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Bits & Pieces: Howard County high school sports win national honors

A large contingent headed by Howard County Supervisor of Athletics Mike Williams will be heading to San Antonio for the national athletic directors conference on Dec. 18 to accept the Quality Program Award (QPA), Exemplary Level, as recognition as an outstanding high school program. The QPA was developed by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, which uses a set of criteria addressing all aspects of the athletic program to determine recipients of the award. All 12 Howard County schools submitted QPA applications last spring, and all 12 qualified for the award.

Attending with Williams are the following high school athletics/activities managers: Atholton's Michael Senisi, Centennial's Jean Vanderpool, Glenelg's John Davis, Hammond's Joe Russo, Howard's Michael Duffy, Long Reach's Joseph Thomas, Marriotts Ridge's Gene Brown, Mt. Hebron's Jeannie Prevosto, Oakland Mills' Troy Stevenson, Reservoir's Ken Klock, River Hill's Rick Lloyd and Wilde Lake's Vince Parnell.

Each school will receive a plaque and an "NIAAA Quality Program Award, Exemplary Level" banner will be sent to each school for display in the gymnasium.

Our 12 Howard County high schools are among the first 20 high schools in the nation to be recognized as such.

Williams was obviously excited by this special recognition.

"It is a significant award. We spent 600 hours and over 2,000 pages of documentation over a six-month period in preparation," he said. "Everyone at all the schools chipped in. We had help also from three coaches — Dan Sageman at Atholton, Mike Lerner at Hammond and Andrew Matsunaga of River Hill. Incidentally, we are the only school system to have ever achieved this award."

To that I say well done.

Shea inducted at Slippery Rock

Legendary Oakland Mills soccer coach Don Shea was inducted into the Slippery Rock Soccer Ring of Honor at a ceremony Oct. 12 at the Robert M. Smith Student Center Ballroom at Slippery Rock. Shea and six other inductees were honored during halftime at the soccer game against Millersville.

As a soccer player at Slippery Rock from 1971 to 73, Shea was the team captain from 1972 to 73 and an All-Team West Penn Intercollegiate Soccer League and All-PSAC selection.

His record as a teacher and coach here for the past 36 years has been nothing short of incredible. He has coached boys soccer, track and lacrosse at Oakland Mills High School and led his teams to nine Maryland public school state championships in soccer. He also has 11 regional soccer titles, three lacrosse regional runner-up finishes, one regional final four and one county track title. His record as a soccer coach is 312-95-25, which ranks him third overall in the state among active coaches.

Levasseur flip-flops to finish

Is it possible to run a marathon race wearing flip-flops? The answer is yes. Howard County Strider Keith Levasseur ran the Oct.13 Baltimore Marathon in flip-flops and came in 29th overall in the time of 2:46.58.

Apparently this is not only a sensational time wearing flip-flops, but it might just be a world record. (Levasseur is reportedly in talks with the Guinness Book of World Recordsto determine just that.) Keith also finished as the 12th American male and second Maryland resident for a $750 bonus prize. Two places behind Keith was Strider Jason Tripp, who ran a 2:48.24 for a third-place finish for Masters (age 40 and older) and third among Maryland residents. Those two placements earned him a pair of $500 bonuses.

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