As his team carried their newly-acquired WCAC championship to the raucous student section that had gathered at the far end of the Catholic University stands, The Heights coach, Colin Gleason, tried to put what he was feeling into words.
“I’m just so proud of the guys,” he said. “They worked so hard. Twelve seniors out there and they gave unbelievable effort all season long. They stayed humble. They stayed hungry. And all I am is just super happy and proud of them.”
The feeling Gleason describes is what all coaches and players are chasing during the postseason: the comfort and joy that comes with being...a champion.
The Heights experienced it on Sunday afternoon. St. Albans felt it after beating Georgetown Prep in Thursday’s IAC final. Wilson got it from beating Bell to win the DCIAA championship. And a few of the area’s other top teams got one step closer to it in the past week.
Whitman took a big step by taking down Gaithersburg 3-2 in the Maryland 4A West regional final. After shutting out rival Churchill, the Vikings scored two quick goals against the Trojans and held on for a win. They’ll face Broadneck, who held off Arundel in the 4A East finals, in the state semifinals.
On the other side of the Maryland 4A bracket, Bowie fell to Bladensburg 4-3 in the 4A South regional final. The Bulldogs had every reason to approach the match with confidence, sporting an undefeated record that included a 2-1 win over Bladensburg on October 11.
But two goals from midfielder Miguel Contreras Alfaro, including the eventual game-winner, helped lift the Mustangs to a victory.
In the DCSAA bracket, Washington International, St. John’s, Gonzaga and DCIAA champion Wilson make up the semifinals. Gonzaga won last year’s tournament.
1. Whitman (15-1-0) Last ranked: 1
The Vikings will now face Broadneck in the state semifinals.
2. The Heights (16-0-1) LR: 2
The Cavaliers got goals from Gonzalo Percovich and Daniel Diaz-Bonilla in their 3-0 championship win over Paul VI.
3. River Hill (15-0-1) LR: 4
Goals from William Amankwa and Justin Harris lifted the Hawks to a 2-1 win over Southern in the regional finals.
4. Broadneck (15-2-0) LR: NR
After Reilly Joyce’s header gave the Bruins a 1-0 win over Arundel, they will have a tough test against Whitman for a spot in the state championship.
5. Bladensburg (10-4-0) LR: NR
The Mustangs will take on Frederick County squad Urbana for a spot in the state finals.
6. Magruder (14-2-0) LR: NR
The 3A Colonels’ only losses this year came against 4A programs Churchill and Kennedy.
7. Bowie (16-1-0) LR: 3
The Bulldogs were one game away from reaching the state semifinals for the second year in a row.
8 .Washington International (16-1-2) LR: NR
The Red Devils entered the DCSAA tournament with the top seed and have lived up to that so far, beating IAC champ St. Albans in the opening round.
9. Gaithersburg (13-1-1) LR: 9
For the second year in a row, the Trojans saw a successful season end in the regional finals.
10. Wootton (12-1-2) LR: 7
The Patriots' 3-2, season-ending loss to Gaithersburg was their first of the year.