Lankford sisters double trouble in field hockey

from Delmarvanow.com 

Aron Lankford always wanted a little sister.

Someone who would always be there when she needed her.

Someone to share in fun activities and could stay up late talking for hours after their parents had gone to bed.

And someone who would always have Lankford’s back, becoming a best friend like no other to the Eastern Shore native as she progressed through her life.

Lankford eventually got her wish, as her mother Mandy brought home a baby sister named Jerri.

From that moment on, the two were inseparable.

As the two grew up, the Lankford sisters remained close, going to school together, playing games together and eventually, practicing field hockey together.

For the past few years, the field hockey field at Holly Grove Christian School has been where Aron and Jerri have developed their game, while turning into dominant athletes on the Lower Shore.

READ MOREHolly Grove hockey star named to U.S. national team

A senior goalie at Holly Grove, Aron is a two-time All-ESIAC First Team Selection, winning the conference’s Player of the Year award in 2016.

In April, she was selected to the U-19 Indoor National Field Hockey Team, with a chance to learn from some of the top hockey players and coaches in the country.

“There were a lot of really good goalies that tried out, so I wasn’t really expecting to get it,” Aron said in May. “It’s been really exciting.”

Jerri, a junior defender on the squad, has seen similar success in her three seasons.

Much like her sister, Jerri earned an All-ESIAC First Team nod last season, while awarded a Second Team selection her sophomore season. Despite her primary duty as a defender, Jerri has made her presence known on the offensive end, scoring nine goals and racking up 13 assists as of Oct. 19.

“My team really helps me a lot,” Jerri Lankford said. “They’re really good at taking the ball up the field, and I don’t have to worry about running myself to death. I go with my gut, and we’ve all played together since third grade, so we’re a big family and it makes it easier and more comfortable to go out and play.”

Two peas in a pod

But both athletes recognize their success has come through the support of their sibling and teammates.

The Eagles finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record, placing them third in the conference standings.

Their mother, Mandy, has been the head field hockey coach at Holly Grove the past four seasons, and although it has helped having familiarity with their coach, the Lankford sisters don’t receive any special treatment just because their mother runs the show.

If anything, Mandy Lankford is harder on them.

“I have super high expectations for them,” Mandy Lankford said. “I think I’m harder on my two than I am the rest, but when someone has the goal to play at the next level, I have high expectations, and I have that with any member of our team wanting to get to the next level.”

Double trouble

Having their mom as the coach has benefited their skills, but it’s been the chemistry built between the sisters that has helped them excel season after season.

The two are core pieces of the Eagles’ final line of defense. As Aron stations the cage with nine shutouts on the season, Jerri is the general of a Holly Grove back line that allows 0.6 goals per game.

Opposing forwards and midfielders have had their hands full when facing off against the Eagles. Rather than get the ball past one Lankford, they must deal with double the trouble.

“I wish we could play in college together, but she doesn’t want to,” Jerri Lankford said with a laugh. “Whenever a ball gets past us, I’m always like, ‘Aron’s got it,’ and that’s how it’s always been.”  

The duo’s dominance helped lead the team to the ESIAC playoffs, matching up against Gunston in the semifinal round.

Splitting the regular season, Holly Grove defeated their rival in enemy territory, sending them to the ESIAC championship game on Friday.

In a year that has seen a defensive heavy unit, the Eagles are throwing their focus toward the offensive end, where they hope to find the scoreboard early and often and cruise to an easy victory.

“We need to focus on our attacking skills and making sure we make good decision,” Mandy Lankford said. “We’re not a super high scoring team compared to other teams, but we’ve got the talent to put up goals.”

Staying united

Once Aron walks across the stage at the end of the year to receive her high school diploma, the Lankford sisters will have to start adapting to life without the other physically by their side.

Hoping to play on the national stage one day, Aron has yet to commit to a college, but knows she wants to play at the highest level possible over the next four years.

Jerri still has one year left in her high school career, but the junior has already verbally committed to the University of Connecticut once she graduates. As of Oct. 19, the Huskies are undefeated and came up just short of a national title last season.

But until college comes around, the two are cherishing every moment they have with one another and their teammates.

Being far from home away from their family will be an adjustment for the duo, but like they’ve done so many times in their lives, the Lankford sisters expect to remain a united front.

And for Jerri, while Aron may be gone, she will still have a group of players she considers to be her family.

“There are times we get angry at each other, but we know it’s never too deep,” Jerri Lankford said. “We click really well, as a team too, and it’s just a big a family and not all the teenage girl drama.

