Currently viewing the category: "Sports News"

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

The days are getting shorter, and the evening air has started to gain a slight chill. Soon, the mountains around the Thurmont Little League (TLL) complex will be full of colorful leaves. It’s hard to believe that another fall ball season has already reached its mid-way point. On any given night this fall, you can see countless teams in game play, practicing, or utilizing the batting cages. There is always a flurry of activity going on at TLL.

The newly elected board of directors has been hard at work as well. During recent meetings, they have been working to update and amend the TLL bylaws in order to make sure everything is current, regarding game rules and regulations. This will help to ensure the best possible experience for all our players, coaches, and fans. Speaking of the game experience, as many know, our two main fields were recently renovated, with drainage added and other improvements made to the infield. Unfortunately, the weather has not been kind the past two years since this work was completed. The league has decided to shut down Nicholson and Leisner Fields beginning October 1 so that additional work can begin on getting them back in the pristine condition we have all come to expect. Hopefully, once the spring season comes, they will be ready for the players to take the field once again on Opening Day.

As always, in addition to baseball, the league has ongoing events and fun activities planned throughout the season. Next up, is the 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat, which will be held on Sunday, October 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Last year, this event was held for the first time, and it proved to be extremely popular, with over 30 local businesses and vendors participating. Lines of TLL players and other local youths paraded through the parking lot in their costumes and filled up their bags. The TLL concession stand handed out hot chocolate, cider, and other goodies. Prizes were also awarded to the winners in several categories. We are looking to make this year’s event even bigger. If you are interested in setting up again as a vendor, please reach out to the league today. For more information, please follow the league on Facebook or visit www.thurmontlittleleague.com.

Richard D. L. Fulton

Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) announced on September 6 that Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Head Coach Todd Bowles had earned a bachelor’s degree from the Mount.

According to Donna Klinger, executive director of MSMU’s Communications Office of University Marketing & Communications, Coach Bowles earned his bachelor’s degree 37 years after he left college to pursue a professional football career, further noting that Bowles had completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in youth and community development.

Bowles began his “untraditional adult educational journey” in the summer of 2020, prior to the Buccaneers’ eventual Super Bowl championship season at the suggestion of Anthony Agnone, his longtime agent and 1975 Mount St. Mary’s alumni. Agnone recommended that he reach out to the Mount about completing his degree through the university’s Center for Accelerated and Adult Education which is highly experienced in adult learning and academic programming in nontraditional settings.

Working with Associate Provost David McCarthy, Bowles designed an interdisciplinary degree in youth and community development that will serve him well, especially in his community work, Klinger stated.

Bowles stated, “Completing my degree was something I had always wanted to do over the years because it was something I had promised my mother when I went to play in the NFL, and I wanted to follow through on that promise.”

He further said, “Over the years, as I became a father, it became something I wanted to do in order to set a proper example for my sons as they continue on their educational paths. I have also worked pretty extensively with children through my various community projects, and I felt it was important to show them they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.”

Director and Associate Professor of Human Services Dr. Timothy Wolfe stated, “Todd’s success in football, both on the field as a player and on the sidelines as a coach, is not at all surprising… given his work ethic and attention to detail. These same traits were evident in his assignments.”

“I am extremely appreciative of the faculty and the administration at Mount St. Mary’s for helping me navigate through what seemed like a daunting task when I started this journey,” said Bowles. “When I had questions or needed some guidance along the way, I always felt supported, and that played a large role in my ability to successfully complete the program.”  

Associate Provost McCarthy, professor for the required course Ethics and the Human Good, shared that in addition to completing assignments about the teachings of Plato and Aristotle, Bowles developed and presented his philosophy of coaching as well as strategies, struggles, and barriers in developing a team and individuals for the good—in both football and human sense. 

“We would laugh often about how well his years of coaching have brought him to the same place as classics in moral philosophy,” McCarthy said.

Bowles plans to attend the university’s commencement exercises in May 2023.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles.

Michael Betteridge, WTHU

More and more these days, the opportunity for our football players to letter in more than one sport is decreasing. There are other interests drawing our athlete’s talents, including focused travel teams, other sports, extracurricular activities, and academic opportunities. Some may fear injury to kids on the football field—not just the bumps and bruises of regular athletics, but life-changing injuries from concussions, knee injuries, and permanent joint damage. There is an incorrect perception that football is more “dangerous” than other sports.

Indeed, the recent life-threatening incident on the field during a football game at St. John’s Catholic Prep in Buckeystown is about as scary as it gets. A Winters Mill junior football player’s heart stopped (cardiac arrest) in the middle of a game and had to be defibrillated (a procedure that electrically shocks the heart back to life) on the field and again on the way to the hospital. And everyone at Catoctin surely remembers the head injury to Cougar Colan Droneburg, who was put in an induced coma for several days with a brain injury at Shock Trauma in Baltimore, the result of a severe concussion during a scrimmage in the spring season of 2021. These two incidents would scare any athlete or parent.

We have the same concerns in my family. My grandson, a sophomore at Fairfield Area District School in Pennsylvania, is an excellent all-around athlete who was heavily recruited to play football. He is the starting fullback on the Knights, a position that takes a lot of guts and even more pounding. He is an even better baseball player who plays on the travel team during the football season! His family allows him to play two sports, simultaneously. Someday soon, they could potentially be faced with the dilemma of protecting possible college scholarships for the lefty pitcher or Knights fullback and be forced to choose one sport over the other. The risk of injury will be the dominant factor. 

Over the past decade, smaller schools are more impacted and find it difficult to fill their rosters as parents err on the side of caution. Fairfield had to forfeit their game on September 9 against Hamburg with only 14 players dressed out of a meager 19-player roster, due to injury. Catoctin, the smallest school in the 1A in Maryland (1A schools are the smallest in Maryland), has a very small roster by Frederick County standards with 29 athletes. Brunswick, Frederick County’s other 1A school, has 27. By contrast, Linganore and Oakdale, 3A schools, have rosters of 51 and 50, respectively, almost twice as many as Catoctin. Catoctin’s next-door neighbor, Walkersville, a 2A school, has 44 on their roster. Since it takes 22 players to field a team, offense and defense, you can see the challenge. Many players must play both ways on the smaller teams, increasing the risk of fatigue and injury. Families must weigh all the factors carefully in making sports participation decisions.

One of the most impressive advances in high school football safety has been USA Football’s “Heads Up Tackling” techniques that have been taught to coaches from college all the way down to the youth level. As a varsity youth football coach several years ago, I was required to attend these classes and maintain certification in order to coach at the youth level. The program teaches proper tackling techniques and avoidance of helmet-to-helmet contact in practice and on the field. Practice times and procedures have been modified significantly over the past several years to limit injury and maximize safety.  Changes in helmet technology, hydration, conditioning, and coordination with trained medical professionals who examine and treat athletes have improved drastically.  Rule changes on the field regarding blindside blocking and hits have made an enormous difference. Local and state concussion legislation, along with a minimum return to practice requirements for concussions at the local level, have made a difference as well. The biggest change in youth sports has been the understanding by coaching staff that injuries must be reported and treated. The days of “shake it off” and “get back in there” are over. Coaches now are trained to put the player’s health and well-being first.

Ironically, the most dangerous sport during practice, when it comes to concussions, is cheerleading! This, according to a study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), results from poor practice methods and the reluctance to view cheerleading as a sport; therefore, injuries never get reported. Cheerleading has changed drastically over the past 30 years, from simple movements and chants to coordinated gymnastic feats that used to be seen only at events in a gymnasium on padded mats. Now they perform triple forward and backward somersaults with aerial walkovers and a round-out to a standing position on concrete and hardwood floors. It makes me dizzy watching it.

According to the CDC, high school sports injuries have been cut in half over the past decade, and football is safer than ever.  The risk of injury is small when weighed against the benefits of learning teamwork, perseverance, discipline, and work ethics. These benefits have an immeasurable positive impact for young athletes, especially when we’re all getting heavier and lazier as technology makes us work and exercise less. We see it everywhere; athletics builds self-esteem, conditioning, and good lifestyle choices. As one of my favorite Catoctin coaches, Mike Franklin, puts it, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!”

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

When we left off in last month’s edition of The Catoctin Banner, the Thurmont Little League (TLL) Minors All Stars were still fighting their way through the Emory Frye Tournament hosted by Brunswick Little League. After stringing together 3 straight victories, the team made it to the Championship game, where for the second year in a row, Thurmont Little League was victorious. They defeated South County in a come-from-behind 7-6 victory on a walk off RBI by Bryce Rickerd. Congratulations to all of the players and their coaches for making TLL proud.

