Three Carroll teams won state tournaments in 1990 -- certainly not the best year in county history -- but it was banner year for the county in terms of regional titles.
Fourteen county teams earned region titles -- four in track, three each in cross country and field hockey, two in volleyball and one each in softball and wrestling.
Francis Scott Key won the first state title of the calendar year, winning its third state Class 1A boys track title at Western Maryland College. The Eagles' girls team placed second in the state meet, and both Key teams won regional tournaments, as did Westminster's boys and girls teams.
Athletes from the county also had 11 first-place finishes in the state meets, tying the 22-school Baltimore County system for second in that category. Only the 20-school Prince George's contingent did better (42 champions), and Carroll's showing surpassed that of several larger school systems.
It helped, no doubt, that the runners were competing in their own back yard. The meet had been moved to Western Maryland after a hefty rent increase at Towson State, site of the 1989 competition. Western Maryland, which also is host to the two-day state wrestling meet each winter, was selected for the track meet, even though its facility all but precluded collecting admission fees.
Four days later, the North Carroll girls softball team collected the county's second state crown, defeating Elkton of Cecil County, 6-1, in a rain-delayed Class 3A state title game at Upton Park in Anne Arundel County. It was the Panthers fifth state softball crown.
The game had started May 25, but was postponed by rain in the second inning with Elkton's Tara Luckanish at bat with a three-ball, no-strike count, one out and a runner on third. Play was scheduled to resume May 29, but still more rain postponed the restart until May 30. North Carroll pitcher Michelle Ament got out of that second inning without allowing a run.
Key won the third state title of the year, capturing the Class 1A state cross country crown in November, just four years after the once-dormant program was revived. It was the school's first cross country title.
Liberty's girls finished second in the state Class 3A meet to Centennial, the same team that finished ahead of the Lions in the region meet. Westminster girls and boys teams joined Key's boys as region winners.
And cross country was just part of a banner fall that saw county squads win eight region titles, although just one state crown. Three field hockey teams (Key, Liberty and Westminster) won region titles, as did two volleyball teams (Key and North Carroll).
The year's other region winner was the North Carroll wrestling team. Carroll sent its largest contingent ever to the state meet, with 26 grapplers qualifying, including eight from North Carroll, which finished third in the state Class 4A/3A meet.