Howard County Women's Athletics Hall of Fame set to induct 2019 class
By Stan Rappaport
Jan 29, 2019 | 3:40 PM
The Howard County Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame will celebrate its 23rd year of recognizing outstanding contributions with the induction of two women and two men on Saturday, Feb. 2 at River Hill High School.
The ceremony will take place in the gymnasium in between a varsity basketball doubleheader. At 5 p.m., River Hill’s girls will take on Wilde Lake; a boys game between the same schools is scheduled for 7 p.m.
This year’s inductees are Brian Song (River Hill girls soccer coach), Therese O’Donnell Grine (Oakland Mills, 1984), Hayley Siegel Lavers (Centennial, 2005) and Stan Rappaport (journalist).
Including this year's class, the Hall of Fame will have 85 women, nine men and one team (1980 Mt. Hebron’s girls basketball).
Here is a look at this year’s inductees:
Therese O’Donnell Grine
Therese O’Donnell Grine was the Energizer Bunny before there was one.
In four years at Oakland Mills High School, Grine earned 12 varsity letters – four in soccer, four in basketball and four in tennis.
She never stopped.
“I don’t ever remember being tired in high school,” said Grine, who graduated in 1984. “I’m sure there were days, but looking back I only remember how much fun it was. I was fortunate to have amazing coaches and teammates that made for such a positive environment.”
In soccer, she made first-team all-county all four years and led the county in scoring as a junior. Oakland Mills earned county titles her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
“One of my proudest moments was being on the team that ended Wilde Lake’s unbeaten streak, which I believe was over 50 games, and scoring two goals in that 3-1 victory,” said Grine, who was a sophomore at the time.
As much as Grine enjoyed playing soccer, it wasn’t her main squeeze.
“I loved soccer, but basketball was my No. 1,” she said. “Basketball was my passion.”
Grine, who played the point and shooting guard positions, was a second-team all-county pick her freshman season and a first-team selection the next three years. She led her team in scoring every year and joined an elite group of county players by scoring more than 1,000 points in her career.
“Therese was a smart player who could shoot and also attack the hole,” said Teresa Waters, who coached Grine at Oakland Mills and is now in her 21st season coaching at River Hill. “She handled the ball extremely well, had a signature spin move and could go against the best of the best.”
Waters said that Grine was “a very respectful kid” with “a strong work ethic” who was “extremely coachable. She was very much a team player and a role model on and off the court.”
“Therese was a joy to coach,” added Waters. “She will be remembered as one of the best players to come out of Oakland Mills.” Grine’s jersey is the first one Waters retired at Oakland Mills.
Playing three sports came naturally to Grine, who had both her soccer and basketball jerseys retired and was inducted into the Oakland Mills Hall of Fame in 2003. “My older brothers played football, basketball and baseball so maybe it was just ‘normal’ in our family,” she said.
She said she “never really gave it much thought” to focus on one or two sports, like many high school athletes do today.
“I loved sports and the opportunity to play for and represent your high school is just a really cool thing,” said Grine, who was a National Honor Society member and graduated in the top 10 percent of her class with a 3.7 GPA.
“It’s amazing to run on the field or the court and see your friends and family and community in the stands cheering you on,” she said. “There is so much positive energy around playing sports for your high school and so many life lessons to be learned — teamwork, dedication, commitment, perseverance, handling success and disappointment, etc.
“I grew up playing soccer and basketball so there was never a question that I would try out for those sports,” she continued. “Then, when the spring rolled around freshman year, it was like, ‘Ok, I want to do something, what’s out there?’ Tennis.”
By CAROL GRALIA and email@example.com
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Grine, who lives with her husband, Larry, and their children Aiden (15) and twins Raegan and Maddie (10) in Reston, VA, earned a full basketball scholarship to attend Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. It was a NCAA Division II school when Grine attended, then moved to Division I in 1988, the year she graduated.
“Playing basketball for The Mount was an incredible experience,” said Grine, 52. “We were a small school with a big basketball program. I was proud to play for the school where my father played in the late 1950’s under legendary coach Jim Phelan.”
In her four seasons at Mount St. Mary’s, Grine — the team’s point guard — enjoyed personal and team success.
