Currently viewing the tag: "Cross Country"

with Michael Betteridge

Comfort Is The Enemy Of Greatness

Our hometown Catoctin Cougars’ fall sports season began on August 9 at 7:00 a.m. at Catoctin High School, when our guys and gals came streaming through the doors of the school, carrying their gym bags, equipment, and hopes and dreams for the fall 2023 high school sports season. Football, soccer, cross country, field hockey, volleyball, and golf are in full swing with everyone returning to practice exactly two weeks before the first day of school on August 23.

One of the biggest changes at Catoctin is the new artificial turf field, installed throughout the month of August. Some athletes like the artificial surface because it is faster, and some prefer natural grass because it is more forgiving. The one undeniable thing is that you can play on the artificial surface no matter what the weather and that is precisely why Frederick County has upgraded the final four high schools in the county that had natural grass fields:  Brunswick, Catoctin, Tuscarora, and Walkersville. Money was allocated by the Frederick County Council in the form of a $10 million Maryland state grant, specifically to upgrade those four schools. And that didn’t sit well with the boosters at Governor Thomas Johnson High School, who raised $200,000 to fund their new turf field in 2021, which took years to raise. Had they waited two years, that money could have been used to benefit the student-athletes because the county and state would have paid for the field. Timing is everything! 

There are those who think Catoctin won the lottery with its new field and others who think turf fields harm the environment, cause more injuries, and cost more in the long run with an 8- to 10-year life cycle. Like it or not, Catoctin football, soccer, and lacrosse will be played on an artificial turf field from now on.

But, new fields are not the only change in the fall sports season. Early in August, the Central Maryland Conference (CMC) announced a complete realignment of all the teams in the CMC. Clear Spring was added. The CMC now has 16 schools in the league and has been broken down into two divisions: a small school division with 1A and 2A schools and a large school division with 3A and 4A schools. The small school division will consist of the Antietam and Gambrill subdivisions, and the large school division will consist of the Potomac and Spires subdivisions. Catoctin has been placed in the small school Antietam division, along with Clear Spring, Boonsboro, and Smithsburg. Catoctin football will not be affected by these changes in the CMC since there is no CMC championship for football.  The football postseason is guided by the Maryland Public School Student Athletic Association (MPSSAA).  For sports other than football, there will now be two CMC championship trophies awarded: one to a small division school and one to a large division school.

Every year at the start of the football season, I like to hang around the Catoctin practice fields, workout areas, and sports classrooms to prepare myself for play-by-play coverage on the radio. I have been doing play-by-play on WTHU here in Frederick County now for 15 years. Just like high school sports, preparation is everything. I also attend the Catoctin football chalk talks and scrimmages, but what I really enjoy is learning from the Catoctin coaches.

Recently, while attending a Catoctin football practice session, Head Football Coach Mike Rich said something to his players that was timeless. I was moved by the words of advice he gave his players. He told them that “comfort is the enemy of greatness.” He is right! Getting up at 5:00 a.m. to make a 7:00 a.m. football practice is uncomfortable. He reminded his players that at that very moment, their classmates were still on vacation and probably in bed asleep. He challenged them with the notion that not everybody belonged in that room. Showing up is easy, but putting in the hard work every day is what will make them Catoctin football players. After Coach Rich was done, I wanted to put on a helmet and pads and suit up to play myself.

Coach Rich, now in his fourth season at Catoctin, is highly motivational. He is building something special on Sabillasville Road, and it’s starting to pay off.  Coach Rich keeps pounding his mantra into players over and over again. He calls it the three B’s: Be consistent! Be relentless! Be accountable! Excellent advice for teenage athletes.