“We’re all like sisters.”

Victor King
Holly Grove remembers "Doc"

This article originally appeared on DelmarvaNow.


Hallie Gregory, the longtime athletics director for Holly Grove Christian School and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, died Sunday, Sept. 17, after leaving a major mark on the sports community across Delmarva.

Gregory first came to the Shore in 1989, where he was hired as the top man for UMES athletics.

The Indiana University graduate was responsible for several core decisions dealing with the school, including the creation of the William P. Hytche Athletic Center and the additions of soccer, bowling and tennis.

The Hawks’ athletic director held his position until 2000 and was later inducted into the Maryland Eastern Shore Athletics and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference halls of fame.

“Dr. Gregory was an innovator and a forward thinker, who was concerned about the welfare of student athletes with preparing our student athletes for the future,” current UMES Athletics Director Keith Davidson said in a university press release. “He was a man of integrity and fair play. He was a respected and accomplished figure in the industry of intercollegiate athletics.”

But it wasn’t just his ideas and accomplishments that allowed him to leave a lasting legacy — it was also his character, personality and positive attitude toward everyone he encountered, said those who knew him well.

“He was a man who loved people, loved the kids and served as a mentor for all,” said Shelly Clark, Holly Grove physical education teacher. “He was a father figure, a grandfather figure to a lot of people, and I don’t think there was one person that came in contact with him that didn’t admire and respect him.”

Six years after Gregory left UMES, he returned to Somerset County to take the same position at Holly Grove Christian School, where he also taught physical education and brought multiple sports to the school.

“He wasn’t just an athletic director — he was like a life coach,” Clark said. “He just made everyone feel like they were the most important person when he talked to them. He would always talk to you about life, and he had the most integrity from anyone I’ve ever met.”

According to Clark, one former Holly Grove student who enrolled in the military and is stationed in Hawaii is returning to the Shore for the funeral, displaying the impact Gregory had on the Holly Grove community.

Several students and faculty members took to social media to post tributes, expressing their love for Gregory while recalling memorable experiences they had with the longtime educator.

Clark recalled one former student mentioning she had dropped an AP class just so she could sign up to be Gregory’s student aide at Holly Grove.

“That’s who he was — everyone wanted to be around him,” Clark said. “He had an impact on every person he came in contact with; student, teacher, parent, faculty, whoever. Everyone had a great deal of respect for him.”

Gregory also had ties to Delaware State, Central State University in Ohio and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, leaving a mark throughout the eastern United States.

At all his stops, Gregory always made the most of his time with an organization, building a program that would be competitive and send a positive message to its athletes and individuals.

“It was an adjustment for him when he went from a university to (Holly Grove), but he brought it to a level where he expected quality out of the program,” Clark said. “He loved working with the coaches because of their passion.”

Though his time as athletic figurehead has come to an end, the mark that Gregory left on those he dealt with will live on.

Whether it was his contributions to UMES or leading a Bible study group at Holly Grove, Gregory developed relationships that won’t soon be forgotten.

As Clark walks into the Holly Grove gymnasium every day, she stops and remembers everything Gregory did for athletics and for those he encountered.

“The impact that he had will bring tears to your eyes,” Clark said. “He was just an amazing man with a love for all.”

 

Archery team wins world championship
world champs

This article originally appeared on DelmarvaNow.


The Holly Grove Christian School will be undergoing some construction when its doors open in the next few weeks.

But it won’t be a new classroom or new lockers that are added to the halls — instead it will be a brand-new trophy case for the Eagles archery team, which will enter the 2017-18 school year as world champions.

After missing out on the 2017 Indoor 3D World Championship in Florida due to a lack of funds, Holly Grove’s archery team made the trip to Pennsylvania to try their luck in the 3D outdoor section of the championship.

Following several first-place victories in regular season tournaments, the Eagles swept the competition at the state level and ultimately advanced to the national stage. Holly Grove finished as one of the top 100 teams in the nation, but still had its sights set on a larger prize — the worlds.

“What amazes me more than anything is when we got there to shoot, the kids weren’t nervous at all — I think I was more nervous than anyone,” head coach Bruce Bowden said. “We’ve done so many competitions, that when I told them we were going to worlds they were very calm — it was all smiles.”

practice

Divided into elementary, middle and high school, it was the Eagles’ elementary squad that represented the Shore in the World Championship.

Going toe-to-toe with some of the best young archers in the world, the Eagles maintained a sense of calmness and refused to let the pressure of performing on archery’s biggest stage get in their heads.

