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Town rallies behind victorious Falcons

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Poolesville girls have perfect season, and win first state title ever

Erin Green of Poolesville concentrates on a shot in the paint while avoiding an injured Alli Haddaway. Green finished with 25 points on the day. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKErin Green of Poolesville concentrates on a shot in the paint while avoiding injured Alli Haddaway. Green finished with 25 points for the day. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  TOWSON — “I had someone email me last week after we won the region” Poolesville head coach Fred Swick said. “They said, ‘Congratulations, coach, your team just woke up the town.”

With a 63-23 victory over the Queen Anne’s Lions, the Poolesville Falcons completed an undefeated 2017-18 season, winning the Maryland Class 2A state championship.

Before this season, the Poolesville girls basketball team had never won a state championship in program history, let alone a regional title.

A final record of 27-0 this season changed that, and the Falcons will be placing a banner commemorating their undefeated season in their gym.

“It was a storybook finish to a storybook season,” Swick said.

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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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Local cross country athletes qualify for state championship at regional meet

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GAITHERSBURG –Local teams and individual runners qualified for the high school cross country state championship at the regional championship for 3A West and for 4A West at Watkins Mill High School Thursday.

Boys 4A West

Perhaps the most competitive race of the afternoon was won by Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School senior Adam Nakasaka – the 2016 state runner-up – with a time of 16 minutes and 26 seconds. Nakasaka was followed by Richard Montgomery sophomore Garrett Suhr, who came in second 14 seconds later. Nakasaka’s individual victory allowed B-CC’s team to win the meet with 88 points,  a one-point advantage over their crosstown rivals at Walt Whitman High School, who scored 89.

“Overall the race felt pretty slow,” Nakasaka said. “I know the course is difficult, but just in terms of how I felt, like I felt completely fine throughout the entire race. It didn’t feel particularly fast, and that’s pretty much what it was.”

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Churchill narrowly loses LAX championship game to Severna Park

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xChurchill vs. Severna Park LAX FINAL 1While Churchill’s Merrick Willeford (right) won most of his faceoffs, it was not enough to prevent a narrow defeat by Severna Park for the 4A state championship. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER OWINGS MILLS — Despite the best efforts of the Churchill Bulldogs (19-2) in a tight, back-and-forth game, it was not enough to stand in the way of a stunning comeback by the Severna Park Falcons (21-0) in the game’s final moments at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium on May 25. Instead, the Falcons earned a second straight 4A boys lacrosse state title, with the final score 7-6.

“Fantastic game,” said Bulldogs head coach Jeff Fritz. “Couldn’t ask anything more from a state championship. The game went back and forth but unfortunately we couldn’t make enough plays to come out on the victor’s side. But I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished this year and everything our men have done for us. So, we’re very proud.”

Falcons head coach Dave Earl said, “…hats off to Churchill. What a really good team. Extremely well coached. Great game plan against us…really took advantage of their opportunities. Their game plan — to slow it down — really took us out of our run-and-gun style. I thought Jeff, their team, did a great job.”

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Northwest softball defeats Sherwood once more to win first state title

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JGS 9066The Northwest softball team wins their first state championship.   PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH COLLEGE PARK – For the first time in six years, the Sherwood varsity softball team didn’t end the season by hoisting the 4A state championship trophy.

It appeared as though the Warriors had found their kryptonite, the same kryptonite in the black-and-white uniforms that snapped Sherwood’s infamous winning streak back in March.

When Northwest won in the semifinals, Jaguars head coach Mike Horton mentioned that if his team continued to play “Northwest softball,” they’d be able to take Sherwood down again.

Northwest doubled up the Warriors by a score of 8-4 Saturday at the University of Maryland Softball Stadium to go down in history as the first Jaguars team to win a softball state championship.

“When you hit the ball hard, it tends to throw teams off their game. We came out and we went after it, and that’s a big thing with teams like that,” he said. “I geared these girls to play Sherwood early in the season. Obviously you want to beat every team, but Sherwood was the pinnacle.”

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MoCo athletes win state titles in track and field at championship meets

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BALTIMORE – Montgomery County Public Schools athletes earned multiple titles in track and field at the State Championship Meets at Morgan State University Friday.

Walter Johnson junior Abbey Green (10:46 minutes) beat her long-time distance rival Annapolis High School senior Maria Coffin (10:56 minutes) to become state champion.

It was her second track and field state title, her first for the outdoor season. Green said she and Coffin became friends during the last few years as they competed in track and field and in cross country.
Poolesville sophomore Nandini Satsangi came in first place in the 3A 3200m race (11:07). Satsangi held the second-place spot for most of the race, and then she led the final two laps. Her legs suddenly gave out a couple of feet from the finish line and she fell, but she won the race by finishing a few seconds ahead of Northern-Calvert junior Abby Sweeney (11:12).

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Damascus girls fall to Howard in state volleyball finals, 3-1

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DSC 1443 Kaylen Bernota (5) and Sarah Noland (3) get set as teammate Sara Gruber spikes the ball in the 3A Championship  game vs. Atholton. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  

COLLEGE PARK – The Damascus (16-3) varsity volleyball team returned to the 3A state championship game Saturday for the second straight year and, for the second year in a row, the Swarmin’ Hornets hit a wall.

Damascus fans came out in droves to the Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland to cheer on a team that had lost only two games all season.

Yet, the Hornets fell to Howard County’s Atholton (20-5) after winning the first set and then dropping three straight: 25-17, 21-25, 18-25, 22-25.

With the win, the Raiders earn Howard County’s first state title in any sport in eight years. Before Saturday, Atholton hadn’t won a volleyball championship since 1989.

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County fares well in state tennis tournament

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DSC 8248Girls doubles champions Carina Greenberg and Sarina Wahl of Whitman High School. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH

OLNEY – Students from Montgomery County came away with multiple state champion medals in both singles and doubles play during the high school state championship held at Olney Manor Park Friday and Saturday.

Wootton junior Miranda Deng won her third straight state title Saturday (6-0, 6-3) when she went head-to-head with Sherwood senior and University of Richmond commit Lea Owens. Owens and Deng also play together as doubles partners.

Owens’ matchup against Deng marked her first appearance in the state finals.

“It felt good to get this far,” said Owens. “This tournament was just so tiring because of the heat.”

“I thought it was tougher than last year,” said Deng of her road to the finals. “I thought the competition has gotten harder and there were a lot of good matchups along the way.”

Wootton also took home the boys singles title as top-seeded sophomore Joseph Brailovsky earned a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 victory against third seed Austin Yannone from Severna Park.

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