It’s hard to believe it’s that time again, but TLL has just kicked off another fall season. This season saw 185 total registrations. The breakdown for this fall will be 4 t-ball, 5 Instructional (Coach Pitch), 4 Minors, 4 Majors, and 2 softball teams (Minors/Coach Pitch). It is wonderful to see more and more children from the surrounding community coming out to participate and learn the game of baseball. The more relaxed nature of the fall season is the perfect time for new players to get started or existing players to move up to a new level to improve their skills.

Along with a new season, came the election of a new Board of Directors for 2022-2023. TLL would like to welcome Ashley Balsley as the new Vice President of the Softball Division. Ashley spent the last year working as the softball Player Agent and was integral to the successful first year of the program. Other newly elected board members include Hillary Inocencio-Concessions Manager, Carrie Laird and Nicole Tyler-Player Agents, Alex Kline-Field Maintenance, Richard Balsley-Safety Officer, Ryan Tokar-Vice President Majors/Information Officer, Dana Duvall-Vice President Coach Pitch, Rachel Workman-Team Mom Coordinator, Kathy Rickerd-Secretary, and Jessica Kline-Member at Large.

As the new members settle into their roles, we cannot forget to thank our outgoing board members who made so many wonderful contributions to the league over the years. Brandon McQuay, served as a manager as well as Vice President of Majors for several years, he also frequently volunteered his time to umpire behind the plate. Jenn Cregger spent many years as player agent and also helped out with opening day and various other league activities. Jon Barton will be greatly missed as Concessions Manager; he was integral in bringing in favorites such as the Goldrush chicken sandwich and the new popcorn machine. Other outgoing members include Melissa Stidom who served as Vice President of TLL Softball during its inaugural campaign, Mike Smith-Vice President of Intermediate, who was critical in keeping that age level running, Gregg Warner-Player Development, who did an awesome job organizing crucial programs such as our evaluations and various camps for our players, and Kyra Fry-Secretary who always took detailed notes during the often lengthy board meetings. The league is grateful to each of you for your years of service.

TLL has plenty of other events and fun activities planned throughout the fall. Back by popular demand will be the second annual movie night. The date and film have yet to be decided but will be determined based on availability. Players, families, and the community are invited to pull up a chair on the outfield grass and grab a bag of popcorn for a fun evening the whole family will enjoy. And, due to the tremendous success of last year’s event, plans are in the making for another Trunk or Treat at the ball fields. We will again be looking for vendors and businesses who would like to set up. This was an extremely fun event, and the turnout was way more than we could’ve ever imagined. Hopefully, this year’s event will be even bigger and better! For more information, please follow the league on Facebook or visit www.thurmontlittleleague.com.

Minors All-Stars win the Emory Frye Tournament in Brunswick.

After nearly two years of planning, and one trip lost due to COVID, the Potter Pirates baseball team finally made their way to Cooperstown, New York, to participate in the prestigious Dreams Park Tournament. With the help of Coach Jeff Potter, author and founder of the Potter Baseball Tour, the team was able to secure a spot to participate in this summer’s event from August 3-9. The team consisted of 12 players from the Thurmont and Emmitsburg area: Tucker Bryant, Chase Cregger, Brandon DeGrange, Mason Hewitt, Reed McCauley, Brody McQuay, Nate Morlan, Justice Myers, Brayden Rickerd, Graysen Strobel, Ethan Tokar, and Bracen Webb. Manager Keith Myers and assistant coaches, Brandon McQuay and Lane Strobel, accompanied the team to Cooperstown, along with Coach Potter.

The Thurmont community has partnered with Potter Baseball on several activities over the past few years, including a charity kickball tournament to benefit the Fuse Teen Center, a painting project on the exterior of the Thurmont Food Bank, and upgrades to the facade of the Thurmont Senior Center, as well as two attempts to play the “World’s Largest Game of Catch” to benefit CureSearch. This summer, the players and families helped with a “Day at the Ballpark” event in conjunction with the Thurmont Regional Library, cleaned up the Thurmont Trolley Trail, and freshened up the pavilions at the Thurmont Town Park. This type of community service is what Potter baseball is all about. “There are no “tryouts,” no bragging on Facebook about how many of the pitchers throw 70 mph, or how many home runs are hit in a game, or how we beat teams by 20 runs. “The talent level of your child is much further down the list than most parents would ever imagine,” said Coach Potter.

It was an exciting, yet tiring, week of baseball for everyone involved. Players and coaches got to stay on-site for a week, lodging at Baseball Village. They had the chance to spend quality time together, meeting players from all over the country and trading their team pins. In their downtime, they hung out in the barracks or were outside playing wiffle ball with their newly made friends. They were provided with daily meals and custom uniforms for the tournament. Each player received both blue and red uniforms, long- and short-sleeve practice shirts, a jacket, and a commemorative tournament T-shirt featuring all 88 teams. At the end of the week, each player also received their very own tournament ring. In addition to that, the team was able to fundraise in order to purchase each player a custom Cooperstown bat with the team members and logo on it.

On the first day, the teams participated in an opening ceremony, where everyone marched into “Little Majors Stadium” carrying their team banners. Several parents got in on the action by dancing the can-can and YMCA to fire up the crowd. Next up were various skills competitions, with Justice Myers participating in the home run derby, Chase Cregger in the fastest player contest, and Nate Morlan in the golden arm accuracy challenge. The rest of the team were involved in a speed and fielding challenge known as “Around the Horn+.” After that, it was nonstop baseball for the next three days. Due to a rainout on the first day, the Pirates ended up playing three games back-to-back on the second day in the unseasonably warm 90-plus degree heat in New York. The team was exhausted but continued battling over the next few days in order to improve their seeding in the single-elimination tournament. When tournament day finally came, they battled valiantly, winning in the first two rounds. Ultimately, they would fall in the third round to an extremely tough Powerbats NJ team. The week was full of memories, as several players homered, everyone got a chance to pitch, and the team celebrated two walk-offs.

Once the baseball games were over, everyone had a chance to let loose and enjoy themselves a bit. Players and families got to spend time going out to local restaurants, having ice cream, fishing, visiting the various wineries and breweries, and exploring other local attractions and shops. But, the best part of all was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame and seeing all of the amazing players that paved the way and helped make the game what it is today.

On the final day, a closing ceremony was held and players were presented with their official tournament rings. Afterwards, there was a patriotic fireworks display, and everyone settled in to watch the Championship game between SoCal Truth and BP San Diego. The Truth proved to be too much and won the game in four innings to take the title. All in all, it was a wonderful experience for the players and families. They came away with memories that will last a lifetime, new friendships, amazing photos, and souvenirs that will never let them forget the wonderful experience they had at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

Coach Jeff Potter stands with the Potter Pirates baseball team, as they show off their tournament rings they each received at the Dreams Park Tournament.

The 2022 youth cross country season is open for signups for the Catoctin Youth Association for youth ages 6 through 15 (8th grade). Practices began August 15 at Woodsboro Park in Woodsboro, from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

If you are interested in joining, you may register at www.cyatrackandfield.com. Please contact Coach John Steiner at 240-422-7996 or email at steindawg@msn.com.

Michael Betteridge

There is a distinct sound this time of year that can be heard up against our beautiful Catoctin Mountains, off in the distance, when the wind blows just right. You can hear whistles blowing and coaches yelling on the practice field. When we hear that distant sound, we smile and we know that Catoctin Football is back! 

There are many things that define our community, just as there are many things that define the time of the year. Catoctin football does both. No one will soon forget those two epic state championships in 2009 and 2019 and what they did to electrify and unite our community. 

Those were enormous wins for the Cougars and Northern Frederick County, but there is one game that will stand out in history above all the rest…..November 29, 2019: Catoctin versus Fort Hill in the second round of the playoffs. The Cougars were overwhelmed in 2018 by the Sentinels 55-6 at Cumberland, and the sting of that loss, which ended their season, was burned into their minds and their consciences. When 2019 began, they took it out on five straight teams, with wins starting against Boonsboro. In the sixth game, they suffered their only loss of the season against Walkersville by a meager field goal in overtime, which brought them to new territory: playing perennial state powerhouse Fort Hill once again, but unbelievably, here in Thurmont.

