Thomas Stone hires two new coaches

Cougars fill three spots with tan­dem

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­

Thomas Stone High School ath­letic direc­tor Brad Criss hired two new coaches ear­lier this month to fill a trio of va­can­cies that cover the fall, win­ter and spring sports sea­sons.

Robby Zayas, a McDonough High School grad­u­ate who spent the 2017 season as the head base­ball coach at St. Charles High School where he guided the Spar­tans to a 5-13 mark (a fourth-place 4-6 in the South­ern Maryland Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Potomac Di­vi­sion) in his first year at the helm, will now take over as the base­ball

coach at Thomas Stone fol­low­ing a year in which the Cougars did not field a var­sity team. Co­in­ci­den­tally, St. Charles played its first two home games at Stone be­fore even­tu­ally re­lo­cat­ing to Lau­rel Springs Re­gional Park in La Plata.

Zayas takes over a Cougars pro­gram that is among the most sto­ried in Maryland his­tory with three state cham­pi­onships, three state run­ner-up fin­ishes, six ap­pear­ances in the state semi­fi­nals and 15 SMAC cham­pi­onships to its credit. This spring, Stone did not field a team due to low num­bers.

“I am su­per ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to coach at Thomas Stone next spring,” Zayas said. “I know we’re go­ing into the season fol­low­ing a year off, but Mr. Criss has al­ready told me that the school and the alumni are re­ally sup­port­ive and ea­ger to see a team back on the field next spring. I would like to see Thomas Stone re­turn to one of the best base­ball pro­grams in the area.”

Zayas also noted that he was very grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to coach the St. Charles base­ball team this spring. The Spar­tans were elim­i­nated in the Class 3A South Re­gion Sec­tion II quar­ter­fi­nals, fall­ing to even­tual re­gion cham­pion Hunt­ing­town in eight in­nings, 6-5.

“I can’t say enough about the sup­port that [ath­letic direc­tor] Miss [Jen] Smith gave me through­out the season,” Zayas said. “It was a very valu­able learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me to fi­nally be able to be a head base­ball coach at the var­sity level. I en­joyed be­ing part of the pro­gram at St. Charles and I was very grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity Miss Smith gave me last season.”

Tynisha Pay­ton, whose pre­vi­ous var­sity coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence had come at DuVal High School and Sur­rattsville High School in Prince Ge­orge’s County, has been named as the Stone’s head vol­ley­ball and girls bas­ket­ball coach for the up­com­ing school year. Pay­ton, who will also teach phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion at the school, was pleased to get tabbed for both po­si­tions.

“I took a lit­tle bit of time off from coach­ing to spend more time with my kids, but last year I got back into it as an as­sis­tant coach at Lackey,” Pay­ton said. “Now, I’m re­ally ea­ger to get back into coach­ing vol­ley­ball and girls bas­ket­ball at Thomas Stone. I’m re­ally grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity. I’ve al­ready met with the prospec­tive play­ers from both teams and I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to coach­ing all of those young ladies.” Pay­ton en­joyed tremen­dous suc­cess as the Sur­rattsville vol­ley­ball coach dur­ing her brief stay with the squad, guid­ing to the Hor­nets to con­sec­u­tive Class 1A South Re­gion ti­tles and ap­pear­ances in the state semi­fi­nals at the Uni­ver­sity of Maryland’s Ritchie Coli­seum.

Pay­ton takes over a Stone vol­ley­ball pro­gram that was 3-12 in 2016, ty­ing for fourth with McDonough at 2-4 in the SMAC Potomac.

The Cougars girls bas­ket­ball team went 17-6 dur­ing the 201617 season with a sec­ond-place 10-2 mark in the SMAC Potomac, reach­ing the 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion I cham­pi­onship game.

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