Woodlawn's runner-up finish to Carroll County power North Carroll in last weekend's Class 4A-3A North regional wrestling tournament is part of what has been an outstanding winter at the Baltimore County school.
Seniors Charles West (152 pounds) and Jariel Waters (160) and juniors Justin Wildy (130) and Alex Harper (275) all won regional titles to pace the Warriors, whose effort came on the heels of a fourth-place finish at the Baltimore County tournament.
At counties, West (29-3) won a title, and Wildy (21-7), Waters (23-3) and Tyler Kendall (171) were second. Harper (11-1) was third.
En route to the boys basketball county title, Woodlawn was led by seniors Mike Dixon (18 points), Lewis Lambert (12) and Daniel Smith (11). Their efforts in a 77-68 victory dethroned rival Randallstown, ending a 21-game winning streak by the defending Class 2A state champion Rams.
In indoor boys track, junior Dwight Parker led the Warriors to county and regional titles. Parker captured individual honors in the 800 meters, the mile and the two-mile, and senior Damien Montgomery did the same in the 500 meters.
The Warriors were also county champions in bowling, led by Marvin Moore (201 average), Donte Page (187) and Ayanna Jelani (185).
Turning it around
When Mount Carmel's girls basketball team polished off a 22-6 season with the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference championship, the Cougars completed a remarkable turnaround.
A year ago, the Cougars finished 4-14.
Coach Mike Naunton said two things fueled the championship season - maturing local talent and a couple of Lithuanian exchange students, 6-foot-2 Ernesta Griciunaite and 6-1 Sandra Liegute.
Griciunaite and Liegute drew a lot of attention for their dominating presence in the paint. Griciunaite averaged 19.5 points, 15.2 rebounds and 3.5 blocks, while Liegute contributed 9.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
The Cougars have had a couple of Lithuanians on their boys team and the girls followed them here, where they will stay through the next school year. Both live with families in the Essex parish. Griciunaite is staying with Cougars point guard Briana Grap and her family.
Grap finished just behind Griciunaite in scoring, averaging 13 points and four assists. She also had a flair for hitting long shots at the buzzer, including a running 25-footer just before the half of the Cougars' 36-35 title victory over defending C Conference champion St. Timothy's.
In addition to Grap's emergence, the Cougars also have relied on freshman Jonese Washington for terrific defense against the opposition's top player. Naunton calls senior captain Stephanie Shindledecker "the heart of the team," for holding it together with her leadership and her willingness to do all the little things that don't garner attention.
Naunton said Griciunaite and Liegute blended well into the team chemistry and there was not one moment of dissension.
"Not only did they produce their statistics, but they allowed other people to play roles more suited to their abilities," said Naunton, in his third year as head coach. "They made everybody better ... and the girls who suffered through that 4-14 season were all a year older and had that year of experience playing at the varsity level."
In winning the Class 2A-1A North regional title bout over Owings Mills' Cody Rosen-Stone Saturday at Poly, 112-pound sophomore Jeremy Keil represented his entire Hereford team in microcosm.
Keil pinned Rosen-Stone in their fourth meeting, evening their series at 2-2 in a rematch of last weekend's Baltimore County title bout won by Rosen-Stone.
Keil was among 11 wrestlers who qualified for next weekend's 2A-1A tournament for the fifth-ranked Bulls (17-1), who got off to a slow start this season only to gain steam.
The Bulls were runners-up to repeat champion Hammond in the Feb. 14 state dual finals, but rebounded to dethone rival Owings Mills in the county tournament a week before last Saturday's regionals.
"We really work well together as a team," said Keil, whose program is having its best season since winning the state tournament in 1970. "We're coming on lately, maybe peaking at the right time."