Washington, Johnson top prep athletes


Western's Dana Johnson and Randallstown's Larry Washington today were named The Evening Sun 1991 High School Athletes of the Year.

Johnson and Washington were honored during the 25th anniversary Athletes of the Year awards luncheon at the Sheraton Inn in Towson. They were saluted along with 70 other winners of The Evening Sun Athlete of the Week awards selected throughout the past scholastic sports year.

Johnson participated in volleyball, basketball and track and field for the Doves and gained national recognition in basketball.

When she arrived at Western four years ago, Johnson never formally had played any of those sports, but she went on to develop her talents to the extent that, during the winter, Sports Illustrated cited her as one of the five best schoolgirl basketball players in the nation.

Twice, last year and this, she was The Evening Sun All-Metro Player of the Year in basketball. In her four-year career, Johnson scored more than 1,600 points and grabbed more than 1,400 rebounds, leading coach Breezy Bishop's Doves to two straight Metro Classic championships.

As a junior, Johnson averaged 19.5 points and 14 rebounds a game and somehow improved those impressive marks this past winter, averaging 22.8 points and 21 rebounds.

Johnson also was The Sun's Player of the Year this past season, and earned additional honors as the Naismith Player of the Year for Maryland in 1990, and the Gatorade Player of the Year for Maryland in 1991. She was a first-team All-America pick by Parade magazine, Converse, USA Today, and Street and Smith.

At 6 feet 3, Johnson was such a dominant force in the City-Wide volleyball world, she often sat out portions of matches as coach Shirley Williams felt obligated to keep from running up scores and also so she could better develop Johnson's teammates. The Doves went 57-5 during Johnson's volleyball career, winning three division titles and reaching the City-Wide finals all four years.

This spring, in the City-Wide track and field championships, Johnson set a meet record in the shot put with a toss of 39 feet, 3 inches and won the discus.

In the classroom, Johnson carried an 86.2 average in her college preparatory classes. She will study and play basketball next season for the University of Tennessee, the reigning national champion in women's basketball.

Washington, also a three-sport performer, became the first weekly winner of the fall sports season for football, rushing for 236 yards and two touchdowns, including a 98-yarder.

He went on to the most prolific season any state running back ever has had. While leading the Rams to a 13-0 record for coach John Buchheister, Washington was the first Maryland schoolboy ever to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He ended with 2,275 yards and scored 34 touchdowns. In three state tournament playoff games, Washington scored 10 of Randallstown's 11 touchdowns and broke long gainers on the first play of the second half in each game.

Weekly he was the primary target of opposing defenses, and still continued to make the big touchdown run for the Rams.

Washington also was the final weekly winner of the fall season for his 202 yards and two touchdowns in the state Class 4A tournament semifinals against Oxon Hill. It marked the first time in the 25-year history of The Evening Sun Athlete of the Week awards that anyone ever had won weekly honors twice in the same sport season.

Washington was a natural choice as The Evening Sun All-Metro Player of the Year.

At 5-10 and a solid 210 pounds, Washington also showed his athletic ability for the Randallstown basketball team.

He started every game, was the Rams' second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer and showed his natural ability against Catonsville when he pumped in 24 points in an 83-72 loss to the undefeated state Class 3A champions.

This spring, Washington led the Rams baseball team in batting (.529) and extra-base hits and also set a school record for steals. He was a first-team All-Baltimore County outfielder and gained All-Metro honorable mention recognition.

Before heading off to study and play football at the University of Maryland in the fall, Washington will be leading the Maryland all-stars against the Pennsylvania all-stars in the Big 33 football game at HersheyPark Stadium next month.

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