 17 assists for 56 points).
* Westminster tennis teammates Becky Duex and Mandy Koenig went up against each other all season in practice. On May 12 it was for keeps as the two went head-to-head in the county singles championship.
Duex got the better of things when it counted, winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, to avenge her loss to Koenig in last year's finals.
Several obstacles prevented Carroll teams from winning state titles this spring. Here are a few:
* Tough Regions: Despite solid regular seasons, the Westminster baseball and softball teams, along with the Francis Scott Key softball club, did not qualify for the regional playoffs.
The Key softball team won eight of its nine final regular-season games, only to come up a short in qualifying for the playoffs.
Key coach Joe Linthicum said some early losses proved costly in the Eagles' attempt to a second consecutive playoff bid.
The Westminster baseball team finished 14-6 overall, but were bumped out of the regional playoffs by a pair of Prince George's County schools -- High Point and Eleanor Roosevelt. Both clubs finished at 9-6, but their schedules consisted of more 4A teams than Westminster's, giving them the edge in the point system.
The same held true with the Westminster softball team, which also finished 14-6.
* Thomas Johnson: It seemed innocent enough at the time, but Thomas Johnson's 5-4 win over the South Carroll baseball team in the next-to-last regular-season game was the first step in the Cavaliers downfall in their bid for a state title.
It was the second game of a doubleheader. The then-undefeated Cavs clinched the Central Maryland Conference in Game 1, and Game 2 had no significance in the CMC race.
Aaron Wheat pitched six scoreless innings and struck out 10 in Game 2 as the Patriots ended South Carroll's bid for a perfect season.
Wheat and Thomas Johnson team would come back to haunt the Cavs in regional finals while going on to win the state 3A crown.
* Marci Whitehead and the Damascus softball team: After a sluggish 1-3 start, the North Carroll Panthers came on strong to qualify for the regional playoffs.
After winning their region, the Panthers ran into Damascus and its senior pitcher Marci Whitehead in the opening round of the state playoffs. Whitehead had 30 career no-hitters, including 11 this year, 10 career perfect games, six this year. All are state records.
The Panthers appeared undaunted in their bid for a third straight state title, taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with the first earned run off Whitehead all season.
But Damascus came back in its half of the fourth with three runs, and that would be all Whitehead and a tough Damascus defense would need.
* No luck in OT: Both Liberty lacrosse teams suffered overtime losses in first-round regional play.
The Liberty boys rallied from an early 4-1 deficit against Hammond in the first half and again rallied when Bill Reigel's goal knotted the score, 9-9, with 31 seconds left in regulation. But Hammond's Mike Sargent put an end to the Liberty season with a goal 1:40 into sudden death.
After two regular-season wins, the Liberty girls dropped a 15-14 double-overtime decision to county rival North Carroll in what may have been the best game of any sport this spring. Both teams had early and late leads, but Miller's goal with 21 seconds left in the second overtime period was the one that counted.
But Liberty may have been happy they didn't advance. North Carroll had to play unbeaten and eventual state champ Mount Hebron the next day in the region finals. The final score: Mount Hebron 20, North Carroll 5.