Howard County Women's Athletics Hall of Fame inducting 2016 class

howardcountysports@patuxent.com
Howard County Women's Athletics Hall of Fame holding induction ceremony on January 30

The Howard County Women's Athletics Hall of Fame will induct this year's class of five individuals on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Mt. Hebron High School. The induction begins at 6 p.m. and is preceded by an alumnae basketball game. A varsity girls basketball game, featuring Glenelg against Mt. Hebron, begins after the induction ceremony.

The Class of 2016 includes:

Lauren Molinaro, Centennial

Soccer was Lauren Molinaro's forte.

A midfielder, she was the cornerstone of two of Centennial's state championship soccer teams. She was twice named Howard County girls soccer Player of the Year and earned further recognition as an All-Metro, All-State and All-Region selection.

Molinaro was also a U.S. National Team member from the U-14 to U-21 level. As a U-20 team member for the USA, she played in the 1999 Pan Am Games and won a gold medal.

It was a special time to be a female soccer player. The United States was ecstatic after the Mia Hamm-led U.S. team won the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup in a shootout. Molinaro sat in the front row of the end zone where the penalty kicks were taken.

"It was absolutely amazing," she told the Chicago Tribune at the time. "I would have given my right arm to be on the bench or in the game. It was very emotional. I didn't cry, but if you could have heard the scream that came out of my mouth."

Molinaro played college soccer for the University of Connecticut. Her freshman year, the Huskies played in the NCAA national championship game.

Molinaro played more than 100 games for Connecticut, an accomplishment few players have reached. She also scored 22 goals and assisted on 22 others for a total of 66 career points.

When the first professional women's soccer league in the United States held its draft, Lauren was picked to play for the Bay Area Cyber Rays. She also played semi-professional soccer for the Massachusetts Lady Pioneers and the New England Mutiny. She later coached the Mutiny.

Molinaro has also coached at the University of Rhode Island and served as an assistant at Texas A&M — Corpus Christi.

"More so than anything, soccer has shaped me into the person I am today," she said. "It taught me strength, determination, teamwork, leadership, perseverance and so much more. It allowed me to travel the world, get an education, and start a career. Without it, I'd undoubtedly be a different person. So overall, the sport of soccer didn't just impact me. It made me. And I am forever grateful."

Today, Molinaro currently works as a real estate agent in New Jersey. She also coaches various levels of youth soccer, youth basketball and high school track.

Jeannie Prevosto, Mt. Hebron

To say that Jeannie Prevosto's love of sports has shaped her entire life might be an understatement.

Prevosto, who is the athletics and activities manager at Mt. Hebron, made a mark as soon as she entered the school as a freshman in 1977. That fall, she played varsity volleyball for the county championship team. By the time she graduated, she had led the Vikings softball team to an 11-2 record and a regional championship. She earned all-county honors in both sports and played a combined nine varsity sports between her four years at Mt. Hebron.

"I was taught the windmill style of pitching by my neighbor, Elayne 'Otts' Lucas, the head coach of Johnny's Jets, a women's fast-pitch team in Baltimore City," she said. Prevosto used this unique style of fast-pitch pitching that was unheard of here.

The Howard County Times "reported that I was the first fast-pitch pitcher — and the fastest — in Howard County in the late '70s and the first pitcher to bring the windmill style" to the county, she says.

"I had an amazing high school experience at Mt. Hebron," Prevosto added. "I was coached and taught by some of the best teachers and coaches in the Howard County Public School System. They left such an incredible impression on me that I knew I wanted to teach and coach when I grew up — and I wanted to return to Mt. Hebron and give back … what was given to me — the best academic and extra-curricular experience they could possibly have."

Prevosto played two years of college softball, but turned to coaching after tearing her ACL for the third time. "I transferred every (softball) skill and strategy I learned as a player to use them as a high school varsity coach," said Prevosto.

As she was finishing her last year of college, Prevosto coached Mt. Hebron's JV softball team and then coached the team again the following year when she was student teaching.

Prevosto's first varsity coaching position was at Middletown High School in Frederick County in 1994. She transformed a team that had a 0-72 record in the previous four years into a winning team that won 86 games during her five-year coaching stint.

In 1998 she became the first female athletic director at Urbana High School and again she took over a struggling softball program and turned it into one that won 63 games during her six years at the helm.

In 2004, her father's deteriorating health brought her back to Howard County. In 2006, she returned "home" to became the first female athletic director at Mt. Hebron, her alma mater.

Prevosto serves as a regional director for the state volleyball and softball tournaments, has served as president of District V in the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association and is now on the executive council of that association, and is on the board of control for the Maryland Public Schools Athletic Association.

In 2014, Prevosto was named District V Athletic Director of the Year and in 2015 she became the first female from the Howard County school system to be named the Maryland State Athletic Director of the Year by the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association.

Dean Sheridan, Glenelg

Dean Sheridan's involvement with sports has run the gamut. He's been an athlete and a coach, he's helped run regional tournaments and he's not afraid to let it be known that he was once a cheerleader.

