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The best Maryland players and coaches of 2018-19

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Vote for the Testudo Times Awards!

NCAA Soccer: DI Men’s College Cup-Maryland vs Akron Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the middle of the Maryland sports offseason, and we’re well into a couple different summer series. But for a little extra closure on a crazy athletic year, let’s look at some of the best players and coaches to wear the red, white, black and gold in 2018-19. Next week, we’ll look at some of the best games and moments from around the Terps world.

Consider this our own version of this week’s ESPYs; we’ll be boring and call them the Testudo Times Awards unless someone comes up with a better name in the comments. Congrats to all our nominees, and happy voting!

(Note: these polls are stripped out on Google AMP and Apple News, but will show up if you open this in any browser.)

Best Male Athlete

Jared Bernhardt (lacrosse, attack) became the fourth Maryland men’s player to receive a Tewaaraton Award nomination after a historic offensive season. The junior poured in 51 goals and 78 points, the second- and sixth-highest single-season totals in Terps history. Bernhardt recorded 11 hat tricks in 17 games, highlighted by a five-goal, eight-point performance against Michigan. And he delivered the heroics in the NCAA Tournament, scoring the game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation as Maryland came back to defeat Towson.

Bruno Fernando (basketball, center) made the most of his decision to return to school for his sophomore season, averaging 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds en route to a First Team All-Big Ten selection. He was a force inside, shooting 60.7 percent from the floor and averaging 1.9 blocks on the other end. Fernando declared for the NBA Draft and was selected 34th overall, ending up with the Atlanta Hawks via trade. The Terps will have to replace his production, but his outward passion for Maryland might be missed above all else.

Donovan Pines (soccer, defender) emerged as one of the best defenders in the nation during his junior campaign, anchoring a back line that didn’t concede a goal during the season’s final 500 minutes. After the College Cup, Pines earned United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American and Top Drawer Soccer Best XI honors. Pines also chipped in two goals and two assists on the offensive end.

Dayne St. Clair (soccer, goalie) joined Pines as the other centerpiece of Maryland’s championship defense, saving 83.3 percent of shots he faced and notching five NCAA Tournament shutouts. St. Clair played every minute in goal for the Terps during the season, and with him turning pro after the championship run, he’s left big shoes to fill.

Greg Thompson (track/field, discus) was one of the nation’s top discus throwers all season, winning eight of the 11 events he competed in. His 65.56-meter throw at the Penn Relays was the longest by anyone in the country all season, an event record and a new school record. Thompson’s senior year finished on a sour note, as he finished 11th at NCAA nationals, but he also picked up Maryland’s first-ever male Big Ten championship in track and field.

Tre Watson (football, linebacker) became an instant leader on Maryland’s defense after coming from Illinois as a graduate transfer. He tallied 114 total tackles (70 solo) and a Big Ten-high five interceptions, running one back for a touchdown. Watson wasn’t drafted in April, but he’ll get his professional chance with the Miami Dolphins.

Poll

Vote for the best Maryland male athlete of 2018-19

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Jared Bernhardt
    (102 votes)
  • 34%
    Bruno Fernando
    (184 votes)
  • 20%
    Donovan Pines
    (111 votes)
  • 14%
    Dayne St. Clair
    (78 votes)
  • 4%
    Greg Thompson
    (25 votes)
  • 4%
    Tre Watson
    (25 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (7 votes)
532 votes total Vote Now

Best Female Athlete

Kaila Charles (basketball, guard/forward) led Maryland to a Big Ten regular-season title, averaging 17 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists for the season. For the second straight year, she was an all-conference first-team selection and an All-American honorable mention. Charles shined in the Big Ten title game, dropping 36 points and nine rebounds against Iowa.

Jen Giles (lacrosse, midfield) captained the national champions and posted a dominant senior season. She led the Terps with 82 points (59 goals, 23 assists) and chipped in 37 ground balls, 25 draw controls and 14 caused turnovers. Giles was named a Tewaaraton Award finalist before the postseason, then backed it up by scoring Maryland’s last two goals in the final against Boston College.

Linnea Gonzales (field hockey, forward) closed her career on a high note, winning NFHCA National Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year. Gonzales tallied 14 goals and five assists in 25 starts, leading the Terps to conference regular-season and tournament titles (winning tournament MVP along the way).

Virunpat Olankitkunchai (golf) became the first Maryland women’s golfer to reach NCAA nationals as an individual. The sophomore earned that spot by finishing tied for third at the Auburn Regional, which followed a T-5 at the Big Ten tournament. Olankitkunchai recorded seven top-six results in 13 events — including three runner-up finishes — and her scoring average of 72.81 was best on the team by nearly a full stroke.