“We won multiple conference championships and went 96-13 during my four years,” said Grine. “We were consistently ranked in the NCAA top 10 in the country and made it to the NCAA tournament’s ‘Elite 8’ in each of my four seasons.”
In her senior season, Grine set school records for assists in a game (20 vs. Loyola, Baltimore) and season average (8.2 per game.). Both records still stand today.
She also is No. 3 in the record books for all-time assists and all-time assists per game average.
She graduated Cum Laude with a degree in accounting and was named an Academic All-American, an award she said “was my proudest individual achievement.”
Grine said her parents played an important part in her success.
“My parents did an amazing job of keeping things in perspective,” she said. “They were always there for us (another sister and two brothers), keeping it positive, picking us up when things weren’t going well and keeping us humble when things were going great. I never felt any pressure from them to play sports. We played because we loved the game.”
Grine joined the accounting firm of Ernst and Young out of college. A CPA, Grine had a diverse successful career before landing her current job as a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Grine said being inducted into the Howard County Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame “means a lot. It really is kind of a big deal.”
“I am a fairly low-key person and I really don’t talk too much about my successes in high school, college and the business world,” said Grine. “I was blessed with awesome parents, siblings and a big extended family. We were taught to work hard, always try our best and be humble.
“We were also taught to not judge ourselves by the number of awards we have won, but by who we are as people,” she continued. “All that said, this award is pretty special. I might have to brag a little about this one.”
Hayley Siegel Lavers
When Hayley Siegel Lavers was a sophomore at Centennial High School playing soccer, her sisters, Courtney, a senior, and Sara, a junior, were on the Eagles’ field hockey and lacrosse teams.
“That would’ve been fun to all be on the same soccer team, but in a way, I’m glad how it worked out,” said Courtney in a 2002 interview. “Hayley has a different level of intensity with soccer, so it’s better that she just plays.”
A different level, indeed.
“Soccer meant everything to me. Every game, every practice,” said Lavers, who graduated Centennial in 2005. “It was something that I loved so much.”
It was clear watching Lavers that there was an edge to her game. “I was very competitive,” she said. “I wanted to win.”
Lavers, a center-midfielder, helped lead the Eagles to the Class 2A co-state championship in 2001, her freshman season. As a senior, Lavers guided Centennial to its first county title since 1996 and a trip to the Class 3A state final game.
Lavers, who turns 32 in March, was a three-time Howard County Player of the Year, a four-time All-Metro selection in The Baltimore Sun and two-time Parade Magazine All-American. She also was a 2004 NSCAA/adidas All-American selection.
Lavers finished her high school career with 29 goals and 29 assists and was named the 2005 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year. An honor roll student, she graduated with a 3.5 GPA.
“Hayley was an incredible player both on and off the field,” said Mike Senisi, her coach at Centennial and currently the Athletics and Activities Manager at Atholton High School. “She challenged each player to be the best they could be. Hayley would dominate the midfield and players always looked up to her as their leader on the field.
“Hayley also stayed after practices many times to help other players with their skill development,” continued Senisi. “Hayley was a true blessing to coach on the soccer field, but more importantly, she was an amazing and special person.”
Lavers practiced long and hard — and with a purpose.
“I used to tell myself, if I practiced every day no one else could be that much better than me,” she said. “I felt I needed to do well because this was so important to me.”
She was often double-teamed, but it didn’t matter. Her skill level, confidence and incredible sense for the game gave her a decided advantage.
By Carol Gralia and firstname.lastname@example.org
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“I didn’t have a ton of nerves during games,” she said. “I was prepared and I wanted the ball.”
Her strength, she said, was “my vision to be able to play with the people around me. I could bring other players into the game and keep a flow to the game.”
Simply put, Levers could beat you with her passing, scoring or tenacity.
Lavers lives in Whitefish Bay, WI with her husband, Christian, who is the President of ECNL (Elite Clubs National League), an organization that helps develop female youth soccer players. The couple has one son, Christian, 18 months, and are expecting a second son, Brady, in March.
“I’m honored and thankful to be a member of the Howard County Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Lavers. “I have wonderful memories of playing for Centennial High School and want to thank Mike Senisi and Jack Thomas for all their support along the way.
