If fans watching the Severn girls basketball team last winter were asked to suggest a new mascot, they might have chosen a Camel.
Severn ran a slow, half-court offense.
Under recently hired new coach Sharnae Hunt, the Admirals will be a few steps faster and will employ an up-tempo offense in 2023-2024.
You might even call the pace hectic.
“We are going to play a different kind of game than the players are used to,” said Hunt, who replaced Jim Stromberg. “We played a slow-paced game the past few years, and I am really looking to pick it up with the players we have returning and coming up from the JV.”
The 35-year-old Hunt served as an assistant coach under Stromberg last season and also worked as director of the Old Mill Youth Association girls basketball program for four years while also coaching in the organization. She played high school basketball at St. Mary’s High School and later at East Tennessee State University.
“She fit in really well with our kids, and related to them very well,” Severn Athletic Director Julian Domenech said of last year.
The Admirals appear to be getting better every year. They went 2-22 in 2022, 9-15 last year and hopefully produce a few more wins this winter.
If Severn goes .500 in 2024, it might feel like a championship to Hunt and her players.
“We really want to grow the program,” Hunt said. “I feel we are on an upward trajectory. I want all my returning players to develop an all-around game. We want to compete with the better teams on the schedule.”
Hunt likes the group of players she has coming back. Six-foot senior combo guard Nyela Djossou, a tenacious defender, highlights the returnees.
The coach also likes the potential of three sophomores: Layla Epps, Valerie Waugh and Mary Wellschlager.
“I am looking for them to be the driving force on the team — especially with us playing a different kind of game,” Hunt explained.
It’s difficult to match the resume of the new Severn girls soccer coach, Denison Cabral.
The 49-year-old Cabral played professionally for 18 years in his native Brazil and for the indoor Baltimore Blast of the Major Arena Soccer League.
On top of that, Cabral has coached soccer for 25 years, including stints as coach of the professional Harrisburg Heat of the Major Arena Soccer League, DC United’s U14 boys academy team, Johns Hopkins women’s team and the St. Mary’s High School boys varsity squad.
“When the position opened, I had several people contact me from our Severn soccer community,” Domenech said of recommendations. “We just [thought] he was a really good fit for our program. We knew more about him than our other candidates.”
Cabral is walking into a nice situation with the Severn girls soccer program.
The Admirals won the Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship in 2021 while going 15-4. Last fall, Severn went 8-1 in conference play and 11-6 overall.
Severn returns a good nucleus of players from last year’s team.
“I love the winning and competitive reputation of the girls program,” Cabral said. “I want to maintain that. I just didn’t want to jump into any job. I knew the former coach (Albert Oni), so that helps.”
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