“The pressure, you don’t really have any pressure because you know you’re going to do good,” Samantha Porter said. “It really doesn’t matter if you do good or not, as long as you did the best you could do.”

One after the other, Holly Grove archers ranging from 8 to 11 years old made their way to the platform hoping for a clean shot.

Before they would shoot, Bowden would ask his team how they felt, in which they would always yell “Confident!”

“It was very exciting, and it took a lot, I mean a lot of practice,” Graysen Wright said with a laugh.

As the competition played out, it was clear early on that Holly Grove was creating a gap that no other team would be able to catch. After shooting a 1,505 — 190 more than the second-place squad — Bowden and his team heard the words they had dreamed of hearing.

The Holly Grove archers were world champions.

“It feels amazing. A lot of people can’t say that they’re world champions, and it feels so good that our school can become world champions,” Colby Wallace said. “I could never imagine that we’d become that.”

The team collected their first-place medals and quickly headed back to their hotel, where Porter was already getting the word out to her friends and family.

“I plopped down on my bed and texted everybody that I knew because they were wondering how we were doing,” Porter said. “I got a lot of ‘Wows’ and ‘Great jobs,’ and it felt really great.”

After the excitement finally died down, the team made its way to the hotel pool, swimming and laughing while reliving their victory.

But before anything, Bowden and the rest of the archers made sure to do something not many high school teams still participate in following a competition.

“The first thing we did as a family was go to God in prayer and praised him, and we thanked him for what he did for us once again,” Bowden said. “He’s given us an amazing journey this year, and we give him all the credit for it.”

Bowden has used prayer and scriptures as one of the team’s primary tools to establish confidence and focus. The idea that God will love the archers regardless if they win or lose had helped Wallace and others shoot their bows without necessarily worrying about the outcome.

“One scripture was, ‘With man it is impossible, with God, all things are possible,’ and it feels like even if we think we can’t do it, we really can do it,” Wallace said. “Our coaches pump us up, and our teammates don’t ever put us down, and they give us a lot of support.”

Although the season is officially over for Holly Grove, the team won’t have too much time to rest before preparing to defend their title.

The archers will be back in action come November, but even after a world championship, they want to add to their new trophy case.

"I think we can do it again next year," Wright said.

Bowden would like his team to become a three-star champion, a recognition of the squad that has the largest combined score for the nationals and indoor and outdoor worlds.

But before they start focusing on next season, the team is busy celebrating the victory.

“It’s still like a dream, like it’s not real yet, but it’s an amazing feeling,” Bowden said. “This is something we will always remember.”

Victor King
Summer Reading

Students are to purchase and read before school starts; there will be a test the second day of school. All High school students are required to participate in the summer reading program. It is a part of their curriculum and enhances their vocabulary and analytical skills. Please have your student read the books listed below during the month of August, so it will be fresh in their minds when returning in September.

9th grade

  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • Hatchet, by Gary Paulson

Students are to thoroughly read the books listed above. There will be discussions, a project and a test on the books during the first week of school. Ninth grade does not have to do written work on the books over the summer, but they will be held accountable for reading the books.

10th grade

  • Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (Complete this handout)
  • In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon (Type a one-sentence summary of each chapter.)

10th grade: Honors

11th grade

12th grade

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Complete this handout)
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Complete this handout)

AP Classes

Summer Reading Requisites for Advanced Placement English Language and Composition 
Summer Reading Requisites for Advanced Placement Biology 

Please contact Mrs. Scarborough at cscarborough@hgcsweb.com if you have any questions! Happy reading!

Office Staff
Archery team makes top 100 nationally (videos)

This article originally appeared on DelmarvaNow.com

Archery has always been a major part of Bruce Bowden’s life.

Since he was a young boy, he grew up with a bow-and-arrow around while spending hours in his backyard perfecting his skills as an archer.

Bowden's two sons, Trent, 14, and Trevor, 11, have also grown up with a bow in their hands and spending their days after school in the woods hunting deer and turkeys.

Knowing how much he and his family enjoyed archery, Bowden decided to take it to Holly Grove Christian School as a competitive sport.

“This is something I did just about my whole childhood, and I would have loved to have this when I was in school,” Bowden said. “This is kind of a dream I’ve had the last 20 years, and me and the coaches finally got the school to agree to do it as another sport."

Less than two years ago, the Holly Grove archery team was nothing more than a thought. The only time students had with a bow was a short period in the year in P.E. class.

