After years of disappointment, the Glenelg High Gladiators are finally state champions. The Howard County school captured its first crown with a 2-1 decision over Century at Washington College Saturday evening.

Stephanie Asher and Megan Guthrie each scored a goal for top-ranked Glenelg (19-1 overall) with Parker assisted on both scores. Allison Remenapp had the only goal for Century (15-2).

The Gladiators did their scoring in the opening 30 minutes before holding off the Carroll County program in the second half to finally end their drought. Glenelg had advanced to the state Final Four 12 times, reaching the title game on three occasions, all to no avail.

The 13th time was the charm.

Glenelg coach Ginger Kincaid has been witness to the program’s title heartaches. But the veteran coach and one of the true teachers of the sport, has kept it all in perspective.

“Today was a great day for Howard County,” said Kincaid in his 34th season. “River Hill [won 3A title Saturday] played a great game and now two teams can bring home state trophies.”

Only one Howard County team, Centennial in 1995, had won a state title until Saturday. It was also a final virtuoso performance this season by Parker, who’s arguably the area’s best player as a junior.

Off a penalty corner, Parker sent a pass from the top of the circle to Guthrie who got the ball past Century goalie Brittany Barr less than seven minutes into the opening half. The Gladiators kept the pressure on Barr throughout the first half.

With under five minutes left in the half, Parker found Asher on the left wing. Asher went into the circle and finished for 2-0 Gladiators lead. Parker finished the season with 38 goals and 38 assists.

The Knights picked up their play in the second half as Allison Remenapp finished a pass from Alice Mercer, four minutes in the second half. The Carroll County school gained several penalty corners after the initial score, but couldn’t finish.

“I told them that Glenelg was beating them to the ball and they needed to come out stronger and play more of their game and not back off the ball,” said Knights coach Terry Wilkinson, whose team lost in the state finals for the third time in last four seasons. “We were here last year, we’re here this year, it can only get better.”

It was definitely sweet for Parker and the Gladiators. As she held the state championship trophy, she thought back to a few months ago.

“In the beginning of our season, we made a ship, filled it with notes from players explaining what got us here and what we need to focus on in this game,” Parker said. “After our win, each player broke off a piece of the ship as a memento of our team’s hard work and success.”