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Game On! Maryland College Sports to Watch this Winter

Game On! Maryland College Sports to Watch this Winter

Maryland sports lovers bleed orange and purple. But the Orioles’ bats are now silent until spring, and the Ravens regular season wraps in early January (although a postseason trip is looking likely.) So what are sports fans to do during the cold winter months?

The obvious answer is NCAA basketball. But eight other collegiate sports seasons also occur during the winter, offering plenty of options for sports lovers craving the thrill of competition. 

College sports make great family outings. Most tickets are inexpensive, and many match-ups are free for spectators. Fun promotions like giveaways and theme nights will appeal to the smaller members of your family, and often, the student-athletes will sign autographs after their contests, allowing you to get up close and personal with these talented stars.

Below is a look at all the action to keep you warm this winter:

Basketball

College basketball tips off in November, providing four months of excitement before culminating in a March Madness battle for supremacy. Nearly every college in Maryland—including many local community colleges—has men’s and women’s basketball teams, so you won’t need to travel far to catch a game.

The highest-ranking Division I men’s team in the state, the University of Maryland Terps, will host fellow Marylanders Coppin State on December 28, along with Big Ten rivals Penn State, Purdue, and Illinois in shoot-outs at College Park’s XFINITY Center. The Terps make the postseason most years and won the Championship in 2002.

And who can forget 2018, the year the 16th-seed men’s UMBC Retrievers defeated the #1-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the tournament? The Retrievers 2023-24 season will include state face-offs with Loyola, Coppin State, Morgan State, and Towson this season.

The Lady Terps are as successful as their male counterparts, having last won the NCAA Championship in 2006. This year’s team, ranked 16th in the Associated Press poll, will welcome the Towson Tigers to the XFINITY Center on December 12, along with a competitive line-up of division rivals.

Maryland Women's Basketball player clapping during game
Photo Credit: Maryland Terrapins
Photo Caption: Former Terrapin Diamond Miller was selected 2nd overall in the 2023 WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx.

The Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers women’s basketball team made the Division I tournament in 2021 and 2022 and are looking for another winning season. Their Maryland match-ups are all on the road, facing University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne on November 29 and Loyola in Baltimore on December 2.

Ice Hockey

Despite the popularity of the Washington Capitals and the proliferation of youth ice hockey leagues in Maryland, there is currently only one school where you can catch NCAA ice hockey: Stevenson University.

Stevenson Hockey players on the ice during a game
Photo Credit: Stevenson University Mustang Athletics

Boasting both men’s and women’s teams, the Baltimore County-based Stevenson Mustangs can be found on the ice at the Reisterstown Sportsplex. Hood College in Frederick will join these ranks in the 2024-25 season when they add women’s ice hockey to their athletics roster. 

Swimming and Diving

Although the collegiate swimming and diving season got underway in October, there is still plenty of action in local swimming pools throughout the winter—championships don’t begin until mid-to-late February, depending on the league. Johns Hopkins, Frostburg, Salisbury, St. Mary’s, Hood, Goucher, McDaniel, and Washington all have men’s and women’s swimming teams, where student-athletes sharpen their strokes to prepare for championship berths; some may even advance to the trials for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Swimmer in the middle of celebrating during a meet
Photo Credit: Towson Tigers

If you like your water sports with high-flying feats, several schools also offer diving programs, including Navy, Loyola, Towson, UMBC, and Mount St. Mary’s.

Gymnastics

Once considered a four-year Olympic sport, collegiate gymnastics has been gaining popularity thanks to several 2022 Olympians who also compete in the NCAA. Both of Maryland’s women’s teams—University of Maryland GymTerps and the Towson Tigers—rank in the top 35 nationally and will meet up several times this season, including at the Maryland Five Meet at the XFINITY Center on March 12. 

Gymnast competes during meet
Photo Credit: Towson Tigers

The only men’s gymnastics team in the state, Navy hosts all of its home meets in January and early February, so don’t wait too long to make your plans. When watching the Midshipmen, pay attention to Isaiah Drake, who is fresh off a top 20 finish at the 2023 U.S. Championships and could contend for an Olympics spot this summer. 

Acrobatics and Tumbling

A combination of gymnastics and competitive cheerleading, acrobatics, and tumbling is gaining popularity at colleges nationwide. Three schools in Maryland compete in the sport, which consists of six heats of acro, pyramid, toss, and tumbling. The Frostburg State Bobcats, ranked #7 at the end of the 2023 season, kick off their season on February 18 in Bobcat Arena, while the Stevenson Mustangs host their first home meet on March 2 at the Owings Mills Gymnasium. In Baltimore, the Morgan State Bears will kick off their inaugural season on February 10 at Hill Field House.

Wrestling

Wrestling requires a unique mix of strength, agility, technique, and strategy to achieve victory on the mat. Student-athletes at some of the state’s larger schools, including the University of Maryland, Morgan State, Johns Hopkins, Frostburg, and Navy, will show off their skill from November to March.

Maryland wrestler celebrates a victory during a match
Photo Credit: Maryland Terrapins

Two smaller schools also offer wrestling programs: McDaniel wrestling opens on November 19 versus Ferrum in Westminster, while the Garrett College Lakers start their season at Frostburg on November 4.

The Frostburg women are embarking on their inaugural season of wrestling in November. As the only women’s wrestling team in the state, they will compete with schools from Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware.

Women’s Bowling

Most people haven’t ever been to a competitive bowling tournament. Take the opportunity to experience this sport while supporting talented female student-athletes on February 9, when Coppin State takes on Mount St. Mary’s. Bowie State, Morgan State, and UMES also have women’s bowling teams, although most of their tournaments are out-of-state this year.

Men’s Volleyball

Although the women’s volleyball season has wrapped up for the season, men’s volleyball is just starting. Maryland currently only hosts two NCAA teams: Hood and Stevenson. The Blazers and the Mustangs will face off on March 27 at the Ronald J. Volpe Athletic Center in Frederick, but they will each take on an exciting roster of regional rivals through the beginning of April.

Fencing

For something completely different, consider attending a fencing match this winter. Johns Hopkins University has the state’s only NCAA fencing team—both men and women compete in the sport. February 11 is your only chance to catch fencing in Maryland this season; the BlueJay men will host Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association action in Baltimore’s Goldfarb Gymnasium. The women’s season will be contested on the road.


Lead Photo Credit: UMBC Athletics

About the Author

Heidi Schlag

Heidi Glatfelter Schlag is a marketer, history lover, and traveler who can often be found exploring museums, parks, small towns, and farms. She founded Culture-Link Communications, where she helps local nonprofits and small businesses build their brands. Heidi lives in Frederick, MD, with her husband and two dogs.

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