In appreciation of the completion of the high school sports calendar year, we roll out our annual "most memorable moments" as compiled by the AllMetsSports.com staff. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list, so please use the comments section to share your favorite memory from the 2015-16 season).
There was plenty of motivation to go around for Westfield's football and boys' basketball teams entering the 2015-16 seasons. Each of the last football campaigns had finished with a loss in the region final and last year, the hoops team joined the runner-up ranks when it fell in the state championship. This season, led by two-sport standout Tyler Scanlon, the Bulldogs first held off Oscar Smith in triple overtime to win the Virginia 6A state football title; then three months later, Westfield cruised past the same Oscar Smith school on the hardwood to capture its first basketball state crown. It marked the first such feat in Virginia highest's classification since 1988-89.
We want the Funk
A year after suffering a heartbreaking loss in the Maryland 3A football final, Jake Funk and the Damascus Swarmin' Hornets returned to M&T Bank Stadium and capped off an undefeated campaign with a 55-14 romp over Dundalk. Funk was as unstoppable as ever, finishing with seven touchdowns — six in the first half — to give the school its first state title since 2007. The victory in Baltimore completed a banner season for the Maryland commit, who won All-Met Player of the Year and Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year, and gave fans of The Post's No. 1 team plenty of reason to sing along to Parliament's 1976 hit single.
No Gray area for Churchill
A year after winning the Maryland state golf tournament, Churchill left no doubt this past fall. Led by individual medalist Adam Gray, the Bulldogs totaled a score of 572, shattering the previous team tournament record by 24 strokes at the University of Maryland golf course.
Oh great and Wise won
The Wise football team capped a dominating fall by claiming its second Maryland 4A state championship in four years with a 55-6 win over Howard. Led by a new spread offense and a powerful defense that allowed just nine offensive touchdowns the entire season, the Pumas won every game by double digits and trailed at halftime just once en route to an undefeated campaign.
DeMatha defends (again) on the gridiron
Loaded with experience and elite Division I football recruits, the Stags hoisted the WCAC trophy for the third straight year following a dominant campaign grounded in its debilitating rushing attack. Outside of its lone hiccup against rival Gonzaga on ESPN, nationally ranked DeMatha defeated two nationally ranked teams while averaging 37.5 points and 376 rushing yards per game.
Broadneck gets boost from its American idols
The Broadneck girls' soccer team won its first state title this past fall, using a physical style and a last-second goal by senior Brianna Harris in the championship to finish off an unbeaten season. But perhaps the most memorable moment of the Bruins' postseason run came hours before their last game, when former USA women's soccer stars Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly all tweeted encouraging words wishing the team good luck.
Stone Bridge serves up first volleyball title
For the past decade, the Bulldogs had carved their place as a forerunner in the ultra-competitive Loudoun County volleyball scene. But one thing was missing — a state title. That all changed in November, when Stone Bridge fended off Conference 14 Potomac Falls in five sets to win its first Virginia 5A championship.
In its 20th anniversary season, Patuxent won its first football state championship, defeating Walkersville in a dramatic, 21-20, Maryland 2A final. The Panthers trailed by a touchdown at halftime when sophomore quarterback Reese Crounse came out to start the third quarter. Chris Long scored to complete the comeback. Steve Crounse, Reese's father, was named 2015 All-Met Coach of the Year.
Comeback Jags get revenge
The Northwest volleyball team dropped four sets all season. Two came in a five-set comeback victory over Gaithersburg. The other came in the Maryland 4A state semifinal against defending champion Severna Park, where the Jaguars overcame en early hole and avenged last year's final loss in a four-set thriller — capped by Gabby Bennett's game-winning kill — before cruising to their first state championship in school history.
Cadets keep the faith
St. John's field hockey Coach Corey Samperton told the Cadets they would be champions for two months. When the girls advanced to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final against Good Counsel, the Cadets delivered with a 2-0 victory to avenge a loss in the previous year's championship.
Playing for something greater
Westfield's vaunted field hockey squad used its signature depth to dominate nearly everyone they faced last fall, but the Bulldogs' success was driven by more than sheer talent. "Team Z" rallied around junior defender Carolyn Ziegler and her family as Michael Ziegler, Carolyn's older brother, battled Stage 4 brain cancer and Barbara Ziegler, Carolyn's mother, endured Stage 4 breast cancer. The Bulldogs embarked on a 19-game win streak highlighted by Mackenzie Karl's overtime game-winner in the 6A North region championship.