Fort Hill had never played a road game in a 1A playoff. There was complaining and grousing all over social media by Fort Hill fans, and they seemed a bit put off by the very idea that their “elite” large stadium fan base and program would have to lower themselves to play in tiny Catoctin stadium. There were suggestions that it would be impossible for our community to serve the massive Fort Hill crowd.  That our facilities, traffic, and resources would be overwhelmed, and that, perhaps, the game should, after all, be played in Cumberland, to be fair to the fans. The state said: “No,” we play in Thurmont.

Then something very special happened. Signs popped up all over town…. Cougars will crush Fort Hill. Townsfolk stepped forward and volunteered to help out. Businesses mobilized. The mayor and town councils in both Thurmont and Emmitsburg got involved. The Catoctin High School administration shifted into high gear. Everywhere you went, there was this BUZZ. The excitement was palpable. On game day, busloads of Fort Hill fans poured into the streets and parking lots in Thurmont dressed in red….cocky…arrogant…. boastful, while Cougars fans just smiled because they knew. And when all the shouting, cheering, and hoarse voices faded out against those beautiful mountains that rise above the playing field, the scoreboard seemed to have grown in size with a simple message to Fort Hill: You scored ZERO points; we scored 41. Get on your buses and go back to Cumberland because tonight everyone in Thurmont is a winner.

That was the day we really learned what Catoctin Cougars football means to our community.

And now, that sound rises up again in the distance. You can feel the excitement building. The past several years have been surreal.  Football canceled? A spring football season? Do we play? Are the fans allowed in the stadium? But this year feels different. All of that seems like a bad dream. Everything is coming together. The Cougars recognize that their story is special, and they need to preserve that legacy. Cougars offensive and defensive lines stand out from the 2009 state championship team, Brady Ridenour is one of several of Coach Mike Rich’s new talented coaching staff, linking past to present. They’ve added 2015 Urbana QB sensation, Donovan Pannell, to the coaching staff, who will help refine junior Catoctin quarterback Haydn Mathews into a lethal threat.

But, the real change you can see at Catoctin High School takes us back to the community. Recently, during practice, Coach Rich challenged his team by reminding them that they are part of this team, an identity, a legacy. They are being watched closely. They are no longer kids from Thurmont or Emmitsburg. They ARE Catoctin Cougars football. He called on them to step it up, to hold each other accountable, to cover the next guy’s back by doing the simple things. He asked them to be the last to leave the cafeteria. To pick up any trash left behind. To straighten up the chairs and tables. To look after their school and set an example.

“You are Cougars….don’t forget it,” Coach Rich implored, adding, “If you work hard in the little things, the rest will take care of itself at Boonsboro.” 

So, the Cougars’ season and our story resume on Friday, September 2, at 7:00 p.m. in Boonsboro, just like it did three years ago.

Cougars scrimmage at North Hagerstown High School on August 20, 2022.

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

There has been absolutely no let-up at Thurmont Little League (TLL), with a flurry of activity continuing to keep our players, coaches, and parents busy throughout these hot, sticky summer months.

Our three travel All-Star teams have been in action battling some of the top teams from across the district. We have had lots of great baseball and other activities going on to keep our complex full of people.

The summer travel schedule kicked off with our 9-11 All-Stars traveling to Germantown to take on MCLL Upper. They started things off in an impressive fashion with a 7-5 victory to begin the tournament. Next, they returned home and lost against an extremely tough MCLL Lower team, 13-2. Not to be deterred, the team rattled off two straight comeback victories: first, a walk-off against Frederick National, and then an exciting come-from-behind victory against Brunswick. Down 7-2 in the top of the 6th, their bats heated up and they stormed back to win by a final of 9-7. This put them back against MCLL Lower in a showdown for the championship, where they, unfortunately, fell to a well-rested MCLL team. This team showed a lot of grit and determination. They could never be counted out and battled all the way until the end. TLL was extremely proud to see them finish as the runner-up in the tournament.

Our 11-12 All-Stars were next up, kicking off their district tournament with a tough opening round match-up against Brunswick. After rain delayed the game for over 24 hours, the team came out fighting. The game was neck and neck until the very end, but the Railroaders pulled away in the end to win by a score of 9-4. There was no let up in the schedule, with their bracket sending them to Bethesda to play MCLL Lower the very next day. Once again, this resilient group battled, but would ultimately be defeated. Despite the outcome of the games, this team had nothing to hang their heads about. Unfortunately, they drew the two top teams in their first two games, who ended up playing for the district championship. Brunswick would eventually defeat MCLL Lower to become this year’s champion.

In late July, our Minors All-Stars began play in the Emory Frye Tournament, hosted by Brunswick Little League. In their first contest, they soundly defeated South County by a score of 11-1. These young ballers looked very impressive, and at the time of this writing, they were still alive in tournament play. Additional updates on the results will be provided in the next edition.

It hasn’t just been games keeping TLL busy this summer. A plethora of other activities has been ongoing around the complex and in the surrounding community. First up, was the annual Guardian Hose Company Parade. After a two-year absence due to COVID, TLL was excited to be back in the parade with three truckloads of players, coaches, and family members waving and throwing candy to the crowd. Also, in late June, the annual participation in the “World’s Largest Game of Catch” was held. This event is sponsored by Jeff Potter of The Potter Baseball Tour. Thurmont was one of over 100 virtual locations attempting to break the world record for most people playing catch at one time. TLL had over 75 people playing catch and raised $200 for CureSearch to help with pediatric cancer awareness.

Speaking of Coach Potter, his baseball tour rolled into town in late July as they have done for the past several years, to help with community action projects. In the past, they have done a charity kickball game alongside Fuse Teen Center, painted the Thurmont Food Bank, and done exterior work on the Thurmont Senior Center. This year, they joined up with TLL to hold a “morning at the ballpark” event at the Thurmont Regional Library. They also pulled weeds and did other cleanup along the Thurmont Trolley Trail, as well as some exterior painting on the pavilions at the Thurmont Town Park.

Jeff was joined by some extra helpers this year, as members of the Potter Pirates-Black baseball team (that will be traveling to Cooperstown, New York, August 3-9) assisted his tour group with its projects. These team members are all current or former TLL players, who will be getting a chance to play in the Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament. It’s always great to see Coach Potter, as his love of baseball and community is infectious.

Registration is now open for Fall Ball! This is for baseball and softball, ages 4-13. Divisions of play include: T-ball, Coach Pitch, Minors, Majors, and Intermediate. Please visit www.Thurmont LittleLeague.com to sign up. The deadline to register is August 14. We can’t wait to see everyone else back on the fields soon!

Thurmont Little League 9-11 All-Stars

Thurmont Little League 11-12 All-Stars

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

The regular season has come to an end at Thurmont Little League (TLL), but there is still a lot of baseball to be played! As the normal slate of games concluded, the league quickly moved into All-Star and tournament season. 

First up were the TLL in-house All-Star games for the Tee-ball and Instructional (coach pitch) divisions, which were held on Tuesday, June 14. Representatives from Tee-ball included Wyatt Murray, Nora Miller, Caleb Specht, Chase Atkins, Lucy Liller, Colton Lynch, Chase Parker, Bohdi Morlan, Dixie Eckenrode, Bradley Arellano, Folton Beard, Maddox Ketterman, Carson Lingg, Graham Pearl, Bradley Hammack, Silas Wahl, Jake Fouche, Brenton Tull, Carson Unger, and Tyson Tsikerdanos.

The Instructional rosters were made up of Bryce Yocum, Travis Haller, Logan Otto, Jayce Oden, Parker Best, John Clements, Jaiden Poole, Connor McGrew, Brennan Pearl, Joseph Fogle, Parker Ketterman, Josh Tingler, Kenny Morris, Wyatt Bradshaw, Mikayla Dorsey, Nolan Kruger, Liam Ecker, Caleb Lynn, Caleb Valentine, Brayden Constable, Riley Woodward, and Maddox Miller.

Congrats to all of these future stars on a great season of baseball!

The Minor league division’s post-season kicked off with their In-House playoffs, which included a host of extremely hard-fought games, culminating in the Thurmont Dodgers becoming this year’s champs, overcoming a valiant effort by the Rangers. Both teams put forth a tremendous amount of effort and displayed excellent sportsmanship throughout the game.

The Dodgers were managed by Darryl Dextradeur, with assistants Kevin Rickerd, Kevin Rabbit, Anthany Wolfe, Bryan Smith, and Nathan Fritz. The roster included Bryce Rickerd, Julian Thompson, Colson Wolfe, Nemo Dewees-Johnson, Levi Baker, Rylan Roberts, Gavin Vaughn, Payton Fritz, Logan Smith, William Fletcher, and Marshall Fry. Congrats to the Dodgers on a successful campaign.

