Monday, April 3rd, 2017 marks the end of another exciting year of March Madness, with University of North Carolina as the new national champions. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Basketball Tournament, more widely known as March Madness, is a single-elimination tournament that includes 68 college basketball teams from Division I of the NCAA. All 68 teams are divided into 4 regions and compete in 6 rounds: the Round of 64, Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and finally the championships. The tournament was recently expanded to 68 teams from the original 64 in 2011. Those four teams play in an opening round to decide who will play with the top 64. This year was full of all sorts of exciting plays and unexpected outcomes.
Already, in the round of 64, things were getting heated. The biggest highlight of this year’s first round was Northwestern’s first-ever NCAA Tournament debut and win against Vanderbilt. The game was surely a close one, but Northwestern was able to hold on to the 68-66 lead they earned with merely 12 seconds left of the game. Another big moment was the No. 12 seed, Middle Tennessee, beating the No. 5 seed, Minnesota, 81-72, giving them a pass to the second round. Along with the thrilling matches, a huge upset came during Seton Hall’s match against Arkansas; with only a couple of seconds left, Seton Hall was called with a flagrant foul that ultimately ended its season. Some other highlights included: Michigan beating Oklahoma State 92-91 and Notre Dame upsetting Princeton 60-58.
The round of 32 was perhaps one of the most thrilling, or upsetting, rounds of the whole tournament. Wisconsin was able to knock off top seed, Villanova, winning 65-62 and leaving many people’s brackets crushed. Additionally, South Carolina was able to come back the second half and ultimately defeat the number two seed in the East Region, Duke, 88-81. In the midwest region, Michigan was able to beat Louisville, and in the West Region, Xavier triumphed over Florida State, making it to Sweet Sixteen.
Sweet Sixteen was another exhilarating round, especially since it brought the first of many buzzer beaters into this year’s tournament. Chris Chiozza from University of Florida, scored the winning three-point buzzer beater to defeat Wisconsin in overtime. One of the best games of this round was the Xavier vs. Arizona game. Not only was No. 11 Xavier the underdogs, previously beating No. 6 Maryland, but they also had lost their best player to injury. However, Xavier was able to upset the No. 2 seed with a 73-71 win, and advance to Elite Eight.
The fourth round of the tournament had little drama. No. 1 UNC was able to secure its spot in the Final Four after defeating No. 2 Kentucky 75-73. The other three teams would include: No. 7 South Carolina, who made a second half comeback against No. 4 Florida; No. 3 Oregon, who would be headed to its first Final Four since 1939; and Gonzaga.
The matchups for Final Four were as follows: South Carolina vs Gonzaga and Oregon vs UNC. Gonzaga was able to beat South Carolina 77-73 and head to its first national championship game in school history. Looking at the other match-up, UNC was barely able to secure its spot in the championships after a tough game against Oregon, winning 77-76 by a mere one point.
This years championship game was a thrilling one. UNC was looking to win the national title after its unfortunate loss against Villanova last year. However, Gonzaga was not going to give it to them without a fight. Gonzaga started the game off strong and was able to lead 35-32 by halftime. Despite the two-point lead, UNC came back 37-35 after halftime. The two teams went back and forth for a while until they were tied 65-65 with only two minutes left. Finally, UNC was able to get back ahead, and ultimately win the game 71-65. North Carolina won its 6th NCAA National Championship, and earn the title of 2017 College Basketball National Champions.
The boys and girls swim and dive teams are once again Champions of the 3a/2a/1a West Region as well as state champions for the sixth year in a row. At regionals, 10 new meet records were set by swimmers and they set two new team records.
The Boys 200 medley relay record was set by swimmers Justin Kim, Ben Kaplan, Kevin Song, and Conner Dunathan. This was also a team record. The girls also met the 200 medley record with members Autumn Wang, Helena Narisu, Katarina Lechner, and Theresa Nardone. Nardone also broke the record for the 50 freestyle and girls 200 freestyle relay with her teammates Moshelle Borjigin, Julia Wang, and Fanny Wu. Kim set the record for the boys 200 freestyle and Theodore Jagodits set the record for the 100 meter freestyle. The girls 100 meter backstroke record was set by Borjigin. She also set the girls 400 freestyle relay record with her teammates Wang, Wu, and Lechner. Theo Jagodits, Kim, Dunathan, and Song set the meet record and team record for their 400 freestyle relay.
At states, several athletes achieve their fastest times of the year during the meet after pressure from swimming at big meets like Regionals, Metros, and Divisionals for the previous three weeks. The girls won win 363 points, with second place at 233 points. Boys also won with a score of 347.5, compared to the second place’s 240 points. A team record was broken again in the 200 freestyle relay for boys, courtesy of Jagodits, Dunathan, Kim, and Song. Kim also re-broke his own team record in the 100 backstroke.
Coach Jonathan Leong said he was “very happy with how the team carried themselves, demonstrating sportsmanship and school pride as they cheered for their teammates and congratulated other athletes they competed against.”
No other MCPS school has more than three titles for boys, and this season they set their sixth title. This season gave the girls their fourth straight titles.
As the warm weather starts to arrive and the sun begins to shine, the girl’s varsity lacrosse team kicks off their season with their new coach, Rachel Stream. Coach Stream is the new head varsity lacrosse coach for the Falcons. She is enjoying her time with the girls who she says have great personalities which makes coaching enjoyable for her. Steam has also formed bonds with many of her players through coaching them in field hockey as well.
