Cross country, boys’ soccer championships highlight return
It’s been a slow and steady comeback for sports in the Brunswick-area community this past year.
After the COVID-19 pandemic brought a screeching halt to everything, beginning in the spring of 2020, the high school and youth sports seasons began a cautious return in February, wrapping up last week.
Brunswick High School picked up a pair of state championships this fall. The Railroader boys’ soccer team won the Class 1A state championship, their fourth in school history.
The BHS boys’ cross country team won the Class 1A state crown in early November. The Railroaders’ boys’ squad hadn’t won a team state cross country championship since the 1980s.
These are the two major sports championships highlighting 2021, but to better understand just how much the pandemic has affected the local sports scene, one has to go back to February. High school winter sports were going to have to give up some of its time to allow a canceled fall sports season to share a few weeks over the late winter-early spring months for abbreviated schedules.
BHS’s varsity football team played six games, going 5-1 after an 0-1 start. The Railroaders picked up wins over Frederick and Thomas Johnson High Schools along the way.
BHS also had short boys’ and girls’ soccer seasons, as did volleyball, indoor track and field and wrestling. The MPSSAA did not offer any post-season championships for the delayed fall, and abbreviated winter seasons. The focus was on getting the athletes back on the courts and fields first. Smart move.
Spring sports seasons were offered, but started late and ran into mid-June. Regular-season events were limited to in-county opponents.
Brunswick High School’s girls track and field team came oh-so-close to winning its first Class 1A state championship since 1983. The Railroaders lost to Western Tech, 77.5-74.
The fall sports season resumed with full schedules, but since some high school football teams across the state were experiencing some COVID-19 pauses, MPSSAA officials decided to expand the playoffs into an open format, creating six classifications so every football-playing school was eligible. The Railroaders’ varsity football team went 7-5 and won two games in the state playoffs before losing to Perryville in the Class 1A state quarterfinals.
The BHS winter sports seasons have begun. The boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams have new coaches. Larry Brown, who coached the BHS girls’ squad last winter, moved over to the boys’ team when longtime coach Dan “Duck” McLane stepped down last summer.
Former Linganore assistant girls’ coach Cindy Wilhelm was hired to take over the BHS varsity girls basketball team. Both teams are currently on winter break and will resume their schedules in early January.
BHS also have wrestling and indoor track and field teams and will get into the heart of their respective schedules in early January, so with everything back on normal schedules, one looks forward to 2022 with guarded optimism.