Next up was the Minors In-House All-Star Game, featuring Brayden Nash, Ilo Blentlinger, Luke Wiles, Herbie Blache, Dylan Dotson, Kaiden Dewees, Owen Ott, Dallas Smith, Liam Delawter, Bryce Rickerd, Payton Fritz, Joey Schenck, Scarlett Riffle, Jason Day, Andrew Ledbetter, Chris Kehne, Leland Beach, Wesley Meekins, Xavier Meekins, Tyler Martin, Levi Baker, and Julian Thompson.

These teams had a lot of fun and put on quite a show for their fans. Additionally, there will be a Minors All-Star team traveling to play in the Emory Frye Memorial Tournament and the Frederick American Youth Tournament. Managed by Darryl Dextradeur, the team is made up of Levi Baker, DeSean Brown, James Clements, Bryce Rickerd, Julian Thompson, Chase Dumas, Nemo Dewees-Johnson, Gracen Baer, Dallas Smith, Payton Fritz, Ethan Smith, and Wesley Meekins.

The Majors division was represented by two teams in end-of-season tournaments as well. The 2nd place Nationals and Manager Jeff Kuhn played in the Dave Fogle Tournament at Frederick National Little League; the team gave it their all, but the tournament was eventually won by the Brunswick Cubs. Meanwhile, the Thurmont Angels, coached by Brandon McQuay, played in the Gregg Quedeweit Memorial Tournament of Champions right here at Thurmont Little League. The Angels had a remarkable season, going undefeated in league play. They started strong with wins over Montgomery County and Mountain Valley, but, ultimately, they would lose in a very hard-fought game to Brunswick in the championship. All in all, it was a great season for these boys, and they made all of us at TLL proud. There will be two All-Star teams from the Major’s division. The 11-to-12-year-old team, managed by Brandon McQuay, will play in the District 2 Tournament. Players selected were Chase Cregger, Brody McQuay, Nate Morlan, Brayden Rickerd, Graysen Strobel, Marcus Kuhn, Bracen Webb, Landon Kelley-Voisine, Barry Riddle, Callen Edmonston, and Luke Berg. Adam Cregger and Lane Strobel will serve as assistant coaches. The 9 to 11-year-old team will begin their District 2 Tournament on June 25. This team will be managed by Jeff Kuhn, with assistant coaches, Justus Yocum and Chad Hahn. The roster includes Tucker Bryant, Reed McCauley, Ethan Tokar, Eli Yocum, Weston Tyler, Myles Kuhn, Parker Hahn, Cole Merriman, Riggins Koenig, Chance Kruger, and Camden Magluilo. Congratulations and best of luck to all the teams participating in tournaments this summer.

As another season came to an end, we were extremely saddened to learn about the loss of another close member of our Thurmont Little League family. Jeff Koenig, who served as an assistant coach for the Majors Orioles this season, passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. A tremendous baseball player in his own right, Jeff shined locally at Mount Saint Mary’s University, where he was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Over the past several years, he coached his sons as they moved through TLL at various levels. Despite his illness, Jeff could be found sitting on a bucket or in the dugout, right up until the very end, firing up his players and chirping at the umpires as only he could. Our thoughts are with Jeff’s wife, Erin, and their three boys, as well as their family, friends, and all of the players he impacted over the years. Rest in peace, Jeff. Thanks for your many years of service to TLL!

Be sure to check out next month’s edition for a full update on All-Star tournament play, as well as a recap of several fun events TLL will be taking part in this summer. Fall registrations will be opening later this summer as well, so be sure to sign up to be a part of a tremendous organization.

Minors Division Champions, Thurmont Dodgers Majors Division Champions, Thurmont Angels,

Mike Randall, CRC Vice President

Like all youth sports organizations, Catoctin Rec Council (CRC) Softball had to navigate through the extremely murky waters of a pandemic. Balancing player safety with the desire to play is not an easy task for players and parents alike. But, the girls came out with renewed energy and vigor, beginning with cold and rainy practices in March and ending with championships in June.

This year, CRC fielded teams at all age groups: 8U, 10U, 12U, and 15U, with almost 70 girls from the area. Our teams played groups throughout the Frederick County Girls Softball League, including Middletown, Carrol Manor, Urbana, Libertytown, Frederick, Walkersville, Araby, and LUYAA.

“The great thing about our organization is that the players get to see good competition in Frederick County, and the parents don’t have to travel far to do so. Games are about two hours long, and we don’t play double headers like other organizations. It really is the best of all worlds for the girls,” said League President Melissa Thomas.

On May 21, CRC had its first annual Hit-a-Thon family picnic at the Thurmont Town Park. It was a fun day of face painting, cornhole, egg toss, obstacle courses, sack races, and of course, the Hit-a-Thon. All of the girls competed in fun events for various prizes, from a new iPhone 13 to Hoverboards or gift cards. “Bringing the Hit-a-Thon to Little League in 2013 was an exciting experience, so I thought I would try it again with CRC. We had a great day, and the girls will benefit from everyone’s willingness to pitch in,” explained CRC Vice President Mike Randall. Winners in each age group received Amazon gift cards of $50, $25, $10, and $5. The winners of the Hit-a-Thon were: 8U Distance Winners: 1st—Brantley Miesner, 2nd—Lillian Barnes, 3rd—Emma Hodnett, 4th—MiKayla Martinez; 10U Distance Winners: 1st—Addison Krietz, 2nd—Peyton Gallion, 3rd—Brylee Cameron, 4th—Alexis Roos; 12U Distance Winners: 1st—Raquel Owens, 2nd—Corine Jewell, 3rd—Delaney Warner, 4th—Jadyn Aubol; 15U Distance Winners: 1st—Tatiana Owens, 2nd—Haven Miesner, 3rd—Madeline Whetzel, 4th—Keelyn Swaney.

Overall Sponsor Winners were: 1st Place Overall Sponsors—Carli Savage  (selected a new pink iPhone 13); 2nd Place Overall Sponsors—Kaydense Cox (selected a $250 Amazon gift card); 3rd Place Overall Sponsors—Pressley Brantner (selected a $100 Amazon gift card).

The event raised over $11,000, which will be used to construct new batting cages and hitting stations for the girls at the town fields. CRC Secretary Dana Randall stated, “I’ve been involved with Frederick County softball for over 30 years, so it felt great to get back into an organization I love and raise funds for equipment just for the girls. My son and daughter both played ball here, and I felt it was time that the girls have just as good of facilities as the boys.” 

Every team played in the post-season championships, and each age group had its own County All-Star team. The Catoctin 12U White team won the Gold level Championship to cap off a stellar season, while both 12U Blue and 15U were runner-ups in their Championship series. 

Many thanks to the coaches, players, and parents for a great comeback season for CRC Softball. CRC would also like to thank the Town of Thurmont for the exceptional care and dedication they take in keeping the softball fields in great condition. The new lighted softball field will be a welcome addition to the community. If you are interested in helping the organization, see our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/catoctinrecsoftball.

la

Catoctin Rec Council Softball teams 8U, 10U, 12U, and 15U.

BLAIR GARRETT

Nine Catoctin High School (CHS) seniors officially signed on to further their education while playing sports at the next level. All nine athletes excelled in their sports, helping to propel each of their teams and teammates to be better every day. CHS held a signing day ceremony to let the head coaches share with the athletes’ friends and families what kind of competitor and person they’ve seen each player blossom into.

Few people in a high school athlete’s life see the growth and development that a coach does. The students who go on to compete in college are among the most driven and dedicated to keep improving each day, and a good coach takes notice of that. Each one of these athletes has put an exceptional amount of time into their craft. Putting in the hours on the fields, courts, tracks, and in the gym, coupled with a good attitude, can take you a long way, and each one of these student-athletes has demonstrated that day after day.

Football: Wyatt Davis has committed to play at Shippensburg University in the fall, and the Raiders will be lucky to have him. Davis played defensive end and tackle for Catoctin and was a driving force on the defensive line.

Track and Field: Jenna Zentz is taking her talents to Towson University, where she will look to continue her successes on the track. Zentz ran a variety of events for the Cougars, including relays and 100- through 800-meter races.

