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September 30, 2009

Sonnefeld Foundation taking applications for golf scholarships

The George E. Sonnefeld Foundation Inc., which gives at least one scholarship to a high school senior golfer each year, will give at least two $2,500 awards this year, said the foundation’s treasurer, Susan K. DiLonardo.

Students who wish to receive applications should contact their athletic directors, golf coaches, golf course professional, guidance counselor or DiLonardo at 410-841-5670 or e-mail The deadline for applications is March 15, 2010.

The foundation, named for Sonnefeld, a Towson resident and accountant who had a passion for golf, was created to award at least one annual scholarship to a college-bound high school senior who plays golf, has an established handicap and lives in the greater Baltimore area.

Posted by Sandra McKee at 8:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Golf

Severna Park-Broadneck renew rivalries

One of the best neighborhood rivalries in the entire metro area can be found in Anne Arundel County, where Severna Park and Broadneck have maintained excellent athletic programs throughout the years.

In the next couple days, the rivalry will add new layers with the schools battling it out in a number of sports.

On Thursday, the No. 3 Broadneck volleyball team will travel to No. 5 Severna Park for a 5 p.m. match.

Later on Thursday, Broadneck's newly-anointed No. 1 field hockey team also visits Severna Park to take on the No. 3 and defending Class 4A state champ Falcons at 7 p.m.

On Friday, boys soccer takes center stage when the No. 2 Falcons travel to No. 4 Broadneck at 7 p.m.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys soccer, Field hockey, Volleyball

Football points have standing early

It’s early in the football season, but it’s worth noting a few things about the MPSSAA points standings.

Sure, much of this could change as the season goes on. After all, there are still 32 undefeated teams through the first four weeks of competition and few will remain that way. Still, you can get an idea that some teams have set themselves up in good position while others have begun fading already. The top four teams in each region advance to the regional playoffs.

River Hill, which won the last two Class 2A titles, leads the race in Class 3A East over Howard County rival Atholton. The Hawks have already beaten Wilde Lake, last season's Class 3A runner-up. They meet Atholton, one of the season's hottest turnaround stories, on Oct. 30.

In Class 4A East, Arundel leads the way after reaching the state semifinals last season. The Wildcats have already beaten Old Mill, the top Anne Arundel rival in the region. They face Annapolis, which is just out of the region's top four, Friday.

Dunbar, the three time-defending Class 1A champ, trails Baltimore City foe Forest Park in Class 1A South. The Poets lost ground when they fell to Patterson three weeks ago, but they could make some of that up with a win over unbeaten City on Friday.

Other teams atop their regional rankings: Franklin in Class 3A North; Southern in Class 2A South; Chesapeake-BC in Class 2A North; and Joppatowne in Class 1A East.

To see where your team ranks in its regional standing, click here.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 2:10 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Football

September 29, 2009

Atholton's Schmitt named Ravens' prep coach of the week

Atholton football coach Kyle Schmitt has been named the Ravens High School Coach of the Week after leading the Raiders to a 34-30 win over Wilde Lake on Saturday and boosting their record to 4-0.

The Raiders have already bettered last season's win total of three under their first-year coach, who was a Maryland Terrapins graduate assistant last season. Previously, Schmitt played in preseason with the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals as an offensive lineman. He also played in NFL Europe.

The Ravens prep coaching award, sponsored by Toyota, comes with a $2,000 donation to the school’s football program, a certificate signed by Ravens coach John Harbaugh and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a hat.

The weekly winners will be honored Dec. 13 at M&T Bank Stadium before the Ravens' game against the Detroit Lions. That day, the Ravens' High School Coach of the Year will be named.

This is the third week for the honors. The first-week winner was Patterson's Corey Johnson, whose team had upset three-time defending state champ Dunbar the previous weekend.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:07 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

Chesapeake-BC football hits stride early

Chesapeake football coach Mark Junker said he has always heard that the fourth year of your program is when things should all come together. He's a bit ahead of schedule.

The third-year head coach guided his Baltimore County team to perhaps the biggest upset of the season, beating then-No. 6 Eastern Tech, 15-13, on Saturday.

The Bayhawks rallied from 6-0 down at the half to get the winning edge on two Corey Polston touchdowns in the third quarter. The win, which improved the Bayhawks to 4-0, ended a 23-game regular-season winning streak for the Mavericks, who reached the state Class 2A championship game the last two seasons.

Junker said his team might have been intimidated a bit at first, but that turned around quickly.

"They drove down right away on us and they gave us a break and fumbled inside our five, but then they stymied us. We got back on the 1-yard line," Junker said. "We punted and [Emmanuel Gbor ran] the punt back. It was an auspicious start for us. I give our kids credit. They could easily have gone in the tank after starting out the first quarter like that, but we moved the ball a little bit and that gave us some confidence in our second drive. I think our kids are just tough and they stuck with it."

In addition to Polston's heroics, the Bayhawks got a stellar game from their linemen -- Nestor Navalo, Elijiah McClain, Chris Brown, Pascal Tshiams, Edwin Thomason and Matt Meyers -- as well as fullback/linebacker James Bedgood, who had 12 tackles.

Junker said his he learned his approach from one of the deans of area coaching, Poly coach Roger Wrenn, who spent many years at Patterson.

"I was very fortunate as an assistant coach. I worked for nine years with Roger Wrenn at Patterson, so really I consider him a mentor and I coach a lot of the way he does," Junker said. "It's a lot of fundamentals, a lot of discipline, an old-school football theory. That's the mentality I brought into Chesapeake and the kids have responded. They're really taken ownership into the program. I'm getting the kids now who, the first year I was there were freshmen and sophomores and have been in the program for a few years. They say the fourth year in the program you should start hitting your stride, because you've had the freshmen for four years underneath your game plan and if you're doing anything right, you should start to see some success."

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 10:04 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Football

September 28, 2009

Parkville building turnaround football season

Before the season began, coaches concluded that some teams that hadn't been too strong in recent years could emerge on the Baltimore County football landscape. Parkville was not one of those teams mentioned.

Going 1-9 a year ago in coach Jackson Tarr's first season as head coach, the Knights weren't in the conversation with teams such as Hereford, Eastern Tech, Perry Hall, Franklin, Woodlawn and Milford Mill. Even Chesapeake, which upset Eastern Tech Saturday, was mentioned a few times.

Now the Knights are in the conversation. At 3-1, with a 33-15 upset of then-No. 15 Perry Hall under their belts, they getting ready to host No. 8 Hereford Saturday at 1 p.m.

Senior running back Rashard Carter, who did not play last season but played as a freshman and sophomore, scored three touchdowns for the Knight's in Saturday's upset, but he's just part of the story.

"He's doing exactly what we expected of him," said Tarr. "More importantly, the rest of the team is playing well. They've turned it up."

In addition to Carter and linemen Dylan McKenzie, Marvin White, Josh Strother, Philip Okpara and Tae Kim, quarterbacks Tavis Jaskulis and Omari Timmons as well as tight end Jason Vick have been big factors in leading the way.

Tarr also singled out Michael White, who led the team in rushing last season as a tailback but has easily handled a less glamorous role this fall, moving to fullback where he does more blocking than ball carrying.

Tarr said he's also gotten a lot of help from assistant coaches John Marquette, who was the Knight's head coach before Tarr, and Harry McNeir, a former head coach at Towson.

The main key however has been having the team come together, said Tarr.

"I've talked to them since I got there about being willing to put in the hard work and do the right things and if you do that, it will show up on the field," he said. "Last year, we struggled but we continued to work hard and do the right things. I just told them, 'Keep doing it and it will pay off.' They do it and they believe it and it is paying off."

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

The Next Level -- Week 4

Week 4 of the college football season featured some stunning upsets and shake-ups among the nation’s top teams – and of course some standout performances from local players.

Struggling Maryland suffered another disheartening home loss, this one a 34-13 defeat at the hands of Rutgers on Saturday, but a couple of Terps from the Baltimore area did their part to try to keep the game close. Junior wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Poly) scored his first touchdown of the season – and Maryland’s only one of the game – catching a 24-yard pass from Chris Turner in the second quarter. The touchdown tied the score at 10. Starting nose tackle and Severn native A.J. Francis made three tackles (one solo, two assists). On one of Maryland’s biggest defensive plays of the game, the redshirt freshman sacked Scarlet Knights quarterback Domenic Natale for a loss of 8 yards on third-and-5 in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble. Rutgers recovered but was forced to punt. Terps senior strong safety Jamari McCollough (Randallstown) returned from a foot injury, coming off the bench to make one tackle. Senior linebacker Hakeem Sule (McDonogh) played but did not record any statistics. Scarlet Knights senior wide receiver Andrew DePaola (Hereford) played in the win but didn’t make the stat sheet.

Starting weak-side linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) made eight tackles (four solo, four assists) in visiting North Carolina’s 24-7 loss to Georgia Tech. The sophomore was credited with 1.5 tackles for a total loss of 3 yards, making one solo stop for a loss of 2 yards and assisting on another stuff for a 2-yard loss.

A good number of area products – including four who played at Calvert Hall – saw the field in Temple’s 37-13 home victory over Buffalo. Starting free safety Mike Newton (Calvert Hall) was the Bulls’ second-leading tackler, making nine solo stops. The senior also broke up a pass. Senior defensive lineman Dane Robinson, also a Calvert Hall grad, played but did not record any statistics. Fellow Calvert Hall alumni Pat and Sean Boyle, both sophomore offensive linemen, played for Temple in the victory. Freshman wide receiver Matt Brown, a Baltimore native, carried the ball once for a gain of 7 yards on a first-and-10 play on the Owls’ opening drive. Freshman defensive back Kwame Johnson (Parkville) made two solo tackles for Temple but was also flagged for defensive pass interference on third-and-5 in the fourth quarter.

Wide receiver Shaky Smithson (Douglass) was all over the field in host Utah’s 30-14 triumph over Louisville. The junior rushed four times for 18 yards, made three receptions for 14 yards and returned a kickoff 19 yards. That’s eight touches for a total of 51 yards. Smithson’s longest run was for 6 yards, and his longest catch went for 9. He produced two first downs, one on a rush and one on a reception. Cardinals linebacker Horace Miller (Dunbar) made two solo tackles in the defeat. The freshman stopped Utes quarterback Terrance Cain for no gain on a first-and-10 rush in the fourth quarter; three plays later, he tackled Cain after a gain of only 1 yard on another first-and-10.

In Syracuse’s 41-24 victory over visiting Football Championship Subdivision opponent Maine, freshman wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) caught one pass for 19 yards, and it was a big one. The second-and-10 reception moved the chains on a third-quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown, giving the Orange a 20-17 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Senior tight end Andrew Robinson (Calvert Hall) played but did not record any statistics for Syracuse.

Duke wide-out Sheldon Bell (City) partially blocked a punt in the Blue Devils’ 49-14 rout of cross-town foe North Carolina Central. The junior also made one catch for 1 yard in the game, which was played at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Wake Forest suffered a tough loss, falling, 27-24, in overtime to host Boston College, but Demon Deacons linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) did what he could to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard. The redshirt freshman made two solo tackles, including a stop of BC running back Montel Harris for a loss of 1 yard on a third-and-1 play in the third quarter.