Instant classic in Loudoun
Rock Ridge and Riverside debuted their varsity high school football teams against one another on the same August night. The Loudoun County schools didn't disappoint, offering spectators an overtime thriller dominated by Phoenix junior Eric Vivian, who punched in the decisive two-point conversion in Rock Ridge's 29-28 victory.
H.D. Woodson makes basketball history
The best story of the winter took place in Northeast Washington, where the H.D. Woodson boys' basketball team overcame close calls, plenty of skeptics and even a gunshot wound to become the first city public school to go undefeated since 1985. A six-man rotation led by All-Met Antwan Walker and emerging sophomore Kiyon Boyd took D.C. by storm and then won a thrilling double-overtime game against WCAC power Gonzaga in the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament semifinals. Hours later, one of the Warriors' starters, Kavon Montgomery, was grazed by a bullet in the back. He nonetheless played when Woodson won the DCSAA title game over Friendship Collegiate and clinched the No. 1 spot in The Post's final rankings.
St. John's parties like it's 2000
During a season that boasted one of the most talented crops of WCAC boys' basketball talent to date, drawing scores of fans to pack gyms across the area, the Cadets emerged as champs for the first time in 16 years behind All-Met Player of the Year Anthony Cowan Jr.
Dominance on the mat
There was no stopping Good Counsel on the local wrestling scene this winter. The Falcons blitzed all comers in the Maryland Independent Schools state meet in February, crowning six champions to claim the program's second state title.
From zero to hero
In its fourth year, John Champe established itself in the Loudoun County athletic landscape thanks to unprecedented playoff runs in football and basketball. After a winless inaugural football season in 2012, the Knights went 11-1 this fall and reach the Virginia 4A West semifinals. On the hardwood, Champe went 22-5 and reached the state semifinals.
All the Wrighte stuff
Battling an upper-respiratory ailment, Freedom-South Riding sophomore Sydney Wrighte powered through the grueling two-day Virginia gymnastics state tournament structure, first propelling the Eagles to their first 5A team title and then, less than 24 hours later, dominating the individual meet to roll to the all-around championship.
Back to back
A number of teams managed to repeat as champs, but several area squads took dominant runs to unprecedented levels this year. The Loudoun County volleyball team etched itself in another area of the record books by winning a record eighth state championship in nine years behind the booming kills of two-time All-Met Taylor Borup. … Paul VI's girls' basketball team extended its incredible run as the area's front-runner by going 33-1 and winning a third straight WCAC title. … After sweating through penalty kicks and a four-overtime contest in their last two state titles, this year, the Battlefield girls' soccer team cruised to its third straight Virginia 6A crown this spring. … Its head coach may have been different this year but the result remained the same for George Mason's girls' soccer team as the Mustangs won their ninth straight Virginia state crown. … In baseball, St. John's navigated an arduous schedule to three-peat as WCAC champs; Riverdale Baptist rode a walk-off home run by Jose Rivera to repeat as Maryland Private School champs, capping a season in which it won 30 straight games; Spalding fended off Gilman to three-peat as the MIAA A winner; and, Wilson remained the epitome of success in DCIAA play with a 24th consecutive title.
Sherwood softball goes to infinity and beyond
Or at least it seems that way. The Warriors' mind-boggling win streak on the diamond reached 100 victories this spring with a May 18 triumph against Howard and now sits at 103 after Sherwood captured its fifth straight Maryland 4A state title.
Move aside, Alan Webb
On February 6, pupil beat mentor as Loudoun Valley's Drew Hunter ran the indoor mile in a time of 3 minutes 58.25 seconds to break the mark set 15 years ago by his mentor and former South Lakes standout Alan Webb. The achievement was one of many set by the National Gatorade Runner of the Year and Oregon recruit during a banner senior season. Speaking of which…
Drew goes a-hunting at Penn Relays
After its first runner fell during the Distance Medley Championship of America, the Loudoun Valley relay squad trailed by nine seconds when five-time All-Met Drew Hunter took the baton to run the mile, the last leg of the event. The senior steadily moved toward the front of the pack and, with a final push down the stretch, led the Vikings to a first-place finish by a margin of one-thousandth of a second. Hunter's mile split of 4:00.73 was the second fastest in meet history behind only Alan Webb, and he became the first high school boy to win the distance medley relay along with the individual mile (2015) and 3,000 meters (2014) in the 122-year history of the meet.