Baseball: A pair of star athletes, Noland Kinna and Dalton Williams, have signed their letters of intent to play ball in college, and both have meant a tremendous deal to CHS during their time playing there. Kinna, a commit to the College of Southern Maryland, was involved in a myriad of school programs, and he became a key piece to Catoctin’s back-to-back great seasons. Williams will go on to play at High Point University. Both players were part of the state championship winning season in 2021, helping CHS grab its second championship title.

Softball: Catoctin softball’s Kara Watkins and Avery Sickeri have been integral in the team’s phenomenal season. From start to finish, the Cougars have been dominant, with Watkins and Sickeri helping the team capture the Central Maryland Conference Championship en route to a 17-2 season. Watkins is set to join Shenandoah University’s softball team, while Sickeri looks to make waves at West Chester University.

Girls Basketball: With a talent-packed lineup and a lot of hard work, seniors Emma Wivell and Emily Williams helped push Catoctin to the state finals in the team’s 23-3 season. The seniors had great individual accomplishments as well, with Wivell making the Maryland Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) 1st team, and Williams making the MBCA 2nd team. Wivell has committed to Salisbury University while Williams has committed to Shenandoah University.

Boys Basketball: Though the team had a rocky season, Catoctin’s Ryan Burke played a key role in the successes the boys had over the course of the season. Burke, a shooting guard, plans to play next season with Hagerstown Community College, and will look to make an impact just as he did with the Cougars.

Congratulations to all graduating seniors and to the student athletes who put in years of effort to take their careers to the next step. 

(above) Avery Sickeri and Coach Jessica Valentine.

(above) Kara Watkins, family, and coaching staff.

(above) CHS Principal Jennifer Clements addresses the student athletes.

(avove) Noland Kinna (seated left) and Dalton Williams (seated right) with CHS baseball team.

(above seated) Wyatt Davis and Jenna Zentz are shown.

(above) Emma Wivell and Emily WIlliams.

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

It’s hard to believe another season at Thurmont Little League (TLL) has nearly come to an end. Despite the weather being unpredictable at times, it’s been another fun and successful spring! There have been lots of big events around the complex as of late, beginning with our first-ever District 2 Softball Mixer. We were lucky to have a rare, beautiful Saturday, as the league played host to 12 teams from multiple districts, spanning from Hancock to Lower Montgomery County. The TLL concession stand was rocking, serving up delicious treats to all the visitors, along with The Sauced Savage and Kona Ice. We received a lot of compliments about our facilities and how well-run the event was, and we can’t wait to host more of these in the future. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to making this event a success.

On Saturday, May 14, TLL held its annual hit-a-thon fundraiser. This is the largest annual fundraiser for the league, and proceeds go towards necessities like field maintenance, uniforms, concession upgrades, and general complex improvements. With the addition of our new softball program this year, as well as a record number of registrations, expectations were high that last year’s record-breaking total would be surpassed. Our TLL families and the surrounding community did not disappoint. This year’s hit-a-thon brought in nearly $28,000 in online and cash donations, the largest amount raised in league history! The hit-a-thon is an extremely fun event for our players. Players receive one hit for every $10.00 raised (for a maximum of 10 hits). They can continue to raise additional money in order to win prizes. A bonus hit is also awarded if a player brings a non-perishable item for the Thurmont Food Bank. Prizes are awarded to the top overall fundraisers and also to the players who hit the ball the longest distance. The major and minor divisions are judged on where the ball lands, while the softball, instructional, and t-ball divisions are given credit for how far the ball rolls.

Distance winners for this year’s hit-a-thon were: Majors—Chase Cregger (216 ft.), Marcus Kuhn (199 ft.), and Barry Riddle (190 ft.); Minors—Desean Brown (216 ft.), Nemo Dewees-Johnson (175 ft.), and Chase Dumas (143 ft.);  Instructional—Logan Stephens (156 ft.), Jaiden Poole (120 ft.), and Travis Haller (118 ft.); T-ball—Dixie Eckenrode (125 ft.), Chase Atkins (123 ft.), and Gregory Arellana (122 ft.). TLL softball had a great showing for their first year participating. Distance winners from our softball program were: Delaney Warner (162 ft.), Madilynn Hollingshead (154 ft.), and Allison Lyman (145 ft.).

The overall fundraising winners this year raised some of the highest totals in event history. Congratulations to the following winners: Carson Unger (T-ball Royal Blue)—$1,400, Ethan Smith (Minors Brewers)—$850, and Maverick Cox (T-ball Vegas Gold)—$750. They will each be awarded an Amazon gift card for their prize. In addition to the individual winners, the teams with the most overall donations earn a free pizza party at the end of the season. Highest earning teams were: T-ball Vegas Gold—$2,145, Instructional Wolf Pack—$1,997, Minors Brewers—$1,810, Majors Cubs—$1,707, and Minors Softball Outlaws—$1,214. Along with the close to $28,000 raised, the league also collected several hundred non-perishable goods, which were donated to the Thurmont Food Bank to help those in need. TLL would like to thank the community, parents, and volunteers for their support. Without you, this event would not have been such a tremendous success.

The spring season is winding down, with games concluding in early June. We will then move on to the end of the season tournaments and All-Star games. Look for more information in next month’s issue!

Players line the field during opening ceremonies of the Thurmont Little League’s 2022 season.

Majors winners: Chase Cregger—1st place; Barry Riddle—3rd place

Marcus Kuhn—2nd place.

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

Baseball is officially back at Thurmont Little League (TLL). The four TLL majors teams kicked off the spring season by participating in the annual Garel Hauver Memorial Tournament, hosted by Brunswick Little League. Despite the frigid temperatures and mixture of wind, rain, and even snow over the course of the two days, each team was able to pick up at least one victory over their competitors. The TLL Angels and Orioles went undefeated on the first day, and both advanced to the semifinals on day two. Both teams fought hard against tough teams from Brunswick, and ultimately, the Orioles would advance to the championship game, where they finally ran out of steam and finished as the overall runner-up. Regardless, it was an extremely impressive achievement, and everyone at TLL was proud of their effort and the way they represented Thurmont Little League.

After months of planning, opening day arrived on Saturday, April 2. After soggy weather forced the cancellation of our games and several activities in 2021, the league was determined to make this year’s celebration bigger and better then ever. Those who attended know that was definitely the case. The complex was full to the brim, with people parking and walking from blocks away to attend the festivities. The day started off with several T-ball teams taking the field for their first games of the season. Despite some windy weather during the first few games of the morning, the sun peeked out for the first time in what seemed like ages and made for a beautiful day to celebrate.

Once the first slate of games were completed, a welcoming address was made by League President Robbie Nash, who kicked off the league’s 71st season. Robbie expressed how thankful the league was for the tremendous outpouring of support the league receives on a yearly basis. This year was no exception, as TLL had the highest number of registrations ever, at over 330 players. In an effort to help with crowd control due to these massive numbers, the league held dual ceremonies again this year. At 10:00 a.m., players from the T-ball and instructional divisions were introduced, along with their coaches and team moms. The second round of introductions were held at 3:00 p.m. for the minor, majors, and softball programs.

Next up, was a bit of a somber moment, as the league paid tribute to our Chief Safety Officer, Chris Morlan, who passed away in December after a lengthy battle with COVID-19. Chris was an extremely dedicated member of the TLL family, serving on the board for many years and volunteering as a manager at almost every divisional level. He was always there to help out whenever needed at any of the league’s events, from tournaments and parades to our movie nights and trunk or treat. As TLL kicked off a new season, it was hard to envision Chris not being there to be a part of it, and although he may be gone, he will certainly not be forgotten. Every TLL team will wear a special patch on their jersey this year in honor of Coach Chris.

The Morlan family was invited on to the field to line up along the first base line with many of his brothers from local fire departments joining them. President Nash then welcomed two of Chris’s long-time team members, Chase Cregger and Brody McQuay, to lead the players in reciting the Little League pledge. Next, his mother, Gina Morlan, was invited out to lead everyone in the Parent/Volunteer Pledge. Gina has been a fixture in the TLL concession stand for many years and has also helped with several other events, so she was the perfect choice for this responsibility. During the second ceremony, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins recited the pledge before wishing all players good luck during the upcoming season. On hand to throw out the first pitch for both ceremonies were several of Chris’s children. Son, Bodhi Morlan, and daughter, Abby, performed the duties during the first ceremony, while his older sons, Patrick and Nathan, handled the second. Afterwards, the family was presented with a memorial plaque, commemorating Chris and everything he meant to the league.

