By: Kavitha Brunner
@lemonjaded on Twitter
If you’ve been a Golden Bear during the winter season, there’s no doubt you’ve witnessed the beauty that is the annual Winter Dance Recital. The mastermind behind Hammond Dance is Ms. Brooke Kuhl-McClelland (Ms. Kuhl). Proven to be an athlete through her dance expertise, Ms. Kuhl is not only a dancer, but also a newly nominated Lacrosse Hall of Famer. Her induction to the Greater Baltimore chapter of the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame will take place in January.
A teacher at Hammond for 26 years, Ms. Kuhl has dedicated her life to mentoring and leading a student body of determined athletes. On the side, Kuhl gave her all as she led Mt. Hebron High School’s Varsity lacrosse team for eleven years – nine as head coach. As soon as the bell would ring here at Hammond, she’d be off to Hebron to assist her team.
Her hard work as Hebron’s head coach is undoubtedly what has earned her a spot in the US Lax Hall of Fame. The nomination that she received in the mail was “shocking,” she tells me: “I didn’t play lacrosse in college, or even in high school. I just coached.” But how could she not expect such a nomination after not only going on a 103-game-win streak, but also amassing a truly amazing 152-15 record for Hebron lacrosse in her time there and snagging six state titles for Hebron, as well as ranking number one in the country five times?
Coach Kuhl’s success followed her wherever she went: After leaving Hebron as coach, she began coaching at St. Paul’s School for Girls, where she had led the Gators into their first championship appearance in seven years.
How does she do it? Ms. Kuhl reveals to me that in her rookie year as a coach, she and her team lost a game 18-1. “After that, I told myself I’d never lose 18-1 again. I started going to seminars and learning how to be a better coach.” Coaching at Hebron really propelled Kuhl into the world of lacrosse.
Sadly for the world of students who play lacrosse, Ms. Kuhl no longer coaches high school or summer camp lacrosse. After undergoing an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF surgery, on her back, just like what Peyton Manning went through), Kuhl found that coaching lacrosse on top of teaching dance was physically “too much.” Luckily for the world of Hammond dancers, Kuhl chose to maintain her position as our resident dancer.
Kuhl is overall happy with her experiences coaching lacrosse, despite the pressure that was placed on her and her teams to always win. She says she wouldn’t change anything about her experience, if given the chance, and she feels that being with the athletes and mentoring them was the best part of her time as a coach. WIth a trace of a smile, she told me that she often enjoyed practices more than the games themselves.
The United States Lacrosse Hall of Fame was initiated in 1957 in order to recognize the outstanding achievements of lacrosse contributors of all kinds: players, officials, and coaches alike. Members are annually inducted based on how well they personify the essence of the sport of lacrosse. We would like to personally congratulate Ms. Kuhl for her well-deserved recognition and thank her for all of her hard work here at Hammond and with other students across the county.