Playing a daunting schedule to prepare for a state championship run, the Glenelg boys lacrosse team lost six straight games after a 3-0 start. Over and over in the midst of the difficult stretch, coach Josh Hatmaker told his players: “The little things are going to turn into big things.”
Hatmaker and his staff implemented some new tactics, but mostly returned to the basics to refine those little things. The players bought in, worked hard and the biggest of the big things came May 21, when the No. 10 Gladiators (13-6) claimed an 11-7 win over Century for the Class 2A championship.
The win avenged the last of the team’s six losses. Along the way, the Gladiators also beat defending state and Howard County champion Marriotts Ridge, 7-6, in overtime, in the South Region playoffs.
“Even though they were dropping games, their confidence never went away,” said Hatmaker, who completed his 15th season. “They were upset with themselves, they were upset with the results, but they knew they still had a lot of talent and were pretty resilient. I think sometimes you get in a situation like that and kids fold and everything snowballs and you have a really disappointing season. These kids didn’t do that.”
The state title was the program’s fourth under Hatmaker and first since 2011. His career record is 212-58, having also led the Gladiators to 11 region titles and seven Howard County crowns.
Hatmaker credited his assistant coaches — Joe Derwent, Chris Rosas, Jeff Doughty and Jeff Shear — for their hard work and dedication.