“I would also like to thank my parents, Chris and David, and sisters, Sara and Courtney, for their ongoing support for me to follow my dreams,” she continued. “I never had any doubt if they believed in me and their love and support drove me and still does drive me to be the best person I can be.”
Lavers also experienced success on the club level as her team, Bethesda Excel, reached the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships three times, including in 2003 as a finalist. She also was a member of the U.S. National Team pool at the U15, U16, U17 and U19 levels.
Lavers earned a scholarship to Santa Clara University in California, but her college career was hampered by anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in both legs. “I was never fully healthy in college,” she said.
After graduating with a degree in communications in 2009, Lavers played in Germany and also on semi-pro teams in Washington, DC. In 2011, she suffered another ACL tear. Lavers was an assistant coach at Georgetown University under Dave Nolan, her former club coach, from 2011-2013. She also coached for the Bethesda Soccer Club. She moved to Wisconsin in 2015 to be with her husband, and together they run youth soccer club, FC Wisconsin, which plays in the ECNL.
“Becoming a coach was never really a ‘decision’ for me, it was just always what I was going to do,” she said on the FC Wisconsin website. “I loved playing too much to ever walk away.”
Right now, however, Lavers is just juggling having a son and another due in March.
“I help with the club and primarily stay at home to be a mom,” she said.
Lavers said she was glad that she “followed my heart and my passion to play the game I love, to always be working to improve — every day, and to believe in the journey.
“My family gave me the perspective I needed and the confidence, and I’m proud that I was able to stay true to myself and give my time, energy and passion to what I loved the most — playing soccer.”
Stan Rappaport was having a discussion with his daughter when his question caught the attention of his wife.
“It’s a conversation,” she said to her husband, “not an interrogation.”
The 65-year-old Rappaport can’t help himself. He’s a journalist. One question leads to another that leads to another. Must. Know. Everything.
Rappaport began his career in newspapers in 1965 at the age of 12 delivering the afternoon edition of The Washington Star in his Silver Spring neighborhood. His career ended when he left his position as editor of the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times in 2014.
In between, he worked at the Montgomery County Sentinel, The Washington Star (for three months), The Washington Post (before, during and after Watergate), the Baltimore News American (six years, folded) and The Baltimore Sun (22 years, laid off).
His induction into the Howard County Women’s Athletics Hall of Fame is based on his six years covering girls high school sports in Howard County for The Sun. Rappaport worked tirelessly to produce game stories, notebooks and feature stories. His intent, he said, “was to give girls more coverage than the boys.”
“I was competitive. I wanted to report as often as I could and break stories,” he said.
Covering games was fun because it was unscripted, Rappaport said. “Anything could happen. Sure, there were times when you could predict which team would win, but you didn’t know how it was going to happen. Each game had its own identity.
“Writing features could be more challenging, but the results were worth it,” he continued. “You’re dealing with teenagers, and you always had to remember that.”
Rappaport said he created many friendships with athletes and coaches that he still has today.
“That’s the most important thing,” he said. “I think I have those relationships because I was fair and, hopefully, wrote a story that was worth reading.”
Rappaport said he could better relate to the girls he wrote about because his daughter, Amy, was a talented soccer player at Howard High School. Amy played travel soccer for the Bethesda Scorpions and was on the Maryland ODP club for many years. She was recruited by several schools and earned a scholarship to Virginia Tech.
“That experience opened my eyes to a lot of things and I had a better understanding of what many of the athletes I wrote about were going through,” said Rappaport.
When he started reporting in Howard County for the Sun, Rappaport said he was “very fortunate” to cover games with Carol Gralia, a reporter for the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times.
“Even though we were competitors, Carol was very welcoming to me, introduced me to coaches and gave me many history lessons about girls sports in the county,” said Rappaport. “We covered many, many games together and she became a good friend. She loved what she did and it showed in her work.”
Gralia, a co-founder and member of the Hall of Fame, died of cancer in November 2017.
Rappaport was a senior at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring when he first attempted writing sports. With zero experience, he was named co-sports editor of the school newspaper and wrote a column called “The Devil’s Advocate.” For some reason, he decided to write about area sports celebrities.
“I interviewed Warner Wolf, who was the hottest sportscaster at the time (1970-71) in the D.C. area and Maryland basketball coach Lefty Driesell at his home. Lefty lived right around the corner from Springbrook and somehow I talked my way into his living room one night during the basketball season.