Senior Haydn Matthews and Shamus Stull will share time at quarterback this season, surrounded by a very large offensive line. Haydn has matured from last year. He is big and strong and has a cannon for an arm. Stull is a player to watch this season. He ran with teammate and track star Brody Buffington in the 4×100 relay track team. This kid is a burner! With Matthews’ size, arm, and athleticism and Stull’s speed, defenses will go nuts trying to figure out how to adjust to that QB tandem. Robeson and Watkins are huge on the offensive line, with teammates Randy Hall and Braydon Bagent, this could be one of the best o-lines since 2019. At wide receiver, they have real legitimate speed in Charlie Dougherty and Vince Reaver. One of the biggest surprises last year was Logan Malachowski. Logan is a big, strong target with good instincts and a deep threat to take the ball away in a crowd, which he did several times last year in the end zone. The most amazing thing about Logan is that he has only played football for one year. This is his second year ever playing organized football. Logan was also a big part of the Cougars 2023 baseball team, playing centerfield and pitching in relief. I am really excited about this wide receiver corps!             

Speaking of baseball, somehow coaches convinced Eddy Titchom, who helped Coach Franklin with the baseball team last spring as a manager, to suit up and play football. He is huge! The biggest guy on the team. He will make an immediate impact on this team. And, finally, junior running back Jake Bell looks bigger and stronger than ever and will carry the load in the backfield behind the wall up front with his teammate running back Wayne Ferson, a thunder and lightning tandem.

The defense is anchored by one of the strongest defensive backfields in recent history. Charlie Dougherty will play both ways, but according to coaches, he is one of the best safeties they have seen in a long time. Charlie will call the plays for the defense. Expect big things from Charlie this season, sticking his nose in there and busting up the opponent’s offense and reading the quarterback’s eyes in the backfield. Pound for pound, the defense is special and the time spent in the weight room this year shows. These guys are big, strong, and athletic. Offense is fun, but defense wins games!

This team is on board with Coach Rich’s three B’s, and with a new turf field to add to the excitement, this Cougars football team will consistently and relentlessly pound their opponents all the way into November. 

I predict a very special season for the 2023 Catoctin Cougars football team. On Friday, September 1, the season began at Catoctin High School on their brand new “field of dreams.”  Come on out to the new field and cheer our Catoctin Cougars football team to victory. Catoctin can’t win without its twelfth man. That’s you!

Blair Garrett

With fall sports now in full swing, there is a lot to look forward to for Mount St. Mary’s athletics.

Men’s Soccer

Improving on last season’s 2-10-4 record is imminent for the Mount this season, who have already surpassed their win total over the 2018 campaign. The team won its first three games of the season, scoring seven goals over that streak.

Scoring woes plagued Mount St. Mary’s last season, clipping at .81 goals per game in 2018, but the team has increased that average drastically through the first five games of the season, sitting at 1.4 GPG through the team’s first five games.

The men have in-conference matches against key opponents Robert Morris University and St. Francis Brooklyn in the coming weeks that is sure to have a major impact on the seeding in the Northeast Conference.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s side struggled toward the beginning of its 2018 run, but a strong finish kept the team competitive and in the hunt in the Northeast Conference through the majority of the season. The team’s start in its 2019 season leaves plenty of room for improvement, currently sitting at 1-8, so a similar turning of the tides may be in store for Mount St. Mary’s. 

Offense has been a major issue for the Mount, with the team scoring in just two games through the team’s first nine games. The fix is easier said than done, but with plenty of time left in the season and the bulk of the team’s conference matchups ahead, a complete turnaround is entirely possible.

Cross Country

Mount St. Mary’s Cross Country has just a handful of invitationals left, and with a much more active schedule over the month of October, the crew has the opportunity to put a season’s worth of hard work to the test.

The Mount has competed in two meets thus far, with several strong individual performances coming out of the men’s and women’s sides. Will Merritt had a stellar performance, finishing second place in the Mount St. Mary’s 5K Duals with a time of 15:36.99, just five seconds off of first place. Other top finishers included the Mount’s Isaac Kole (eleventh), and Maddie Kole (nineteenth).

Mount St. Mary’s is back in action once again at the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on October 5.


Mount Golf is more than halfway through its season, and with a number of strong performances in regional tournaments, the team is putting the pieces together to finish out the season on the right foot.

