Enjoying one of its most successful seasons in recent memory, the Westminster girls soccer team can credit a large part of that good feeling to Mandy Komar.
The senior midfielder and team captain has had 11 goals and seven assists to help propel the Owls to a 9-2-1 record and the No. 15 ranking in The Sun poll.
Westminster clinched the county title with a 2-0 win against North Carroll on Oct. 15 and has not lost a game at home yet this season.
Awarded a first-round bye in the Class 4A East Region playoffs, the Owls meet the winner of C. Milton Wright-Meade matchup and could face second-ranked Severna Park in the regional semifinals.
But Komar insists that any success is a shared honor with her teammates.
"It's really amazing how we've done and that has to do with our team development," said Komar, a first-team all-county, all-conference and all-state choice last season. "We read each other and practice so well together."
Don't let the modesty fool you, said coach Bryan Shumaker. He notes that opponents have marked Komar with one player and adding a second marker as soon as she touches the ball.
"She can play the ball and create opportunities in spaces that aren't there," Shumaker said. "She's so good with the ball on her foot. She's our playmaker."
Adept at placing a free kick behind opponents' defenses for teammate Tricia Teal (seven goals), Komar has proved her worth on the defensive end, where Shumaker uses her 5-foot-11 frame to roam the box and head out any dangerous corner kicks.
"Those are the intangibles that people around her take for granted," he said. "Even her coaches take her for granted."
Whatever happens in the playoffs, Komar's soccer days are not necessarily over. One of 64 players to try out for the under-17 national team in Oregon this summer, Komar will fly to Tucson, Ariz., for a second tryout.
Komar, who won county and regional titles in the 800 meters and qualified for the 800, the 800 relay and triple jump in the statewide competition last spring, has drawn interest from Maryland, West Virginia and Vanderbilt, and is flying to Arkansas this weekend for an official visit.
But Komar says she is focused on helping the Owls win their first playoff game and avenging a loss to Severna Park in the state semifinals last year.
"We have connected and we have learned to grow with each other," Komar says. "This year, we're more prepared for anyone."
Westminster cross country standout Jesse O'Connell is one of 102 state winners in the Wendy's High School Heisman Award competition.
The award -- sponsored by Wendy's restaurants -- recognizes outstanding, well-rounded seniors. Twelve national finalists will be invited to take part in the Heisman Trophy Weekend activities at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York in December, and one boy and girl will be named National Award winners.
O'Connell, who won county, region and Central Maryland Conference titles in the 800 meters in the spring, is the lone Carroll County representative in the competition.
Also nominated were Christopher Lamotte and Jennifer Tarlton, both of North Carroll.
Former high school stars continue to excel on the college and university level. Here's an update:
Western Maryland College sophomore Jill Krebs took the silver medal Saturday to help the Green Terror defeat all 18 Division III schools and finish sixth overall at the Gettysburg Invitational.
Krebs, a 1997 county champion at South Carroll, has won a school-record three gold medals and two silvers this season.
Western Maryland earned its first cross country ranking Oct. 11, entering No. 5 in the NCAA Mideast region in the Division III Coaches Association poll.
Freshman Jason Santucci placed eighth as Monmouth University finished second at the Fairmount Park Bertelsman Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 25.
Santucci, Westminster's county Runner of the Year last fall, was sixth at the 5th annual Monmouth University Invitational on Sept. 18 and 17th at the Lafayette Invitational on Sept. 11.
Western Maryland College junior outside hitter Honesty Drumgoole (Westminster) has led the Green Terror volleyball team to an 18-9 record (8-1 in the Centennial Conference).
Drumgoole, an all-league hitter, pounded out 31 kills -- the second-highest total in school history -- in a 3-1 upset of 20th-ranked Franklin & Marshall on Oct. 20.
Freshman outside hitter Kate Wall, an all-county and All-Metro pick from North Carroll last fall, has also contributed. Western Maryland can clinch a share of the conference title with a win Wednesday night over Johns Hopkins, and league-leading Gettysburg falls at Franklin & Marshall.
Freshman forward Melissa Merson is the second-leading scorer for Western Maryland.
Merson, a second-team All-County pick from Francis Scott Key in 1997, has six goals and four assists for 16 points in 13 games.
Sophomore forward Thea Bayly (Westminster) is fifth on the team with four goals and an assist for nine points in 13 games, while junior stopper Jessie Stickles (Westminster) is seventh with zero goals and four assists for four points in 13 games.
Sophomore sweeper Erica Gordon, a 1997 all-county and All-Metro pick from Liberty, and freshman defender Toni Hausmann (Francis Scott Key) are members of a Catonsville Community College squad that was ranked seventh in the NJCAA Women's Soccer Coaches Poll on Oct. 19.
Senior forward Ryan Bowles is Western Maryland's fourth-leading scorer. The team captain from North Carroll has three goals and two assists for eight points in 13 games.