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Churchill boys LAX lose heartbreaker to Severna Park in 4A state championship

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Severna Park High School's Colin Shadowens (14) and Winston Churchill High School's Merrick Willeford (1) battle for the ball after a face off during the Boys Class 4A Lacrosse Final played at Stevenson University in Owings Mill on Wednesday, May 22, 2018. The Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker 8-7 in overtime to Severna Park High School, repeating the outcome of last year's final.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHThe Severna Park Falcons' Colin Shadowens (14) and Churchill Bulldogs' Merrick Willeford (1) battle for the ball during a face-off in the 4A state championship game played Wednesday in Mustang Stadium at Stevenson University. The Bulldogs would lose a heartbreaker to the Falcons 8-7 in overtime, repeating last year's outcome. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHOWINGS MILLS – The rematch. The almost perfect season. Trailing early, leading late. One overtime period, one final Severna Park goal and the heartbreaking sting of defeat. One team with the county’s eyes upon it, still waiting for its first lacrosse state championship.

There wasn’t much else Churchill could have done Wednesday to secure a victory. The Bulldogs strode into Mustang Stadium at Stevenson University as an undefeated team that still had something to prove, even after three finals appearances in four years.

Churchill gave the two-time defending champion Falcons a rough ride, beating Severna Park in face-offs, total shots and groundballs. In the end, with a late goal reminiscent of last year’s walk-off winner, sophomore Michael Harmeyer raised his stick over his head and gave Severna Park its eighth lacrosse championship in school history by a score of 8-7.

A few Bulldogs sat on the field in stunned silence as the Falcons wildly rejoiced, sticks and helmets flying through the air.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

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Undefeated Churchill boys LAX team wallops Howard, heads to states

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Churchill Bulldogs' Reed Moshyedi (3) leaps over an opponent while keeping his focus on the goal in the game against the Howard Lions. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH Churchill Bulldogs' Reed Moshyedi (3) leaps over an opponent while keeping his focus on the goal in the game against the Howard Lions. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH  GAITHERSBURG — “We’ve got one more.”

That was the phrase that was repeated over and over in the Churchill Bulldogs varsity boys lacrosse team’s post-game huddle Saturday after the undefeated Bulldogs walloped the Howard Lions (16-2) at John H. Harvill Stadum at Gaithersburg High School in the 4A state semifinals, 14-4.

“We’ve got one more.”

One more game. One more shot at avenging last year’s loss and beating Severna Park. One more chance to go down in history as the first Montgomery County team to win a lacrosse state championship.

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Lady Wildcats hold off Churchill LAX team for 11th straight win

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Sierra Agarwahl of Walter Johnson fights the Churchill Defenders for position. Agarwahl had four shots on goal and a 2nd half goal in the 10-8 Walter Johnson playoff win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKSierra Agarwahl of Walter Johnson battles Churchill defenders for position. Agarwahl had four shots on goal and a second half goal in the 10-8 Walter Johnson playoff win.                  PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  BETHESDA — Several lacrosse sticks were thrown high up into the air as the buzzer signaled the end of the game. The Walter Johnson Wildcats varsity girls lacrosse team had just held on against a second half Churchill surge to beat the visiting Bulldogs 10-8 Friday in the 4A West Section 1 semifinals.

It was the second time this season that the Wildcats had hosted the Bulldogs, and both times the Wildcats escaped with a narrow victory. This time, however, it was Churchill that came from behind to score four unanswered goals to tie the game.

Churchill junior attacker Elizabeth Hsu earned three of her game-high five goals in the first half. In fact, she was the only Bulldog to score at all in the first period.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats were on a roll as six different players got the ball past Churchill’s goalie to give Walter Johnson a comfortable 7-3 lead going into the half.

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Churchill boys improve to 10-0 after throttling RM in LAX

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Churchill attacker Brady Altobello (27) fires a third period goal between two Richard Montgomery defenders. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKChurchill attacker Brady Altobello (27) fires a third period goal between two Richard Montgomery defenders. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  POTOMAC — The undefeated Churchill Bulldogs boys varsity lacrosse team improved to 10-0 Friday after steamrolling the visiting Richard Montgomery Rockets 18-7 in Shepherd Stadium at Danver Field.

