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Bits & Pieces: HCC honors its top athletes at annual awards banquet

I have attended dozens of athletic banquets in my days, but I have never been around a more boisterous and fun-loving group than the athletes at Howard Community College. The enormous successes that these athletes are enjoying, and will continue to enjoy in the future, made that evening of May 16 at the Sheraton one of my more enjoyable experiences.

There were many awards presented that evening at the fifth annual Dragon Athletic Awards Banquet and I will touch on just a few. The highest Grade-Point Average award went to the women's lacrosse team. Will Fetchko and Amanda Pagnotta took the Dragon Spirit Award and Mary Rzegocki and David Neuberth were named Athletes of the Year. Matt Stovall, who produces the best sports program I have seen, took the Dragon Service Award.

Prior to the banquet, Christopher Pezza received the prestigious Maryland Association of College Directors of Athletes Scholarship. Only three MACDA Awards were given in the state. Christopher was a two-year member of the HCC track and field team. He earned an NJCAA national championship as the anchor of the Dragons' 400-meter relay and, as an individual, placed fifth at nationals in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He was second in the 100 at the NJCAA Northeast District Championship.

Athletic director Diane Schumacher and the HCC administration have taken what was a mere blip on the athletic scene and turned it into a program that is recognized by the JUCO community and beyond. The next battle for Diane and HCC president Kate Hetherington during tight money times will be to get better facilities for this burgeoning program. A new field house with Schu's name on it would help as the programs continue to grow. I'd like to see that happen before she retires.

It pays to volunteer

Gabrielle Jordan, Matthew Klein, Christi Schnorf and Jordan Goodman have been selected by Special Olympics Howard County to receive scholarships as student volunteers. Gabrielle is the recipient of the Jackie Burke Memorial Award for outstanding student volunteer. Gabrielle has been active in the Player Development Unified Basketball Program, Unified Bowling and the athletics program.

Matthew received the Allan Homes Award. Since his sophomore year, he has been a swim coach and Unified team member.

Christi was selected as runner-up for the Allan Homes Award. She has been an active volunteer in the bowling and aquatics programs, where she is on the Unified team.

An additional scholarship was created in honor of the late Kathy Lindner, SOHO's first volunteer coordinator. Jordan is the first recipient. He was a four-year volunteer starting with bowling before becoming an assistant football coach.

CTC serves up tournaments

The Columbia Tennis Committee has announced its summer tournament schedule. It includes the Memorial Day Tournament (May 29-June 3), the Independence Day Tournament (July 5-8) and the Columbia Open (Sept. 20-23). These tournaments are open to those turning 18 and older during 2012.

The tournaments are based on the USTA National Tennis Rating Program's levels of play — men's and women's singles and doubles events will have the levels of 2.5 through 4.5 and above. Mixed doubles have combined ratings (5.0 through 9.0 and above).

Participation in the CTC tournaments has increased steadily. Last year, the tournaments drew players from out of state. The entry fees are $15 (CA members) and $25 (non-members). Entry forms are available at http://www.columbiatennis.com or at the Wilde Lake and Owen Brown Tennis Clubs.

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