Centennial Coach Mike Siegert said he knew almost a month ago his boys' lacrosse team could win a state title.
He realized it May 8 in Annapolis, when the team rallied from a five-goal deficit to tie then-top-ranked Broadneck before falling, 8-6.
"That's the exact moment: right there on that field when I saw how we responded, that we had it in us to win it all," Siegert said. "We could have given up, but we didn't, and though we lost, we learned from it."
After the Broadneck game, Centennial did not lose again, reeling off six straight victories, the last one last Thursday, a 9-7 win over Towson (15-2) in the Maryland 3A/2A final at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
The Eagles (16-3) trailed 7-6 with less than 10 minutes left but tied the game on a goal by senior Eric Meekins with 7 minutes 6 seconds remaining before junior Alex Ashcroft circled the goal and slipped a pass to Sam Stumpf to cap the comeback.
Freshman Jonathan Stumpf, Sam's brother, then put the game away with 39 seconds remaining.
"Since we didn't have a lot of seniors [six], a lot of people figured that this was going to be a rebuilding year for us, but we never believed that," Sam Stumpf said. "We just worked on getting better and better everyday, and look at us now; we're state champions."
A Record Performance
Mount Hebron girls' lacrosse coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland took an interesting approach to motivating her team for the Maryland 3A/2A final against Catonsville last Thursday.
At the final practice of the season, she divided her team into two groups -- those who had won a state title, and those who hadn't.
Each player who had won a championship then spoke about a memorable moment from the experience.
Junior midfielder Meg Taylor talked about the adrenaline rush she felt as the national anthem played last season. Senior attack Kristen Slahor discussed the thrill of scoring in the title game three years ago as freshman.
"We just wanted to make sure everyone knew how big this game is because we've been working to get here all season," Taylor said. "This is the biggest game of the season."
The Vikings have new memories to take from their 21-7 victory over Catonsville, in which the team set four state records: goals in a championship game (21), goals in the two-game state tournament (45), consecutive titles (8) and overall championships (12).
Mount Hebron (18-0) posted its third consecutive undefeated season and will enter next season on a 60-game winning streak.
"The goal wasn't to come in here and set all the records," said Kuhl-McClelland. "The goal was to play the best we could and win the game."
Not Glenelg's Night
It happened again.
That's what went through the mind of Glenelg All-Met senior attack Matt Nicola as he walked off the lacrosse field after a 11-6 loss to Pikesville in the Maryland 2A/1A final at the University of Maryland Baltimore County last week. Just like in two previous trips to the state final, in 1997 and 2000, the Gladiators were watching their opponent celebrate.
This was not how the best season in Glenelg history was supposed to end. The Gladiators had reeled off 15 consecutive victories and were hoping for the school's first boys' lacrosse state championships.
"It's like the same thing keeps happening over and over: We get to the championship game, and we don't get it done," Nicola said. "There's no other way to describe how I feel except that it hurts."
The defeat doesn't erase what the Gladiators did accomplish this season.
The team won more games than any previous Glenelg team and won the Howard County title outright for the first time since 1985.
"It just wasn't our night out there against Pikesville," said Glenelg Coach Mike Williams. "But this team was still one of the best we've ever had."
Landis's Stellar Ending
Chapelgate Christian senior guard Heather Landis was named a National Christian Schools Association all-American, the first basketball player from the Marriottsville private school to earn the distinction.
The Rider University-bound Landis averaged 21 points, 6 assists and 4 steals per game to lead the Yellowjackets to the Maryland Christian Schools state tournament. Landis finished as the school's all-time leader in scoring (1,609 points) and assists (578).
"It's a great way for Heather to end what has been a great career," Chapelgate Coach Jim Barber said. "She certainly deserved it because she's worked so hard since she was a freshman."