Freshman slotback Lonnie Liggins (Hereford) carried the ball four times for 10 yards in Army’s 31-10 road loss to Iowa State. Liggins’ longest rush was for 4 yards, which he did twice, one of them coming on fourth-and-2 in the first quarter. The first down led to an eventual field goal that gave the Black Knights a 3-0 lead. Army junior linebacker Jacob Bohn (Mount St. Joseph) played but did not record any statistics.

Connecticut redshirt freshman safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley) made three tackles (two solo, one assist) in a 52-10 romp over visiting Rhode Island.

Navy backup quarterback Greg Zingler (Severna Park) got onto the field in the Midshipmen’s 38-22 home victory over Western Kentucky, but the senior recorded no statistics.

Posted by Steve Gould at 3:28 PM | | Comments (3)

Parkville's Carter a one-man band

In a weekend that included several big upsets in high school football, Parkville senior Rashard Carter proved a one-man band in wrecking then-No. 15 Perry Hall's Saturday afternoon.

Carter, a running back who did not play last season, scored three touchdowns in a 33-15 upset of Perry Hall. He ran for 208 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns and caught a 27-yard touchdown pass. He accumulated 263 yards of total offense in Saturday's game -- boosting his season total to 668 yards. He has run 58 times for 559 yards and six touchdowns this season and has at least 12 tackles as a linebacker for the 3-1 Knights.

"He's blessed," said Parkville coach Jackson Tarr. "He's got a lot of talent, but he wants it more than most kids and he will do the work."

The offensive line gets a lot of credit too for booking Carter's appearances in the end zone -- guards Dylan McKenzie and Marvin White, tackles Josh Strother and Philip Okpara and center Tae Kim.

(More about Parkville in a little while.)

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 2:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

Spalding-McDonogh girls soccer lives up to billing

Friday's showcase girls soccer game -- No. 1 Archbishop Spalding at No. 2 McDonogh -- lived up to its potential and more. It had everything: creative play on offense, tight marking on defense and some fine play from the goalies.

The visiting Cavaliers, defending Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champs, came away with a 1-0 win when midfielder Francesca Springer neatly placed a shot to the far post from a tough angle with five minutes to play.

It was a rematch of last year's title game -- a 2-0 Spalding win. While John Carroll, Mercy and some other quality IAAM foes would like to have a say, it would be no surprise to see the same two teams in this year's title game.

Just how big was Friday's game? A Direct TV blimp was hovering above for a few minutes in the first half.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 10:51 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls soccer

Mount de Sales spikes No. 1, wins the Bulldog

There’s an axiom in sports that if you want to be No. 1 then you need to beat No. 1. Mount de Sales' volleyball team not only did that Saturday at North Caroline High School, they did even more.

The No. 3 Sailors defeated top-ranked Centennial in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Broadneck in the semifinals, and No. 4 River Hill in the championship to win the Bulldog Invitational Volleyball tournament. The tournament annually features most of the top teams in the state of Maryland.

“We lost to River Hill in pool play, but that just fired us up even more,” Sailors coach Monica Owensby said. “Our goal was to beat either No. 1-ranked Centennial or No. 2-ranked Broadneck. As it turns out, we did both.”

Senior Katy Buck, a first-team All Metro performer last year, led Mount de Sales. Buck had 20 kills in the Centennial win, five kills and nine digs in the semifinal win over Broadneck, and 16 kills and 14 digs in the championship versus River Hill.

The Sailors made it to the finals of the tournament last season, only to lose to Centennial in the championship. Owensby, then the assistant coach, said she learned from the experience last season.

“I changed our offense for Centennial on Friday figuring we’d see them again,” Owensby said. “As it turned out, it worked. I told the girls we can’t be intimidated, and the intensity has to be there on every point. Fortunately, it was.”

Owensby took over for Kenny Mills, The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Coach of the Year last season, and has the Sailors rolling up wins in the IAAM A Conference. In regular-season matches, Mount de Sales is 5-0. Still, the feat the Sailors pulled off on Saturday night is special one for the rookie head coach.

“I think it’s just starting to sink in now,” said Owensby. “We not only beat the best team in the area, we beat the No. 2 team and the No. 4 team also -- and we did it all on the same day. That’s pretty special.”

--Mike Frainie

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 10:48 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Volleyball

September 27, 2009

Injury likely not season-ending for City's Coxson

Rumor had it Friday night that City’s superb wide receiver/quarterback Adrian Coxson had suffered a broken collarbone early in the Knights’ 47-0 win over Walbrook and that his senior season was over. Fortunately, Coxon’s injury is not so severe and his football season likely will continue with just a brief interruption.

A visit to the hospital Friday showed no broken bone and no separated shoulder, just a small ligament tear in his left shoulder, the right-handed Coxson said last night.

“They said it was a little tear and I should be good in a week. They said I could probably play Friday (against Dunbar), just see how I felt, but I doubt if I’m going to play [Friday], because I don’t want to risk further injury.”

City coach George Petrides doesn’t want to risk that either and wanted Coxson to be evaluated by a specialist in sports medicine, which Coxson said he will do Monday morning.

Coxson said last night he was feeling optimistic.

“It’s feeling OK,” he said. “I can move it more than what I could yesterday. It’s getting better. I’ve just got to work through it.”

Although Coxson, who has committed to Penn State, was recruited as a wide receiver, he has been filling a void at quarterback for the Knights (4-0). The injury came on a hard tackle after a pass on City’s third offensive play of the game.

“Coach called a pass play and I rolled out and threw the ball,” Coxson said, “and the boy hit me anyway, just drilled me into the ground.”

If he doesn’t play Friday, Coxson will be urging on his backup, senior Alfonzo Hawkins, a transfer from W.E.B. DuBois, who Petrides said is a good ball handler and a good runner. He also threw a touchdown pass against Walbrook.

“It would be hard to watch my team play on Friday,” Coxson said, “but I know they can do it without me.”

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 8:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 25, 2009

NDP freshman medals in the Deaflympics

While most high school-aged athletes were settling into their fall sports teams this month, Notre Dame Prep freshman Rebecca Meyers was halfway around the world swimming in the Deaflympics in Taipei, Taiwan. She swam in six events and won a bronze medal for the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Here is the news release from Notre Dame Prep:

At age 14, NDP freshman Rebecca Meyers was the youngest member of the U.S. Deaflympics Team, which competed in Taipei, Taiwan, in early September. Meyers returned to her home in Towson, Maryland, and to Notre Dame Preparatory School, where her mother and sister both attended, with a bronze medal for the 4x200 relay finals.

“I was so happy because I had accomplished my goal. I was also happy because I got to come home with a medal and not everyone got one,” said Meyers. “The USA team did not get as many as Russia did, and I was proud to contribute one medal to the [U.S. total].”


Meyers has been profoundly deaf since birth due to Usher’s Syndrome, which causes both hearing and vision loss. She hears now, thanks to a cochlear implant which she received when she was 18 months old. She reads lips and with the help of technology called an FM System which teachers wear in her classes, she can hear lectures. Still, she must look directly at a person when he or she is speaking to her, and ambient noises can interfere with her hearing.

Yet for Meyers, the fact that she is profoundly deaf has not stopped this energetic, buoyant teenager, who loves to read, travel and “hang out” with friends in addition to swimming. “Everything excites her, and she embraces it,” says her mother Maria Dachille Meyers ’81. “I don’t know where her spirit comes from.”

Meyers figuratively and literally dove into swimming when her mother “threw her” into the pool at age six. She won first place in her first race, and since then, she has been swimming competitively. These days, she trains six days a week for at least 90 minutes a day at the Loyola-Blakefield Aquatics Swim Club. As one of five female swimmers at the Deaflympics, she swam in six events.

In addition to the competition, Meyers and her teammates received the proverbial royal treatment from their host country. She toured the country, traveling to the beach, shopping in the city and participating in the traditional Moon Festival which is held annually to herald autumn. She experienced a bustling city where most people drive scooters and eat their food boiled. The cultural divide narrowed at the games, however, when all the countries and athletes were honored in a fireworks-blazing Opening Ceremony reminiscent of the spectacular Beijing Olympics.

This was the 21st Deaflympics, which was founded in 1928 and is held every four years. Eighty-one countries sponsored 4,000 deaf athletes for the summer games, which included 18 sports in addition to swimming. Meyers was among 220 athletes who represented the United States.

Photo courtesy of NDP: Sitting from left, Maria Meyers and Rebecca Meyers; standing from left, Marge Potter, learning resources specialist and Sister Patricia McCarron, NDP headmistress

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 4:34 PM | | Comments (0)

September 24, 2009

Garrison Forest, Spalding demonstrate what's good

The No. 1 Garrison Forest field hockey team responded like champions after its first loss of the season, when it beat a determined No. 10 Archbishop Spalding team, 4-1, Wednesday. And Spalding, in defeat, also demonstrated its good character.

The Grizzlies felt the sting of its first defeat Monday in a 2-1 loss to No. 11 Fallston, but coach Traci Davis saw her precocious freshman Brooke Adler score three goals Wednesday and the rest of her team settle down after the upset loss.

"We talked about some things that had to improve," Davis said, declining to reveal most of them. "One thing was our passing. Fallston took us out of our game and out of our rhythm."

Against Spalding, Davis had her team return to basics: completing passes; keeping the ball low. "Making each other look good," she said. "And having fun."

Ah, yes. Fun. It's a game, after all. But the desire to win can sometime become as intense as it is on higher levels.

"Sometimes you forget to have fun," Davis said. "Against Spalding, everyone had fun."

You could see it in their faces -- even in the faces of the Spalding players, who laughed after hard hits, and got to celebrate a goal near the end of the 4-1 affair, demonstrating they would not give up.

And when it was all over, the sound of sportsmanship sounded like the buzz of happy bees, as the two teams walked past each other clasping hands and saying in repetitious unison, "Good game!', Good game!', "Good game!'

Posted by Sandra McKee at 12:53 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Field hockey

Arundel Sports Hall of Fame announces 2009 class

The Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2009 class with four new members set to be inducted at the 19th annual Hall of Fame banquet Oct. 21 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

Skip Brown, Michael Burnett, Luis Grillo and Theresa Vermillion will be recognized for their athletic achievement in Anne Arundel, joining 83 other members in the Hall.

Brown spent 20 years as baseball coach at Anne Arundel Community College, named Maryland Jr. College Coach of the Year seven times, and also served as AACC's soccer coach for three years.

Burnett was a standout lacrosse player at St. Mary's and the University of North Carolina, where he was an All-American attackman in each of his four years from 1980 to 1983.
The Tar Heels won two national championships during his playing days.

Luis Grillo, a Washington, D.C., native who has called Annapolis home since 1989, has been a basketball referee since 1975. He was an NCAA Division I official from 1975 to 1988 before spending the past 20 years as an NBA official, still active in the pro game.

Vermillion, a Southern High grad, was inducted into the National Duckpin Hall of Fame in 1999. She began bowling professionally in 1975 with the Ladies Pro Duckpin Tour, earning Rookie of the Year honors and going on to win five professional titles during her career.
Tickets for the banquet are $30 and available by calling Barbara Walter at 410-859-0151.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 10:55 AM | | Comments (0)

Football equipment grants available

High school and youth football teams can apply for part of $1 million in merit- and need-based equipment grants to be donated through USA Football this fall.