Stream is Poolesville’s head varsity field hockey coach and was previously the coach of JV lacrosse for two years. She is also an PHS alumni (2008) and was a three sport athlete for Poolesville who went on to play Division I field hockey for Old Dominion University. She returned this year after former lacrosse head coach Brittany Hilton stepped down. Stream can already see that her team has is full of hard workers who are determined to play and improve to become their best, and that there are players that are going to be successful athletes in college. The team also has strengths on offense and defense, as well as great speed, according to Stream.
Stream says “I want to teach them more than just lacrosse. I want to teach them to be better athletes but more importantly people [who] learn from [their] mistakes.”
Her goals include improving the team to where they were last year, and helping them reach playoffs and beyond. The team has also had advanced their skills and knowledge of the game. Stream wants to use her time with the lacrosse team to help them benefit from becoming and playing as one in the variety of situations they will face together. She also hopes to educate her players on accountability, responsibility, hard work, and determination.
Stream would like to inspire her team “to never settle, always improve on yourself in some way... you’ve got to go out and get what you deserve.”
Speedball is a time honored bi-annual tradition at Poolesville. Combining some of the most exciting aspects of the PHS student experience - competition, sport, and fanfare - the tournament is sure to keep student energy high as we transition seasons (the first tournament in the fall, the second in spring). This past week, students competed in their second exciting set of games this school year.
For those who do not come out to the games, or those who are just assimilating to the PHS community, here are speedball’s basics: students assemble teams of eight to compete with each other in a knockout tournament. It begins with eight teams in the bracket, narrowing it down to the championship game on Friday. Teams must be started by upperclassmen, but underclassmen can always join in. Often without any practice, players step out onto the gymnasium floor ready to combine their athleticism with skills learned in the sports they play.
At every tournament there is fun on both sides of the action, and this season was certainly no exception. Students playing love competing alongside and against friends and peers. Students supportively watch, in Poolesville fashion, to see action packed games and destress.
Sophomore Roshawna Marshall says, “I love the Poolesville crowd! Everyone is so supportive, no matter the score. You could be down by a couple points and they will still be cheering you on. If anything, I’d say the crowd is what motivates me.”
This past tournament, after four days of close games and stunning upsets, ended in a 5-2 Goal Diggers win over Abusement Park 2.0.
All in all, the games bring the school together, quench our thirst for competition, and refresh Falcon pride.
The Poolesville High School boys varsity basketball went into their first playoff game on Feb. 24th with a 7-16 record, having 2 wins more than the previous season. PHS’s boys started their season with a bang, seeing 2 wins in their first 3 games. Led by Coach Kenny Kramek, the boys presented some of their more entertaining games yet. The team won two of their games by 5 points or less, undoubtedly both nail-biting, edge-of-seat sitting games. They also brought home a win after an impressive overtime against Gaithersburg High School.
The boys team has undoubtedly grown marvelously over the past few seasons and their drive was present during their playoff match last Friday against Urbana High School. The boys stood their ground for much of the game, including holding the lead going into half-time, however fell short in a 55-48 loss.
The Lady Falcons finished their regular season with an astounding 21-4 record. The team, full of talents like senior Kenydi Cross and junior Erin Green, won some of their games by a whopping 20+ points. Their amazing season has lead them to lead Montgomery County girls varsity teams in overall records.
Following a jaw-dropping season, the girls prepared themselves for the Class 3A playoffs. Last Friday, the Lady Falcons ensured the continuation of their season with a win of nearly 30 points against Urbana High School. Following that crucial win, they traveled away to Damascus High School. The girls had previously faced Damascus twice that season alone, seeing one win and one loss. This next match would be anyone’s game. In the end, the Lady Falcons came out on top with a 46-32 success in Damascus. They won their ticket to the West Sectional Finals.
March 1st was a big night for the girls basketball team. They were set to play away against Manchester Valley. The girls put up a great fight, but saw the end to their season with a 53-34 defeat. Despite the loss, our Lady Falcons had one of their best seasons yet and are ready to perform even better next season.
The Dorsey Duals tournament is a newfound tradition here at Poolesville High School. Founded last year in 2016, this tournament is dual style team wrestling tournament held by Poolesville Wrestling during the middle of January. This weekend-long tournament was originally created by Wrestling coaches Tim Tao and Kevin Dorsey, working alongside PHS Athletic Director Ed Ross and Booster Club President, Jeff Oyer.
The tournament was created to honor the impressive coaching history of Coach Kevin Dorsey, who has coached at Poolesville for over 10 years. A few years ago, Coach Dorsey was diagnosed with a disease known as ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder that causes victims to rapidly lose physical function and develop muscle weakness. The Dorsey Duals Tournament not only emphasizes Coach Dorsey’s passion and dedication to wrestling but also promotes awareness of ALS. When he was diagnosed with ALS, Coach Dorsey fought through his illness to continue to mentor the wrestlers of PHS. To this day, he still coaches the team and is an excellent role model for all the students around him.
Poolesville wrestling placed first in the tournament this year, among 10 other schools from D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and surrounding areas.
Varsity Captain Alex Carbonell explains that one of his most memorable moments from the tournament was when “it was announced that our team won.”
According to Carbonell, another huge feat came when Joey Thomas, a wrestler from South Carroll High School, broke the record for all time wins for Maryland public schools. He defeated the record with a whopping 176 wins total.