On the eve of this decade, Gatsby-esque New Year’s parties were trending, an ode to the dawn of a new era: the 2020s. The months that followed will, unfortunately, not be remembered for being a roaring good time. But where 2020 may have gone out with a whimper, 2022 did anything but. This year saw a gradual return to normalcy and the events that make our community special. Here’s a compilation of some of the biggest news in Severna Park from 2022 (spoiler alert: there was a substantial amount of winning).
The year started with a statewide political redistricting saga with local implications that would play out well into the summer months. Ultimately, Severna Park would be split into multiple legislative districts.
For the first time in school history, the Broadneck Bruins boys and girls swim teams were county champions. The boys team, who would go on to win the regional title as well, broke the Severna Park Falcons four-year winning streak at counties.
A former three-sport Severna Park varsity athlete and current head coach of the Falcons varsity softball team, Meredith McAlister Kraus, was the first woman inducted into the Severn River Rugby Football Club.
“I was always a little jealous that no women were allowed to hit people,” McAlister Kraus said. “One of my college softball teammates had played rugby in Oregon and she always told me I’d make a good rugby player. Turns out she was right.”
Severna Park High School ice hockey won the eastern conference championship against South River in a nail-biter. With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Severna Park’s Evan Reasar scored with just over three minutes left in regulation to put the Falcons on top.
The Severna Park boys indoor track and field team dominated at the state championship, winning the title for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Emily Ernst of Broadneck High School was a grand award winner at the Anne Arundel County Public Schools Science and Engineering Expo for her research on water contamination. Lily McCallister of Severna Park High School and Charles Larson of Magothy River Middle School were also recognized.
Severna Park’s Patrick Ellis won the state wrestling title in March, beating a previously undefeated wrestler in the 220-pound class.
Dancers Josie Dyke of Severna Park High School, along with Danil England and Faith Kiger of Broadneck High school, were awarded All-State honors based on their dancing, academics and leadership at their respective schools.
It isn’t lost on Severna Park High School students that the expectation of excellence can be a source of stress. This March, students took it upon themselves to plan and implement the inaugural Mental Health Week to promote relaxation and community.
“We wanted to let students know it’s OK if they’re not feeling OK,” said Student Government Association member Eric Lin.
Former Severna Park resident and current Baltimore Banner investigative reporter Justin Fenton saw his words come to life on-screen when the show “We Own this City,” based on his book with the same name, debuted on HBO. The six-part series depicted his story of the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force, whose work (and corruption) he chronicled as a reporter with Baltimore Sun.
Millersville racer Timmy Gately III participated in an exhibition race at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Timmy was one of 15 children ages 7-8 chosen to ride in the event.
As tensions rose on the other side of the globe amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine, local families stepped up to help by fundraising and collecting necessities to send to refugees.
Severn School teacher George Yost and Temple Beth Shalom Rabbi Ari Goldstein traveled to Ukraine to volunteer.
“I see my mission as to make sure to keep telling people about Ukraine,” Goldstein said.
Shipley’s Choice artist Pearl Shen had her artwork displayed at BWI airport. A reception honoring the 14 works that comprised her exhibit was attended by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan.
Before television audiences knew her by her first name, Parijita Bastola fronted Severna Park-based band Bastola. This spring, Bastola performed on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, for a showcase at the International Blues Challenge.
Lacrosse season yielded more trophies with the Severna Park boys team winning their sixth consecutive state title, and the Broadneck girls team claiming their second.
That same week, the Severna Park boys track and field team also won a state title, becoming the first program since Class 4A was established in 1988 to accomplish the triple crown – winning states in cross country, indoor track, and track and field in the same academic year.
Goska’s owner Kevin Sosnoski was chosen as grand marshal of the annual Severna Park Fourth of July parade, put on by the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce.
“A lot of people could have gotten this honor,” Sosnoski said. “My family has been in Severna Park for 92 years, so it’s a privilege and an honor.”
In true July Fourth fashion, it was a hot and humid morning for the spectators decked out in patriotic hues lining Benfield, Evergreen and Riggs to view the time-honored tradition. For the first time, cash awards of $500 were given to three parade entries.
Isabella Renzi of Severna Park became the national champion in Irish dancing, earning a spot at the World Irish Dancing Championships next spring.
Severna Park Taphouse hosted a concert featuring Nashville musician Chad Bearden and Anne Arundel County artists, raising more than $20,000 for the Baltimore Washington Medical Center Foundation.
National Night Out at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company in August provided an opportunity for family fun and a chance for community members to interact with the first responders who keep them safe.
Severna Park High School senior Zachary McGrath was sworn in and began his term as student member of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. The issues he most wants to improve are transportation and student health.
“When I decided to run, I wanted to focus on issues that would help the day-to-day life of students and their families,” McGrath said. “I want to alleviate the stress on the community by making bus transportation more reliable while supporting our struggling students by providing the opportunity to take a mental health break.”
McGrath wasn’t the only new face in the public education realm this year. Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell took the reins in August after being chosen unanimously by the board.
“We have a responsibility as an administrative staff here to make sure that every single one of our kids grow,” Bedell said.
Showing just how much he has grown his athletic skills over the years, Severna Park High School senior Talan Livingston was selected to Team USA’s U18 select lacrosse team. Livingston has also committed to play for Salisbury University.
The all-female Scouts BSA Troop 1983 held its first-ever Court of Honor in September to commemorate six months since its inception. The group has grown from nine to 21 Scouts in that time.
“This Court of Honor recognizes the hard work of these young ladies to earn rank and other awards over the past six months,” said Troop 1983 Scoutmaster Jason Port.
Bryan Gomes won the Jan Hollmann Environmental Education Award, completing what he referred to as a “full-circle moment.” The award was presented at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, where his interest in nature was piqued during a field trip as a child.
Broadneck High School senior Faith Karanja was a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. Karanja’s goal is to become a cardiologist.
Former Severna Park High School coach and athletic director Andy Borland was awarded the Bernie Walter Memorial Award for exemplary service to county athletics.
“I didn’t dream about the games. I dreamed about teaching kids how to do the right things, or watching a boy become a man. Those are the important things in life,” Borland said.
Severna Park resident and Mount Saint Joseph’s student Charlie Butler won his race at the McQuaid Invitational, a cross-country meet held in Rochester, New York, that features more than 6,000 athletes.
Chartwell resident Doug Crowder was selected for the Distinguished Graduate Award by the U.S. Naval Academy. Crowder, who was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, served in the Navy for 36 years in many capacities. The Distinguished Graduate Award was established in 1998 to honor graduates who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to service, personal character and distinguished contributions to the nation. He is the first in his graduating class, 1974, upon whom the honor has been bestowed.
Severna Park High School swept the state cross country championship, with the girls and boys teams each taking home the title.
In a battle of undefeated teams, Broadneck High School field hockey faced Winston Churchill at the 4A state championship and walked away victorious on November 12.
Election Day was November 8, but it would be several days before Anne Arundel County would have enough votes tallied to determine the outcomes of many races.
Votes keep rolling in for one Severna Park High School student – 17-year-old Parijita Bastola has wowed a nationwide audience on NBC’s “The Voice.”
It was a busy year in 2022. We can’t wait to see, and tell you about, what happens in Severna Park in 2023.
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