Girl power on the track
The Penn Relays also showcased two of Northern Virginia's most remarkable runners in Lake Braddock's Kate Murphy and Heritage's Weini Kelati. Murphy roared back on the final leg of the distance medley relay to lift the Bruins to their first bronze wooden wheel as a team. Meanwhile, Kelati blew away the field (and then some) in the 3,000 meters by a whopping margin.
Loudoun rules in lax
Loudoun County continued its rise as a Virginia lacrosse power, winning the boys' and girls' 4A and 5A state championships for the second consecutive year. Kyle Duffie's overtime goal sealed an improbable 5A title run for the Briar Woods boys; the Dominion boys went undefeated to win the 4A title, Potomac Falls captured the 5A girls' title and Nora Bowen led Woodgrove to a third consecutive 4A championship. In 6A, Robinson took home a third consecutive boys' title and the Rams girls defended their crown to complete the Northern Virginia state championship sweep.
Third time's the charm for Chantilly
Down two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Chantilly appeared headed for a third straight disappointing loss in the Virginia 6A baseball final. Then the Chargers bats suddenly came alive, reeling off three runs — two after they were down to their final out — to squeak out a 3-2 win and secure their first state baseball championship.
A playoff run no one saw coming
Falls Church's ragtag boys soccer squad wasn't going anywhere this year, not after starting the season with just one win in their first seven games. But somehow, some way, the upstart Jaguars started beating everyone in their path, motoring all the way to the school's first state championship game. Their berth in that 5A state final came by way of a 5-1 romp over a Mills Godwin side that started a brawl, prompting the referee to call the game with just over three minutes left to play.
Bullis lacrosse shows its bite
For years, the Bullis boys' lacrosse team had played second fiddle in the Interstate Athletic Conference to perennial powerhouses like Landon and Georgetown Prep. But the Bulldogs finally broke through and won their first league title this spring behind one of the nation's most potent attack units. Led by All-Met Player of the Year Alex Trippi and seniors Nicky Petkevich and Steven Shollenberger, Bullis finally got over the hump and finished ranked as high as No. 2 in the country by some national polls.
Walker a walk-off winner for Sidwell Friends
It appeared that Sidwell Friends was on the verge of losing another close match to rival Potomac School. The Panthers led 3-2 in team points during the Mid-Atlantic Conference boys' tennis tournament, and Jacob Walker, the team's No. 1 singles player and All-Met Player of the Year was down 5-1 in the second set against Joe Nardini after winning the first set. Walker never wavered. The senior clawed his way back into the set, saving seven set points in the process, before winning, 6-0, 7-5, to pick up a crucial point for the Quakers. Walker's victory set the stage for junior Anatoly Brevnov, whose victory at No. 4 singles clinched the tournament title for Sidwell.
Everybody do the Generals' rumble
An aggravated hamstring limited Maycol Nunez's playing time during the final weekend of the spring soccer season, but injuries proved no match for the three-time All-Met's dogged willpower. Nunez, alongside National Gatorade Player of the Year Lucas Mendes, bagged a season-high four goals during just 51 minutes of action in Washington-Lee's dominant 6A state semifinal win over Grassfield, then netted two more the next day to lift the Generals to a long-sought state crown.
Chantilly tennis charges to improbable title
Chantilly junior Josh Melynyk approached senior teammate Sean Moran before the season began with a crazy thought. Melynyk believed that the Chargers, who had never been in the state championship, could win the Virginia 6A boys' tennis team title. Moran, familiar with the team's struggles his prior three years, expressed his doubts. But by the time the team was dousing first-year Coach Mike Comini with a celebratory ice bucket shower, the improbable journey was complete – Chantilly, the team that needed to score three upsets just to reach the state tournament, had won its first boys' tennis state title.