Erika Pritchard (volleyball, outside hitter) had a breakout sophomore campaign, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors and leading the conference with 4.32 kills per set. She was an all-around weapon, recording 493 kills, 287 digs, 65 blocks, 22 aces and 18 assists. Despite a coaching change and player exodus in the offseason, Pritchard almost led Maryland to the NCAA Tournament anyway.

Megan Taylor (lacrosse, goalie) dominated every national Player of the Year award after anchoring the Terps’ championship run. She became the first goalie to ever win the Tewaaraton Award, then followed by capturing IWLCA Player of the Year and the Honda Award. Taylor finished the season with a .551 save percentage and stopped 24 of 47 shots on championship weekend against the nation’s two top-scoring offenses.

Poll

Vote for the best Maryland female athlete of 2018-29

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Kaila Charles
    (44 votes)
  • 14%
    Jen Giles
    (76 votes)
  • 6%
    Linnea Gonzales
    (35 votes)
  • 1%
    Virunpat Olankitkunchai
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Erika Pritchard
    (11 votes)
  • 66%
    Megan Taylor
    (352 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
527 votes total Vote Now

Best Freshman

Maxwell Costes (baseball, first base/outfield) was best-known at first for being the younger brother of Marty Costes, who played at Maryland from 2016-18. But Maxwell quickly made his own name and then some, garnering Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an all-conference first-team selection. Costes slashed .266/.397/.547 with a team-high 15 home runs and 49 runs batted in.

Bibi Donraadt (field hockey, forward) wasted no time establishing herself as a dominant offensive player, as the Netherlands native led Maryland with 15 goals and 36 points. She earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was named to the NCAA all-tournament team after scoring the overtime winner against Princeton in the Final Four.

Anthony McFarland (football, running back) turned a solid redshirt freshman season into a historic one with two incredible performances in November. He ran for 210 yards on 19 carries against Indiana, then had 175 in the first quarter against Ohio State. McFarland finished that game with 298 yards, second-most in a single game in Maryland history, and his 1,034 yards for the season are by far a school rookie record.

Taylor Mikesell (women’s basketball, guard) played like a veteran from the onset of her rookie campaign. She earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten honors from the conference’s coaches and set a program record with 95 made three-pointers. Mikesell averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 boards and 3.3 assists in 34.7 minutes per game.

Jalen Smith (men’s basketball, power forward) averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in a somewhat up-and-down season, but shined in the NCAA Tournament, posting consecutive double-doubles against Belmont and LSU. After declining to enter the NBA Draft, he’s the headliner on a 2019-20 Maryland team drawing top-five offseason rankings.

Poll

Vote for the best Maryland freshman of 2018-19

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Maxwell Costes
    (59 votes)
  • 5%
    Bibi Donraadt
    (29 votes)
  • 58%
    Anthony McFarland
    (303 votes)
  • 12%
    Taylor Mikesell
    (63 votes)
  • 12%
    Jalen Smith
    (65 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (1 vote)
520 votes total Vote Now

Best Coach

Diana Cantu (women’s golf) led her program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance of the decade. Her Maryland team features players from all over the globe — the 2018-19 Terps had eight players from five different countries, with just one American — but came together for the program’s best season in years.

Sasho Cirovski (men’s soccer) orchestrated an in-season turnaround for the ages. Maryland went scoreless in its first four matches of the year and was 4-5-3 in mid-October. But the Terps closed the year 9-1-1 and ran the table all the way to a national championship, pitching a shutout for the entire NCAA Tournament. It’s Cirovski’s third title in 26 seasons (the others came in 2005 and 2008).

Brenda Frese (women’s basketball) faces high expectations year-in and year-out, but guided a young team to a conference regular-season title and won Big Ten Coach of the Year. Her Terps also went on the road and thumped South Carolina early in the season. Frese won her 500th career game in January.

Missy Meharg (field hockey) is another coach whose team is always expected to perform, but thanks to a mix of new and returning talent, Maryland was squarely in the national picture all season. The Terps went 22-3, won the Big Ten and reached the national championship game before falling to top-seeded North Carolina.

Cathy Reese (women’s lacrosse) guides one of the most dominant programs in all of college sports. Her Maryland team has lost just five games in the last five seasons, and went 22-1 this year en route to another national title. Reese became the Terps’ all-time winningest coach during the season, and her record in College Park now sits at a stunning 270-22.

Poll

Vote for the best Maryland coach of 2018-19

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Diana Cantu
    (7 votes)
  • 49%
    Sasho Cirovski
    (259 votes)
  • 4%
    Brenda Frese
    (22 votes)
  • 1%
    Missy Meharg
    (8 votes)
  • 42%
    Cathy Reese
    (224 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (7 votes)
527 votes total Vote Now