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Northwest wins big in state track meet

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HYATTSVILLE — Montgomery County schools faced hurdles – pun intended – and some of the state’s finest track athletes on Tuesday night, and while many county schools won, the Northwest Jaguars returned home as boys track and field state champion for the fifth straight year.

The Jaguars were a common sight in the top three of many events on Tuesday night, and placed first in five events.

Seniors Khaloni Mganga ran the 55-meter dash in 6.44 seconds, Chase Osborne completed the 800m in 1:58.01 and Editta Pessima joined them in first place with a 8.09 second 55m hurdle. Junior Taylor Wright doubled down on the victories and placed first in the high jump by reaching the 5-06 mark and running a 40.96 second 300m dash, contributing to Northwest’s haul.

“We got people that are determined to make this a program, it’s not a team. That’s why, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, never happened,” said Northwest head coach Robert Youngblood about his track athletes’ performance.

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Sherwood softball team gets payback, defeats Northwest 5-3

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Sherwood's Ally Bloom (9) steals third base under the tag of Northwest's Karlie Stanford (4). Sherwood remains undefeated with a 5-3 win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKSherwood's Maddie Wessling (9) steals third base under the tag of Northwest's Karlie Stanford (4). Sherwood remains undefeated with a 5-3 win. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  

GERMANTOWN — The last six Maryland 4A softball state championships have gone to either the Northwest Jaguars or Sherwood Warriors. Sherwood brought a streak of five straight state titles into last year’s state championship game, but ultimately fell to Northwest.

In the final game of the regular season, the two 2017 state finalists met for the first time since the state championship game, but this time it was the Warriors that came out on top.

Behind strong pitching and early offense, Sherwood clinched an undefeated regular season as they held on to get payback over Northwest, winning 5-3.

“Obviously this was a big game,” Sherwood head coach Ashley Barber-Strunk said. “But we tried to focus as if it was just another game.”

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Northwest baseball team defeats rival Seneca Valley, 9-6

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SV Screamin Eagles vs. NW JaguarsGERMANTOWN — The storied rivalry between the Northwest Jaguars and the Seneca Valley Screamin’ Eagles varsity teams resumed on the baseball diamond Thursday at Northwest High School.

The “Battle of Germantown” is one of the top rivalries in Montgomery County and has featured some of the finest talent in the area over the years.

Behind the pitching of Bradley Kahalas, the Jaguars defeated the visiting Screamin’ Eagles, 9-6.

“He’s a tenth grader,” said Northwest head coach Todd Varesco, who seeks to capture the program’s third state championship in school history. “He pitched one hell of a game for us. We came out of the box not throwing many strikes at the beginning of the game but I’ll tell you Bradley stepped in and threw 72 pitches over five innings and that’s all we ask of these guys – ‘just throw strikes man’ – he did a great job.”

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Gburg Trojans dominate NW Jags in girls lacrosse, 12-8

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Gaithersburg Trojans’ Maisie Scott (23) brings the ball down the field under the watchful eye of Northwest Jaguars’ Jenny Lee (19). Scott scored five goals in the Trojans’ 12-8 win against the Jaguars. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHGaithersburg Trojans’ Maisie Scott (23) brings the ball down the field under the watchful eye of Northwest Jaguars’ Jenny Lee (19). Scott scored five goals in the Trojans’ 12-8 win against the Jaguars. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  GAITHERSBURG — From a close first half to a blowout second, the 12-8 win by the Gaithersburg Trojans varsity girls lacrosse team over the visiting Northwest Jaguars got them out of their rut and kept the Jaguars flustered.

A painful season-opener blowout at home, followed by two straight wins and then two straight losses (including a 11-3 annihilation by Richard Montgomery and a nail-biting 9-8 loss to Quince Orchard) had the Trojans seeking a morale booster in the game against the Jaguars.

The Northwest Jaguars still have only one win to their name, a 12-5 walloping of the Clarksburg Coyotes, and came into the game with three starting players hurt.

“We’ve got three starters out. One of them was in the first half and couldn’t make it through the second half, so I think that had a little bit to do with it,” said Northwest head coach Tara Nicholas.

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Wootton Patriots win a close one over Northwest in girls lacrosse

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A shot attempt from Wootton midfielder Raeann Carpenter is blocked by Northwest goalie Katherine Jones. The Wootton Patriots held on to win 8-7 against the Northwest Jaguars. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK A shot attempt from Wootton midfielder Raeann Carpenter is blocked by Northwest goalie Katherine Jones. The Wootton Patriots held on to win 8-7 against the Northwest Jaguars. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  ROCKVILLE — The Wootton Patriots varsity girls lacrosse team overcame a slow second half start at home Friday and rallied behind midfielder Raeann Carpenter to defeat the visiting Northwest Jaguars, 8-7. With just three minutes left in the game, Carpenter’s tie-breaking goal ended up being the game-winner and her third score of the evening.

The Patriots (2-3) scored first and led most of the game, bolstered by senior goalie Andie Stave. The University of Colorado commit finished the bout with 14 saves, 10 of them in the first half.

