Some will argue that this first-year coach inherited a great team at fifth-ranked Fallston, but Winaker did a masterful job of guiding the experienced Cougars over the rough spots and turning them into the Class 2A state champions.
She had served as the junior varsity coach and varsity assistant for three seasons before stepping up to the varsity level, and her familiarity with the players certainly helped.
Fallston had a reputation for being the best team that wasn't in College Park for the state tournament most years, and Winaker made a few changes to the lineup that proved to be the difference. She found a standout setter to take some pressure off All-Metro performer Rachael Holehouse and allow her to be more of a force in the offense. The changes enabled the Cougars to compile an 18-2 record and win the state title.
Winaker is a 2003 graduate of Fallston, where she played on the Cougars' only other team to reach the state tournament, where the school lost in the semifinals.