The depth of the Mount’s roster has shown someone new to step up at each tournament to lead the team on the scorecard. Just this season, Michael Robinson, Nacho Gomez, and Mitchell Gallo have all taken the reigns to lead the Mount at different tournaments over the past month.

The team sports a young crew with plenty of time for improvement, with six freshmen and just two upperclassmen.

The women for the Mount have two key performers who have contributed heavily to the team all season. Michaila Cheung and Olivia Gardenhour have competed all season long for the Mount, leading the squad at different events over the course of September.

Cheung (So.), Gardenhour (Jr.), and Taylor Woodward (Fr.) all have at least another year together, so there is time for growth between the trio as they continue the push through the final few tournaments of the season.       

This has been your mid-season recap. For more information, check out the Mount St. Mary’s athletics site at    

Blair Garrett

Fall sports for high schools across the country kick off each September, and Catoctin High’s student-athletes are finishing up training camp and entering their respective seasons, eager for the competition to begin.

After a long off-season for summer break, Catoctin High athletics is just getting back into the swing of things. Preseason and the weeks leading up to the start of the regular season offer coaches and players a chance to build the chemistry and team cohesiveness that makes a good team great. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect for the Cougars this coming season.

Football: Following up a stellar 2018 campaign for the Cougars is no easy feat. Catoctin High football rocketed off to a 10-1 start before falling in the playoffs, but this 2019 squad is up for the challenge to match or exceed last year’s success. The team, led by head coach Doug Williams, kicks off its season in what is sure to be a close-fought rivalry game against Boonsboro High School.

The Cougars won both matchups against the Warriors last season, and they’ll look to replicate their winning ways in both games against Boonsboro this season. Catoctin’s season opener begins September 6, at Boonsboro High School.

Golf: The earliest start to Catoctin sports comes from the Cougars’ golf team, opening the season with a quad-school morning matchup in late August, followed in the afternoon by another bout against Governor Thomas Johnson High School. The co-ed golf program features athletes typically competing against one or multiple schools at a time, vying for the lowest scores per hole to earn a victory for their school. The Catoctin golf program in 2018 found success, sending an athlete to compete at the collegiate level, which is promising for student-athletes competing for the Cougars in 2019 and seasons to come.

Cross Country: Catoctin cross country has been historically successful in the past, winning multiple championships back-to-back just a few years ago. The girls and boys season starts August 29, in a tri-school meet against Frederick High School and Brunswick High School. With various talented runners leading the team, the Cougars should be in form for another exciting season.

Field Hockey: The Catoctin field hockey team is the only sport to begin its 2019 fall season on its home turf, taking on the Eagles of Francis Scott Key High School. Catoctin field hockey is looking to get off to a hot start this season to continue improving and competing against the toughest competition. The Cougars face off in the season opener on September 10 at 4:00 p.m.

Soccer: The boys and girls soccer teams struggled to gain traction last season, but a fresh new season and fresh new faces leading the charge could be just what the Cougars need to get the squads back on track to find success on the field once again. Both crews ignite a new season on the road September 10 against familiar foe, Francis Scott Key High School. 

Volleyball: Catoctin High volleyball is the final of the fall sports to get underway, and the Cougars have ample time to prepare for a grueling schedule ahead. Catoctin volleyball found success on the road last season, going 5-2 in the opponent’s home court, which is great news looking forward to this season, as the team hits the road for its season opener against Walkersville High School on September 12.   

You can catch all the action this upcoming season and support your local high school by checking out schedules online and staying tuned for further coverage of local athletics throughout the school year.

The Catoctin High School (CHS) Sports Boosters is pleased to announce that in addition to the State Champion Team banners that hang in the gymnasium, they have now added banners that display the names of the Individual State winners in Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track and Field, and Wrestling.

January 2016 will be their month-long “Celebration of Champions.” If you were an individual winner of a state championship (or member of a state champion relay event), please join us at a home event in January and be recognized for your accomplishment(s). Please inform the person(s) at the door that you are present and what sport and year you are representing.