“My biggest interview was with (baseball legend) Ted Williams, who was managing the Washington Senators. I’m a senior in high school and didn’t know any better. I called so many times they probably got tired of hearing me and let me do it. I interviewed Williams in the dugout hours before a game. One on one with Ted Williams. What a thrill.”
Rappaport attended Montgomery Community College and became the sports editor of the newspaper. A year later he became the paper’s editor.
At the same time he reported high school sports for the Montgomery County Sentinel, a weekly. Later he would become the Sentinel’s sports editor.
Rappaport had a mentor who got him a part-time job at The Washington Star covering high school sports. Three months later the mentor took a position at The Washington Post and brought Rappaport with him. It was 1972.
Rappaport worked part-time at the Post, but often put in 40-hour weeks. He had a good view of the newsroom during Watergate, and often walked by Carl Bernstein’s desk as the young reporter typed his way into history.
Once when the movie All the President’s Men was being filmed, Rappaport met Robert Redford (he played Bob Woodward) in a room filled with vending machines on the 5th floor of the Post. It was 1:30 a.m.
“We were the only ones there and talked for about 15 minutes about what it was like working at the Post during Watergate,” said Rappaport. “He asked me a lot of questions. I had to run into the newsroom to get some paper so he could write some autographs. It was a fun experience. I was at the right place at the right time.”
Rappaport, a graduate of the University of Maryland University College, got a full-time job in 1980 in the sports department of the Baltimore News American. He worked the copy desk, did page design, covered football and basketball at the University of Maryland and wrote about the Colts’ last season in Baltimore. When the paper folded in 1986, he was the Assistant Sports Editor.
Rappaport moved later in 1986 to The Sun, where his first 18 years were in the sports department. He worked the copy desk, was a page designer, a reporter and an Assistant Sports Editor. From 2004 to 2008, he worked as the Assistant Bureau Chief for news in Howard County.
Rappaport worked for the Howard County Public School System as a special education paraeducator from 2009-2011 before going back into journalism. He worked for three years for the Baltimore Sun Media group as an editor at the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times.
Rappaport is back in the county school system and is in his fourth year as a paraeducator at Thomas Viaduct Middle School.
Rappaport and his wife, Pat Barnes, met online 17 years ago. Stan’s kids (Amy and twins Dan and Greg) and Pat’s kids (Jason and Dana) have given the couple “a terrific blended family,” said Rappaport.
“I am honored and humbled to join this group of talented athletes and coaches,” said Rappaport. “I always took my role as a journalist seriously. I enjoyed my time covering these athletes and I hope, above all, that I spelled their names correctly.”
- Karen Brelsford contributed to this story
The numbers don’t lie.
Over the last 14 years, River Hill’s girls varsity soccer program has a record of 213-31-6. It has won eight Howard County titles, 10 regional titles and nine state titles.
The Hawks have been most dominant the past seven seasons, winning five county titles, six regional titles and six state titles.
There has been one constant — the coach.
Brian Song has his numbers, too. In his 14 years at the Clarksville school, the 56-year old Song has been honored as Coach of the Year 16 times by media outlets and associations. He has been named All-Met Coach of the Year three times by The Baltimore Sun (2006, 2014, 2018) and twice by The Washington Post (2012, 2017).
And in 2014, Song was one of 21 coaches nationwide in various sports to be selected as a National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
Song said being inducted into the Howard County Women’s Athletes Hall of Fame is “a great and tremendous honor.” But he was quick to point out that the award “is not about me, it’s about us.”
“The credit goes to the kids — they are the ones who got me to where I am today — the administration and the parents,” said Song. “I can’t do this without all of the support.”
Throughout the years, Song has stressed the importance of playing together as a team.
“The 20th player on the bench is just as important as the No. 1 player,” he said. “This is a team sport. Eleven of you have to be on the same page. You have to trust the process and play for your teammates.”
Brigette Wang, a four-year varsity player who led the Hawks to their third straight state title in the fall, said Song has created a culture at River Hill where expectations are high.
