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Women's Athletics Hall of Fame set to induct new class

After the 1979-80 Mt. Hebron team won the first girls state basketball title by a Howard County team, what some players remember most is not the ovation that they received at Catonsville Community College where they won their championship.

Instead it is the reception they received at Cole Field House, where the Mt. Hebron boys were playing, that stands out in their minds.

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"Everyone gave our girls' team a standing ovation," said Karen Tessmer, a point guard on the championship squad.

Now, nearly 35 years later, the Vikings are receiving another standing ovation of sorts. The team is the first to be inducted into the Howard County Women's Athletics Hall of Fame.

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Three individuals — Sharron Smith, Sharon Schmickley and Camille Powell Kilgore — will also be honored. The induction takes place at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Mt. Hebron High School.

An alumnae game, which will include some members of the 1980 Mt. Hebron team, begins at 4:30.

Smith, a 1977 Wilde Lake graduate, was on county championship teams in both basketball and track. She set a long jump record of 16-feet, 9 inches.

For over 20 years she has coached the Elite Youth Track Club, which has produced several national champions. In 2011, she was named AAU Outstanding Coach of the Year.

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Smith will be joining her daughter, Téyarnté Carter, in the Hall of Fame.

A 1974 graduate of Mt. Hebron, Schmickley played field hockey, basketball and softball. At a time when it wasn't always acceptable for a girl to be athletic, Schmickley had the self-confidence to excel.

"She was my first role model in sports. She is a tremendous person and a tremendous athlete and she always carried herself with grace and dignity," said Jean Waagbo, who is also in the Hall of Fame.

Schmickley played collegiate field hockey, basketball and softball for Springfield College. There she learned that, "life is a team sport. The spirit, mind and body need to be fed equally to create your best synergy in life."

At Howard, Kilgore rose to the pinnacle of whatever sport she was playing — soccer (first team all-state), basketball (co-Player of the Year) and outdoor track (state triple jump champion). She was a four-year starter in each sport.

Kilgore graduated at the top of her class and won the Columbia Rotary Club's Robert Davidson Scholar Athlete Award.

She attended Dartmouth College, but blew out her knee just before high school graduation and had ACL replacement surgery the month before college started.

The injury turned out to be the worst and best thing that could have happened to her. She joined the college newspaper and got started on her journalism career. Her first beat was covering the Dartmouth women's soccer team.

Kilgore made the soccer B squad her sophomore year and was a varsity starter midway through her junior season until she graduated.

After 15 years in The Washington Post's sports department, Kilgore is now editor of the Weekend section.

In terms of basketball, the Mt. Hebron team was literally a game-changer. Coached by Dave Greenberg, the squad relied exclusively on man-to-man defense at a time when the majority of girls basketball teams played zone defense.

"These young people, with Coach Greenberg's leadership, played defense with an intensity rarely observed," said assistant coach John Strebe.

Playing man-to-man defense wasn't the only thing the Vikings did differently.

"I remember how hard we worked year round when other girls at that time were not doing that," said Julie Dryer Ehlers.

Mt. Hebron erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Smithsburg in the Class C semifinal game. Nothing was close about the Vikings' 72-48 victory over Snow Hill in the championship.

Team members are Linda Lyman Asbell, Doreatha Beck, Susan Becraft Burris, Lenore Ebersberger, Julie Dryer Ehlers, Leslie Bender-Hetz, Linda Moody Hodiak, Julie Klein Keough, Lori Lewman, Susan Makowski, Ruta Siaurusaitis Scribner and Karen Tessmer. Sharon Bender Graff and Mickey Dempsey were the team managers.

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