The grants, made possible by the non-profit NFL Youth Football Fund, can be applied for through 5 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Youth teams must be non-profit to receive the grants.

Each selected youth program receives $1,000 worth of equipment and apparel from Riddell and Under Armour. The package for high school teams is valued at $1,500.

“This program helps youth football leagues and high school programs continue to make a positive impact in their communities through America’s favorite sport,” said Scott Hallenbeck, executive director of USA Football in a press release earlier this week. “Even with multiple fundraisers and registration fees, some organizations struggle to properly equip their teams. We’re proud to foster great football experiences and we’re happy that our national partners – Riddell and Under Armour – share our vision.”

Since 2006, USA Football, the national governing body for youth and amateur football, has distributed more than $2 million.The NFL Youth Football Fund is a joint effort ot the NFL and NFL Players Association started in 1998.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 10:02 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Football

September 23, 2009

Calvert Hall set to compete at Bull Run

Cheers to Calvert Hall cross country for deciding to come to this weekend's Bull Run meet at Hereford.

The No. 2 Cardinals have usually been near the top of the polls in recent seasons, but hadn’t come the last few Bull Runs because they would go to an event in Richmond, Va. Some local teams often grumbled about why Calvert Hall wouldn’t come to this event, which is arguably the biggest in-season event in the area.

"If you’re the best, you should go against the best," was the refrain I often heard. Calvert Hall coach Randy Fowler doesn’t understand what bothered people -- he just saw the Richmond meet as a good place for his kids to run.

But there are some problems with that meet this year, Fowler said, which opened up the Calvert Hall schedule.

“To us, it’s just another meet. No big deal,” Fowler said. “I thought it’d be a good time to go to the Bull Run. It’s a prestigious meet [with] all the local teams. [It's] finally a chance for us to compete against other schools in the state of Maryland since we don’t get to compete in the state championship.”

The Cardinals will take on No. 1 Loyola and other top 10 teams who run in the Elite Division on Saturday morning. Nick Rowe, A.J. Evelletta, Kenny Motsay, Ian Tarltle and Steve Hava are the Cardinals’ top five.

“You might beat the competition, but the course can kick your butt,” Fowler said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

And a lot of people will be glad to see Calvert Hall there enjoying itself.

-- Jeff Seidel

Posted by at 12:44 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Cross country

Bulls doing his thing at UMBC

Flipping through the channels on Tuesday night, I stumbled upon a familiar scene on the local news while catching some college soccer highlights: Andrew Bulls celebrating a goal.

Bulls, now a sophomore at UMBC, was a standout at McDonogh, earning All-Metro honors as a senior midfielder in 2007.

On Tuesday, he scored on a free kick from 20-plus yards out to lead the undefeated Retrievers (8-0) to a 1-0 win over Loyola.

Bulls, who has 10 goals and five assists this season, also scored a game-winner in a 1-0 win against Towson last week.

The Retrievers also are getting fine play from freshman Phil Saunders (Perry Hall) in goal. He came up with three big saves in Tuesday's win and has allowed just three goals all season.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 10:52 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Boys soccer

September 22, 2009

Which school has the best mascot?

Since I wrote, earlier today, about the superbly appropriate Cheetahs mascot selected for FAST (the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology) in Baltimore City, we've been getting a lot of feedback about school mascots.

Which one is the best?

Check out our poll on the high school sports page. Cast your vote there for one of our 10 nominees and then send us you comments here. Do you like one of our 10 or do you have another nominee? What makes your mascot the most unique?

Right now in the poll, the Bryn Mawr Mawrtians are winning by a wide margin over the Mercy Magic. The Poly Engineers are a distant third.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 7:56 PM | | Comments (7)

Friends' Gartner strong in net

The Friends field hockey team (0-4-1) is still looking for its first victory of the season, and for goalie Hannah Gartner, a win can't come soon enough.

Friends coach Judy Turnbaugh said her goalie "is totally awesome", but Gartner, a 16-year-old junior in her third year as the varsity team's goalie, said she isn't finding much joy in being a standout player when her team doesn't win.

"When I make a lot of saves, it means the other teams are dominating, and that's not good," said Gartner, who has recorded 91 saves in five games this season, with the high a 27-save performance in a 3-0 loss to No. 13 McDonogh. "Sometimes I feel the pressure down at our end because I want us to win."

Gartner has been a goalie since she was in sixth grade and acknowledges that she might have gotten bored with the position had her teams totally dominated play and left her to idly man the net with little to do. But that's not the way her playing days have gone. There has always been action around her net.

Which might explain why she is so very good at stopping shots.

"I try to be aggressive," Gartner said, "and I think one of my strengths is making quick decisions. Of just knowing when to stay up and when to go down. Talking to the girls around me helps, too. My defense really helps me."

Gartner said her team is getting better. After an 0-3 start in which Friends allowed eight goals, the team has played its past two opponents very tough, playing to a 2-2 overtime tie with John Carroll and then losing in overtime to Park, 1-0.

Friends will try again for its first victory tomorrow at Seton Keough.

"In the past I've always liked the action in goal," she said. "But now, on varsity, I love when we're dominating play because what I want most is for us to win."

— Sandra McKee

Posted by Sandra McKee at 2:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Field hockey

Softball standout Hyson now at Chesapeake

The spring softball season is still far away, but it can already be said that perennial state power Chesapeake-AA will stay that way.

The Cougars graduated Lauren Gibson, a two-time All-Metro Player of the Year, a four-time All-Metro pitcher who led them to two state titles.

Filling the void will be junior Megan Hyson, who transferred from Seton Keough after leading the Gators to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.

Hyson, a first-team All-Metro selection, went 14-0 with a 0.00 ERA last year, allowing just nine hits all season.

Like Gibson, Hyson also is a catalyst at the plate, hitting .390 with 15 RBIs last season for the Gators.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 11:49 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Softball

The perfect mascot for FAST

When the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology opened last year, principal Ian Roberts didn’t want the new Baltimore City school to have a run-of-the-mill mascot for its sports teams. He saw an obvious creative choice -- one that no other public school in Maryland had.

If you're FAST, you must be a cheetah.

“The school’s acronym spells out FAST, so we thought, ‘OK, fine. Which mascot should we go with? What mascot exemplifies fast and speed?’ In addition to that, that was one of my favorite animals as a track athlete. I always equated speed with the cheetah, so there are two pieces in choosing the mascot, the acronym of the school and we always want to remind our students that they are on the fast track,” Roberts said.

With his “personal bias,” Roberts said with a laugh, he may have “strong armed” the staff and students a bit when it came to choosing the mascot. He, however, knows a little something about speed.

A 2000 Olympian, Roberts reached the quarterfinals of the 800 meters, but he was tripped up and did not advance. The native New Yorker was a multiple All-American at Coppin State and at St. John’s. Now, he assists track coach Greg Burley whenever he can.

The school, which includes grades six, seven, nine and ten, had a pretty good JV track program last spring. The girls, led by Bobbie Jones, Otencia Vanzie and Deanna Morgan won the city’s innovative schools’ league while Brendan Thomas led the boys to third place.

Next spring, the track team will be a varsity squad competing in the city league. The Cheetahs also plan to compete in indoor track this winter.

Personally, I wouldn’t count out any track team called the Cheetahs.

Click here to vote in a poll on the area's best mascot.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 9:06 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Track and field

September 21, 2009

The Next Level -- Week 3

The Next Level rolls on with a recap of Week 3 action.

Former Archbishop Curley standout Jerome Junior showed his big-play capability in Connecticut’s 30-22 road win over Baylor. A week after recording seven tackles against North Carolina, the redshirt freshman safety intercepted a wide receiver pass from the Bears’ Kendall Wright in the third quarter and returned it 14 yards. Junior also made two tackles (one solo, one assist).

Severn native A.J. Francis had an eventful second quarter in Maryland’s stunning 32-31 loss to visiting Middle Tennessee State. The starting nose tackle, a redshirt freshman, blocked an extra-point attempt and stopped Blue Raiders quarterback Dwight Dasher for no gain on a first-and-goal run from the Terps’ 7-yard line, but he was also called for an offside penalty in the period. For the game, Francis recorded two tackles (one solo, one assist). Maryland senior linebacker Hakeem Sule (McDonogh) assisted on two tackles on kickoff coverage. Junior wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Poly) also had an assist on a special teams tackle. On offense, Chris Turner threw to Williams twice, but both passes were incomplete. Terps senior safety Jamari McCollough (Randallstown) missed the game while recovering from a foot injury he suffered against California in Week 1.

Starting free safety Mike Newton (Calvert Hall) led Buffalo in tackles for the second straight week. The senior made nine stops (six solo, three assists) in the Bulls’ 23-17 defeat at the hands of host Central Florida. In the first quarter, he stuffed a third-and-1 rush by Golden Knights running back Brynn Harvey for no gain. Newton was injured making a tackle in the fourth quarter, but he returned to the game. Fellow Calvert Hall product Dane Robinson made one solo tackle for Buffalo. The senior defensive lineman stopped Harvey for no gain on a second-and-1 rush.

Shaky Smithson (Douglass) made an impact as both a receiver and a returner in visiting Utah’s 31-24 loss to Oregon. The junior caught five passes for 33 yards, his longest an 11-yard reception on a second-and-2 play in the second quarter. Smithson also returned six kickoffs for 140 yards (a 23.3-yard average), with a long of 29.

Wake Forest linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) turned in a notable performance in the Demon Deacons’ 35-7 home rout of Elon. The redshirt freshman made seven tackles (two solo, five assists) and was credited with a half sack for a loss of 4 yards.

Starting weak-side linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake), a sophomore, assisted on four tackles including two for losses as host North Carolina beat East Carolina, 31-17.

Junior wide receiver Sheldon Bell (City) caught two passes for 15 yards in visiting Duke’s 44-16 loss to No. 22 Kansas. His longest, a 13-yard reception, came on second-and-8 in the fourth quarter.

A week after scoring his first college touchdown, freshman Tavon Austin (Dunbar) was held to one reception for 5 yards as visiting West Virginia fell to Auburn, 41-30. Freshman defensive back Terence Garvin (Loyola) played but did not record any statistics.

Former local standouts Sean Boyle (Calvert Hall), a sophomore offensive lineman, and Kwame Johnson (Parkville), a freshman wide receiver, played for Temple in the Owls’ 31-6 loss to Penn State in State College, but neither recorded any statistics. Baltimore native Matt Brown, a freshman wide-out who played his high school ball at Peddie School in New Jersey before prepping at New York’s Milford Academy, was thrown to twice, but both passes were incomplete. Brown also called for a fair catch on the one punt he fielded.

Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus targeted freshman wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) on a deep pass in the Orange’s 37-34 win over visiting Northwestern, but the throw wasn’t completed. Senior tight end Andrew Robinson (Calvert Hall) got onto the field for Syracuse, recording no stats.

Also playing but not recording any statistics in their team’s respective games were Army junior linebacker Jacob Bohn (Mount St. Joseph), Louisville freshman linebacker Horace Miller (Dunbar), Navy senior quarterback Greg Zingler (Severna Park) and Rutgers senior wide receiver Andrew DePaola (Hereford). Army beat visiting Ball State, 24-17; Louisville lost to host Kentucky, 31-27; Navy was defeated by host Pittsburgh, 27-14; and Rutgers beat visiting Florida International, 23-15.

