The Green Hornets 16U travel softball team is enjoying its active summer with an array of competitions and experiences.
Severna Park will play in multiple tournaments through the end of July, and they’ve already notched a few successes through the season’s first few months.
Most recently, the team made the final of the Charm City Challenge tournament and finished as the tournament’s runners-up on Father’s Day.
Coached by Kelly Burke, the team of Lily Becker, Makayla Blake, Madison Bonnett, Chelsea Coleman, Livi Driver, Kerri Kazmarek, Sophia Martinez, Grace Mozloom, Jasmine Parks, Mackenzie Rice, Ella Ryan, Peyton Sullivan, Holly Taylor and Ruthie Williams is one of two Severna Park 16U tournament/travel teams that bring together players from Severna Park, Broadneck, Northeast, Glen Burnie, McDonogh, Arundel, South River and Mount de Sales, with a focus on player development.
Burke’s 16U group played at the Triple Crown Sports Xtreme Dimension June Summer Showcase in New Jersey in late June, an opportunity for all of them to play in front of over 50 college coaches from Northeast and mid-Atlantic schools. The team will play at a similar showcase tournament in Virginia Beach in late June; in Fort Walton, Florida, in July; and back in Howard County in late July.
Traveling for college showcases reflects one arm of a coordinated effort by the Greater Severna Park Athletic Association and the Severna Park varsity softball program to maximize beneficial opportunities for softball players of all ages in Anne Arundel County, said Falcons varsity coach Meredith McAlister.
“Our interest is in player development,” said McAlister. “We focus on growing our athletes into elite-level softball players, progressively, by introducing them to the higher levels of play each season and year, all the while guiding them through the college recruiting process. We believe the foundation of softball in Anne Arundel County needed more organizations developing players from the ground up. We began at the 14U level and have progressed well with our athletes into this season, producing varsity- and JV-level contributors, some of whom made All-County or were members of state championship teams in their freshman and sophomore campaigns.
“We also begun working to build a feeder system that will serve to provide a foundation for the future as well,” McAlister said. “It begins with finding coaches who are willing to take on the same goals we have of player development to a higher level of competition, season after season. We asked Greg Jimeno to take his [14U] club team and move them to select. They were a top-level club 12U team and took on the transition to select 14U about a year ago.
“Then, we also asked Mick Young and Lauryn Bary to consider taking their club players and fielding a tournament team at the 10U level to begin to introduce select play gradually into their club softball schedules, allowing for players to play club on their respective teams and the more dedicated players to try out for the next level, and also continuing to participate in multiple sports, which we know is so important at that age.
“Green Hornets, former softball commissioner Judy Tacyn, new commissioner Christina Young, Louise Gilmore, Josh Banks and the board have all been phenomenal in helping us navigate the club and select platforms in a unified fashion so that they feed each other and benefit the players most importantly, so there is a level of play for all.”