"In high school my best sport was pole vaulting," he said, "and that led to doing gymnastics as a sport to improve my vaulting."

Gymnastics led to a three-year stint as a cheerleader for the University of Maryland.

That experience led to his first high school coaching position at Glenelg High School in 1983. But before becoming involved in girls sports, even before he began teaching at Glenelg, he was already involved in the athletics program there, serving as an assistant varsity wrestling coach and a JV football coach for the Gladiators.

It was when Sheridan took over the girls gymnastics team in 1983, though, that his coaching career took a big leap. During eight seasons at the helm of the gymnastics program, he won a county championship and sent three teams to the state championships. Though he continued to be involved in the boys' athletic programs through the years, Sheridan left his mark in the girls' arena.

"Over the first eight years at Glenelg, my wife and I had four daughters and before you know it, a coach that was originally helping in football, wrestling and track was doing softball and girls soccer — and loving every minute," he said.

In 1987, he began the first of two stints as the head varsity coach for the girls soccer team. Over a total of 13 years, his Gladiators won seven regional titles and three state championships. In 2007, the Baltimore Examiner named Sheridan All-Met Coach of the Year. A year later, he earned another All-Met Coach of the Year honor, this time from The Washington Post. In 2009, his peers in the Maryland Association of Soccer Coaches named Sheridan State Coach of the Year.

In 1997, Sheridan added varsity softball to his résumé. Over 15 seasons, his Gladiators won three regional championships.

Sheridan was also an assistant varsity coach in girls soccer for an 11–year span and helped guide the team to three regional and three state championships. In softball, as an assistant coach, Glenelg added two regional titles.

Since 2003, Sheridan, who is a highly-recognized math and engineering teacher at Glenelg, has served as the regional director for the state soccer tournament and as a member of the state soccer committee.

Alison Smith, Atholton

Alison Smith is a front-runner. In the marvelous history of Howard County cross country, she stands at the pinnacle.

"In high school, my proudest accomplishment was being the only person to win four county titles in cross country," the 2007 Atholton graduate said.

Smith was also a standout in indoor and outdoor track. Distance and middle distance events were her specialties. She flat out dominated her competition.

"I believe I have 13 state titles," she said. Actually, including relays, it's 15 state titles.

Among her three sports, she was named Runner of the Year seven times. She was also All-Metro Runner of the Year in cross country and she placed 18th at the prestigious Foot Locker National Championships.

Smith ran with her father some while she was in middle school and she decided to go out for Atholton's cross country team her freshman year. "Being part of a team is what really got me hooked on running," she said.

Before high school, Smith was also an ice skater.

Smith continued her athletic success at Villanova University where she was known as a fierce competitor.

At Villanova, Smith was a two-time All-American as part of the team that won back-to-back NCAA national cross country titles.

She is a nine-time BIG EAST performer in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.

Shortly after completing her own running career at Villanova, Smith joined the Wildcats' coaching staff. She is currently Director of Operations for the men's and women's track and field teams. In that role she is involved in all day-to-day aspects of both the cross country and track and field programs.

"Working for an NCAA Division I team has kept me very involved," she added. "I'm around track and field every day. It's a dream come true."

Karyn Swann, Wilde Lake

Karyn Swann tried out for the Wilde Lake JV girls basketball team on a dare. Who could pass up a challenge initiated by a 14-year old buddy?

It didn't matter that Swann and her friends had never played organized basketball. They were freshmen. It was a lark. It was something to do.

Surprisingly, three of the five made the team. "They must have been really desperate," Swann said.

Her athleticism and an aerobic base built by years of swimming worked in her favor. Midway through her freshman year she was asked to move up to the varsity. Her mother refused to allow the promotion because she was still swimming competitively.

Swann made varsity her sophomore year and that's when her mother insisted that she choose between swimming and basketball.

By picking basketball, a sport she was learning to love, Swann effectively turned down a college swimming scholarship.

"I decided to go with my heart and my new-found passion," she said.

Swann ended up being named to the all-county first team as a senior.

Swann went to college at UMBC. Because of her late start with basketball, she felt there was no chance to play for the Retrievers. Her sophomore year she was given the opportunity to walk on to the women's basketball team. A series of injuries cut her first season short, but the UMBC coaches realized her talent and awarded her a basketball scholarship for her final three seasons.

Swann graduated among the leaders on UMBC's list of all-time basketball records for scoring, rebounding and assists. In a separate honor, she was named conference Defensive Player of the Year.

For the last seven years, she has been sharing her love of basketball by coaching. Among the players she has coached are her twin daughters, Jaelyn and Lyric, now playing for Long Reach High School.

"My personal mission is to help (players) start off with a strong foundation of basketball skills and knowledge in order to make it easier for them to maximize their own gifts and talents," she said of coaching. "I want them to hear how great they are, feel how great they are, see how great they are and believe and know how great they are — long before I was able to recognize that for myself."

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