Posted by Steve Gould at 6:14 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football, The Next Level

Atholton football matches last season's win total

With Atholton's win over Centennial Friday, the Raiders started off 3-0. That wouldn’t seem like a big deal with so much of the football season left, but the Raiders have now matched their win total for all of last season.

“Everybody’s real excited,” said Raiders’ senior Matt Robinson. “This is the first time Atholton’s gone 3-0 in at least 10 years. It’s a really big deal. We’re not looking to stop. We’re just looking to keep moving forward and getting better. I don’t think we’ve reached our potential at all.”

The Raiders started out with a 43-21 win over Reservoir then nipped Howard, 15-14, before beating the Eagles, 35-14, on Friday thanks to a pair of Ryan Raines touchdowns and a big day on special teams. Quarterback Kalvin Seamonson also threw for two touchdowns and ran for another.

Last season, current head coach Kyle Schmitt was a graduate assistant at Maryland. Taking over the program, which returned only a handful of starters, Schmitt said he saw a lot that he liked.

“Overall, the old staff did a nice job of developing players, because these kids have a real solid knowledge of the game,” Schmitt said. “We’ve brought some of my thoughts, mixed them with the kids and they’ve really done a good job with it.”

Schmitt also likes the senior leadership that captains Robinson, Raines, Seamonson, Welsey King and Zach Deal bring to the team. An unsung hero has popped up every game. Friday it was King, a linebacker and offensive guard, whom Schmitt said played with a lot of energy.

Robinson, a wide receiver/linebacker who has committed to Maryland, said many of the Raiders are capable of making big plays.

“A lot of teams are focusing on either me or Kalvin,” he said, “but we have a lot of play makers, a lot of skill position player and they all can step up to the plate. At any given moment, somebody else can make a play. I think our versatility is what’s helping us a lot, because if someone’s covered, other people can get open and get the ball.”

The competition gets a bit tougher this week when the Raiders travel to meet Wilde Lake Saturday at 2 p.m. The Raiders came close to the state Class 3A runner-up Wildecats last year but fell 22-21.

“I’ve told our guys they’ve done a great job starting off solid, but, if you want to be thought of in the upper echelon of Howard County, beating Wilde Lake is part of that. If you want to run with the big dogs, you’ve got to beat a couple of them. I think this is a big game for our program. I don’t want to put too much pressure on our kids, but to take the next step, we’ve got to beat a program like this, because they’re a traditional power. Those guys do a great job over there.”

Robinson said the Raiders haven’t beaten the Wildecats in four years.

“Our confidence is real high right now,” he said. “Just knowing if we can get by Wilde Lake we have a pretty good chance of doing really well in the county and setting ourselves up for a good chance at the playoffs. This will be a pretty good test for us.”

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 1:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

McDonogh's Fernandez due back this week

McDonogh senior defender Marquez Fernandez, the All-Metro Player of the Year in boys soccer last season, is expected to return to the lineup after missing two weeks with a chest injury. The No. 1 Eagles are 9-0 and 3-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, allowing just two goals so far this season. The Eagles will host John Carroll at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 11:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys soccer

DeMatha reigns with most NFL players

When it comes to turning out professional football players, DeMatha is No. 1 in the country, according to USA Football.

The Stags, ranked No. 1 every week this season in's state media football poll, have seven alumni currently playing in the NFL – two more than a handful of other teams including Eleanor Roosevelt, which has five, according to USA Football statistics released today. The numbers were based on NFL kickoff weekend rosters, which included 1,695 players from schools in 48 states, Washington, D.C., American Samoa and five foreign countries.

“I’m very proud to have been a part of their program,” said DeMatha graduate and Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook in a news release. “My high school coach (Bill McGregor, the 2004 NFL High School Coach of the Year) continues to be an inspiration and source of support for me.”

In addition to Westbrook, the Stags have sent to the NFL: Quinn Ojinnaka of the Atlanta Falcons, John Owens and Josh Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Derek Wake of the Miami Dolphins, and Edwin Williams and Byron Westbrook of the Washington Redskins. Roosevelt’s alumni are Jared Gaither of the Ravens, Derrick Burgess of the New England Patriots, Will Davis of the Arizona Cardinals, Derrick Harvey of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Derrick Williams of the Detroit Lions.

Among states with the most NFL players, Maryland ranks 13th, tied with New Jersey, with 43, according to USA Football, the national governing body for youth and amateur football. California has the most current NFL players, 205, followed by Texas with 179 and Florida with 176.

Consider the odds of becoming an NFL player. There are 1,695 NFL rosters spots and 281,421,906 people in the United States. That’s one NFL player per 166,031 people. Maryland, which ranks 10th in NFL players per capita, beats the national odds with one of every 123,174 citizens playing in the NFL. Your odds are best in Louisiana: one in 55,862.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 11:16 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Football

September 18, 2009

Gilman grad Opara shows studies help sports career

Something student-athletes hear over and over again during their high school years is the importance of succeeding in the classroom as well as on the field. After a while, that advice can go in one ear and out the other.

One person who proves the truth in that advice is Chisom Opara, a Gilman graduate who is now a scout for the Cleveland Browns. The subject of today’s “Alumni Report,” Opara knows he wouldn’t still be in football if he had not succeeded in class as well as on the field.

He wanted to make it as an NFL player, but he didn’t, so he found a way to fall back on a career that kept him very close to the sport he loved.

Like Opara, most high school athletes will not play professional sports. There just aren’t enough roster spots in the NFL, the NBA, the WNBA and other pro leagues. But you don’t have to play to have a career in those sports.

Just look at how many people surround an NFL team – everyone from coaches to scouts to athletic trainers to public relations specialists. It takes a village to keep a professional team running. At the college level, there are lots of supporting positions, too, and you can see how many people work to make sure your high school and club teams run smoothly.

There are other careers in sports, too, such as sports management and sportswriting or broadcasting. Do you have any idea how many people it takes to pull of Sunday Night Football?

Opara’s 3.5 grade-point average at Gilman sure helped draw the interest of college coaches from such academic powerhouses as Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Duke and Virginia. He chose Princeton and earned his degree in politics.

“The percentage of people who make it to the professional ranks if you really look at it across all sports, it’s very small,” Opara said. “It is an uphill battle. Certainly, if you’re good enough and you try hard enough, there’s a chance, but not everybody’s going to make it. But there are other opportunities to stay around the game, whether it’s coaching, scouting, being a trainer, equipment manager, working in operations. There’s a lot of opportunity up there. Even when I was coming up, I didn’t realize there were people who scouted me when I was in high school. That aspect of it didn’t really dawn on me until college, and I started to become a bit more into it.”

Opara said he thought about other careers, such as investment banking, or teaching and coaching high school football, but when his chance came in the front office, he jumped on it. Today, he can’t thank Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and Browns general manager Phil Savage enough for giving him the chance to stay in the NFL, but Opara made a lot of that happen himself. He got the grades in high school to get to Princeton, and he got his degree even though he went back for it after a tryout with the Ravens in 2003.

Without the ability to communicate well, he wouldn’t be any better at his job than I would be at mine.

“It kind of underscores the importance of combining the athletic part with the academic part,” Opara said, “because in my job, your ability to write and communicate is very important. If you’re just a good football player and you can’t write and communicate, you can’t express your opinions, then jobs like scouting and jobs like coaching are not going to be as open to you. That just underscores the balance of succeeding athletically and also pushing yourself academically.”

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 17, 2009

Girls Golf Challenge set for Oct. 3

The Girls Golf Challenge, which aims to grow golf among girls in Maryland's public schools, will return to Forest Park on Oct. 3.

Run by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the Challenge will include three events running through the afternoon: an 18-hole stroke play tournament for the top players and a nine-hole tournament for average players, both at 1 p.m.; and a clinic and skills challenge for novice players at 2 p.m.

Registration deadline is Sept. 23.

For more information and a sign-up sheet, click here for the MPSSAA Web site.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 2:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Golf

Close early scores can benefit later

The No. 1 Archbishop Spalding girls soccer team, the defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions, has already had its share of tight games in its 6-0 start.

Both No. 5 South River and Eastern Tech took the Cavaliers to overtime, their opener against No. 8 Severna Park was scoreless at the half before a 3-0 win, and in their league opener at No. 7 Mercy on Wednesday, the champs earned a 2-1 win.

Spalding coach Bob Dieterle said this early season has been reminiscent of last year when the Cavs won a number of overtime games.

"It's a good thing and that's what I tell the kids," Dieterle said. "It builds character and mental toughness, and helps you prepare for the bigger games later in the season."

In this week's ESPN RISE Top 50 poll, Spalding moved from No. 5 to No. 3, while IAAM foe McDonogh cracked the top ten at No. 8. The Eagles, who were ranked No. 14 last week, made the jump after knocking off then-No. 3 Pennington Prep (NJ), 2-0, at the McDonogh Tournament on Saturday.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 10:48 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls soccer

September 16, 2009

Which prep sports are most popular?

What are the most popular high school sports in Maryland?

It’s probably no surprise that football takes the top spot for boys and soccer is No. 1 among girls.

According to the latest participation figures announced Tuesday by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), more students are playing high school sports than ever before – and that’s true in Maryland too.

In Maryland, there were 111,102 high school athletes during the last school year, up from 111,016 the previous year, according to the NFHS survey.

For boys in Maryland, football had 64,704 participants followed by track and field, lacrosse, soccer, baseball and basketball. For girls, soccer reigned followed by softball, track and field, lacrosse, volleyball and basketball.

In data collected from membership schools in all 50 states and Washington D.C. for the 2008-09 High School Athletics Participation Survey, more than 7.5 million students participated in high school athletics across the country during the 2008-2009 school year. That marks the 20th straight year in which participation has grown for boys and for girls.

“Given the state of the economy, this year’s survey makes a great statement about the interest in high school sports in our nation’s schools,” said Robert F. Kanaby, NFHS Executive Director, in a news release. “The record participation levels for boys and girls reflect the fact that participation in high school sports is of great value to our nation’s young people.”

According to the survey, 55.2 percent of students across the nation played on a high school team in 2008-2009.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)

September 15, 2009

A little improvisation at Glenelg

When the referee at Monday's Glenelg-Reservoir girls soccer game didn't have a quarter for the pre-game coin toss, he used a pencil as a replacement.

He threw it up and the direction it landed determined which team got to choose taking the ball.

Turns out the referee put the pencil to good use the rest of the game as he issued five yellow cards, mostly for language, with no serious issues developing.

The host and No. 6 Gladiators came away with a sturdy 3-0 win over upstart Reservoir, which came into the game ranked sixth.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls soccer

Perry Hall to dedicate track to Martin

When Jerry Martin coached track at Perry Hall, he would arrive every morning to work his pole vaulters at 5:45, teach all day and then put the rest of the team through its paces for two hours every afternoon. He did that for 31 years.


Those who ran for him admired not just his knowledge of the sport, but his dedication to the youngsters who made up his often highly successful teams.

