For much of the past decade, Southern Maryland Athletic Conference opponents paid little attention to Lackey, which had not produced a conference championship in any team sport since 1995. The school's highest-profile team, however, ended that drought by sharing the SMAC football title with Westlake, which the Chargers defeated, 21-7, to end the regular season.
Two weeks later, Lackey defeated the Wolverines again to win the 3A South Region title and become the second team in school history to advance to the state semifinals (the Chargers won the Class B state championship in 1986). Lackey lost the 3A championship game to Linganore, 28-0.
Spearheading the Chargers' success were junior All-Met running back Morgan Green, who rushed for 2,630 yards -- the second highest single-season total in state history -- and Coach Scott Chadwick, who has led Lackey to an 18-6 mark in his two seasons. Before Chadwick's arrival, the program went seven years without a winning record.
Despite the depth of volleyball talent in Calvert County, where teams have produced a state champion in 10 consecutive seasons, there was really no doubt about which team stood head and shoulders above the rest this year. Calvert was not only the dominant team in the county, but also in the SMAC and the state, as the Cavaliers claimed the Maryland 3A title, their first since 1998.
Calvert played with a vengeance as it rolled to a 19-0 record. The Cavaliers had won SMAC titles each of the two previous seasons but could not get past one of its county rivals during the regional tournament. This season, Calvert lost only two games and won a remarkable 34 consecutive games to end the year.
Senior All-Met Dawn Herring was a powerful force on the outside despite her slight build, tallying 160 kills and 128 digs. In the middle was sophomore Whitney Johnson, whose 178 kills led the team. Leading them all was senior setter and second-team All-Met Jessica Forsythe and her 460 assists.
Track and Field
Sparked by senior sprinters JaQuay Evans and Kathryne Carter and senior thrower Quiteelia Boyd, Westlake's girls' track team swept the state championships, winning the Maryland 3A/2A indoor title in February and the 3A outdoor meet three months later.
The indoor state title was the first by a girls' SMAC team and earned Beth Shook All-Met Coach of the Year honors. McDonough's girls' outdoor team was the only other SMAC team to claim a state championship, winning in 1986, '87 and '93. Northern's 1983 boys were the only other SMAC team to have won indoor and outdoor state championships in the same year.
Westlake's depth was its greatest asset. At the outdoor meet, seven different Wolverines earned team points by placing in the top six of their respective events, and Westlake's 72 points were 16 more than the next highest total. The Wolverines won the indoor meet by a 15-point margin.
Thomas Stone Baseball
The regular season ended with a thud for Thomas Stone's baseball team, which lost four of five and five of seven to fall from first place in the SMAC to a tie for third. The Cougars seemed headed for a brief appearance in the Maryland 4A East playoffs; they drew the worst seed in the regional draw -- 11th.
But in their first-round game, the Cougars walloped Glen Burnie, 13-3, scoring more than they did in their five previous games combined. Then came a 1-0 victory over Arundel, capped by junior Averill Butler's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning. The next day in the semifinals, Thomas Stone visited defending state champion Old Mill and defeated the Patriots, 7-3. Butler's second game-winning RBI of the week, an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, gave Thomas Stone a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Chesapeake for its first regional title and state tournament appearance in seven years.
All-Met Coach of the Year Ed Glaeser extracted all he could out of a team that made up for its lack of star power with plenty of depth and fundamental know-how, but the Cougars lost to eventual state champion Bowie, 6-5, in the 4A semifinals.
Calvert County's fourth public high school is still more than two months away from holding its first classes, but Huntingtown has been making news for more than a year. It was nearly impossible to talk about an existing athletic program in the county this year without regard to Huntingtown's opening.
Any talk about Huntingtown was very sensitive. The school will attract students from Calvert and Northern, and after school district lines are redrawn, a large chunk of students who were going to attend Patuxent will attend Calvert. Some students did not want to change schools, while others embraced the opportunity. As a result, it was difficult for coaches to develop long-term plans for their programs because several of their players would be headed to another school.
Some coaches, though, were in the same position as the students. In November, Huntingtown announced the majority of its coaching staff, most of which were working at other schools. The sports seasons for many of those coaches had not begun yet, so they were working with players who would ultimately be playing against them next season.
-- Alan Goldenbach