Centennial's sports teams are having a strong spring, winning county titles in boys lacrosse, softball and boys tennis, and fielding strong teams in girls lacrosse, baseball and boys track and field.
Entering this week, the softball team was 18-0 and the boys lacrosse team was 13-1.
Centennial athletic director Jean Vanderpool attributes the school's success to a combination of factors, including a stable coaching staff and strong freshman and sophomore classes.
"Most of our coaches teach at Centennial and have been here a long time," she said. "We're also getting many younger athletes who come to us having played on highly competitive travel teams with their skills very honed and already accustomed to tournament play. Freshmen are playing a big part in our programs this year."
Two freshmen start in softball and three in girls lacrosse.
"We also have a very high overall rate of participation in sports among our students. A lot of students play two or three sports," she said.
L. Reach looks for more
The Class 3A East region championship in track and field has belonged to the Long Reach girls track and field program for six consecutive years, and the No. 4 Lightning is poised to add a seventh crown Saturday at Reservoir High in Fulton.
Long Reach, which has captured eight straight Howard County titles, will likely be challenged by neighboring Mount Hebron and Douglass of Prince George's County, which trailed the Lightning by 10 points at last year's region meet.
The No. 9 Long Reach boys team has similar designs on a region crown, which is also coveted by Centennial. The two squads were separated by three points at the Howard County championships with the Lightning prevailing, 95-92.
In the Class 2A South region also at Reservoir, the No. 9 Atholton girls team will take aim at the title. The Raiders should keep an eye on Glenelg, which has claimed two of the past three region crowns.
The boys crown could go to either Howard or Glenelg.
A long delay in Saturday's Centennial-Mount Hebron regional quarterfinal boys lacrosse game at Centennial showed that former coordinator of athletics Don Disney's threat last spring to fire coaches who didn't remove their teams from the field at the first sight of lightning or sound of thunder must have worked.
Disney made the threat after a four-overtime Mount Hebron-Centennial boys lacrosse game and a Mount Hebron-Wilde Lake baseball game were not stopped last year despite continual thunder.
New coordinator Mike Williams was at Saturday's game.
"The boys game was stopped with six minutes left and everyone followed county policy to the letter as far as I could see," Williams said.
A 30-minute delay must follow each stoppage or each new burst of thunder or lightning.
"The principal even got on the public address system and warned stragglers," Williams said.
The Centennial boys lacrosse team chooses a team motto every year, and this season the motto is "Jump On It," from a popular song and video.
The team does a celebration dance on the field after home victories, imitating the video as a bonding thing, and that dance is not appreciated by some of the team's opponents.
The Eagles defeated Mount Hebron, 14-9, in the regional quarterfinals Saturday, and Vikings coach Tom Minard and his players were unhappy with the dance.
"It was the most unsportsmanlike thing I've seen," Minard said. "Even some of the Centennial parents who stopped me after the game think it is classless."
Eagles coach Mike Siegert said he has always emphasized sportsmanship during his coaching career. "It is certainly different," he said. "But it's not meant to demean the other team. I'd never try to embarrass anyone, and I'm sorry if we offended them. But this is a unique group of kids that sings and dances in the hallways and on the bus on the way to games."