The Gators won 38 Baltimore County track championships during Martin’s 31 years as coach, but his overall contribution to the Perry Hall community went much further than trophies. Recognizing that, school officials will dedicate the school's track to Martin, who passed away suddenly in June at 66, Thursday at halftime of the Gators’ 7 p.m. football game against Tuscarora.

“He was a very tough coach,” said David Marks, who ran cross country for Martin from 1988-90. “He was very strict, really pushed his team to the limits but on a personal level one of the fairest people I’ve ever met. He was a very demanding coach, but I think he gave all of us a sense of discipline that was really needed at that point in our lives.”

Martin began his coaching career at Dundalk High in 1968 and moved to Perry Hall in 1974. In addition to the track titles, his Gators won 12 straight county cross country championships between 1986 and 1997. His teams won a remarkable 83 percent of their dual meets in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.


“He knew every event like the back of his hand. He worked harder than anybody. He was just a consummate professional. He was the best coach I’d ever been around at any level -- a great motivator, his knowledge of the sport, his dedication to the sport,” said Brad Kressman, a Perry Hall physical education teacher and a former assistant to Martin who was one of the driving forces behind the track dedication.

Gators’ track teams often numbered more than 100 runners, said Kressman, making for quite a juggling act for Martin at practice.

“It was something to see,” said Kressman. “He would be in the middle and it was like a three-ring circus. There were so many kids and everybody was doing something different. If you didn’t see it, you wouldn’t believe it. He worked so hard.”


Marks remembers grueling workouts. His cross country team would run two miles to Gunpowder State Park as a warm up, then run hills at the park before running back to school to finish the workout.

Over Labor Day weekend, Marks and about 35 other former Gators and some of their spouses gathered at Perry Hall to run part of the cross country loop in Martin’s honor. Marks said the event, organized through Facebook, might become a more formal run in the future. He added that a Facebook page has been set up in Martin’s honor.

“It’s amazing the impact he had on the community at large,” said Marks, who is president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association. “Parents and grandparents of children who went to that school remember him. He was probably one of the most memorable teachers and coaches we’ve ever had at Perry Hall. His death was very sudden and it just had an impact on a lot of people.”

Photos of Jerry Martin by Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun / Nov. 16, 1995, and John Roemer IV / May 2, 2009

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 12:54 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Cross country, Track and field

September 14, 2009

The Next Level -- Week 2

Welcome back to The Next Level. It was another exciting week of college football, featuring some notable performances from former Baltimore-area standouts.

It didn’t take Tavon Austin long to make a big impact in the college game. The former Dunbar star, a true freshman, started at wide receiver for West Virginia against East Carolina on Saturday and made two catches for 59 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jarrett Brown that extended the host Mountaineers’ lead to 28-20 in the third quarter. The touchdown was West Virginia’s longest scoring play of the game. The Mountaineers went on to add another touchdown, and ended up winning, 35-20.

Navy reserve quarterback Greg Zingler (Severna Park) also put points on the board Saturday. After Midshipmen starting quarterback Ricky Dobbs rushed for a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Louisiana Tech, Zingler took the field for the point-after attempt, ostensibly as the holder. When the snap came however, the senior picked up the ball and ran it for a 2-point conversion, pushing Navy ahead 18-10 in the second quarter. The host Mids rolled on to 32-14 victory. Navy senior linebacker Jerry Hauburger (Eastern Tech) played in the game but did not record any statistics.

Maryland starting nose tackle A.J. Francis had a big game as the host Terps edged Football Championship Subdivision opponent James Madison, 38-35, in overtime. Though the Dukes rushed for 268 yards against Maryland, the redshirt freshman, a Severn native who attended Georgetown Prep in Washington, made five tackles (two solo, three assists). That included two stops for no gain and his being credited for a half-tackle that resulted in a loss of 2 yards for JMU. Terps junior wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Poly) recorded one catch for 7 yards in the game, and senior linebacker Hakeem Sule (McDonogh) played but did not record any statistics. Senior safety Jamari McCollough (Randallstown) missed the game because a foot injury. The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Barker reported that coach Ralph Friedgen said he does not expect McCollough, a second-team All-Metro selection as a high school junior, to be ready to play when Maryland hosts Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.

Starting free safety Mike Newton (Calvert Hall) continues to be a factor on the back line of Buffalo’s defense. A week after making six tackles against Texas-El Paso, the senior led the Bulls with 11 tackles (six solo, five assists) in their 54-27 home loss to Pittsburgh. Newton, who was in on six consecutive tackles on the Panthers’ first drive, also broke up a pass.

A pair of defenders made their presence felt in visiting North Carolina’s wild win over Connecticut (the Tar Heels came back to prevail, 12-10, after Huskies offensive tackle Dan Ryan was called for holding in the end zone with 1:32 remaining, resulting in a safety). UNC sophomore linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) made five tackles (three solo, two assists), and UConn safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley), a redshirt freshman, recorded seven stops (three solo, four assists).

Wide receiver Shaky Smith (Douglass) made one catch for 9 yards on a first-and-10 play in the third quarter of Utah’s 24-14 win at San Jose State. The junior also returned a pair of kickoffs for 26 and 25 yards.

Syracuse didn’t have many highlights in falling, 28-7, to Penn State in Happy Valley. Freshman wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel), however, did make two catches for 10 yards, including one for a gain of 11. Orange senior tight end Andrew Robinson (Calvert Hall) and Nittany Lions junior cornerback Shelton McCullough (Randallstown) both played, but neither recorded any statistics.

Wake Forest freshman linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) assisted on the tackle on the opening kickoff in the Demon Deacons’ 24-17 win over visiting Stanford.

Duke junior wide receiver Sheldon Bell (City) and Army junior linebacker Jacob Bohn (Mount St. Joseph) got onto the field in the Blue Devils’ 35-19 victory over the host Black Knights, but neither recorded any statistics.

Raynard Horne (Overlea) played in Virginia’s 30-14 home loss to Texas Christian, but the junior running back recorded no statistics.

Senior wide receiver Andrew DePaola (Hereford) saw action in Rutgers’ 45-7 romp over visiting Howard, recording no statistics.

Posted by Steve Gould at 7:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football, The Next Level

Hockaday's commitment to Terps helps John Carroll baseball

K.J. Hockaday, a junior at John Carroll, has orally committed to play college baseball at the University of Maryland. But, Hockaday's new coach, Joe Stetka, said his shortstop-third baseman may never make it to Maryland.

"He seems very excited about committing to Maryland," Stetka said. "But he's a tremendous athlete. Down the road, we'll see if he goes to Maryland, because I think he has a strong shot of getting drafted at the end of his senior season."

But for now, the prospect of John Carroll having a player of a caliber that interests Maryland is good for John Carroll.

"The MIAA [Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association) A Conference is a tough, tough league," said Stetka, who was an assistant coach at C. Milton Wright last season. "Last year John Carroll was below .500. We have a great facility and I'm trying to get kids to come here to play. To do that, we have to build respect for our program. Having a player like K.J. committed to Maryland certainly helps that. That kid just wants to get better every day."

Stetka said his goal for the program is to make the playoffs this season, something it hasn't done in more than a decade.

"I'm not tiptoeing in to this," Stetka said. "I'm jumping in. Having K.J., who is a tremendous high school shortstop and very outgoing, says good things about John Carroll. Having him will help me to get kids to believe in the program."

- Sandra McKee

Posted by at 2:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baseball

Poly's Goodson rolls up yardage

Poly's senior quarterback Antoine Goodson certainly has gained a lot of ground this season.

The multi-talented, three-year starter has 635 yards of total offense in just two games for the No. 14 Engineers (2-0). He has scored eight touchdowns -- five rushing and three passing.

In last week's season-opening 40-26 win over Largo, Goodson ran for 178 yards, threw for 174 yards and scored five touchdowns. In Friday's 28-12 win over Mervo, Goodson ran for 191 yards, passed for 92 and scored three touchdowns.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 1:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 13, 2009

A number of things about River Hill football

River Hill’s football team is putting up some impressive numbers this fall and not just in the 68 points the Hawks have scored during their first two games and the miniscule six points they have allowed.

Friday night’s 27-0 win over Wilde Lake was their 30th straight victory. The Wildecats haven’t beaten River Hill since 2003, but then again, few teams have.

The Hawks have won 35 consecutive games in Howard County and 51 of their last 52 against county opponents. The last time the Hawks lost to a county foe was on Oct. 29, 2005 when Long Reach beat them, 15-14.

They're not thinking about it right now, but the Hawks would like to keep another streak going too as they aim for a third straight state title. This one would be a little different, however, since the Hawks won the last two in Class 2A but are now part of a loaded Class 3A.

Katherine Dunn

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 8:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 12, 2009

Tough day for Gilman against DeMatha

You know it's a bad day when your quarterback compiles 347 yards of total offense and five touchdowns only to see his team lose by 21 points.

That's what happened to No. 4 Gilman on Saturday when DeMatha came to town and handed the Greyhounds a 56-35 whipping on a drizzly afternoon. Quarterback Darius Jennings ran for 222 yards plus two touchdowns and threw for 125 and three more scores. But it wasn't enough.

The big problem for Gilman (2-1) was DeMatha running back Marcus Coker. He finished with an amazing 392 yards rushing on only 24 carries. The Iowa-bound senior also scored five touchdowns, and the Greyhounds saw a lot of him -- mostly from the back.

"He could have had 892 if he wanted to," said Gilman coach Biff Poggi.

DeMatha (2-0), ranked No. 23 nationally in the latest USA Today poll, used its large offensive line to open holes so big that a truck could have driven through them sideways. There were times when Coker was barely touched on his long runs.

He had three short TD runs plus one for 80 yards and another for 77. The 80-yard touchdown run was a key because it tied the game at 14 just before halftime and let the Stags regain control as they scored the first 14 points of the second half.

-- Jeff Seidel

Posted by at 5:31 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Football

Support a good cause

Matt DeOrsey was a standout soccer player at Middletown High in Frederick and Towson University in the 1990s.

From all accounts, he was an even greater person. On Jan. 23, 2008, DeOrsey died suddenly of an apparent heart attack just two days before his 31st birthday, leaving behind his wife and three children.

To celebrate his life, family and friends are hosting the second annual DeOFest to raise money for The Matt DeOrsey Children's Fund and The Epilepsy Foundation of the Chesapeake Region.

The gathering, set for Sept. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m., will take place at Slainte Irish Pub and Woody Rum Bar & Island Grill in Fells Point. Tickets are $50 and include all you can eat, all you can drink and live entertainment.

For more information, click here.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 12:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys soccer

Gilman-DeMatha football game set for 1 p.m. today

Rejoice, local football fans. The Gilman-DeMatha game is on for today at 1 p.m. It will be played, as scheduled, at Gilman.

Gilman athletic director Tim Holley said this morning that he and several others, including the school's headmaster and football coach Biff Poggi, took a walk on the field for about an hour around 7 a.m. and determined that while there was still plenty of water there, the game could go on.

"[We] decided that the field, while not in ideal condition, was in playable condition," Holley said around 9 a.m. "If it was a league game, we would definitely play."

Holley said they're very concerned about the condition of the field after today's game, one reason he wasn't optimistic on Friday, but that both coaches wanted to play. Poggi felt very strongly that the game needed to be played on Gilman's campus, as scheduled.

