Another year has passed and with it came a number of memorable stories that many are unlikely to forget for some time, including medieval sports making a return, state titles won, streaks broken, streaks extended and top performances.
10. Frederick County hosts jousting tournament
This one made it in on sheer absurdity. In mid-October, Petersville Farmer's Woods became home to 24 knights armed with makeshift lances when it hosted the 45th National Jousting Championships, the first ever to come to Maryland.
Now, this type of jousting isn't exactly what many may traditionally think. Competitors weren't bulldozed off their horses nor did they bear garish suits of armor. They wore sweatshirts and jeans and speared rings the size of Lifesaver candies. Whoever successfully speared the most in three rides was deemed the winner.
9. Thomas scores 1,000; Gontarek goes for 309
The 1,000-point club is a pretty exclusive one in high school basketball circles. The 1,000-point club before reaching age 16? That's pretty much a one-man show. Zach Thomas, Oakdale High School's 6-foot-5 swingman, eclipsed the threshold in just two years of play. To the surprise of none, Thomas is currently leading the county in points per game.
What might be most impressive about Josh Gontarek's performance against Frederick on Sept. 28 isn't really the fact that the junior went off for nearly a quarter mile of yardage or that he racked up 18 points worth of touchdowns, but it was the manner in which he did it in. Frederick's secondary knew with near 100 percent certainty that when Linganore threw, it was going to Gontarek. The Cadets had to resort to a quadruple team to stop him, but that still didn't stop him.
8. Frederick tennis blown away
Frederick County had nothing left for Tuscarora's Ana Chernova to conquer. She hadn't dropped a county match in three years and, consequently, was the two-time reigning Frederick champion. That was all until a freshman named Bridgett Blowe came along.
Frederick's first-year star swept Chernova 6-1, 6-4 en route to her first of what is likely to be many county titles. The following week, Blowe topped Chernova again in three sets for regional bragging rights.
7. Parry named to All-America team
Here's how good Aaran Parry is at soccer: she played just 11 games in her senior year and that's all she needed to be named an All-American. In those 11 games — her season was shortened with a knee injury — Tuscarora's all-time leading scorer recorded 11 goals.
In her 64-game career at Tuscarora, Parry scored 67 goals and added 37 assists.
6. The best things come in threes
State titles are never something to be discounted.
Brunswick's boys soccer team picked up its first since 1990 after making it to the semifinals in each of the past two years. Urbana wrestling continued its unquestioned dominance, remaining undefeated in county dual meets since 2007 en route to picking up the 3A/4A dual meet title. Gov. Thomas Johnson's boys indoor track team also won its third title in the last four years. Its only loss in that stretch came to DuVal in 2011 by a half a point.
5. Winning the Wenzlaff way
There's winning, and then there's winning like Tuscarora wrestler Austin Wenzlaff.
Wenzlaff was so dominant during his senior season at the 160-pound weight class that he won every match — he finished 45-0 — by a major decision, technical fall or pin. Even his state championship match against Brad Taylor wasn't close as he capped his 157th career win with a 12-2 victory at the University of Maryland.
4. Urbana golf
During the past five years, Urbana has established itself as the premier golfing high school in the state. It hasn't lost a regular season match, county tournament or district championship in that time and, prior to this year's trip to the University of Maryland for the state tournament, it hadn't dropped a Maryland title in three seasons.
But Thomas S. Wootton sent out three girls and a very talented sophomore in Justin Feldman and unseated the Hawks from their seemingly untouchable throne.
3. Crowns fit for a king
Emma King is the best pole vaulter in Maryland history.
Oakdale's senior star hasn't lost a single local competition in her three years competing at the high school level. Last season, King won both the indoor and outdoor state titles, set a new record at the indoor state meet (11 feet, 9.5 inches) and rewrote the outdoor books as well, breaking the outdoor state record (12-10) and the 2A state meet record (11-8).
2. Middletown soccer: a team of firsts
In 1983, Middletown became the first school in the county to field a girls soccer team. So it's fitting that in 2012, after beating Fallston 1-0 in the 2A state championship, it became the county's first team to win three straight state titles. And with Bethesda-Chevy Chase bowing out, Middletown is now the owner of the longest active streak.
“I think [each title] has its own feeling,” coach Heather Kline said afterwards. “But I felt more pressure this past week with the fact that it's three and Frederick has not had a team win three consecutive championships. But this is nice in the fact that we have done something no Frederick soccer team has done before.”
1. Middletown football
There are very few predictable state championships in any sport, but Middletown's 2A state title winning campaign this season was one of those few.
After thumping Frederick Douglass 43-6 in last year's state final, the Knights returned an enormous chunk of talent, including reigning Player of the Year, Zach Welch and the line that paved holes wide enough for him to waltz through.
On Dec. 1 at M&T Bank Stadium, Welch led the way once more and the Knights became just the second Frederick County team to win back-to-back state titles (Urbana 1998-2001).