University of Maryland's proposed athletic cuts hit close to home

Initially, I read with mild interest a recent newspaper article that stated a 17-member commission has recommended that six sports at the University of Maryland be eliminated in an effort to solve budgetary shortfalls caused by declining revenues from football, men's basketball and fundraising. The sports targeted for elimination are men's tennis, men's cross country, men's track and field, women's swimming and diving, women's water polo and women's acrobatics and tumbling (formerly known as competitive cheerleading).

Then I paused for a moment and took more than just a passing interest when I looked at the rosters of these teams and discovered the names of several former Howard County student-athletes.

David Ngyuen (Wilde Lake) in tennis, Elena Donald (Wilde Lake) and Ginny Glover (Wilde Lake) in women's swimming and diving, Colin Stang (Long Reach) and Emmanuel Motsiopoulus (Loyola Blakefield) in men's swimming and diving, Craig Morgan (River Hill) and Kikanae Punyua (Glenelg Country) in men's cross country, Katie Ermakova (Wilde Lake) in women's water polo, Yao Adantor (Reservoir) and Morgan in men's track and field and Brittany Bartko (Howard), Brea Curley (Howard), Cara Gsell (Atholton) and Shelbe Mascaro (Howard) in acrobatics and tumbling are all on the teams in jeopardy.

What is to become of these athletes along with their coaches?

Although appeals are underway, the proposal would take effect July 1, 2012. The plan, however, is to honor the athletes' scholarships and the coaches' contracts until their expiration.

I feel for those undergraduates who will have to decide on their future when and if it should be necessary.

Get well wishes

At her induction into the Howard County Community Sports Hall of Fame in October, Jean Hodges was all smiles. After all, she was being recognized for her many contributions to the success of the Kangaroo Kids, the wonderful jump rope organization that has taught us all about discipline and fun over the years. Of the speeches given that night, she had one of the funniest.

Now I hear some bad news — news that told me how lucky we were to induct her when we did. Jean suffered a massive stroke last week and is in critical condition. Let us keep our fingers crossed that this wonderful lady and friend will be able to bounce back quickly.

Size doesn't always matter

Until proven wrong, I refuse to accept the statement that an athlete is too small or too anything to participate in interscholastic sports. I refer to former River Hill High School star football player Mike Campanaro as a prime example.

Mike is a redshirt sophomore at Wake Forest University and the radio announcers were debunking statements that they had heard that Mike was too small to play Division I football. Ridiculous!

Based on watching him with my own eyes, Mike is playing at a high level for the Demon Deacons. He made some great plays, broke tackles and made seven catches for 80 yards in Wake's 31-10 win over Maryland Nov. 19.

Wake Forest knew when they signed him that he would be a good one. At 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, he's proving it's not the size of the man, it's what's under the helmet that counts.

Harman still reeling in honors

James Madison cross country junior Katie Harman (River Hill) was named All-Region after finishing 17th at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet in Louisville, Ky. Katie led all JMU runners finishing the 6k course in 20:51.1. She was also named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association team and earned Most Outstanding Performer after an individual and team first-place finish at the CAA Championships.

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