"I'm very supportive of that," Holley said.

And so the game will be played. See you at 1 p.m.

-- Jeff Seidel

Posted by Trif Alatzas at 9:46 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 11, 2009

Status of Gilman-DeMatha game uncertain

The situation still doesn't look good for the Gilman-DeMatha football game.

The contest was scheduled to be played at the neutral site of Cardinal Gibbons tonight at 7 p.m. But the storm that hit the area Friday left the Gibbons field unplayable. So they went to the backup plan of moving the game to Gilman on Saturday at 1 p.m. But the rains have caused just as many problems there.

Gilman athletic director Tim Holley said at about 5 p.m. that they could play the game Saturday, but it could do a lot of damage to their field. He wasn't optimistic about the chances of getting the game in when talking before lunch time and still didn't feel too confident later in the day. The final decision should be made by around 8 a.m. Saturday.

"I'm not optimistic, but who knows what could [happen] overnight," Holley said.

Holley said both team's coaches have talked about this situation at length and agreed this is the best course of action. If Gilman, for example, moved the game back to Monday, that wouldn't work since the Greyhounds have to play Thursday because of Rosh Hashanah. Teams don't want to play two games in four days.

"Both coaches have talked about it and are in complete agreement," Holley said.

If the game is canceled Saturday, then it won't be played at all. Holley said this is a non-conference game, and there's nowhere else to put it. Simply put, both schools have their hands tied on this one.

Stay tuned tomorrow morning for updates.

-- Jeff Seidel

Posted by at 5:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

Manchester Valley/Brunswick game postponed

Today’s Manchester Valley High School varsity football game against Brunswick High School is postponed until 2 p.m. tomorrow at Manchester.

Posted by Trif Alatzas at 4:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

Jim Poggi ready for Gilman's test vs. DeMatha

Ask Gilman linebacker Jim Poggi how he feels about playing DeMatha and he needs a few seconds to put his feelings into words.

The annual Gilman-DeMatha football game has turned into an intense rivalry over the last 10 years, one that the Greyhounds look forward to even though they will be the underdogs when the game kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gilman, after being postponed from Friday night.

What’s it like to play against a team that’s often No. 1 in Maryland and this week is No. 23 in USA Today’s Super 25?

“It’s really hard to explain,” said Poggi a senior, who has played in two previous DeMatha games. “They are an amazing team every year. They have such great players every year and, they play so hard and they’re so tough. It’s a fun game to play, because of the intensity. If you’ve got 10 notches, the intensity is at a 12.

:Loyola and all of our league games are really high too, it’s just DeMatha is always highly-ranked in the east, highly-ranked nationally. This week, USA Today came out with them at 23, so it’s more of a national-setting type of feeling . When we play in our league, ti’s more like we do this for Gilman.”

For Gilman, The Baltimore Sun’s No. 2 team behind defending MIAA A Conference champ Loyola, the game is a chance to test themselves against the best said Greyhounds coach Biff Poggi. Gilman is ranked No. 4 in the MdVarsity State Media Poll, which has DeMatha No. 1.
Jim Poggi agrees with his dad.

“ I love it because, again, it’s high intensity the whole time and when you play against teams that are, skillwise, absolutely unbelievable, it gives you a good gauge of where you are. If you play a bunch of teams you can easily beat, you don’t really know how good you are going into league competition.”

DeMatha leads the series 6-4, but the teams have split the last four meetings. Last season, the Greyhounds pulled out a victory in the fourth quarter when Darius Jennings broke a 58-yard touchdown run to clinch a 21-14 victory.

“That game was so close and both teams played so well it was almost a shame there had to be a loser in that one,” said Jim Poggi, “because I respect all the guys on their team.... We’re not playing against a bunch of jerks on the other side of the ball. They’re a bunch of nice guys who love playing football and it’s great, because it’s a nice, clean game.”

Poggi, who has committed to play at Iowa next fall along with teammate Anthony Ferguson, has struck up a friendship with DeMatha running back Marcus Coker, who has also committed to Iowa. They talk on Facebook a few times a week, said Poggi. Some other players have also become friends with some of the Stags.

So is there any banter about who’s going to win?

“A little bit,” said Poggi with a laugh, “but it’s all in good fun. Especially on my side, I don’t want to say too much.”

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

Time and site changes for McDonogh boys soccer tournament

Saturday's games in the McDonogh boys soccer tournament that were scheduled to take place at the school have been moved to Loyola College. The times also have changed.

The Centennial-Curley game is set for 12, with the McDonogh-Perry Hall showdown set for 2.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys soccer

Reservoir-Glenelg girls soccer game postponed

Today's girls soccer game between No. 9 Reservoir and No. 7 Glenelg has been postponed due to inclement weather. The game has been rescheduled for Monday at Glenelg at 5:30 p.m.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls soccer

McDonogh boys fifth in Swimming World national championships

McDonogh's boys swim team finished fifth among independent schools in Swimming World Magazine's national high school championships -- a ranking of teams based on the best times for each team's athletes as if they had been posted in a true national title swim meet.

The Eagles' Giles Smith, now a freshman at Tennessee, finished first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.74 seconds, a national independent schools record. Smith also ranked in the Top 10 in the 100 freestyle.

Two Eagles relays also made it into the Top 10: the 200 freestyle with Smith, Brian Sweeney, Jess Stephens and Drew Kosgarea and the 400 freestyle with Smith, Ian Slater, Kosgarea and Stephens.

This is the third national ranking for coach Scott Ward's Eagles program. The boys, led by Mike Wheeler, were ranked after the 1997-98 season and the girls, led by Anne-Marie Botek, were ranked in the 2004-2005 season. Botek was the national runner up in the 100 butterfly that season.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 1:44 PM | | Comments (0)

Gilman-DeMatha postponed, possibly canceled

Rains have wreaked havoc with the Gilman-DeMatha football game. The contest was scheduled to be played at the neutral site of Cardinal Gibbons tonight at 7 p.m.

The storm that hit the area on Friday left the Gibbons field unplayable, however, so they went to the backup plan of moving the game to No. 4 Gilman on Saturday at 1 p.m. But the rains have caused just as many problems there.

Gilman athletic director Tim Holley said that, as of 10:30 Friday morning, his field was under nearly two inches of rain, and he wasn't sure if the game could be played.

"I'm not optimistic," Holley said. "I don't want to ruin our field."

If the game is canceled tomorrow, then it won't be played at all. Holley said this is a non-conference game, and there's nowhere else to put it. Simply put, both schools have their hands tied on this one.

-- Jeff Seidel

Posted by at 11:27 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Football

McDonogh and Perry Hall, again!

It was last year's most stunning goal that produced the season's biggest upset: Perry Hall's Ray Rogowski provided it with an overtime header that beat No. 1 McDonogh on the Eagles' home field.

It turned out to help serve two purposes.

For the Gators, who were ranked No. 7 at the time and had lost to Archbishop Curley, 3-0, the day before, it showed they could play with anybody and gave them an added surge of confidence to later reach the Class 4A state championship game.

For McDonogh, it said nothing can be taken for granted. It would be the only setback for the Eagles as they finished with a 20-1 season as the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champs.

One year later, the teams are set to meet again Saturday afternoon in the closing game of the two-day McDonogh Tournament.

Friday's games -- Perry Hall vs. Archbishop Curley, 3 p.m., and McDonogh vs. Centennial, 5 -- have been moved to Cedar Lane Park due to the rain.

Saturday's games, originally scheduled to take place at McDonogh, have been moved to Loyola College. The Centennial-Curley game is set for 12, with the McDonogh-Perry Hall showdown scheduled for 2.

Tomorrow, the tournament returns to McDonogh with Centennial and Curley set for 11 a.m. followed by the much-anticipated Perry Hall-McDonogh rematch.

Is there any added motivation on the Eagles' part?

"It's a different year, different team. But we do have a lot of the same players," said McDonogh coach Steve Nichols. "Last year's game was more of a wake-up call from a coaches' standpoint. If it doesn't happen we don't wake up and make that run. From a players' perspective, I think our guys took that result personally."

Posted by Glenn Graham at 10:49 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys soccer

Late Parkville coach Yates remembered as field dedication approaches

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Parkville High's plan to rename its football field in honor of Joseph Yates Sr., who in 1971 became Baltimore County's first African-American head football coach.

Since then, I've heard nothing but wonderful things from former players -- and one former student of his who is a colleague of mine here at The Baltimore Sun -- about what a great guy he was and how much he deserves this honor. I e-mailed one of his former players that it is a shame Yates is not here to receive this honor in person, but I was told he wouldn't like all the attention.

Yates died in 2006 at the age of 83, but, by all accounts he left a lasting impression on those around him. So for further insight into the legacy of Joe Yates, as Parkville prepares to rename it's football field Yates Field this Saturday at 12:30 p.m., read what former Sun
columnist Gregory Kane wrote just after Yates passed away:

When the Parkville High School football team plays its first home game this season, will the players be performing on a turf called Yates Field?

They will if Robert Gartside has his way. Gartside is a proud alumnus of Parkville, Class of 1969. His last season on the football team - where he played on the defensive line - was in the fall of 1968. Joseph Yates Sr. was an assistant football coach at Parkville then. Three years later, Yates became Baltimore County's first black high school head football coach.

You can read the reset of the column here.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 10, 2009

Listen to Bel Air-Harford Tech football Saturday

If you are a fan of Bel Air or Harford Tech's varsity football teams and cannot get out to the game Friday night, you can listen to it on Saturday afternoon. The game will be taped and broadcast at 3 p.m. on Herb FM or Live To listen go to or

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 5:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

Early-season soccer tests proving worthwhile

South River girls soccer coach John Sis, along with most other coaches, loves to challenge his team with a tough early season schedule. Of course, he would like to win every game, but he feels there's much more to be gained from seeing how his team stacks up against a quality opponent.

This past weekend, the Seahawks took defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champ Spalding to overtime before falling, 1-0. On Wednesday, the Hawks traveled to Class 3A runner-up Fallston and were able to sneak away with a 1-0 win.

"The quality of our players are basically due to them, their club coaches and parents. So basically, what we're trying to do is just maybe find weaknesses and see where we can maybe tweak things a little bit to improve on things," Sis said.

"We don't want to dodge anybody," Sis added. "We want to play anybody because everybody makes the playoffs. So if everybody makes the playoffs, why not play everybody tough? Worse case, what is going to happen is we're going to get fit and maybe lose some games. ... I like what this can do for us mentally."

Fallston coach Alyson Cammann was quick to agree with the benefits of going up against top teams. The Cougars are young and inexperienced in many places with several members from last year's team graduated. The Cougars stacked up respectably Wednesday night against the more experienced Seahawks.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 11:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls soccer

September 9, 2009

Fallston boys soccer reloads

Whatever the sport may be, some programs have the innate ability to simply reload as oppose to rebuild after suffering significant graduate hits.

One of those programs is the Fallston boys soccer team, which has had to revamp its lineup this season after graduating eight starters from last year's Class 3A state runner-up squad.

The No. 5 Cougars went up against No. 6 River Hill, another perennial state power with more experienced talent, on Tuesday and held their own before falling in the closing minutes, 2-1.