The dominant victory was a fitting end to the Bulldogs’ celebratory evening. In addition to hosting Senior Night and Community Night, Churchill honored head coach Jeff Fritz’s 25 years at the helm of the boys lacrosse program by presenting him with a plaque before the game.

The pregame festivities seemed to energize the Bulldogs, who wasted no time getting on the board in the first quarter and didn’t ease up offensively as the game progressed. Senior attacker and Christopher Newport commit Brady Altobello set the tone for the rest of the night when he slammed in his first of three goals just 16 seconds into the game.

It appeared as though Churchill’s game plan was to score hard and to score often. The Bulldogs registered five goals in as many minutes and six different Churchill players scored in the first quarter as the Rockets reeled.

“I was really happy with the way we came out with a lot of intensity,” said Fritz. “We have a lot of respect for Richard Montgomery and we know they’re good, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t allow them to have any momentum. We wanted to come out early and get things rolling our way.”

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B-CC notches up a thrilling walk-off win over Churchill

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B CC Barons vs. Churchill BulldogsBETHESDA — Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning against the visiting Churchill Bulldogs varsity softball team, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons trailed by eight. Churchill had just come off scoring six runs in the top of the sixth inning. With just six outs to get, it seemed Churchill was in prime position to walk away with a win.

However, the Barons bats caught fire in the bottom of the sixth, and stayed hot in the bottom of the seventh, leading the team to a comeback.

On the heels of nine runs scored in the sixth and seventh innings, B-CC came back, and recorded a thrilling walk off win against Churchill, 17-16.

“We were down by eight runs in the bottom of the sixth, which was almost enough for them to mercy rule us,” B-CC’s Sally Egan said. “But we kept each other excited and once we scored four in the sixth inning, the momentum was all in our favor.”

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Churchill wrestler Connolly gains redemption with dramatic 6-4 overtime state title victory

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Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez had the best of Churchill’s Jack Connolly in this takedown but Connolly went on to win the 138lb match in the Class 4A-3A State Wrestling Championship held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHSherwood’s Chris Sanchez had the best of Churchill’s Jack Connolly in this takedown but Connolly went on to win the 138lb match in the Class 4A-3A State Wrestling Championship held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  UPPER MARLBORO — Churchill’s Jack Connolly believed himself destined to win the Class 4A-3A state championship on Monday, and the 138-pound senior did so in dramatic fashion, avenging a pair of setbacks in his final two of four bouts at the Show Place Arena.

Coming off runner-up and third-place finishes over consecutive weekends at the county and regional tournaments, Connolly won his first-round bout by 11-3 major decision over Perry Hall senior Chase Andrews, scored consecutive quarterfinal and semifinal pins in 4:52 and 57 seconds over seniors Jacob Blyukher of Centennial and Nick Gonzalez (32-5) of Clarksburg, and avenged a pair of one-point losses with his come-from-behind, 6-4 overtime championship victory over previously unbeaten junior Chris Sanchez (24-1) of Sherwood.

Andrews was a Baltimore County runner-up who lost the previous Saturday’s Class 4A-3A North Regional championship bout 9-0 to Sanchez, and Blyukher’s teammate is junior Jason Kraisser (39-0), who won his third straight state title on Monday.

Connolly is 1-1 this year against Gonzalez, having lost his regional semifinal 6-2 after being tied at 2-2 late in the third period, and 1-2 against Sanchez, falling 5-4 in a dual meet on a reversal with six seconds left, and 3-2 on a takedown with seven seconds remaining in their county title match.

“I just grew sick of losing, so I gave it every bit of my effort, and it paid off,” said Connolly, who was second at counties and regions and fourth at states as a sophomore, and first at counties, third at regions and fifth at states last year. “I felt like I was being slightly overlooked this whole season. So, all season long, I wanted to prove people wrong, and I think that after states, I finally did.”

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Churchill grappler Connolly seeks redemption at Class 4A-3A states

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Jack Connolly of Churchill lifts Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez but comes up just short, losing to Sanchez in the 138lb weight class championship on Feb. 17. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKJack Connolly of Churchill lifts Sherwood’s Chris Sanchez but comes up just short, losing to Sanchez in the 138lb weight class championship on Feb. 17. Connolly hopes to redeem himself at the Class 4A-3A State Tournament on Saturday. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  Senior 138-pounder Jack Connolly of Churchill sees a path toward redemption entering this weekend’s Class 4A-3A state tournament at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.

