The Washington Post

Hornets’ offseason pays off

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In the summer of 2020, when St. Mary’s County teams were prohibited from training inside because of the coronaviru­s pandemic, Great Mills Athletic Director Ryan Hanley proposed an idea to his school’s coaches. Hanley wanted to create a schoolwide outdoor conditioni­ng program.

Athletes from every Great Mills program shifted through strength, agility and endurance drills in masks three days per week around the school’s track. That conditioni­ng has helped the Hornets’ football team to its best start in recent history.

Great Mills is 2-0 after claiming its first win over North Point on Friday night, 20-13, in Waldorf. Conditioni­ng has been especially helpful because the Hornets’ roster features only about 32 players, most of whom play on both sides of the ball.

“We have to be in shape for what we do, especially when we have guys that are playing 90 percent of the downs,” Coach Tyrone Bell said. “And there were times it sucked. There were times where those guys were like: ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this. I don’t really want to do it.’ But they pushed.”

Since 2004, Great Mills has only twice finished without a losing record: It went 5-5 in 2009 and 2010.

The Hornets have gone winless in three seasons during that trying span.

When Great Mills previously faced North Point in October 2019, it lost, 42-8, at home and finished the season 2-7.

— Kyle Melnick

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