Finally, members of the Thurmont Cub Scouts took the field to present the colors before the singing of our National Anthem. This year, it was performed by Thurmont Middle School student, Alaina Furry, who honored our country with a beautiful rendition. Alaina has two brothers who have played baseball at TLL for many years, and she was excited to represent the TLL family. To close the ceremony, Robbie thanked everyone for coming and also recognized the many volunteers and board members who made the event so successful.

After the ceremonies, families and players stayed around to enjoy delicious BBQ by The Sauced Savage, who sold completely out by the end of the event. New this year was ice cream and sandwiches from Glamourview Creamery, who brought a smile to many faces with the size of their cups and cones. And, as always, there were other tasty items from the TLL Concession Stand. The brand-new popcorn machine was a big hit among the youngsters in the crowd! Many vendors were on hand throughout the day. Pivot Physical Therapy, Crucible Performance, Thurmont Cub Scouts, Thurmont Library, and CYA Football had tables to provide information about their services.

Other highlights of the day included a photo booth, complete with balloon archway and fun photo props; meet and greets with Keyote and The Oriole Bird; and Facepainting by Elizabeth, who had a line stretching across the parking lot. Additionally, equipment from the Frederick County Sheriff’s office and many local fire and ambulance companies were there for players to explore and get their pictures with. All in all, it was a wonderful day, with lots of fun for everyone who took part.

Fundraising is always a big part of the opening day ceremony, and this year was no exception. The community showed up in a big way to support the league this year, as the basket raffles and spiritwear tables generated over $13,000 for the league. People were excited to get their TLL t-shirts, hats, and hoodies, and to take a chance at one of the 25 wonderful prizes. The Grand Prize was a custom-made Thurmont Little League cornhole set, generously donated by TLL parent and Coach, B.J. Schildt. The winners were Trevor and Meghan Swain. The league would like to thank all the local businesses that donated to our baskets; without this support, we could not have generated the interest and raised the money that we did. To view a full list, please check out the Thurmont Little League page on Facebook.

The next big event will be the hit-a-thon on May 14, which is the largest annual fundraiser for the league and helps to raise money for uniforms, field maintenance, and everything else the league needs to make a great experience for its players and fans. 

Be sure to check out the next edition of The Catoctin Banner for a recap of that event and all the other happenings from around the Thurmont Little League.

Thurmont Middle School student, Alaina Furry, sings our National Anthem.

TLL coach pitch teammates are shown.

Members of the Thurmont Cub Scouts take the field to present the colors.

Keyote and The Oriole Bird are shown with a TLL fan on Opening Day.

Jack Bowman

As winter turns to spring and the end of the school year approaches, the spring sports at Mount St. Mary’s University have kicked into full gear.

As their seasons begins to wrap up, let’s take a look at how some of the teams are doing.

Men’s Baseball

The Mount baseball team has not exactly had the season they hoped for. Sitting at 9-21 and coming off a rough stretch of games against NEC competition, it’s safe to say that the results have not always been pretty.

There have, though, been some great individual performances.

Senior catcher, Thomas Bramley, leads the team in home runs with eight and has put together a stellar campaign. Sophomores Efrain Correa Jr. and Aiden Tierey have also thrived at the plate.

Women’s Softball

The softball team has had success both in terms of team performance and individual success. Currently sitting at 20-15, the team has played very well throughout the spring.

There have been several awards given to Mount softball players, including Olivia Murphy being named NEC Rookie of the Week, and Abigayle Perry winning NEC Player of the Week.

Perry, in particular, has had a stellar year with five home runs.

Men’s Lacrosse

While the Mount lacrosse team has had its ups and downs on its way to a 5-8 total record, they have pulled off some impressive victories.

Early in the season, they upset Navy in a huge win. The team has also had some individual successes as well, especially with Griffin McGinley taking home a pair of player of the week honors early in the season.

Women’s Lacrosse

The women’s lacrosse team at the Mount has been relatively dominant so far this season with a 10-4 record. They have also played very well against teams in their own conference, boding well for the postseason.

Several players have earned player of the week awards; most recently, Dani Donoghue as the NEC Player of the Week, and Madison Bradley as NEC Defensive Player of the Week.

Other Sports/Notable Achievements

Women’s Bowling: Rebecca Dodson and Tamera Stanton both advanced to the Sweet 16 at the Intercollegiate Singles Championships.

Women’s Golf: Freshman Erika Cui finished 9th at the Quail Valley Spring Invitational. The team finished 5th, overall.

Men’s Golf: The team finished in 4th place at the Abarta Coca-Cola Invitational.


(top left) The Boys Indoor Track Team was recognized at a recent Thurmont Town Office for winning the Maryland State Title. This was the very first State Title for Boys Indoor Track in Catoctin’s history. Great job, Cougars!; (top right) Lady Cougar Basketball won the Regional 1A Championship and progressed to become the Maryland State Semi-Finalists falling to Pikesville 51-42 at the University of Maryland Xfinity Center on March 10, 2022;


(top left) Congratulations to Catoctin’s Softball Coach, Jessica Valentine, on her 200th win—CHS 22 FSK 0; (top right) Catoctin’s Kay Buhrman placed 8th at the State Swim meet in the 500 freestyle. In doing so, her time of 5:37.20 broke the school record.

(top left ) Cougar Nation!; (top middle) Congratulations to Catoctin’s Braden Bell! He brought home the bronze in the 138 lbs. weight class; (top right) Congratulations to Catoctin’s Emma Taylor! Emma wrestled to a 4th place finish in the State wrestling tournament;

Photos Courtesy of Facebook Boosters & Town of Thurmont

CYA Mid Maryland Catoctin JV Boys team won the Mid Maryland “A” Division Championship game. Also, the Mid Maryland Catoctin Varsity Girls team won the Mid Maryland “AA” Division Championship game.

Boys CYA Mid Maryland Catoctin JV Team

CYA Mid Maryland Catoctin JV boys team went undefeated this season in their division, with a 12 to 0 record. They placed 1st overall, with a 14 to 1 record.

The final championship game came down to Catoctin (1st seed) vs. Middletown (2nd seed). Catoctin won 54 to 44.

Gabe Contreras won the MVP of the game.

Mid Maryland Catoctin JV Team (from left): David Boone #24, Ethan Roark #1, Braden Zentz #12, Wyatt Kinna #10, Quinton Thompson #23, Gabe Contreras #11, Eric Harvey (Head Coach), Jenn Cregger (Assistant Coach), Kendall Johnson #15, Ben Bingman #13, Colton Gray #20, Chase Cregger #21, and Carson Fry #5.

Girls Mid Maryland Catoctin Varsity Team

The Mid Maryland Catoctin Varsity Girls team’s regular season record was 12-3, 15-3 after tournament play.

The final championship game was Middletown (1st seed) vs. Catoctin (3rd seed). Catoctin won 41-30.

Harley Fitzpatrick won the MVP of the game and was MVP of the tournament, overall.

For the playoffs, the girls beat Urbana 37-21 in quarterfinals, and they beat Windsor Knolls 36-26 in the semifinals.

Mid Maryland Catoctin Varsity Girls Team (from left): (front) Madelynn Myers, Harley Fitzpatrick, Olivia Hoyt, Josie Shaffer, Caroline Sanders; (middle) Dwight Baumgardner (head coach), Ella Burgee, Madeline Whetzel, Olivia Baker; (back) Ed Sanders (assistant coach), Brooke Williams, Kelsey Troxell, Kassidy Kreitz, and Jesse Williams (assistant coach).

Ryan Tokar, CYA Basketball

On Sunday, January 23, Catoctin Youth Association (CYA) Basketball held its annual shoot-a-thon fundraiser. This is the largest annual fundraiser for the program.  Proceeds go towards necessities like gym rentals, uniforms, equipment, paid officials, and league fees. With the cancelation of its previous season due to COVID-19, it was critical to offset some of the losses in registration fees. The community came out in support of the program in a BIG way. This year’s shoot-a-thon brought in over $13,500 in online and cash donations, one of the largest amounts raised in CYA Basketball history!

The idea behind the shoot-a-thon is simple. Players collect money from sponsors for a chance to win prizes. To be eligible for prizes, each player must raise at least $50.00;  however, they can continue to raise additional money above and beyond that. Prizes are given out to the top overall fundraisers and to the players who have the highest overall percentage of shots made. The number of shots attempted is based on the age group of the player, with anywhere from 20 to 100 shots being attempted. In most cases, shots are attempted from the free throw line; however, the younger ages are moved in several feet closer and shoot on lowered rims. CYA Basketball programs consist of youths ages kindergarten all the way through high school. The boys and girls high school teams served as volunteers to help record the scores for younger players.