Coming off runner-up and third-place finishes over consecutive weekends at the county and regional tournaments, Connolly (38-6) and his coaches like his chances to win.

“I consider myself a live underdog based on my seeding the last three weeks,” said Connolly, who was second at counties and regions and fourth at states as a sophomore, and first at counties, third at regions and fifth at states last year.

“As seasoned as I am, I haven’t seen a state finals match. That’s exactly what I’m going for. I feel like people are looking past me and the pressure’s off, so I’m taking it one match at a time. I’m ready to go. I’m really excited for a chance to prove everyone wrong.”

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No Gibson, no problem: B-CC boys dominate Churchill in 4A hoops playoffs, 77-61

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B-CC Barons’ Miles English (24) drives to the basket guarded by Churchill Bulldogs’ Martin Geenan (44).  PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTHB-CC Barons’ Miles English (24) drives to the basket guarded by Churchill Bulldogs’ Martin Geenan (44). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  BETHESDA — As starting center and lead scorer for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons varsity boys basketball team, Gordon Gibson had already missed the final two games of the regular season due to a concussion. After the player’s medical appointment just hours before the top-seeded Barons took on the fifth-seeded Churchill Bulldogs, B-CC received heartbreaking news: Gibson would miss the remainder of the season.

However, as a three-pointer from Kevin McAuliffe splashed through the net in the first quarter, B-CC seemed to forget all about their missing star player as their student section erupted in cheers, and the Barons dominated the Bulldogs, winning 77-61.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty because we hadn’t played in 10 days. We just wanted to survive and advance,” B-CC head coach Sean Tracy.

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Region champs Welch, Velikanov among eight Churchill grapplers bound for Class 4A-3A states

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Churchill's Andrew Welch racks up an 11-4 win over Whitman's Yussef Zaki in the 195lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKChurchill's Andrew Welch racks up an 11-4 win over Whitman's Yussef Zaki in the 195lb weight class. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  CLARKSBURG — Senior champion Andrew Welch (195) and junior Alec Velikanov (285) are among eight wrestlers of the Churchill Bulldogs who placed fourth or higher at the Feb. 23 and 24 Class 4A-3A West Regionals at Clarksburg, thereby qualifying for this weekend’s Class 4A-3A state tournament at The Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro.

Finishing third were Churchill seniors Jack Connolly (138), Sean Mahan (145) and Elijah Zack (152), with seniors Chris Ervin (120) and Mac Ballman (170) and junior Carlos Villamar (132) all being fourth.

Winning titles for the Northwest Jaguars were seniors Yonas Harris (106) and Luke Patterson (170), with sophomore Siavash Sarvestani (113) being second, and junior Jack Thomas (195), third.

Clarksburg, Magruder, Quince Orchard and Whitman all placed three wrestlers within the top four, with two each doing so for Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson, and one apiece for Einstein, Gaithersburg and Wootton.

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Churchill boys narrowly upset Einstein in first round of hoops playoffs, 74-73

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20180223 Churchill Einstein BBall 1Churchill's Reed Moshyedi catches fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 points to beat Einstein. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  

KENSINGTON — A long rebound sailed out to the Einstein Titans’ Joey Curtin, with his team trailing by two points Friday night. Curtin put up a three-pointer, and drained it, pumping his fist as the Einstein crowd roared. With 11.8 seconds left, the visiting Churchill Bulldogs put the ball in the hands of its star player, Reed Moshyedi. Moshyedi drove to the baseline, before rising up into the air to fire a shot. With 2.9 seconds to play, the ball splashed through the net.

Moshyedi’s jump shot gave Churchill a one-point lead, and after Einstein missed a deep heave, the clock hit zero with the Bulldogs winning the game, 74-73.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games, and lost a lot of close games late,” Churchill head coach Dave Blumenthal said. “I think tonight is where those experiences of losing close games really helped us be able to withstand a really tough three and be able to come down and make a play and pull it out.”

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