by Kobi Gyan ‘24
Sherwood has a well-regarded sports program among MCPS high schools, but the school still is probably more well known for its Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival show than its athletics. “W-Schools” such as Whitman and Winston Churchill are widely considered as top sports schools for their soccer teams. Other schools like Quince Orchard, Northwest, and Damascus have prominent reputations as “football schools.” However, Sherwood legitimately claims the top spot as having the best overall sports teams in MCPS this past school year.
Despite being one of the smaller schools in Division 4A, Sherwood sports teams across all three seasons claimed regional titles and advanced to the state level of the playoffs. In the fall, Sherwood football, volleyball, and field hockey all secured regional championships before falling in the state quarterfinal. In golf, senior Bryan Kim finished second in the state. During the winter, boys basketball made a historical run to the state semifinal. In addition, senior Jace Munoz won a wrestling state championship and senior Lilia Atanda won one in diving. Most recently, baseball captured its third state championship in a row while softball reached the state semifinal. The boys lacrosse team reached the state title game for the first time in its history, while girls lacrosse made it to another state-quarterfinals. Senior Jack Link won a state title in track in the high jump.
The Warrior created a formula to determine which high schools in MCPS had the most successful overall sport programs this school year. Points were delegated for how far a team went in the state playoffs. For team sports, 10 points were allocated for a state title, 8 points for reaching the finals, 6 points for semis, and 4 for quarters. In individual sports such as track and wrestling, schools received 8 points for 1st place, 6 for 2nd, and 4 for 3rd place at states. When the numbers are tallied, Sherwood ranks as the number one team in the county.
Athletic Director Jason Woodward attributes much of Sherwood’s success to the school’s coaches. “I’m not so worried about wins and losses, but more worried about building a program,” said Woodward. “When you have coaches that all believe in building a program, players are consistently going to perform well on the field, play for each other, and play for their community.”
“Community” also has a large role in the success of Sherwood sports. The Olney/Sandy-Spring area has played a pivotal part in the skills development of youth. By introducing sports to kids at a young age, Olney/Sandy-Spring youth organizations have been able to create a solid foundation for youth progress into the future. When high school coaches receive already skilled players into their program, they have an upper hand on other teams who have to teach the basics to incoming players. Organizations like Olney Boys and Girls Club (OBGC) in the area have strengthened young players’ baseline skills, preparing them for high school sports.
High schools with strong feeder programs tend to have very good sports programs. Woodward gives the example of Watkins Mill to illustrate how important youth sports organizations are to the fortunes of a high school’s programs. Watkins Mill may be known now as one of the weaker athletic programs in the county, but not too long ago the school won states in both football and baseball in the same year. This success was largely a result of the Montgomery Village Sports Association, which fed into Watkins Mill. Without that pipeline of athletes in place, a school’s sports program suffers.
Because of how ingrained Sherwood sports has become within the local community, there is every reason to believe that the state titles will keep coming. “Our youth partners are an integral part of our success, we have kids that play for different organizations but it’s a partnership,” said Woodward. “They come to our youth nights, they support the high schools by advertising those youth nights, they hire my coaches to work camps and clinics so we’re able to get our name out there. The parents and kids get to know our coaches … The more we put into it, the more it’s going to be rewarded down the line. And we’ve seen that for the last five or six years.”