In the losing cause, the Cougars played organized with good pace and purpose for all 80 minutes, a credit to coach Christopher Hoover and his staff. The one player that stood out from both teams was Fallston senior forward Mikey Antinozzi, who is a great example of how the special programs maintain excellence.

In Tuesday's game, Antinozzi had quality touch after quality touch, proving a tough mark with the ability to create his own shot or set up teammates as the Cougars' offensive centerpiece.

"Last year, he was our third option up there. But this year, he has really stepped up both as a leader and taken over. He understands the flow of the game real well and knows what we want to do," Hoover said.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 12:57 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys soccer

Roland Park tournament raises money for lupus research

Roland Park will host its annual Sally E.Nyborg Field Hockey Invitational Saturday, an event which has drawn some of the best field hockey teams in the Baltimore-Washington area since it began in 1998. Teams will play for a good cause -- to raise money for lupus research.

Nyborg, a Reds field hockey player, died of complications from lupus in the spring of her junior year of 1998 and the tournament began the following fall.

Competition opens at 9 a.m. with Roland Park taking on No. 6 Westminster followed by No. 2 Severna Park vs. No. 10 Fallston at 11:15, Bethesda-Chevy Chase vs. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes at 11:30 and Fallston vs. Westminster at 12:45. Two games will be played simultaneously at 2:15 to cap off the day: Severna Park vs. BCC and Roland Park vs. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes.

The four public school teams -- Severna Park, BCC, Fallston and Westminster -- have won 48 state championships among them with Severna Park taking a record 18. Roland Park has won three IAAM A Conference titles since 2002 and St. Stephen's/St. Agnes,f rom Alexandria, Va., is a perennial Washington, D.C. private schools powerhouse.

Here is more information about the tournament. This news release comes from Roland Park’s communications department:

On May 17, 1998, Sally Elizabeth Nyborg, a varsity field hockey player and a member of the Class of 1999 at Roland Park Country School, died from complications caused by lupus. A very bright and energetic teenager, Sally challenged herself in all aspects of her life, including field hockey - her passion. She participated in the U.S. Futures Program and relished the challenge of learning and competing with some of the area’s best high school athletes. Sally also loved to run and to help others, demonstrated by the $1,800 she raised for the Leukemia Society by running in the Marine Corps Marathon in October, 1997. All who knew Sally marveled at her work ethic and her dedication to academics, sports and all that she pursued. In Sally’s memory, and as a fundraiser for the Hopkins Lupus Research Fund, Sally’s parents, grandparents, friends and classmates established an endowment to underwrite the annual Sally E. Nyborg Invitational Field Hockey Tournament.

Fees from the participating teams as well as 100 percent* of the concession sales run by the RPCS Parents’ Association will be donated to the Hopkins Lupus Research Fund. The event is free and open to the public.

Anyone wishing to respond to the fight against lupus should contact:
Hopkins Lupus Research Fund
1830 East Monument Street
Suite 7500
Baltimore, Maryland 21205

*An earlier version incorrectly reported the percentage of concession proceeds to be donated.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 11:58 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Field hockey

September 8, 2009

Coaches: Nominate Athletes of the Week

With the fall season now in full swing, The Baltimore Sun will honor one boy and one girl each week as Athletes of the Week. Their pictures, along with recaps of their previous week, will appear each Wednesday in the paper. You can see this week’s picks in Wednesday's paper or right here on

We’d like to remind coaches to nominate their players for consideration. We know there are many more deserving athletes than we receive nominations. The more top-notch performances we know about each week, the better choices we can make. The process is simple. We have a telephone line open 24/7 and we accept nominations until 6 p.m. Sunday.

Because only coaches or their representatives can nominate athletes, we won’t give out the number here. Last season, a coach apparently passed out the number, because we received about 20 nominations for the same athlete. That really doesn’t help. This isn’t American Idol. One call is enough.

Coaches and athletic directors should have the phone number. If not, contact the reporter who handles your sport or any one of us.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 3:46 PM | | Comments (1)

September 7, 2009

Arundel's Blackwell: Transferred to a starring role

Joseph Blackwell was not one of those names I heard tossed about in preseason as one of the area’s best football players. In fact, he was never mentioned.

That’s because hardly anyone knew about him. Until Friday night.

In his debut in an Arundel jersey, the junior running back scored four touchdowns in the No. 3 Wildcats’ season-opening 34-27 victory at No. 6 Old Mill, perhaps the Wildcats' top challenger in Anne Arundel County.

The Patriots struggled with Blackwell, who proved exceptionally slippery, running for 174 yards on 28 carries and one touchdown and catching five passes for 83 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s like trying to catch a waterbug with a pair of tweezers,” said Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz of his newest offensive threat.

For the last two seasons, Blackwell played at Archbishop Spalding. He wasn’t happy there, saying he didn’t fit into the Cavaliers’ offensive system, so he decided to transfer to his local public school in February.

It was a good fit.

“I was back with all my old friends,” said Blackwell, who attended Arundel Middle School and played recreation football with one of his Wildcats' teammates and against some others. "When I transferred, I talked to the coach and he was getting me caught up. Then I worked out with them over the summer.”

Blackwell was more than prepared for the season opener.

He caught two passes from All-Metro quarterback Billy Cosh in the first eight minutes for a 13-0 Wildcats lead. They never trailed although Old Mill tied the game at 13 before Blackwell scored again on a 13-yard run in the third quarter to take the lead for good.

“I usually get a case of nerves or butterflies before a game, but I didn’t get really nervous Friday night,” Blackwell said. “I felt really prepared. We came out and the first series went really well, the screen pass went for a long gain and the touchdown. Running that offense, everything kind of fit. I didn’t have this this-is-going-to-be-a-good-night moment, but the offense was really flowing well. For me, it wasn’t going to be a good night unless we won the game.”

Blackwell said he knew all eyes would be on Cosh, a senior who threw for more than 3,900 yards last season.

“In the spread offense, everybody’s worried about the pass, nobody’s worried about the run,” said Blackwell, who realizes the word is out about him now. “If they stop me, they won’t stop Billy.”

At one point in the third quarter Friday, Wildcats offensive coordinator Dave Doy called seven straight rushing plays, something Markiewicz said he does not remember ever doing in 32 years as a coach. Blackwell didn’t carry all seven times but his performance made those play calls -- and more of them later when the Wildcats wanted to keep the clock moving -- possible.

Blackwell, who has a 3.8 grade-point average and is considering becoming a doctor, is smart on the field and in an interview. He first gave credit to the Wildcats' linemen, whom he called “my best friends” for opening up some “huge holes” on Friday night.

After watching Blackwell practice, Markiewicz said he wasn’t sure how the 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior’s first game would go.

“We really weren’t sure how he was going to turn out. Joe’s a really smart kid and when he was learning things, he was really tentative. I just wasn’t sure if he was tentative like that always or what the explanation was [but] he was just trying to learn. He’s a methodical-type, smart, smart kid. What we found out was he really took it all in and when he had the opportunity to play, he just played. It’s scary how good he could be.”

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 9:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

The Next Level: Introductions and updates

First things first, I’m Steve Gould, an assistant sports editor for The Baltimore Sun. Welcome to The Next Level, a weekly feature on Varsity Letters where you can find out how former standouts from local high schools who now play for NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams fared in their games. Check back each Monday for a recap of their statistics and standout plays. (The list of players I’m working off isn’t comprehensive, so if I’m leaving someone out please leave a comment below or e-mail me, and I’ll make sure to include him.)

Well, with that stuff out of the way, let’s get down to it:

Three-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year Tavon Austin made his college debut in West Virginia’s 33-20 home win over Liberty. Austin, who starred at Dunbar, came off the bench to rush once for 4 yards and catch one pass for 3 yards. He also returned a kickoff for 14 yards. Freshman defensive back Terence Garvin, who also played running back while at Loyola, made one solo tackle for the Mountaineers.

There wasn’t much for Maryland fans to cheer as California rolled over the visiting Terps, 52-13, but a pair of former local standouts started on defense for UM. A.J. Francis, a redshirt freshman, lined up at nose tackle and recorded three total tackles (one solo and two assists). Francis played his high school ball at Gonzaga Prep in Washington, D.C., but is from Severn. Senior Jamari McCollough (Randallstown) started at cornerback and logged one tackle for a loss of 2 yards. His contributions, however, were overshadowed by his leaving with a foot injury. Sun reporter Jeff Barker reported that McCollough was seen on crutches on the Maryland sideline. Terps junior wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Poly) also played in the game but did not record any statistics.

Connecticut redshirt freshman strong safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley) got the start in his first college game and turned in a notable performance, making five tackles (two solo, three assists) in the Huskies’ 23-16 win over host Ohio.

Former Arundel standout Alec Lemon was a favorite target of quarterback Greg Paulus in host Syracuse’s 23-20 overtime loss to Minnesota. The wide receiver, a true freshman, caught five passes — the second most for the Orange — for 17 yards, his longest a 10-yard reception. Senior tight end Andrew Robinson (Calvert Hall), who threw for 2,192 yards and 13 touchdown passes while playing quarterback for Syracuse in 2007, did not play.

Starting senior free safety Mike Newton (Calvert Hall) made six tackles (four solo, two assists) in visiting Buffalo’s 23-17 win over Texas-El Paso.

Freshman defensive back Kwame Johnson (Parkville) came off the bench to make three solo tackles as Temple fell to Villanova, 27-24, at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

Virginia’s Raynard Horne (Overlea), a junior running back, caught one pass for 13 yards in the Cavaliers’ 26-14 home loss to Football Championship Subdivision opponent William and Mary.

Junior wide receiver Shaky Smithson, who played at Douglass in high school before attending East Los Angeles Community College and transferring to Utah, returned one kickoff for 21 yards in the Utes’ 35-17 victory over visiting Utah State.

Freshman linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) got some playing time for Wake Forest in the host Demon Deacons’ 24-21 loss to Baylor, but his only tackle was negated by a holding penalty on the Bears. Wake freshman running back Michael Campanaro, The Sun’s 2008 Howard County Player of the Year after rushing for 1,848 yards and 29 touchdowns for River Hill, did not play.

Junior linebacker Jacob Bohn (Mount St. Joseph) made one tackle on special teams in Army’s 27-14 road win over Eastern Michigan.

Senior quarterback Greg Zingler (Severna Park) and senior linebacker Jerry Hauburger (Eastern Tech) saw the field as visiting Navy gave No. 6 Ohio State a scare before falling, 31-27, but neither player recorded any statistics.

Louisville’s Horace Miller (Dunbar), a freshman linebacker, played in the host Cardinals’ 30-10 rout of Indiana State but did not record any statistics.

I’m not listing some of the numerous players — many of them freshmen — who didn’t see game time this week, but if you have a question about a specific player who wasn’t mentioned, please comment below and I’ll respond.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep checking in Mondays for more updates. If all goes well, we’ll look to have a similar feature when basketball season comes around.

Posted by Steve Gould at 6:46 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Football, The Next Level

September 4, 2009

Baltimore Bays club well represented

The Baltimore Bays youth soccer club has established itself as a national power, consistently winning national championships in a number of age groups in recent years.

The club's success also paid dividends for a number of area high schools as 37 freshmen players -- girls and boys -- have earned varsity roster spots from 24 schools.