But with Bowden and his coaches’ leadership, paired with the skill set of the 52 Holly Grove archers that joined the team, the Eagles have created not just one of the best squads in Maryland, but one of the best in the country.

"We just kept working hard, people kept giving money, we kept being able to buy more targets, more bows, more arrows and things just seemed to fall together," Bowden said.

Holly Grove is part of the National Archery in the Schools Program, an organization that focuses on motivating kids academically while teaching archery skills.

In its inaugural season, the team, which is divided into three categories: elementary, middle and high school, took part in just one tournament to get its feet wet. 

With that experience under their belts, the Eagles returned last October with the goal of making the state championship, and they succeeded. 

The Holly Grove Archery team won four of the six team championships at the state level.

The Holly Grove Archery team won four of the six team championships at the state level.

Not only did the Eagles advance to the state title match, but they swept the competition, earning first place in the elementary, middle and high school 3-D categories. The team also won the top prize in the elementary bullseye category, giving it four of the six team competitions, while McKenzie Bennett and Trent Bowden took home individual awards.

"I practiced really hard at home on my targets," Trent said. "I like to hunt and I like shooting bows so that's why I thought doing archery would be fun. My first competition I was really nervous, but it was also exciting. After a while I started to settle down and wasn't nervous anymore."

Holly Grove qualified for nationals in Louisville, Kentucky where the school finished as one of the top 100 teams in the nation. Holly Grove's elementary team was even invited to attend the worlds match in Orlando, Florida, but due to a lack of funds, the Eagles are unable to attend the event in July.

"We've got a great backing, and the parents and grandparents and everyone have been real supportive and helped us have the funds for a lot of other tournaments, and hopefully now that people know what we can do, we can get some more support from other places," Bowden said.

The road to the state championship didn’t come easy for the team. While many of the 52 archers had prior experience with a bow, the nerves brought on by competing against other teams were something Bowden and his staff looked to bring down.

Like he’s done many times in his life, Bowden turned to religion.

“For two weeks, all I did was try to build their confidence up by using scripture that we had, doing devotional prayer and just talking, telling them we're good," Bowden said. "They were pumped going into the states."

Being a Christian school, Bowden used several scriptures throughout the year to serve as motivation and inspiration as the team worked its way to the state and national championships.

Before heading to states, many people told Bowden his team's inexperience would finally be displayed in front of the best archers in Maryland.

But Bowden refused to listen, and encouraged his athletes to look to God.

"After we went up and won everything that we did, I think, I could see it in their eyes that they had seen God," Bowden said. "They realized this was impossible with man, and truly God was with them."

Mackenzie Bennett, 11, of Eden, draws her bow during a practice session on Friday, June 9, 2017. Bennett placed eighth in the nation for her efforts during the championship. 

Mackenzie Bennett, 11, of Eden, draws her bow during a practice session on Friday, June 9, 2017. Bennett placed eighth in the nation for her efforts during the championship. 

The team was invited and honored by the Somerset County Commissioners on May 30 for its historic and exciting season, cementing itself as an official part of high school athletics on the Shore.

The Eagles have high hopes going into next season, as they prepare to defend their state titles and make it back to nationals and ultimately worlds.

"I want to be a state and national champion next year," Trevor said. "The first, quite a few (competitions), I got kind of nervous, but then I got calm once I got to the states. If I keep practicing, I think I'll make it."

But for Bowden, at the end of the day it's not about how many trophies his team brings home.

"All I ask for them to do is have fun. If I see a big smile, that's all I want," Bowden said. "They know all they have to do is do their best, and that's all I'm looking for."


WBOC also featured our archery team:

The star of this show is the Holly Grove archery team. We originally met this group of kids last year during their inaugural season, and now for their encore year, the team is heading to the Maryland state championships, where they prove hard work and dedication pay off.
Victor King
Welcome from the Principal

Holly Grove Christian School began in the fall of 1976 with nineteen students, and today serves over 550 students and their families. For over 40 years, Holly Grove has provided a quality education to families on the Eastern Shore by offering a traditional program for students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The school is located in a beautiful rural setting on 51 acres in Westover, Maryland. Students travel to our campus every day from as far away as Delaware and Chincoteague, with many families making use of our seven bus routes.

Holly Grove Christian School offers a strong academic program. Our graduates have received millions of dollars in college scholarships over the years.  HGCS is accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and ACSI. I invite you to come and enjoy the family atmosphere! 

We are here to serve you, so if you have any questions about Holly Grove Christian School, please contact me directly at mrohrer@hgcsweb.com.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Rohrer

Principal

Victor King