Ocean City Today


By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Jan 02, 2018
Members of the Stephen Decatur wrestling team stand in front of their Bayside Conference champions banner hanging in the gym of the Berlin school. The Seahawks added “2017” to it as the group captured the title again.

(Dec. 29, 2017) From career records to stellar season performances, here are some of the top sports stories for 2017:

•Underkoffler 500 career wins:

On Oct. 9, the Worcester Prep boys’ soccer team won 2-0 over Holly Grove. The victory not only boosted the Mallards’ overall record to 10-1-1, but it secured them the regular-season Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference title. Most importantly, it was also Coach Terry Underkoffler’s 500th career win.

“It’s exciting for a lot of reasons,” he said. “I told the guys it was great because it was a game of meaning — it won the league. That was the neat thing.”

It was his 320th win coaching boys’ soccer. Underkoffler started coaching high school varsity soccer in 1984. He has coached both boys and girls over the years. This was his sixth season leading the Prep boys’ squad.

“Five hundred wins is a big accomplishment,” Underkoffler said. “It’s more of a longevity thing than anything. As a coach, you want to be successful. You want them to play good, attractive soccer and enjoy doing it.”

He ended the year with 502 total wins.

• School wins record:

The Worcester Prep girls’ basketball team started the 2016-17 season 13-0. It ties for the best start for a girls’ basketball team at the school.

According to research done by Worcester Prep Director of Athletics Matt McGinnis, the best start was by the 2002-03 team, which went 13-0 before suffering its first loss. That squad finished 15-1.

There have been two undefeated girls’ teams according to available records. The 1996-97 squad finished 10-0 and the 1997-98 team went 11-0. The best record by any girls’ basketball group was the 2004-05 team, which finished 19-4. The next best record was 17-3, which the 2003-04 squad logged.

“The girls are excited about their start. It’s a reflection on how hard they have worked all season,” Prep Coach Scot Dailey said in February.

The Mallards finished the 2016-17 season 16-3.

•Stellar season:

The Stephen Decatur boys’ basketball team’s goal was to win a 3A state championship, but unfortunately, the Seahawks’ 2016-17 season came to an end with a 74-44 loss to Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in the tournament semifinals in early March at University of Maryland College Park Xfinity Center.

Despite not accomplishing their goal of winning a state championship title, the Seahawks had no reason to hang their heads. Decatur won 25 games during the 2016-17 season and only lost two.

“I credit that to these kids. They worked very hard,” Coach BJ Johnson said in March.

The Seahawks went 24-3 during the 2015-16 season and 25-2 last year, for a combined record of 49-5.

“They accomplished a lot the last two years,” Johnson said.

The Seahawks have also gone undefeated on their home court the last two years. The Berlin squad had a 26-home game win streak going at the end of the 2016-17 season.

The last time Decatur lost a home game was Feb. 28, 2015, when the Seahawks fell to Huntingtown, 65-54, in the first round of playoffs. They finished the 2014-15 season with an 8-15 record.

During the 2016-17 season, Decatur captured its first Bayside Conference championship title. The Seahawks also earned their second consecutive regional title.

Decatur has started the 2017-18 season undefeated, 5-0.

• Successful career:

Andy McKahan enjoyed a successful four-year wrestling career at Stephen Decatur.

McKahan captured four Bayside Conference titles during his career – the first Decatur grappler in school history to accomplish that feat. He is also the only Decatur wrestler to win four regional championships.

To top it off, McKahan broke the school record for most career wins during the 2016-17 season. Danny Miller (2005-2009) previously held the record with 139 victories. McKahan ended his career with 147 wins.

“It’s pretty cool,” McKahan said. “It was a fun high school experience.”

“It’s a good accomplishment for Andy to do that and to be remembered as one of the best kids with all the great history that we’ve had,” Decatur Coach Todd Martinek said.

McKahan took third at states his freshman year, fourth his sophomore year and he came in second place as a junior. McKahan finished in third place his senior year.

Decatur lost its first meet of the 2016-17 season, then won the next 13. After capturing the Bayside Conference championship 10 consecutive seasons (2002-2011), Decatur came up a bit short the past few years. The Seahawks were determined to bring home the title during the 2016-2017 season and they accomplished that.

•Stolen base record:

The Stephen Decatur softball team not only won its last game of the regular season, 8-2, over the Washington Jaguars on May 8, but freshman Sierra Eisemann also broke the high school state record for stolen bases in a single season.

“It’s really exciting,” Eisemann said.

She had 40 stolen bases going into the game against Washington in Berlin. She finished the competition with six stolen bases to break the Maryland Public Schools softball record by two. The previous record of 44 was held by Michelle Lloyd of Crossland High School (2001).

Eisemann said setting the record was a big accomplishment, especially to do it as a freshman.

“I like to steal bases because it maximizes my speed and it’s a way of being aggressive,” she said.

She finished the season with 47.

“If we get her on base, she’s stealing. She’s been great at it,” Coach Heather Patnode said.

• Knox returns:

Longtime Stephen Decatur football Coach Bob Knox returned to lead the Seahawks in 2017 after taking a leave of absence last year for family health reasons.

“It’s good to be back. The great thing about it is my grandson is at least holding his own,” Knox said in August at the beginning of the season.

Knox, head coach of the team for three decades, decided to step down for the 2016 season to be with his family, as his 3-year-old grandson, Eli Knox-Tadli, underwent treatment. He was diagnosed last year with a rare and aggressive brain cancer called Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT).

Stan Griffin, the squad’s defensive coordinator, took over as interim head coach.

“I missed it. I’ve been doing it for so long,” said Knox, who has been at the helm of the football program since 1984. He was the 12th all-time in Maryland in wins with a record of 228-135 - prior to the start of the 2017 season.

“I missed the competition and being on the sideline Friday nights,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed the kids until I came back, because you develop relationships.”

Decatur finished the 2017 season with a 4-6 record. Although this season had its ups and downs, Knox enjoyed being back with his players, rekindling relationships and building new ones, he said.

On Sept. 22, Knox grandson helped led the team onto the field for their game against Kent Island.

“When Bob decided to return to coaching, we both discussed the idea of maybe having Eli attend a game and lead the team out,” Decatur Principal Tom Zimmer said. “I thought it was just a great night. [I’m] so happy to see Eli and his family be able to be at the game.”

• Super Bowl champs:

The Berlin Pop Warner junior varsity football team defeated the Southern Marin Broncos of California, 39-14, Dec. 7, in the Super Bowl game at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports in Florida.

“We knew we’d have a little trouble with their offense, since they plowed and grinded down the middle,” Coach Jul Airey said. “We scored a touchdown on the first possession and every time we touched the ball. It was 32-8 at halftime. They had nothing to combat our passing game. The team was elated and it was pretty cool to be ranked the No. 1 Division 3 junior varsity team in the nation.”

On Dec. 4, the Berlin squad topped the Pasadena Trojans from California, 19-6, in Disney World to solidify its spot in the Super Bowl game.

“[The Pasadena Trojans] were a tough team and they were the first Division 3 team to score on us this year,” Airey said. “The score was 0-0 at halftime. We played tough and put points on the board in the second half. A couple of their main guys didn’t like getting hit that hard.”

On Dec. 5, the Berlin Pop Warner junior varsity cheerleaders placed sixth at nationals and received their highest score of the season.

“It was a fun experience and I was really happy with their score,” C0ach Jessie Parsons said. “They did a great job. It was a clean routine and I couldn’t have asked them to do any better.”

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