The winners of this year’s highest shooting percentage were: Levi Baker—Highest Overall Percentage Foul Shooter; K-1st Clinic—Bryce Yocum; Girl’s 2nd-4th—Peyton Willis; Boy’s 2nd-4th—Luke Wiles; U12 Boys/Girls—Eli McFarland; U14 Boys/Girls—Gage Eyler; Mid MD Boys/Girls—Harley Fitzpatrick. Overall fundraising winners were: 1st Place—Kaydense Cox; 2nd Place— Evan Laird; 3rd Place—Skylar Stidom.

Winners were each awarded a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card for their prize. The teams with the most overall donations also earned a free pizza party.

Along with the $13,500 raised, the league also collected several hundred non-perishable goods, which were donated to the Thurmont/Emmitsburg Food Banks to help those in need. Players received raffle tickets for each item they donated, and there were three great prize baskets given away. Tyler Creel won the Movie Basket, featuring a Warehouse Cinemas Gift Card and all the snacks you need for a movie night. Brayden Rickerd won the Baseball Basket, which included a free Thurmont Little League registration with other baseball-themed items. Kathleen Davis won the Football Basket, with a free CYA Football/Cheer registration and other items.

Throughout the afternoon, there were activities that included music, a face painter, and team/individual photos. All in all, it was a great day and a wonderful event.

CYA Basketball would like to thank the community, parents, and volunteers for their support. Without you, it would not have been such a tremendous success.

Courtesy Photos

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

It’s hard to believe another season of Thurmont Little League (TLL) is already under way. It may still be a bit chilly outside, but the season is off to a hot start. The registration period for baseball and our brand-new softball program closed on February 13.

Evaluations for the majors and minors divisions were held on Saturday, February 19. Afterward, the drafts were held and teams were assigned so that practices could officially kick-off.

Our majors-level teams will be hard at work, preparing for the annual Garel Hauver Tournament in Brunswick in late March, which officially kicks off the season. The rest of the league will begin play on TLL’s official opening day: Saturday, April 2.

Opening day is always an exciting event for our league. Family and friends come out to watch all the players be announced, as well as to see some take the field for the very first time. This year, there will once again be split ceremonies to help accommodate parking and keep crowds to a minimum, with the COVID-19 protocols for large gatherings still in place.

The T-ball and instructional teams will have their ceremony in the morning, while minors and majors will take place in the afternoon. There will be delicious treats on-site from the TLL concession stand; and, this year, there will be several food trucks, such as The Sauced Savage, Glamourview Creamery, and Kona Ice. The popular TLL Photo Booth will make its return for all those social media opportunities, and we are expecting visits from local celebrities, such as Safety Pup and The Oriole Bird! Other vendors on-site will include local fire and ambulance crews, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Pivot Physical Therapy, and Crucible Performance.

Another extremely big draw during the opening day ceremonies are the raffle baskets. Tickets will be on sale to win a variety of awesome prizes. Baskets include gift cards and other donated items from a variety of local establishments, such as Carriage House; Kountry Kitchen; Mountain Gate; Wait, What? Sauce Company; McCutcheon’s; the Frederick Keys; and more. We will also be having a 50-50 and a table of Spirit Wear and TLL discount cards for sale. Mark your calendar today; you won’t want to miss out on this awesome event!

As always, we are looking for volunteers for the upcoming season. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to us at www.thurmontlittleleague.com. The biggest need is for volunteer umpires. If you are a high school or college student looking for community service hours or semi-retired with time on your hands, we will provide all the necessary training. The league is holding its annual umpire clinic on Sunday, March 6, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the TLL complex.

We can’t wait for everything this season has in store for our players and families!

Lady Cougars are pictured after a win against Williamsport in February.

Catoctin Girls Basketball fell to undefeated Urbana on February 22, 2022, at Hood College while competing in the Central Maryland Conference championship game. The Lady Cougars’ record is 19-2, leading into the State Championship playoffs that begin March 1.

Catoctin Boys Indoor Track are Class 1A MD State Champions. They competed on February 22, 2022, at the Baltimore Armory.

Brody Buffington was 1st in the 55m and 300; Furious Trammel was 2nd in the 300 and 5th in the 500; Alexander Contrera was 3rd in the 3200 and 5th in the 1600; Garrett Sullivan was 3rd in the high jump; and Wyatt Davis was 4th in shot put; Catoctin was 4th in the 4×8 and 5th in the 4×2.

Catoctin’s Swimming and Diving Team competed in regionals February 21, 2022, at the Fairland Aquatics Center.


Catoctin Wrestling finished 4th as a team in the Frederick County Tournament. They competed in regionals at the end of February.

All Photos Courtesy of Catoctin High School Sports Boosters Facebook posts

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

As the ice and snow continue to blanket the ground, it’s hard to believe that baseball season will begin in just a few short weeks. The registration period for baseball and our brand-new softball program will close on February 13. There is still a lot of other work to be done before the season starts.

Evaluations for the minor and major divisions will be held, along with a draft for each. Plans are being made for our opening day celebration, which will once again be split into two ceremonies based on division level. There will be lots of fun activities, delicious food to eat, and great prizes to be won. Fundraising efforts have already begun, with the league beginning to accept donations for the annual basket raffles.

Speaking of fundraisers, a special fundraising night will take place at Roy Rogers on Tuesday, February 1, with proceeds from all orders going to the league. There will also be in-person registration ability available onsite. Come on out for a great meal to support Thurmont Little League (TLL).

We are once again selling discount cards, which are always a popular item. For $20.00, you can purchase a card for unlimited usage at many of your favorite local businesses, everything from a free drink to 20 percent off your order. Several new additions are featured on the cards this year, including Dunkin’ and Los Amigos. Please contact TLL on Facebook or by email at tllnetwork@gmail.com for more information. You may also pick up a discount card at several of the participating restaurants.

With all the exciting things happening during the offseason, we must also take a moment to reflect upon an extremely difficult loss for our organization. On December 23, 2021, our chief safety officer, Chris Morlan, passed away.

Chris was an extremely dedicated member of the TLL family, serving on the board for many years and volunteering as a manager at almost every divisional level. He was always there to help out whenever needed at any of the league’s events, from tournaments and parades to our movie nights and trunk or treat. As we move towards our new season, it’s hard to envision Chris not being there to be a part of it. The board of directors is hard at work thinking of ways to honor his memory and legacy at TLL. While he may be gone, he will certainly not be forgotten.

Be sure to check out next month’s issue of The Catoctin Banner for even more details about our opening day festivities and all the other events going on to kick start our 2022 season!

Jayden Myers

When I entered high school, I never expected to be a part of Unified Sports. As a matter of fact, I never even knew it was a thing.

I became acquainted with Unified Sports through my teacher, Ms. Kelle. One day, I walked into the library for my lunch shift where the Unified Sports Club was meeting. At the time, I didn’t know what they were meeting for. Ms. Kelle stopped me and asked, “Hey, Jayden, do you want to join our club?”

Not knowing what I was about to join, I agreed. I’m truthfully glad I did.

For background, Unified Sports was created to promote meaningful inclusion by bringing people, with and without intellectual disabilities, together. It is based on the belief that this cannot happen without youth leaders. This club is part of many schools around the country.

For those of you who don’t know, bocce, also known as bocce ball and bocci, is an Italian lawn-bowling game. You start with a pallina (a small ball), which is thrown first. Then, the teams roll out four larger bocce balls. The teams earn points based on whose bocce ball is closer to the pallina. The points also depend on if the bocce balls are in a certain range; thus, while in a game, you’ll notice they measure to see how far a bocce is from the pallina. 

I joined Unified Sports and ended up loving it. I played alongside Logan Dukich, MaKenzie Lewis, Carli Mazaleski, Dominic McKenny, Lucas Phelan, Siddah Robbins, Oliver Vasquez, and Jonny Wastler. Plus, our wonderful coaches, Ms. Kelle Brumley and Mrs. Charmane Nesbitt.

Without Ms. Kelle and Mrs. Nesbitt, none of this would have been possible. They create a great environment for the students and make sure that everything is taken care of. I’m glad to call them my coaches.

With Unified Sports joining part of the regular sports program, hopefully kids, now and in the future, will have an avenue to socialize and be a part of a fun and competitive environment, without some of the physical strains of traditional sports.

