HOW TO MAKE THE ALL-COUNTY ACADEMIC-ATHLETIC TEAM

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A whole bunch of "Q's & A's" are coming right up, sports fans, but first let me answer a few questions that have been coming into the 24-Hour Sportsline (647-2499) about the ninth annual Anne Arundel CountySun All-County Academic-Athletic Team.

Let me give you an idea ofwhat we are looking in the top 12 boys and top 12 girls who excel inacademics and athletics.

Applications must include the official ballot, which will run frequently on these pages until the March 15 entry deadline.

Applicants must play at least one varsity sport and the team is open to all high school students residing in the county. That means county residents who attend schools outside Anne Arundel are eligible as well thoseattending one of the county's public or private high schools.

More information provided in terms of recommendation letters from teachers, administrators, coaches, employers, friends, etc. telling us why the applicant should be named improves chances of being selected.

Applications are rated on: grade-point average; SAT and/or ACT scores; school and community involvement, which includes athletic teams; honors and awards; number of recommendation letters; essay quality; neatness and originality of the application.

The application should be prepared as if the applicant is applying for a job and turning in aresume. Over the past eight years, we have received many impeccable applications that have been typed, in folders with individual photos,detailed and thorough, and in general very neat and well done, displaying effort and pride in the applicant's accomplishments.

Frequently, in order to break a tie, the neatness of an application and number of recommendation letters have been the determining factors. Believe me, so many outstanding young people deserve to be honored that breaking the team to just 12 boys and 12 girls is not easy.

While itis rare for underclassmen to make the team, we occasionally have named juniors. No sophomore or freshman has been named, but a few have come close.

That's why it is wise for underclassmen to apply. It gives us a chance to follow your progress, and persistence often pays off for those who start early.

Believe it or not, I still have every application ever submitted since the team started nine years ago, and many boys and girls have applied two, three and even four years before eventually making it.

Once again, we are excited about receiving the applications because we know scores of outstanding student-athletes out there deserve to be honored. You guys are the unsung heroes of education who make us all feel good about our youths and where they are headed.

Remember, you don't need approval of your school to apply, but that does enhance your chances. Basically, it's you and your family's individual privilege. So, get to it and let us hear about your contributions, to school, community, church, family and education.

Now, let's dive headfirst into a barrel of "Q's & A's."

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* Did you know that Dr. Keith Smith of Millersville officiated more track and field events in 1988 than any other official at the U.S. Olympic Trials, including the American and world record-setting heptathlon performance by Jackie Joyner-Kersee?

Smith also worked the U.S. men's decathlon in Southern California back in the fall in which Dave Johnson sparkled and went on to finish 1990 as the world's top-ranked decathlete.

This year Smith will continue to diligently work as many meets and trial as possible in hopes of being named an official for the 1992 Games of the XXVth Olympiad in Barcelona, Spain.

* Hasn't Anne Arundel Community College men's basketball coach Mark Amatucci, whose Pioneers are 16-4 overall, apparently landed two more blue-chippers for next season in ex-Broadneck star Cary Watts and TracyEvans, an Annapolis High grad?

Watts, an Anne Arundel County Sun third-team All-County guard in 1989, has enrolled for the second semester at Anne Arundel, Amatucci said. The former Bruin star has been working since graduating from Broadneck but is anxious to get back into school and play hoops next fall for the Pioneers.

Evans graduated from Annapolis in 1988 but never played for the Panthers.

"Tracydidn't come out until his senior year, and I explained to him that he might not get a lot of playing time, so he decided to get a job," said Annapolis coach John Brady. "I had him in (business) class and hewas a good kid. He's a late bloomer and has done well in the summer league."

Evans has become a star in the Annapolis Outdoor Summer League, and that is where Amatucci first saw him.

"I was really impressed with Tracy and it looks like he will be coming here in the fall," said Amatucci. "We lose Ronnie Wade and Wardell Chambers to graduation after this year and it looks like we have two pretty good ones in Watts and Evans coming in behind them."

* Shouldn't Amatucci, who coached Calvert Hall High School to that legendary 92-91 triple-overtime victory over the 1980-1981 Dunbar High team, be a good judge of whether the current Dunbar team that came to Annapolis Saturday night is the best ever, better than the 1980-1981 team and the fabled 1982-1983 team?

"I've seen them all and I think the 1980-1981 team with Reggie Williams (Denver Nuggets), Reggie Lewis (Boston Celtics) and David Wingate (San Antonio Spurs) was their best ever," said Amatucci. "The current team is quick as hell, but relatively small. Those teams back then had better size and that was the difference."

Brady, whose Annapolis team is 0-5 lifetime against Dunbar, including Saturday's 80-61 loss to the Poets, agrees with Amatucci. The 1980-1981 and the 1982-1983 teams both played at Annapolis and Brady says they were better than the current team, but not a whole lot better.

* Doesn't a local official who called the Sportsline make a good point when he says I was remiss in criticizing the officiating in the Dunbar-Annapolis game and not clarifying what "over the back" means?

I said that the two refs didn't call "over the back." The last thing I want is fans and youth coaches crying "over the back" unless there is,here is the key, "making contact, pushing or shoving and gaining an advantage." That's when an "over the back" foul should be called.

* By the way, that official and Ron Smith, who is the commissioner ofofficials for county Rec and Parks, agree with me that some youth games are called too close by local refs.

For those of you who see alot of youth ball as I do, don't you agree that the one call the local referees love to make is for walking?

Shouldn't we give the younger kids a little more freedom and let them play?

* This "Q" froman Annapolis fan to the Sportsline: "Why is (6-foot-9 senior) Jon Holden listed as the starting center for Annapolis when he only plays about four minutes and (6-2 senior) Ahmed Middleton plays most of the game from there on?"

* Did you members of youth teams or even men's and women's teams know that you can raise money for your teams by selling $15 tickets to monthly dances at Michael's 8th Avenue in Glen Burnie? The teams keep $5 from each ticket.

Isn't that great that Sen. Mike Wagner is affording local rec teams such an opportunity to raise money for their teams? For information call Michael's at 768-7901.

* Finally, isn't the radio promo on WNAV for Navy basketball, a team that was 5-23 last year and is 5-11 this season, hilarious with the voice of a player saying, "Our goal is to go to the NCAA Tournament"?

Are Paul Evans (ex-coach now at Pitt) and David Robinson back at the academy?

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