Mar­riotts Ridge wins fifth straight state ti­tle

Mus­tangs’ per­for­mance ties record set by Churchill

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Brent Kennedy

Mar­riotts Ridge se­nior Jack­son Court­ney stood in the shadow of the Univer­sity of Mary­land golf course club­house. He basked in the glow of the pro­gram’s fifth straight state cham­pi­onship, and took a mo­ment to re­flect on the past four years.

“Hon­estly, I wouldn’t change a sin­gle thing,” he said with a wide smile.

The Mus­tangs came out Wed­nes­day and broke open a Class 2A-1A team race that had been tight af­ter the open­ing round by fir­ing a sec­ond-day team to­tal of 309 — the low­est of any team in any clas­si­fi­ca­tion on Day 2 — to post a com­bined score of 633 and win by 34 shots over sec­ond-place Mid­dle­town.

The five straight team titles ties a state record set by Churchill from 2002 through 2006.

Court­ney, who shot a tour­na­ment-best round of even par on the fi­nal day, led the charge to the cham­pi­onship by fin­ish­ing in sec­ond place over­all with a two-day to­tal of 148 — four shots back of boys in­di­vid­ual cham­pion Nick Rober­son of Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

“You know we put our hard work into it and we re­ally got out of it what we wanted to,” Court­ney said. “To be stand­ing here to­day say­ing that we haven’t lost as a team in my four years that we’ve been here and to have five state cham­pi­onships in a row, I wouldn’t have done it any dif­fer­ently. I’m su­per proud of that, and it’s some­thing that I’ll be able to cher­ish for the rest of my life.”

Mar­riotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs said this ti­tle holds spe­cial mean­ing be­cause for this group of se­niors — Court­ney, Nick Me­jia (tied for 13th, 155) and John Szy­man­ski (tied for 22nd, 160) — it put the fin­ish­ing touches on an un­de­feated four years.

“The first state ti­tle we won [in 2012] will al­ways hold a spe­cial place, but this one is a close sec­ond be­cause of what they’ve done over th­ese last four years and how this whole group has stayed to­gether the whole time,” Dubbs said. “No­body knows just how much pres­sure they put on them­selves be­cause none of them wanted to drop the ball. They came into this year with a lot to live up to. But, man, they have an­swered ev­ery chal­lenge, and th­ese last two days were no dif­fer­ent.”

While Mar­riotts Ridge walked away cel­e­brat­ing a team ti­tle, Howard ju­nior Jac­que­line Cherry saw a po­ten­tial girls in­di­vid­ual cham­pi­onship slip out of her grasp on the third hole of a play­off against Churchill’s Lena Capoc­cia.

The two tied through 36 holes with to­tals of 151 and matched pars on the first two sud­den-death play­off holes. But on the third ex­tra hole, the par-3 No. 11, Capoc­cia came through with the shot of the tour­na­ment.

She nearly holed her sec­ond shot from the green­side bunker to set up an­other par that ul­ti­mately clinched the vic­tory.

Cherry, who had hit the green with her tee shot, three-putted for a bo­gey and fin­ished in sec­ond place. Although dis­ap­pointed, she man­aged to keep things in per­spec­tive.

“Well, I’m re­ally happy be­cause my first year at states as a fresh­man I didn’t make it to the sec­ond day and then last year I got fifth. And so this year it’s crazy that I was in con­tention for first place and I never imag­ined that could hap­pen,” she said. “It was my first time play­ing in a play­off and I was re­ally ner­vous.”

For Capoc­cia it was a break­through week of her own, as she had fin­ished run­ner-up last sea­son to De­laney Shah of Woot­ton.

Cen­ten­nial’s Is­abel Tro­jillo, the only other girl from Howard County to make the fi­nal round, fin­ished 12th with a to­tal of 173.

For the boys, Mar­riotts Ridge stole the lo­cal head­lines.

Court­ney fell a few shots short of his ul­ti­mate goal of win­ning a state cham­pi­onship, but he did re­bound from an open­ing-round 77 (6 over par) to shoot the low­est round in the field on Day 2. He had 14 pars, two bo­geys and two birdies for a 71.

It was the fi­nal birdie, though, on his fi­nal hole, that was par­tic­u­larly mean­ing­ful.

“It was re­ally nice to close out on a good note, es­pe­cially [birdieing] my last hole. I can say my last hole of my se­nior year and last hole of my high school ca­reer, I made birdie on it,” Court­ney said. “It feels awe­some to play well and to place well and I’m sure I’ll be able to look back on it and be proud of it.”

River Hill’s Derek Gold was the county’s only boy not from Mar­riotts Ridge to fin­ish in the top 20.

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