For more information, please contact Athletic Director Kevin McMullen at 240-236-8090 or Denise Valentine at 301-788-2952. The CHS athletic schedule can be found at


cross country 2 (1)Catoctin Girls’ Cross Country team set several new Catoctin High School (CHS) records and personal records during the Maryland State 2A Cross Country Meet at Hereford High School on Saturday, November 14, 2015. As a team, Catoctin came in third place, scoring 141 team points, among the 2A schools. This marked the best finish ever by Catoctin High School’s Girls’ Cross Country team. It also marked the first time Catoctin had three girls in the top twenty finishers at states, and the first time three girls have run under 21 minutes on the challenging Hereford cross country course.

At states, the top five finishers for each school are assigned points based on their individual running times on the course. A team’s number six and seven runners’ scores are figured in the event of a tie. The team with the lowest amount of points wins.

Catoctin’s Cross Country Coach Terri Gibbons said, “It’s based on who the top five are—that day. If someone doesn’t have a good day, that counts against you.” She added, “At Hereford, we ran a three-mile course with big hills. It’s a very difficult course.”

Coach Gibbons is known for motivational team taglines. This season’s team motto, “Rankings mean nothing and race day means everything!” was proven true, as reflected in race-day results at Hereford.

Julien Webster ran seventh place overall, with a time of 20:02.84. She is a junior at Catoctin and was Catoctin’s number one finisher at this state competition. She ran the fastest time in CHS school history that any girl from Catoctin has ever run on the Hereford course.

Bella Kreiner earned thirteenth place overall, with a time of 20:29.11, a new personal record on the course. A senior and team captain, she ran as number two for Catoctin on Saturday.

Lillie Perella earned nineteenth place overall, and also ran a new course personal record, with a time of 20:41.13. She was the number three runner for Catoctin at Hereford.

Catoctin’s powerful top three: Julien, Bella, and Lillie, had a phenomenal season. Coach Gibbons said, “Often times, the three of them crossed the finish line before most teams’ number two runner! At the county championship they were third, sixth, and seventh.”

Rachel Waldron placed forty-third overall at state and ran number four for Catoctin, with a time of 22:12.31. She ran a new course personal record, beating her time at a meet on the same course in September by over two minutes.

“22:12 is an impressive time on this hard course. She shaved over two minutes in a month and half. That is extremely impressive,” said Coach Gibbons.

Sienna Caselle earned eighty-second place overall, with a time of 23:41.82, a new course personal record for her. She ran the number five spot for Catoctin at states, with her first run under twenty-four minutes at Hereford.

Courtney Orndorff placed ninetieth, with a time of 24:18.02, also a new course personal record. She was the number six runner for Catoctin at Hereford.

Kia Braithwaite ran ninety-fourth place, a new course personal record time, earning the number seven spot for Catoctin on Saturday. She’s been anywhere from number four to number seven this year.

Seniors and team captains, Bella Kreiner and Maura Williams, gained and shared great work ethics as part of this team. About the team’s thoughts before the state meet, Bella said, “We felt pretty confident; we’ve been a strong team over the year. It’s all on attitude and the mental game… We encourage each other. We’ve been faster than we ever have before.”

Congratulations to Catoctin’s Boy’s Cross Country finishers. Paul Slotwinski finished fifteenth, his best state finish; and Keith Gasior ran a course personal best time. Special thanks to coaches Ryan Lenhart, Leah Stone, and Jami Campbell, who have helped tremendously this season.

Good luck to Julien Webster and Bella Kreiner, who will compete in New York at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Cross Country Championship that takes place while this newspaper is at press.

Congratulations Catoctin Cross Country for a great season!

catoctin cross country (2)

Pictured from left are Coach Ryan Lenhart, Coach Leah Stone, Kia Braithwaite, Rachel Waldron, Sienna Caselle, Bella Kreiner, Courtney Orndorff, Julien Webster, Lillie Perella, and Coach Terri Gibbons.