It isn't often a boys soccer team looks forward to visiting Archbishop Curley. But last week, Calvert Hall welcomed the challenge. The No. 7 Cardinals, who failed to reach the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs and finished with a 6-8-3 record last year, needed it.
After getting a late first-half goal from senior midfielder Elliott Crompton to take the lead, the Cardinals continued to press forward in the second to earn an eye-opening 3-0 win over the No. 4 Friars last Wednesday.
"It was a big day for the kids. You don't go over to Curley and play like that very often," Calvert Hall coach Andy Moore said. "The offseason was very hard for them, and they were very eager to get off to a good start. They were excited at the opportunity, and we got the goal in the first half and then didn't let up."
When Moore collected uniforms after last season, he told his players to shake off last year and come back ready to make amends. He also said no player had a guaranteed roster spot on the 2009 team; it would have to be earned.
"I told them last year was just a blip and not a trend at Calvert Hall," Moore said. "The players took that to heart, challenged themselves, and the 15 seniors looked to change things right now."
The Cardinals are strong up the middle with junior sweeper Zach Wenger anchoring the defense in his third year starting on varsity; senior Alex Bullington the glue at central midfield; and senior forward Pete Caringi Jr. the big threat on offense. Crompton, who was sidelined all last season with a knee injury, has stepped up in big situations. After scoring the first goal against Curley, he scored the game's only goal in a win over Archbishop Spalding on Friday.
Things won't get any easier for the Cardinals this week. Today, they travel to No. 10 Loyola before visiting No. 1 and defending MIAA champ McDonogh on Friday.
Perry Hall to dedicate track
At halftime of tomorrow night's football game, Perry Hall will dedicate its track to Jerry Martin, one of Baltimore County's most successful coaches, who died in June at 66.
Martin guided the Gators to 38 county championships in 31 years of coaching indoor and outdoor track. His cross country teams won 12 straight county titles from 1986 to 1997. He began coaching at Dundalk in 1968 and moved to Perry Hall in 1974, staying until his retirement in 1999.
David Marks, one of Martin's former cross country runners and now the president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, remembered Martin as a tough, dedicated coach who cared about his athletes.
"He was a very tough coach. He was very strict, pushed his team to the limits but on a personal level one of the fairest people I've ever met," Marks said. "He was a very demanding coach, but I think he gave all of us a sense of discipline that was really needed at that point in our lives."
- Katherine Dunn
Upsets do happen
Just when it seems expectations are about to mesh with reality, along comes an upset or two to keep everyone guessing.
No. 2 Severna Park, now 2-1, seemed about to roll into tonight's field hockey game with No. 6 South River, 3-0, and go after coach Lil Shelton's 500th career coaching victory. But along came down-the-street rival Severn, which hadn't beaten the Falcons in six years, to mess up the plans with a 1-0 victory Monday. Severn's Chellie Schou scored the game-winner with an assist from Avery Burns, and a real big performance from goalie Catie Kinlein (16 saves).
And at Hereford, the No. 4 Bulls were getting a taste of a new reality, as previously winless Fallston (0-3) finally found the goal for a 4-3 overtime victory. Christina Conrad and Jenn Ward each had two goals and Caitlin Dempsey two assists.
- Sandra McKee
Eagles swimmers 5th in U.S.
McDonogh's boys swim team was ranked fifth among independent schools in Swimming World magazine's national high school championships - a ranking based on the best times for each team's athletes last winter as if they had been posted in a true national title meet. This is the third national ranking for one of coach Scott Ward's teams.
Giles Smith, now a freshman at Tennessee, finished first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.74 seconds, a national independent schools record. Smith also ranked in the Top 10 in the 100 freestyle.
Two Eagles relays also made it into the Top 10: the 200 freestyle with Smith, Brian Sweeney, Jess Stephens and Drew Kosgarea and the 400 freestyle with Smith, Ian Slater, Kosgarea and Stephens.
- Katherine Dunn
Hitting the road
If you want to catch any of the MIAA A Conference football teams in action this week, you will need a full tank of gas.
All five local teams in the conference are hitting the road on the last week before conference competition begins.
First, No. 2 Gilman heads to Good Counsel for a 7 p.m. game Thursday in a clash of state Top 5 teams. Gilman is ranked No. 5 in the MdVarsity State Media Poll while Good Counsel is third.
Friday, No. 8 McDonogh will be at Penn Charter, Pa., for a 2 p.m. game. Ninth-ranked Mount St. Joseph goes to Fort Hill, and Calvert Hall heads to Havre de Grace for 7 p.m. contests. Saturday, No. 1 Loyola plays at Valley Forge, Pa., at 1 p.m.
- Katherine Dunn