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Out of bounds

Tammy Showalter

Springtime is just around the corner and, as I rode past Leonardtown high School the other day, I was reminded that spring sports tryouts had begun last Friday with the sign at the entrance to the school, but I have to reflect on what a wonderful winter it has been, especially in the water.

I get so geared up to cover the state swim championships that are held at the University of Maryland in College Park each year.

I think I’ve covered them every year since I started here at the newspaper. This year, the traffic was horrendous getting into the campus as the men’s basketball team was taking on Clemson and former Terps head coach Lefty Driesell was being honored at halftime.

I was so thrilled for those who had qualified to compete. It’s such a tough state to qualify in and I was even more excited to see Northern swimmer Ben Lawless set a new state record in the 200-yard freestyle and also win the 500 freestyle.

Swimmers of all ages are still competing for the Chesapeake Bay Aquatic Club. This week, swimmers will compete in the Maryland championships that will be held at the LeJeune Hall at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, starting on Thursday.

CBAC national training group head coach Julio Zarate said it is the meet that his teams have been gearing up for all season. This year is, by far, the largest group CBAC has ever sent with 27 swimmers. The results will be streaming live at www.mdswim.org.

During the Winter Wake-Up Meet at the end of January, there were 16 teams that participated from all over Maryland, which included 752 total athletes. The Red Hots, coached by Susan Shannon, range in age from 6 to 9 but have been forced to compete against 10 and 11-year-olds. Savannah Raley has been a shining star for the Red Hots. She finished seventh in the 200 individual medley.

Kiley Beall swims for the national training group set new team records in the 400 IM (4:33.04), 200 butterfly (2:06.55) and 100 freestyle (53.49) at the Winter Wake-Up event. Beall’s 200 IM time of 2:08.22 qualified her for the Jr. Nationals Championship Meet in Orlando this month. Teammate Mairyn Branaman (Leonardtown) won the 50 free with a time of 25.42 and placed second in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. Branaman’s 200 back time of 2:10.65 qualified her for the Speedo Sectional Championship Series meet this month.

On the basketball scene, I witnessed the Patuxent boys basketball team win its first playoff game in 11 years and that was an exciting night. Patuxent athletic director Steve Crounse couldn’t wait to tell me just how long it had been.

Panthers first-year head boys basketball coach Nick Wilson coached till he couldn’t coach anymore. I was very impressed with his style and the way the team responded to him. They certainly could have beaten anyone that night I believe.

I’d say one of the most improved girls basketball teams this season that I have seen personally has to be Leonardtown. I’ve seen the team come alive and push through the last few games with more confidence than in recent years.

I’ve also enjoyed getting feedback from readers and getting opinions and ideas on what they think I should cover in the near future.

It’s been a fun-filled winter and I just know spring sports will be the same.

tshowalter@somdnews.com