Howard County teams captured one private school championship and three public school state championships, as well as five state runner-up placements, in the fall of 2022.

The private school title went to Glenelg Country School, which won the IAAM C Conference volleyball title.

Neighboring Glenelg High School won the Class 2A state field hockey championship and the Class 2A boys soccer state title, in addition to finishing as the runner-up in the Class 2A girls soccer state tournament.

River Hill won the Class 4A/3A coed state golf championship, and Marriotts Ridge finished as co-runners-up in the same event. The county’s other state runner-up finishers were River Hill field hockey (Class 3A), Centennial boys soccer (Class 3A) and Mount Hebron girls soccer (Class 3A).

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Many great Howard County fall sports athletes garnered consideration for our top individual awards, but in our eyes the following individuals stood out.

Howard County Fall Sports Male Athlete of the Year: Kodee Karcher, Centennial Soccer

Kodee Karcher, who played academy soccer during his junior year of high school, returned to the Centennial boys soccer team as a senior and had a huge impact. He earned Howard County Player of the Year and all-metro honors while leading the Eagles to the Class 3A state championship game for the first time in 27 years. Using a powerful 6-foot frame, Karcher was a force in the air and a matchup nightmare in the box.

He scored a Howard County-best 14 goals and assisted on six. Karcher was at his best when his team needed him most. In the Class 3A semifinals, he broke a 1-1 tie late in the second half to lift Centennial to a win over J.M. Bennett. He also scored the game-tying goal late in a contest with Mount Hebron that clinched a second straight Howard County championship for the Eagles, and his second-half goal in the 3A East Region I final carried Centennial to a 3-2 victory over Marriotts Ridge.

Howard County Fall Sports Female Athlete of the Year: Safi Hampton, Hammond Volleyball

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Safi Hampton, a 17-year-old volleyball player from Hammond, wears a silver pendant inscribed with the words “God is change” and her late father’s fingerprint. Hampton’s father, Dr. Greg Hampton, helped her choose the sport and trained with her to play NCAA Division I volleyball before he died three years ago. Despite the changes in her life since then, including committing to play at the University of North Carolina, Hampton feels her father’s presence watching her progress.

The 6-foot-1 Hampton was named a first-team high school All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2022, becoming the only player from Maryland to receive the honor. She was also named The Baltimore Banner/VSN Volleyball Player of the Year. Hampton led the Golden Bears in every offensive category, including 209 kills, 3.9 kills per set and 41 aces, along with 40 blocks and 165 digs. Hampton attributes her success to her passion for volleyball and the sport’s culture. Playing volleyball has been a fulfilling experience for her, and she wants to play for as long as possible. Although Hampton’s individual accomplishments are significant, she believes teamwork is crucial to success and she encourages her teammates to push beyond their limits.

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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