Northwest senior midfielder Julia Brock was instrumental in her team’s comeback. Brock’s first-half hat trick robbed Wootton of its comfortable lead and knotted the score at 6-6 heading into the half.

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Harris completes long journey from Ethiopia to become Jaguars’ third state champion,

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Northwest’s Yonas Harris defeats Jagger Clapsadle of Stephen Decatur in the 106lb match of the Class 4A/3A State Wrestling Championships. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH Northwest’s Yonas Harris defeats Jagger Clapsadle of Stephen Decatur in the 106lb match of the Class 4A/3A State Wrestling Championships. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  UPPER MARLBORO — When Yonas Harris smiles, as the Northwest senior did following Monday’s dramatic come-from-behind, 7-5 overtime victory that secured his 106-pound Class 4A-3A state championship over Stephen Decatur sophomore Jagger Clapsadle, there is a bright glow complimenting his bleached-blond hair, lighting up the gym at Show Place Arena.

But Harris’ joy in the aftermath of a definitive accomplishment, culminating just four years of exposure to wresting, belies the journey he has endured from an impoverished section of his native Kombolcha, Ethiopia.

It is a pilgrimage best described in the perfect diction of words from the young man who experienced it.

“I was adopted from Ethiopia at the age of nine. I came to America because both of my parents had passed away, and it was a very impoverished area. Once I got here, I was adopted by Lisa Harris, a loving, single mother who took really good care of me,” said Harris, who has a B-average and a record of 46-1.

“After two years of speaking English, I was already taking AP classes and was able to get my grades up. The entire process was a difficult transition due to some of the trauma from my past, but I don’t feel sorry for myself, and I don’t want anyone else to feel sorry for me.”

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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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Sherwood boys defeat Northwest to claim ice hockey championship

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Sherwood’s Joey Doris cuts hard behind the net to regain control of the puck. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFESherwood’s Joey Doris cuts hard behind the net to regain control of the puck.                 PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  ROCKVILLE — This is not the underdog ice hockey story you are looking for.

The Sherwood Warriors, who were at the top of the leaderboards with a 14-1-1 record, defeated the Northwest Jaguars 5-1 in the Maryland Student Hockey League championships.

The Jaguars were textbook underdogs. This season was the first season for their ice hockey team and they had a 4-9-1 record, good enough to land them second-from-last in the regular season table.

“Scoreboard doesn’t reflect it but they were in it until the very end,” said Jaguars head coach Ed Hughes on his team’s loss.

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Lady Trojans beat Northwest in first round of hoops playoffs, 63-47

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NW Jaguars vs. Gburg TrojansGAITHERSBURG – “It’s playoff time!” shouted Gaithersburg head coach Adrian McDaniel as his team took the court on Friday.

The postseason has indeed descended on high school varsity basketball and the Lady Trojans kicked off the first round when they hosted and defeated the Northwest Jaguars, 63-47 in a 4A West matchup.

The Trojans entered the game as the third seed and Northwest was the sixth seed. However, the Jaguars kept the game close in the first half until Gaithersburg tightened up its defense in the second half to kick Northwest out of the postseason.

At first, the Trojans appeared to have difficulty containing Northwest senior guard Khienya Benjamin, who drove through the lane repeatedly en route to 16 points. Gaithersburg managed to neutralize Benjamin in the second half and the Trojans dug a hole too large for the Jaguars to climb out of.

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Damascus crowns seven champions, dominates for 16th county grappling title

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Undefeated Ryan Lawrence of Damascus earns the 8-6 win in the 145lb championship over Ryan Holland of Blair. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKUndefeated Ryan Lawrence of Damascus earns the 8-6 win in the 145lb championship over Ryan Holland of Blair. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  State champion Ryan Lawrence pinned twice in the first period to reach last Saturday’s 145-pound county title bout, where the Damascus senior overcame Blair’s all-time winning wrestler Ryan Holland, 8-6, for his third straight crown to lead the Swarmin’ Hornets to their seventh consecutive and 16th overall Montgomery County tournament championship at Gaithersburg.

A two-time county and regional champion who was third at states as a sophomore, Lawrence (41-0) was among seven titlists, nine wrestlers who finished within the top three of their weight classes and 10 who were within the top six for the Swarmin’ Hornets (238.5 points), who overwhelmed runner-up Churchill (148.5 points) and the rest of the 25-team field.

Winning counties for the second time were Swarmin’ Hornets’ seniors John Allan Furgeson (152), Ben Lokos (170) and state champion Paul Purkey (195), junior Johnny McLaughlin (126), and sophomore Timothy Furgeson (160), with junior Elijah Baisden (285) capturing his first.

Senior Dyllan Ramirez (132) and sophomore Aiden Beall (220) placed third, and senior Josh Creegan (138), sixth, the latter in the event’s most difficult weight class after having finished third at counties, fourth at regions and sixth at states as a junior.

Other repeat champions were seniors Yonas Harris (106) of Northwest, C.J. Cramma (120) of Magruder, Gabe McAndrew (182) of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and John-Luke Iglesias (220) of Whitman, with junior Alex Carbonell (113) of Poolesville, senior Bryan Huynh (132) of Blair, and junior Chris Sanchez (138) earning their first crowns.

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