Steve Erxleben made it his life's goal to become a high school football head coach -- and he accomplished it last week at age 25.
A defensive coordinator for the last three seasons, Erxleben will take over as head coach at South River. He replaces Mike Heatherly, who moved back to Colorado after coaching at the Edgewater school for one season.
"This has been a huge goal for me, and I'm juiced about it," said Erxleben, who grew up in Bowie. "I'm feeling very fortunate that the timing was there and everything fell into place. I can't wait to get started."
Erxleben, who teaches social studies at South River, hopes to bring stability to a program that has had little lately. Three people served as head coach at South River in the last four seasons, a trend Jim Haluck, the school's athletic director, was determined to end.
"Steve, unlike some of the other guys we've had, he'll be here for 30 years," Haluck said. "That's the kind of guy he is. He isn't going anywhere. He wants to be a part of this for the long run, and there's a lot to be said for that."
Said Erxleben: "I live in the area, I work in the school, and my whole life's goal was to become a head coach and stay there for a while, so I think they picked the right guy. I want to stay here for a long time, and the way I can do that is by getting started and winning."
Broadneck's defending state champion volleyball team will take the next logical step this season toward becoming a dynasty: retiring jerseys.
In an effort to celebrate the program's long tradition of winning, Coach Romonzo Beans will honor four or five former players after a homecoming game against Severna Park that has yet to be scheduled. Beans and former coaches are still selecting the honorees, who will be invited to Broadneck for homecoming weekend.
"We've gotten to the point as a program where we kind of deserve to do this," Beans said. "I'm talking to all of our former coaches and we're going to decide which players to honor. It's going to be an awesome list, and it will give us a chance to celebrate our little run here."
Broadneck has advanced to the state semifinals in each of the past five seasons and has a good chance to continue that run this year. The Bruins return two of their best players from last season's title team -- Kanishia Sheppard and Stephanie Carey -- and a few other regular contributors. Beans's toughest task this season, he said, might be selecting a varsity roster.
"We've got more talent, more good people coming back than I can remember," said Beans, who usually carries 10 or 11 players on his varsity squad. "I don't even know how I'm going to pick a team. Honestly, it's going to be my biggest challenge ever."
Centrowitz Comes Back
Former Broadneck runner Lauren Centrowitz, now at Stanford, placed fourth in the 1,500 at the recent USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Carson, Calif. Her bigger accomplishment, though, was running at all.
Centrowitz sat out for six weeks this spring with a stress reaction in her shin. The injury limited her to three races this season and made her time of 4 minutes 25 seconds in the 1,500 even more surprising.
"I guess I'm pretty happy with it all," Centrowitz said. "I felt like I competed well. I got injured in the middle of the season, and I really only had a month and a half of training under my belt. You can't expect too much in that situation."
Now recovered from her injury, Centrowitz is spending the offseason running at home with younger brother Matthew, a Broadneck runner who won the 4A state championship in cross-country last season.
"I came back from school and he was faster than me," Centrowitz said. "We ran together [Sunday], and that was his light day. He was fine, but I was tired. I guess that's the only bad news."