THE YEAR IN REVIEW: SPORTS
Monday, 30 December 2013 14:56

Barb Foster and Mia DeRuggiero celebrate after the Sparrows Point girls soccer team defeated Smithsburg for the school’s first girls soccer state title.photo by Bill Gates

Pointer girls finally snag elusive state soccer crown

Fifth attempt in tourney final earns state title

by Bill Gates

    Sparrows Point athetic director Russ Lingner suggested the headline which graced the front page of The Eagle:
    “Finally.”
    In their 10th trip to the Maryland girls soccer state tournament and their fifth spot in the state championship game, the Pointer girls were finally the Last Team Standing.
    (Well, in Class 1A, that is.)
    With time running out in the state finals against Smithsburg, however, it looked as if Sparrows Point was about to suffer another inevitable crushing defeat.
    And this would have been a blow heavier than any of the previous four finals losses.
    In those, Sparrows Point was the underdog. Against Smithsburg, the Pointers were arguably the favorite.
    Yet there were fewer than eight minutes remaining, and the Leopards held a 1-0 lead.
    Sparrows Point had scored one goal in its previous four state final appearances.
    In the last seven minutes of its fifth state championship game, it scored two.
    Lindsea Webb, a sophomore, took the ball away from a Smithsburg defender but the collision knocked her off-balance.
    Amazingly,Webb stayed on her feet despite her upper body going parallel to the ground.
    She righted herself and rocketed the ball past the Leopard keeper to tie the game.
    Five minutes later, freshman Kasie Lambert scored on a follow-up, and Sparrows Point was the Class 1A state girls soccer champion.
    All 10 of the Pointers’ state tournament berths have been since 1999. The first of their five state championship appearances was in 2004.
    It was the first girls team state title for Sparrows Point, and the first girls team state crown for a Dundalk-Edgemere school.
    And it earned girls soccer Coach of the Year honors from the Baltimore Sun for Sparrows Point coach Caitlin Brennan, who then announced she was stepping down to spend more time with her family.
    The Pointers finished 14-3, losing twice to Balti-more County champion and Class 4A state runner-up Catonsville and once to neighborhood rival Patapsco in what is increasingly looking like one of the most shocking upsets of the year.
    There were nine sophomores and six juniors on the Pointer squad, so the team looks poised to make another run next year under Joe Lambert (Brennan’s assistant).
    Four seniors graduate: Lauren Spivey, Autumn Ciarpella, Kaitlin Isabell and Alyssa Naylor.

 

Bus accident takes away Kristina Trionfo Quigley

Dundalk High alumna became college coach

by Bill Gates

    When the news broke nationally that Saturday morning in March, it was already a tragedy: pregnant young college women’s lacrosse coach killed in crash of team bus.
    For the Dundalk High community, it quickly became much worse.
    The woman who died in the crash was our own Kristina (Trionfo) Quigley.
    The 2001 Dundalk High graduate had just turned 30 the month before and was seven months pregnant with her second child when the Seton Hill University bus ran off the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Harrisburg and crashed into a tree.
    The bus driver, Kristina and her unborn child were the only ones who died in the accident.
    Seton Hill University canceled the remainder of the women’s lacrosse season.
    Quigley, who went by Christie Trionfo while a student at Dundalk, left behind her husband, Glenn, and four-year-old son Gavin.
    She was an outstanding athlete — a three-time Dundalk Eagle Spring Athlete of the Season in girls lacrosse.
    Quigley was also a three-time All-Baltimore County Division II player, twice the Baltimore County Division II/III Player of the Year, and was selected to the All-Baltimore County first team as a senior (a rare honor for a player from Division II).
    Injuries shortened her playing career at Duquesne University, but she moved from being an assistant coach at Duquesne to starting the first women’s lacrosse program at Erskine (South Carolina) College in 2009.
    Quigley accepted the head coaching position at Seton Hill in 2011, and in her second year led the team to only the second winning season in the program’s history.
    Irrepressible and outgoing, friendly and funny, she was remembered fondly by all who knew her.
    Former classmates, teachers and friends packed her viewing at Connelly Funeral Home in Essex, and an online scholarship fund for Gavin raised tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of days.
    Dundalk High School retired her lacrosse jersey number — #1 — during a ceremony before a football game in November.
    The school presented her parents, Patricia and Sabitino “Sobby” Trionfo, with the jersey in a frame and a shadow box highlighting her records and accomplishments at Dundalk High.
    As the news of Kristina’s death spread the day of the accident, the reaction of two of her former teammates, Jillian Albanese and Theresa “Bumpy” Muir, was common:
    “We spent the rest of the day crying and leafing through scrapbooks,” Albanese said.