This team has become more like a family over the last few months, and this adventure has been a phenomenal one to embark on.

Team members: (from left) Carli Mazaleski, Kenzie Lewis, Siddah Robbins, Logan Dukich, Jayden Myers, Dominic McKenney, and Oliver Vasquez. Not present for photo: Lucas Phelan and Jonny Wastler.

Courtesy Photo

Ryan Tokar, Thurmont Little League

There is no such thing as a quiet offseason at Thurmont Little League (TLL), and this year has been no exception. The board of directors has stayed busy with big plans for the upcoming season.

When the fall season ended, the league immediately began work on its typical offseason activities, such as field and complex improvements. A great deal of work has been done on the minor and major league fields to continue to improve upon playing conditions after they were completely re-done last year. New sod was laid down in some areas, and things are on track for both fields to be in even better shape for the start of the spring season.

Speaking of which, registrations will open on January 1 for the upcoming 2022 season. Players, ages 4-13, are able to register for the appropriate division, from T-ball all the way up through Intermediate. And, new for this year, TLL is happy to be adding softball programs to its list of offerings! Three levels of play will be available for a variety of ages, including coach pitch, minors, and majors. We are very excited about the opportunity to offer this new program to the local community. Registration will close on February 13, so don’t miss out. Visit www.TLLBaseball.com today.

With the addition of the new softball program, there are other changes coming, including a new website. The website will be changing in the very near future to the more encompassing www.ThurmontLittleLeague.com. On top of that, TLL will be welcoming three new board members to help oversee all aspects of the new softball division. We would like to thank the following individuals for stepping up to the plate to help us get this program off the ground: Melissa Stidom—V.P. Softball; Ashley Balsley—Softball Player Agent; and Heather Crummitt—Board Member at Large.

Now more than ever, TLL is seeking volunteers for the upcoming season, including managers, coaches, team moms, and umpires. These are great opportunities for retirees looking to give back to the community with their free time, parents with flexible work schedules, or even high-school students looking to fulfill their community services hours. The league offers various types of training opportunities, including free umpire clinics. If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to the league at theTLLnetwork@gmail.com.

Finally, fundraising has continued this offseason, thanks to our friends at Thurmont Roy Rogers. Several successful fundraising nights have been held, with Roys donating 25 percent of the proceeds back to the league. The next event will be held on Friday, January 14. We will also be selling the wildly popular TLL discount cards again this year, so be on the lookout for those in the upcoming months. Plans for opening day on Saturday, April 2, are already under way. We can’t wait to see everyone back out on the fields soon!

Last year, a local group of players and coaches from Thurmont Little League (TLL) teamed up to plan the baseball trip of a lifetime to participate in the prestigious Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament in Cooperstown, New York. This tournament is well-known nationwide and attracts hundreds of youth baseball teams each summer. However, as was the case with many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas. Unfortunately, instead of heading to Cooperstown, the team had to pivot and travel to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to participate in The Ripken Experience Tournament. It was a great experience for all involved, but the players did miss out on touring the Baseball Hall of Fame and many of the other opportunities that only Cooperstown can provide.

This year, with the help of Coach Jeff Potter from the Potter Baseball Tour, the team was able to secure a spot to return to Cooperstown for this summer’s event from August 3-9, 2022. The team, consisting of 12 players and 3 coaches from the Thurmont and Emmitsburg area, will play under the name Potter Pirates Black. The Thurmont community and TLL have partnered with Potter Baseball on several activities over the past few years, including a charity kickball tournament to benefit the Fuse Teen Center, a painting project on the exterior of the Thurmont Food Bank, and upgrades to the façade of the Thurmont Senior Center. They are excited to partner with Coach Potter and his organization again for this amazing opportunity. The local team will consist of players Tucker Bryant, Chase Cregger, Brandon DeGrange, Mason Hewitt, Reed McCauley, Brody McQuay, Nate Morlan, Justice Myers, Brayden Rickerd, Graysen Strobel, Ethan Tokar, and Bracen Webb. Manager Keith Myers and Assistant Coaches Brandon McQuay and Lane Strobel will accompany the team to Cooperstown, along with umpire Blaine Young and Coach Potter.

Players and coaches get to stay on-site for a week, lodging at Baseball Village. They will be spending quality time together, meeting players from all over the country, and, of course, playing a lot of baseball. They will be provided with daily meals and custom uniforms for the tournament. The team will get to partake in an opening and closing ceremony, skills competitions, and a minimum of seven games. Other benefits include pin trading, personalized baseball cards for the players, tournament rings, and a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. There will be digital webcasts of the games and highlights as well for those wishing to follow along at home.

The trip comes with a hefty cost, so the team is fundraising and seeking support from the community to help them fulfill their dreams. They are asking the community to consider supporting the team at a fundraiser or by donating to the group. Many efforts are already underway, such as Roy Rogers donating a portion of their proceeds from scheduled fundraiser nights on the first Friday of each month. In addition, there has also been a Tastefully Simple fundraiser, courtesy of Dawn Fisher, and a World Series grid fundraiser in support of the team. A MightyCause online fundraiser has also been established as a method of collecting online donations. Upcoming fundraisers include Bingo on Sunday, January 9, at the Lewistown Fire Hall; the selling of Super Bowl squares; and a benefit breakfast at Trinity UCC on Saturday, March 19.

For more information on how you can help support this worthy cause, please contact Team Manager Keith Myers at keithmyers07@gmail.com.

Blair Garrett

After nearly two years without a consistent schedule, high school sports are officially back on track.

Catoctin High School athletes have had to navigate abridged seasons and restrictions, cutting down opportunities for student athletes to compete since the spring season of 2020. Some students have missed out on half of their high school athletic seasons due to the ongoing pandemic. And, with cold and flu season in full swing, the future remains uncertain.

For now, though, students finally have a consistent schedule to compete with other athletes around the region.

Regular seasons for popular winter sports like basketball, wrestling, and swimming have had fans itching to get back to normal. Even the playoff format once again follows the standard format from non-COVID years. 

“As of right now, everything is normal with regards to playoffs, Athletic Director Keith Bruck said. “It’s the same structure we’ve had pre-COVID with the region format and championship schedule, so hopefully that continues.”

Though students and fans have reason to be excited for winter sports, there are still regulations and precautions to be followed for everyone in attendance.

“This year for the fans, coaches, and everyone inside the gymnasium, they have to wear a mask,” Bruck said. “While the players are actively engaged in the sport, they don’t have to wear a mask.”

This is a big development from last season, where players for indoor sports like basketball were required to play masked throughout the duration of the game.

“When a kid is on the court for basketball, they don’t have to wear a mask, but when they come off the court, they’re expected to put a mask on,” Bruck said.

No matter how small the progress is to working toward normalcy, the goal is to keep taking the proper precautions seriously to allow students to continue pursuing athletics. Even if some of the rules are uncomfortable at times, it beats missing out on another season of high school sports.

The local support has been great through the first few weeks of winter sports, with fans making their voices heard from the stands. “Attendance has been about the same as it was in previous years,” Bruck said. “Folks are anxious to get back and see their favorite teams.”

With fans and players only getting to experience a glimpse of a normal season in 2020, this season’s athletes are excited for a chance to do it right. “We had a really short winter season last year, so I think folks want to get back to watching high school sports,” Bruck said.

Fans will have plenty of opportunities to catch Catoctin sports over the winter break, with wrestling and basketball tournaments highlighting the end of December. Both tournaments will allow students to showcase the hard work they have been putting in all year to prepare for their time to shine.

With the turning of the page into the new year, Track and Field and Swimming meets become a big deal for hundreds of athletes in the region. These events typically bring multiple schools together, so the continuation of group competitions is a hugely positive sign for the state of high school sports.

A particularly close-contact sport like wrestling having the green light to carry on is also encouraging. Prevention of COVID transmission between wrestlers seems almost impossible, but, fortunately, programs have had good luck this season avoiding any delays and shutdowns due to outbreaks.   

“We haven’t had to pause with any of our teams so far,” Bruck said. “We’ve had individual cases here and there, but we haven’t had to stop our teams from practicing or playing.”

It’s no secret that everyone wants the COVID nightmare behind us, and the athletes finally have something concrete to focus on as they push through their regular seasons toward playoffs. The opportunity to compete for a state title is something these athletes won’t take for granted.

You can catch Catoctin sports from the jump in 2022, with all games, meets, and matches listed on the Catoctin High School athletic calendar at www.fcps.org.