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Soccer takes centerstage in Columbia

In short order, West Point athletic director Boo Corrigan first announced that the school would add women's lacrosse to its athletic program starting with the 2015-16 academic year. Army thus becomes the second military academy to have a women's lacrosse program. The U.S. Naval Academy was the first.

Corrigan then made his second announcement — one that made all of us in Howard County smile. Kristen Waagbo, a former Mt Hebron standout, will become the Academy's first women's varsity coach.

Her career with the Vikings, and then at Duke, is nothing short of amazing. She led the Blue Devils to three NCAA Final Fours, and was a nominee for the Tewaarton Award for the nation's top lacrosse player. She was an All-American at Duke twice. She is the program's career leader in assists, and is tied for second in career goals with 161. In 2008, she was co-head coach of the Dutch National Team, which won the European National Championship.

At Mt. Hebron, she was twice named Player of the Year in both basketball and lacrosse. She was a member of the Vikings lacrosse team that won four state championships, losing just one game and tying another during that span. We wish Kristen much success at West Point.

Soccer takes center stage in Columbia

Those of us who were around in the late '70s and early '80s might recall the emergence of a new sport to our area.

It was called soccer.

It actually had its beginning thanks to the Columbia Association and its director of recreation, the late Jim Yedlicka, who went about building and borrowing any piece of athletic equipment he could find that could be used to get the sport off the ground. If I remember it correctly, the first games were played with makeshift equipment on a field near Slayton House in Columbia.

Fast forward to today, watching some of the soccer traveling teams from across the country play in the Columbia Invitation last month, it's amazing to see the growth of the sport locally and nationally as well.

Now, for those who still doubt this sport's weight, I ask you to watch any of the World Cup games over the next few weeks. You will witness athleticism and skill that simply cannot be ignored, as well as an atmosphere that is nothing short of a spectacle to be had.

Six new inductees chosen for HOF

The Community Sports Hall of Fame will induct six individuals during ceremonies at Turf Valley October 21, with former Baltimore Orioles great Al Bumbry as the guest speaker.

Inductees have already been notified of their selections, but the names will not be officially released until July as part of National Recreation and Parks Month. I was on that selection committee, and all I can say that this is a high-powered group representing six different sports or programs.

Girls lacrosse too hard-headed?

Didn't we have this debate a couple of years ago when the Maryland legislature debated the use of helmets for girls playing lacrosse? While the bill didn't pass here, Florida now has mandated that girls will wear helmets starting with the 2015 season.

USA Lacrosse is strongly against girls wearing helmets because it claims that, while men's lacrosse is a contact sport, the women's game is almost entirely different. For the girls, fouls are called when a seven-inch imaginary bubble around the player's head is breached. From what I have read, many female lacrosse players don't want the helmets either.

I will be anxious to see if other states pass bills mandating helmets for girls in the coming years. It would only take a few unfortunate injuries to get ball rolling, and that could easily happen.

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