 

Kaitlin Isabell becomes a golden girl in state high jump

 Personal-best height earns title for Pointer

by Bill Gates

    As Sparrows Point junior Kaitlin Isabell prepared to compete in the Class 1A high jump at last spring’s Maryland track and field championships, it had been 32 years since a local athlete had last won an individual track and field crown.
    As of now, it’s been less than one year.
    During a pressure-packed jump-off for the state title, Isabell won by clearing a height she had never before cleared.
    In the process, she out-jumped an opponent, Boonesboro’s Maggie Sullivan, who towered over  Isabell.
    That matters in the high jump, where the best jumpers tend to be long and lean.
    Isabell had the lean part down, but is only 5-foot-2.
    Like Isabell, Sullivan (5-9) had never cleared five feet in the high jump prior to the state meet.
    They were the only two competitors to clear five feet, and both had the same number of misses.
    Thus, a jump-off for the state crown. The gold medal to go to the girl who made a height while the other missed.
    Needing to clear five feet for a second time, Isabell made it. Sullivan didn’t.
    And that wasn’t even the only highlight of the year for Isabell.
    She was a member of the Sparrows Point girls soccer team that won the Class 1A state title in November.
    Isabell started out 2013 by finishing fourth in the high jump at the state indoor track championships.
    She didn’t jump her best that day, which provided her with motivation for the rest of the year.
    The last individual track and field state title for a local athlete was by Sparrows Point’s David Grear, the 300-meter hurdles champ in 1981.
    Dundalk’s 3,200-meter relay boys team won a state track and field title in 1990.
    No local girl, Pointer or otherwise, had won a state title in track and field since Sparrows Point’s Rachel Clary in 1980.
    Clary is also the only local girl to win back-to-back state titles, winning the 400 meters in 1979 and 1980 (a period during which she won four other state titles).
    Isabell will try to duplicate that feat when she defends her state high jump title in May.
    Sullivan will likely be there.

 

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A year for ending sports droughts that lasted too long

by Bill Gates

    Several athletic droughts for local high schools ended in 2013, while the spotlight shone brighter, but not as wide.
    The Sparrows Point girls soccer team won a state title for the first time. It was also the first girls team state title for a local high school.
    Sparrows Point junior Kaitlin Isabell won an individual state track and field title, the first for a local athlete since 1981. The Dundalk baseball team won a regional title for the first time since 1994. Sparrows Point won a football playoff game for the first time since 2004.
    The Patapsco High football team finished 6-4 to earn its first winning record since 1998.
    While there were two state titles to celebrate in 2013, there weren’t as many regional crowns as there were the previous year.
    Owl baseball and Pointer girls soccer were the only team regional champs, while wrestling regional titles dropped from five to three.
    Track and field individual regional crowns, however, went up from four to 11. And a resurgence in track and field is always a good thing.
    Looking ahead, the stadium for the new Dundalk High is expected to open in the spring. It will have lights, but some short-sighted bureaucrats decided on grass instead of a turf field. Should we start adding up how much more it will cost in maintenance over the long run?
    Other noteworthy events from the year past:

    The Dundalk High girls basketball team beat Lansdowne in December for its first win since February, 2011. It ended a losing streak of over 40 games.

    The Sparrows Point boys soccer continued to experience the worst kind of hard luck in the playoffs. This year, the Pointers lost to Pikesville in double overtime on another fluke goal. The Panthers went on to reach the Class 1A state championship game.
   
    The Patapsco boys soccer team highlighted a year in which they had their first winning season since 2008 by stunning top-seeded Aberdeen in the Class 3A North regional quarterfinals.

    The Edgemere-Sparrows Point Heat fall baseball team had a perfect season, finishing 10-0 while outscoring opponents 124-19.

    Sparrows Point High field hockey coach Ashly Fishell-Shaffer was named national Coach of the Year in January for leading the Pointers to their first state semifinal berth that previous fall.

    Lyndale Bethea of Patapsco won the Baltimore County boys high-jump championship and earned a spot on the All-County track and field team.

    Sparrows Point freshman Natalie Lau was named to the All-Baltimore County softball first team. Four girls lacrosse players were also named first team All-County: Savannah Dodd, Carli Zellers and Mia DeRuggiero of Sparrows Point, and Patapsco’s Savannah Clough.

    Dundalk High baseball coach Brian Powell was named the Baltimore County Division III coach of the year.

    Sparrows Point won the Peninsula Cup for the ninth time in 10 years, and the seventh year in a row.

