Atholton track

Atholton runners compete during the Howard County outdoor track championships Tuesday. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / May 7, 2013)

It has come to my attention that an unfortunate combination of circumstances and apparent stubborness on the part of some administrators has led to a troublesome conflict between the state track championships and the Atholton High School graduation.

First came a complaint from an Atholton parent which prompted me to look into the situation. Sure enough, when I googled the Atholton High School home page I noticed the problem. There, right in front of me, it said that the Atholton High School graduation was scheduled on the same day as the Maryland State Track and Field Championships at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Morgan State University. Both were set for May 24 at the same time. The track championships were set in concrete by contract and could not be changed, nor could the Atholton graduation time and date. How could seniors who looked forward to their own high school graduation and also to the state track championships attend both events? It was an impasse that could not be settled.

Efforts between Atholton High School Principal Jen Clements, Atholton Activities and Athletics Manager Mike Senisi and the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Administration hit a stone wall. Neither event could be changed. Several options were proposed but none really solved the matter completely. Could an Atholton senior attend the track meet and then rush back to be graduated later? That would mean rushing through Memorial Day weekend traffic, making the trip from Morgan State to the Meriweather Post Pavilion, the site of the graduation. Too dangerous and not a real solution anyway.

What bothers me most about this is that adults made the kids suffer and that isn't right. I think that the feeling was "we can't change for a few kids." Let's not point the finger at the Atholton administration. It tried to make things right. The blame goes elsewhere. We should never put out young people in that kind of a quandary. They deserve better. Graduation is a culmination of years of study. The senior year state track meet is something that all athletes look forward to at the end of their high school career. It is a chance to compete at the highest level for a high school student. We should never have made it a choice between the two.


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David Tripp Award Winners

The Howard County Striders recently announced the winners of the 2013 David Tripp Scholar Athlete Awards, given to high school seniors who have excelled in academics and running related endeavors. First place grants of $1,500 each went to Alyssa Hemler of Oakland Mills and Daniel Rau of Howard. Four second place awards of $750 went to Mt. Hebron's Rachel Yep, Reservoir's Cynthia Alms, Wilde Lake's Timothy Virostek and Marriotts Ridge's Ryan Hermstein. These six students had an average grade point average of 3.59 while excelling in cross country and track at the county, regional and state levels.

30th annual Columbia Triathlon

TriColumbia, the endurance event production company, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Columbia Triathlon with an especially strong field of competitors. Set for May 19 at Centennial Park, this year's field includes Leanda Cave, the reigning Ironman World Champion and 70.3 Champion, and four-time winner of the Escape from Alcatraz; New Zealand's Bevan Docherty, the 2013 Ironman New Zealand Champion and double Olympic medalist; Colorado's Cam Dye, who won last year's Columbia Triathlon and was the 2012 Toyota Cup Champion; San Francisco's Meredith Kessler, the four-time Ironman Champion; Australia's Annabel Luxford, the reigning Columbia Triathlon Women's Champion and the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Champion; Margaret Shapiro, the 2006 Columbia Triathlon Women's Champion; and Andrew Yoder, a two-time Columbia Triathlon Men's Champion.

This is one of the best fields that I can recall for this event. It should be a real shootout.