“You come into the program knowing there is a legacy and that it is serious,” said Wang, who scored 52 career goals and was named the 2018 Howard County Times/Columbia Flier Player of the Year. “You feel the need to step up if you want to be a part of it.”
Wang said that Song doesn’t bring up the program’s past success. “He’s always looking ahead and talking about how we are going to get better,” she said.
Song acknowledges that the “new kids coming into the program buy into it,” he said. “And we have good role models (upperclassmen) for them to look up to.”
He added: “The kids appreciate that we work hard and know what they can do if they work together as a team. A team effort always beats individual talent.”
Reservoir High School girls soccer coach Phil Ranker said that Song “sets the expectations for excellence with the program and the girls follow suit.”
“Obviously everything starts in practice and, from what I understand, he sets very high expectations for his girls and they — more times than not — rise to those expectations,” said Ranker. “Brian is also very good at keeping his girls focused on the end goal and not allowing them to get too high or too low during any part of the season.”
Song said that the 2018 season was considered by some as a rebuilding year. The Hawks lost their opening game and then won 17 straight.
“I told the girls you have to prove them wrong,” he said. “I told them if they trust their teammates and follow their leaders, good things can happen. Our goal is to be playing in November.”
A cornerstone of River Hill’s success has been its defense. “You can win games on offense, but at the end of the day defense wins championships,” said Song. “If you have a solid foundation on defense the rest of the game will take care of itself.”
Song’s three daughters all played for him at River Hill and two of them have served as assistant coaches.
Nicole, the oldest and currently a third-grade teacher in Anne Arundel County, played one year on the junior varsity before joining the varsity for three years. She graduated in 2007.
Amy, the middle sister, played four years of varsity before graduating in 2009. She also played two years at Mount St. Mary’s before transferring to the University of Maryland. A pharmacist, she has been an assistant coach for her father during the 2012, 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Kellie, who is in her third year teaching science at Oakland Mills High School, graduated in 2011 after four years on the varsity. She has assisted her dad since the 2014 season.
Kellie said playing for her father was not a big deal for her and her sisters.
“He was either a volunteer, assistant coach or head coach during our rec soccer and travel soccer years, so it was not that much of a difference when we got to high school,” said Kellie. “We all had a clear understanding that he’s our dad, but on the field he was our coach. It wasn’t hard to play under our dad, as he treated us like any other player.”
Kellie said her father has a good eye for putting players in the right position.
“He has a great way of seeing where girls can help benefit the team and always says he doesn’t always pick the best soccer players, but the ones that he thinks can help the team, that teamwork and chemistry is very important,” said Kellie.
Kellie added that the sisters and their dad have “a really good dynamic going for us” when it comes to coaching. “Amy focuses on defense, myself on midfield and my dad on attack and everything else,” said Kellie.
“They’ve been wonderful,” said Song about his daughters. “We get to share ideas and figure out what would work better.”
Song said that Amy and Kellie have been important role models for the team.
“They know what these girls are going through,” he said. “They are positive role models. Parents have told me how the girls have helped their daughters. I am very proud of that.”
Song was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the United States when he was 6. He grew up in Reisterstown in Baltimore County.
“I immigrated to this country in the late 1960’s and I was fortunate to have wonderful coaches along the way that volunteered their time to make me a better player, but most important a better person,” Song said.
He played varsity soccer for three years at Franklin High School before graduating in 1980.
Song earned a soccer scholarship to Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, and he enjoyed both personal and team success. The team won the Maryland Small College Tournament (postseason) in 1981 and 1982. Song was selected as a Maryland Small College first-team selection all four years and was named to the All-South first team in 1982 and 1983. He also was an All-American selection in 1982 and 1983.
He is Mount St. Mary’s second leading record holder for career points (34 goals, 17 assists) and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
“There were a lot of proud moments in college, but what I am most proud of is that I was first in my family to go to college and graduate and take part in NCAA sports,” said Song.
Song, who is the Vice President and Treasurer at Havtech, in Columbia, has also been a referee at the high school, college and professional levels.
When asked to describe Song as a coach, Wang said, “He’s everything. It depends on the situation. He brings out whatever needs to be brought out of us.”
She added: “He’s very supportive of us in a lot of things, including academics. He makes us send him our report cards. He cares about the whole person, not just as a player and what you’re going to bring to the program.”