There were nine championship programs in Baltimore City in the fall of 2022, and eight of them were from private schools.

The lone exception was the Dunbar football team, which won its second consecutive Class 2A/1A state title and the 12th in program history, a state record.

The most decorated school within the city limits during the fall season was Mercy High School, which captured IAAM crowns in soccer (A Conference), cross country (B Conference) and volleyball (B Conference). In fact, the Magic soccer team finished No. 1 in the final Baltimore Banner/VSN Girls Soccer Top 15.

Catholic High captured two championships, winning the IAAM C Conference field hockey and cross country titles.

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The other fall champions from Baltimore were the Park School girls tennis team (IAAM B), the Gilman water polo team (MIAA) and the Mount St. Joseph volleyball team (MIAA).

As far as the top individual stars, the fall produced two of the top athletes in the nation.

Baltimore City Fall Sports Male Athlete of the Year: Dashawn Womack, St. Frances Academy Football

Dashawn Womack, a senior with St. Frances Academy, distinguished himself as one of the premier defensive ends in the nation in 2022. The Baltimore Banner/VSN Football Defensive Player of the Year, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Womack recorded 48 tackles, including 26 for loss, 15 sacks and five fumble recoveries, as the Panthers logged more than 17,000 miles traveling the country to face a schedule loaded with nationally ranked powers. He was named an Under Armour All-American.

Rated as a Top 10 defensive end nationally in the class of 2023, Womack has accepted a scholarship to play in the prestigious Southeastern Conference at LSU. His coach, Messay Hailemariam, described Womack as the whole package with size, speed, explosiveness and athleticism. Womack started playing football with the Parkside Warriors youth program in eighth grade, moved into a prominent role on the Panthers’ defensive front as a sophomore, and embraced his role as a team leader in 2022.

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Baltimore City Fall Sports Female Athlete of the Year: Payton Schenning, Mercy Soccer

Payton Schenning, a senior forward, was named the Baltimore Banner/VSN Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Schenning’s talent helped lead Mercy to its first IAAM A Conference championship with a 16-1 record. Schenning scored 25 of Mercy’s 45 goals, accounting for 56% of the team’s output.

The UMBC commit’s standout performances helped Mercy regroup after a 3-0 loss to Broadneck at the IAAM Challenge, a critical moment in its title run. She also scored four goals in a three-game stretch against Towson, Maryvale Prep and John Carroll, helping to secure the top seed and a bye in the IAAM A Conference playoffs. Schenning was also instrumental in Mercy’s 4-1 semifinal win over Notre Dame Prep, when she scored her final two goals of the season. Although her childhood friend and Mercy senior defender Allie Petryszak was tasked with facing her in practice, Schenning proved to be a force, drawing praise from her coach and opposing coaches alike.

Gary Adornato is the founder and original publisher of Varsity Sports Network, a high school sports news network that became part of The Baltimore Banner in August 2022.

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