Here's a look at the Bays' players looking to make an immediate impact for their respective high schools.


Notre Dame Prep

Casey Clarke - U15 Bays Chelsea

Simona Parravano - U14 Bays Chelsea


Alexis Siejack- U14 Bays Chelsea

John Carroll

Kiana Wright - U14 Bays Chelsea


Alex Pryor - U15 Bays Chelsea


Olivia O'Brien - U14 Bays Chelsea


Jessie Smith - U14 Bays Chelsea

North Harford

Meaghan Root - U15 Bays Chelsea

Rising Sun

Brooke Thompson - U15 Bays Chelsea

Haley Wisner- U15 Bays Chelsea


Darcy Wood - U15 Bays Chelsea


Brianna Gilliam - U14 Bays Chelsea

Allison Tarr - U14 Bays Chelsea



Jacob McHugh - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

Matt Sanchez - U15 Bays Chelsea

Matt Barth - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy


Michael DeGraffenreidt - U15 Bays Chelsea

Jeremy DeGraffenreidt - U15 Bays Chelsea

Tony Butta - U15 Bays Chelsea


Tanner Vosvick - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

Anthony Kim - U15 Bays Chelsea

Archbishop Curley

Anthony Driscoll- U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

Michael Sauers - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

Kyle Hunt - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

Christian Kershaw - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

PJ Koscher - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

Brad Warenicz - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

John Carroll

Caleb Anderson- U15 Bays Blues


Connor Finn- U15 Bays Blue Lions


Paul Windsor- U15 Bays Chelsea


Wesley Furr- U15 Bays United

Mount Hebron

Lucas Rose- U15 Bays Blues


Peter Vorel - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy

St John's College

Sam Davis - U14 Bays Chelsea Academy


Jonathan Barron - U15 Bays Chelsea

Edmund Burke

Romy Hernandez- U15 Bays Chelsea

Bel Air

Nat Hand - U15 Bays Blues

Posted by Glenn Graham at 3:55 PM | | Comments (0)

September 3, 2009

Baltimore City adds two varsity programs; three more to come

You may need a score card to keep track of the new teams arriving on Baltimore City’s fields and courts in the next few years.

Five new varsity programs are coming, including two this year from schools that were located within Walbrook. But, in a sad note for city athletics fans, there is no Walbrook High School anymore.

Anywhere you see Walbrook on a schedule, it is now the Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship (IBE). IBE and the Maritime Academy were both part of Walbrook last year, but now they are individual schools with their own athletics programs. Both will compete on the varsity level right away.

Maritime is located in the old Samuel Banks High School building while IBE is in the former Lemmel Middle School building, about a mile from Walbrook, which is now undergoing renovation.

Walbrook’s athletic director Yolanda Jackson takes over as AD at IBE, which retained the Warriors mascot and the scarlet and gray school colors. While IBE retains some of the Walbrook population, Jackson said, many student-athletes have transferred to other schools. She noted two veteran football players, linemen Nathaniel Lay and Charles Boyd, who have remained with IBE.

The new schools are much smaller than Walbrook, which was a huge Class 4A school. IBE is in Class 2A. The Maritime Anchors, largely comprised of former Banks student-athletes, are in Class 1A.

The other three schools, which have been around for at least a year with some level of junior varsity or freshman participation, will field JV programs this year and will move to varsity next year or the year after. They are Friendship Academy of Science and Technology, Academy for College and Career Exploration and Masonville Cove Community Academy.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 3:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 2, 2009

Quaranta sisters now playing soccer at Perry Hall

Alexa and Preslie Quaranta, who enjoyed standout freshmen seasons at Mercy last year, will be playing soccer at Perry Hall this fall.

The two gifted midfielders, who earned All-Baltimore City honors last season, will provide a big boost to the Gators' offense, while Mercy has to try to fill in the blanks.

Mercy coach Albert Oni said he learned just around practice first began this season that the two were moving on. The Magic made an impressive run to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinals last season and now have six returning starters instead of eight.

The addition of the Quaranta sisters could put already-solid Perry Hall over the top in Baltimore County and a force in the Class 4A ranks.

The Quaranta sisters are cousins of D.C. United's Santino Quaranta, a former Archbishop Curley standout.

Posted by Glenn Graham at 12:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls soccer

Manchester Valley goes varsity right away

Carroll County’s newest school, Manchester Valley, will kick off its first season of athletics tonight with a “Maverick Stampede.” It all starts at 5:30 with a one-mile run/walk ending at the school. A pep rally will follow at the stadium.

The golf team already has played one match, but the first home game will be Friday night’s football game vs. Clear Spring at 7 p.m.

While most new high schools in the state start off with junior varsity athletics and add varsity programs the following year, the Mavericks will play a full varsity slate this season. The school includes a junior class -- a rarity for new schools, which usually open with only freshman and sophomore classes.

Manchester Valley also differs from most new schools in that all of its sophomores and juniors come from one school -- North Carroll -- rather than two or three. Manchester Valley athletic director David Dolch said North Carroll’s enrollment had grown so much it had about 16 portable classrooms outside. Now everybody has a classroom inside at one of the two schools which are 3.2 miles apart in northeastern Carroll County.

North Carroll, which was a Class 4A school (those with the largest enrollment) is now a Class 2A school. Manchester Valley is 1A.

One of Dolch’s favorite things about dividing into two schools is that it doubles the opportunities for students to play sports. He said 240 of Manchester Valley’s enrollment of 571 tried out for teams.

“At a 4A school, when you think about it, teams like volleyball and basketball where you have really small numbers in terms of starting positions, now you’re in a position where you have a chance to make the squad and perhaps break into the starting lineup and have playing time. Obviously, the interest is there,” said Dolch, who came from St. Paul's.

The football team has a coach who knows all about starting a new program. Tony Shermeyer helped start the program at Century and last season coached the Knights to a 12-1 record and the state semifinals -- the best finish for a Carroll County team in more than 30 years. He was The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Coach of the Year.

Shermeyer made sure his players adjusted quickly from the switch to Mavericks’ navy blue and sliver grey from the North Carroll red and black.

“The first thing I said to them the first day of practice was, “You’re not North Carroll Panthers any more. You’re Manchester Valley Mavericks,’” said Shermeyer. “I want them to build the traditions and leave their mark on the program. They have the opportunity to start something really special. They have the opportunity to start traditions for Manchester Valley that are not the traditions of North Carroll. These kids, they’re very motivated. I had a lot of participation in summer workouts. These kids want to succeed.”

Dolch said he has a two-year plan for success in the Mavericks’ athletics program.

“We knew Urbana and Clarksburg (which also opened as varsity programs), became very competitive in their second year in multiple sports and we think we can do the same thing,” Dolch said. “Everyone realized this first year is going to be tough competition because all the teams we play have senior classes and we don’t. I still think we can be competitive in some sports this year.”

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 12:22 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Football

September 1, 2009

Tips for safeguarding students' athletic experiences

High school sports seasons are starting up, and with sports come injuries. Most of them minor, but some not.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are an estimated 1.4 million high school sports injuries that lead to 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations annually.

But there are things a parent can do to help avoid trouble. Chicago-based personal injury attorney Jeffrey J. Kroll said recently that parents can take simple steps to protect their children.

“We know that school sports programs promote physical activity, boost self-esteem and increase a child’s strength and endurance," Kroll said. "Yet on the sports fields there are ‘mine fields’ that can be avoided. As a parent, you can easily assess whether your child’s school athletic department has taken the necessary steps to reduce the risk of a sports injury.”

Kroll has put together the following list from his experience in representing victims of school sports injuries and accidents:

Some of these recommendations might seem obvious, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded about basic precautions. Some might seem overly inquisitive, but Kroll said any school that meets required sports safety standards will be happy to provide the information:

Meet with the head or position coach. Parents think the athletic director is the person most responsible. However, Kroll recommends parents build a relationship with the individual coach who usually spends the most time supervising their child.

Check gear and equipment. Like consumer products that are recalled for safety issues, sports equipment can also be faulty or unsafe. Verify that your child has been given properly fitted protective gear. Also, ensure that the training equipment meets all current safety standards and that no defective equipment is in use.

Ensure the facilities are safe. Parents should be certain the school’s facility structures and equipment comply with laws, regulations, rules and standards. Pay close attention to be sure any debris, rocks, water and other hazards are removed from the court or field, practice is directed away from any holes or other physical dangers, and all field and court posts, nets and fixtures are padded and set up appropriately.

Confirm the emergency procedure. A school’s trainer is responsible for health matters related to your child’s sports activities. Some schools have a shortage of trainers and do not have them available for all practices and games. Inquire about which members of the coaching staff are properly trained to handle emergency situations. While high school football has the highest injury rate, the No. 2 injury category is boys wrestling. Regardless of the perceived need, ask when and where trainers are available for your children.

Monitor team dynamics. Besides physical accidents, emotional and psychological conditions among teammates can cause harm to your child. Be sure to find out how they are getting along with team members, coaches and school staff members, even by asking your children.

Have a joyful and safe athletic year.

Posted by Sandra McKee at 1:28 PM | | Comments (0)

Mount St. Joseph looking for basketball camp participants

Mount St. Joseph is looking for young men to participate in its fall basketball camp.

The dates of the camp are Saturday, Oct. 3 and Sunday, Oct. 4 from 12 - 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 5 and Tuesday, Oct. 6 from 6 - 8:30 p.m.

Boys ages 7 - 15 are eligible to attend. The camp will emphasize fundamentals and offensive skill development.

The cost is $90 per camper, $170 for two campers from the same family. For more information, those interested should contact Gaels coach Pat Clatchey at 410-788-3441.

Posted by Sandra McKee at 12:46 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Boys basketball

Towson Catholic's closing scatters girls basketball players

At the beginning of the high school sports season, you often hear about a new school opening and how its athletes are ready to start something big. It’s not often you think, in September, about the end of something big.

With the closing of Towson Catholic, however, it is the end of something big -- especially in basketball. At times throughout its 86-year history, Towson Catholic had girls and boys programs that ranked among the best in the country.

The girls were a national power in the 1980s and most recently ranked among Baltimore’s top teams between 2005 and 2007, with stellar guard Marah Strickland on the roster.

Michael Dukes, the Owls' most recent girls basketball coach, had hoped to boost his team back into the upper echelon of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference before he heard the school would not open its doors this fall.

Dukes said he heard about the school’s closing at a basketball tournament this summer. He tried to keep the news from his daughter, Chelsea, the team’s top returning player, but she started getting text messages, so he had to tell her sooner than he would have liked.

Chelsea Dukes, a senior, has enrolled at Seton Keough, where she should contribute for the perennially competitive Gators.

Michael Dukes said other players have enrolled all around the area: Aiva Parhan, Chaun Crocket and Blair Harding at Poly, Taylor Carter at Mercy, Brittany Lanahan and McKenzie Reese at Lutheran, Courtney Stephens at Gerstell Academy, Lakia Huff at Fallston and Quay Malloy at St. Frances. Gerstell also picked up four of the Owls' incoming freshmen: Mykeria Lewis, Jalen Porter, Sierra Naylor and Jada Scarbough, while Alexis Harrison is at Digital Harbor.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Girls basketball
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