Dundalk Eagle High School
Athletes of the Season

Winter-Kaitlin Isabell, SPHS indoor track
Alfred Martinez, DHS wrestling

Spring-Kaitlin Isabell, SPHS track and field
Zyle Babcock, DHS baseball

Fall-Lauren Spivey, SPHS girls soccer
Lamount Gordon, PHS football

 

Greater Dundalk Sports
Hall of Fame inductees

Kevin Healey, soccer player and coach
Rick Oliver, baseball, soccer and basketball
Anthony Adams, soccer player and coach
Bruce Mills winner: John Kraus



    Three Owls won regional titles at the Class 2A North track and field championships: Yassine Iquidre (3,200 meters), James Gonzales (1,600 meters) and Isai Urquiza (pole vault). Dundalk also won the 3,200-meter relay regional title with Ijaz Ahmed, Patrice Komboshi, Zach Carroll and Urquiza.

    Fairgreen Road resident Skylar Grosscup, still two weeks shy of his third birthday, landed a 13.5-inch white perch in Bear Creek.

    Sparrows Point Country Club Golden Putter (for making a hole-in-one) winner: Lillian Suliga.

    Jake Rusnak, 7, of Beach Drive swam a mile (72 laps) in the Dundalk YMCA Aquatics Center pool in 59 minutes and 20 seconds.

    Lights out after 54 years: The last boys basketball game in the old Dundalk High gym was won by the Owls, 52-42 over Patapsco. Dundalk also opened its new gym in December with a win over the Patriots. Patapsco won the official last girls basketball game in the old gym and the first in the new school.

    The Dundalk High faculty defeated Dundalk High alumni in a basketball game during the last night of the old gym, thanks to scoring 23 unanswered points in the time it took to change a “24” to a “47” on the scoreboard. County Councilman John Olszewski Sr. (Class of 1978) played for the alumni team — and survived.

    James Gonzales of Dundalk won indoor track regional crowns in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs.

    Dundalk High softball player Kathryn “Kat” Skalski was honored as the WMAR Student-Athlete of the Week  in May.

    The Dundalk Seniors over-60 softball team won the Baltimore Beltway Senior Softball League Division C regular-season title for the second year in a row, then went on to add the postseason tournament championship that escaped them in 2012.

    The Reds beat the Tigers for the third consecutive year in the Eastern Baltimore County Over-40 Baseball League championship game. The Reds rebounded from an 0-3 start for their third straight league crown.

    Patapsco beat Sparrows Point in football for the first time since 2003, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Pointers.

    Construction began on an actual stadium at Patapsco High. Seriously. It just won’t have lights. The stadium is expected to open in time for lacrosse season this spring.

    The brand-new, state-of-the-art Dundalk High School opened with one little flaw: floorboard warping has left the gymnasium unusable. This forced the Owl volleyball and badminton teams to be on the road for the entire season. (Badminton did play its last match in the Dundalk gym.) Patapsco hosted Dundalk in the last match of the regular season and agreed to let the Owls share their Senior Night.
    The Dundalk High football team missed the regional playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Owls would have made it, however, had officials not decided to ignore the fact that the Kenwood receiver who caught the winning touchdown on the last play of the game shoved the Owl defender guarding him to the ground.

    With goalkeeper Sarah Dicembre doing her best Hope-Solo-in-her-prime impression, the Patapsco girls soccer team stunned eventual Class 1A state champion Sparrows Point on their own field, 2-0. Divine intervention was suspected.

    The CCBC Dundalk mens basketball team, which had gone five years without a winning season, started the season 11-1 and was 14th in the NJCAA national rankings.

    Dundalk native Charles Holston was inducted into the Community College of Baltimore County athletics Hall of Fame.

    The Sparrows Point football team fell in the Class 1A North regional championship game after the officials failed to notice the Surrattsville snapper illegally catching a game-turning 65-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt play (Clue: snappers cannot be eligble for a pass in high school football).

    Hunter Machin, 13, bowled an 833 series in November after bowling a 300 game in January.

    Speaking of bowling, Dundalk native Danny Wiseman was inducted into the Pro Bowlers Association Hall of Fame in November.

    The Eastside Hooligans girls soccer team, consisting of former Patapsco (and one Dundalk High) players, won the under-30 division of the Ocean City Sand Duels tournament for the second year in a row.

    West Inverness resident Carrie Motes, 14, won a national title in the poomsae event at the USA Taekwondo Championship in Chicago in July.

    Dundalk native Bucky Lasek continued to demonstrate that age ain’t nothing but a number. The 41-year-old professional skateboarder won four gold medals in 2013, capturing the X Games Vert championships in Los Angeles, Munich, Barcelona and Foz do Iguacu. Lasek also won the Vert Dew Cup at the Dew Tour Beach Championships in Ocean City.

    Dundalk native and professional basketball player Rudy Gay was traded twice in 2010: from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Toronto Raptors in January, and from Toronto to the Sacramento Kings in December. According to an ESPN analyst, Gay “might struggle to get $25 million over three seasons” in his next contract, if his shooting doesn’t improve. Nice work if you can get it.