The year 1991 in county sports had its share of both celebration andsadness. Three coaches were lauded for achieving milestone victories, but one of the area's most popular and longest-tenured coaches lost his fight against cancer. Numerous high school programs garnered state championships, but acouple of sports programs at Anne Arundel Community College were given one-year sanctions. And while Annapolis graduate Craig Wilson again donned a major-league baseball uniform, taking on a utility rolewith the St. Louis Cardinals, a former Arundel pitcher made his first appearance in "The Show." The following is a look back at the top 10 sports stories of the year. The review was compiled by staff writers Roch Eric Kubatko, Lem Satterfield, Steven Kivinski and John Harris III. * The county lost another coaching legend with the Feb. 2 death of Dick Hart, who succumbed to brain cancer at age 53 aftera courageous 1 1/2-year battle. Hart coached the Andover boys basketball team throughout its 28-year existence, until the school's merger with Brooklyn Park to form North County. Hart was chosen by Principal William Wentworth as the Knights' new coach, but was too sick tofill the position. He would have been the first county coach to start two basketball programs. After being struck on the head by a basketball during a November 1989 pick-up game, Hart began experiencing dizziness and slurred speech. Tests detected a brain tumor, and on Dec. 14, 1990, he was hospitalized for surgery. North County (formerly the Andover building) renamed its gymnasium "Hart Hall" as a permanent reminder of Hart's contributions to county high school sports. In addition, former county coordinator of physical education and athletics Paul Rusko started the Dick Hart Award, given annually to a maleand female high school player deemed to exemplify what the late Andover coach represented. The award is sponsored by the school board. "He was a total gentleman," Rusko said of Hart, who won 330 games and made five trips to the state playoffs. "The teams Dick coached were truly a reflection of him: hard work, fundamentals and by the rules," said North County boys soccer coach Steve Malone. "In this business, you tolerate a lot of coaches and you respect some. Dick was one everybody respected," said Southern boys basketball coach Tom Albright. "It seems that those who leave an impact are those who were more concerned about others than themselves, and they don't realize howmuch of a contribution they are making." The school also established a scholarship fund in Hart's name. * It was a record-setting year for Coach Mike Hampe's 15-1 Old Mill wrestling team, which tied Broadneck and Annapolis for the 4A League dual-meet title. UnderHampe, who ended the 1990-1991 season with a 160-22-3 career record in 16 years, the Patriots captured their ninth dual-meet crown and their seventh county and regional tournament titles. Most importantly, however, the Patriots became only the second school -- and the first on the 4A/3A level -- to capture a third straight state title. ThePatriots (131.5 points), who crushed second-place North Carroll (99.5), broke an 11-year-old state record for points, initially set by Bowie (113). Other than the Patriots, who were runners-up to Broadneck in 1988, only Aberdeen and Beall -- both on the Class 2A/1A level -- had ever accomplished the feat. In 1990, Aberdeen became the firstteam to win three straight titles outright. Beall shared its first title in 1982. In addition, Old Mill's two state champions, Brent (135) and Brian (160) Layman, became only the third sibling combination to win crowns in the same year. Old Mill's Steve Lundstrom (103)was a runner-up; heavyweight Don Marco, Ernie Longazel (171) and John Bliss (140) were third; and Sun Park (189) was fourth. In capturing the Region IV title a week earlier, the Patriots tied the meet record for state-qualifying wrestlers with 10. The Layman brothers and Longazel were champions; Lundstrom, Marco, Park, Bliss and John Earle(152) were runners-up; Vytas Dulys (112) was third; and Bob Sugden (119) was fourth. Old Mill also set a county meet record for total points with 203.5, surpassing the mark it set in 1987 by three points. Again, the Patriots placed 10 wrestlers in the top four of theirweight classes, including a team-record seven finalists. Lundstrom, Sugden, the Laymans and Marco were champions; Park and Bliss were runners-up; Longazel, Dulys and Rick Oleszczuk (125) were third; and Todd Hultgren (145) was fourth. * For the Northeast baseball team,1991 was a season unparalleled by any in state history. The Eagles went a state-record 24-0 and captured Coach Harry Lentz's third state title with a 15-3 rout of Howard County's Hammond. In the process,Northeast either tied or broke 34 school records and finished as thenation's top-ranked team in a 30-team poll by Collegiate Baseball magazine. The Eagles stole 55 bases and outscored their opponents, 326-59, while batting .411 with 259 RBI. Included among the Eagles' victories was a 14-4 rout of Arundel, the eventual Class 4A state champion. "I've had teams that were considered highly in the past, but certainly nothing compared to this," said Lentz, the Anne Arundel County Sun's Coach of the Year. "We worked hard for this season and had some numbers which have got to be among the best in the nation." The Eagles watched pitcher Charlie Buckheit (11-0, 2.10 ERA) set a county record for career wins at 30-3 behind a team that averaged double-digit scoring. Third baseman Don Shump set a single-season RBI record with 45 and holds the state's career record with 81. Pitcher-center fielder Craig Everett was named the Anne Arundel County Sun's Player of the Year after going 8-0 with 47 strikeouts as the No. 2 pitcher. He gave up 12 earned runs in 50 1/2 innings for a 1.66 ERA. Asthe team's lead-off hitter, Everett had a team-high 104 at-bats and batted .442 with a team-leading 41 runs. He had four home runs and ranked fourth on the team with 30 RBI. Five Northeast players were chosen first-team All-County: Everett, Buckheit, Shump, first baseman Russ Curry (.462 with 39 RBI) and outfielder Derek Dolch (.420 with 30 RBI). Catcher Rich Spiegel (.473, 35 RBI) made second-team All-County and second baseman K. C. Murphy (.420, 30 RBI) made the third team. "We achieved most of the goals that we wanted to," said Lentz, whose career record is 312-166. "But (the No. 1 ranking) was the final piece of the puzzle." * First, the bad news: Long-time county coordinators of physical education and athletics Paul Rusko and Jean Boyd announced their retirements last spring. Now, the worst news: Both positions remain vacant. Rusko officially retired in lateMay but remained on the job under two personal service contracts until Oct. 31. Boyd departed earlier in May. And a hiring freeze, the result of a county budget crisis, has prevented the naming of a successor to either post. Six candidates, including two from the county, interviewed for Rusko's job, and a recommendation was made by the Office of Human Resources, headed by John Makell. The recommendation went to the office of Cheryl H. Wilhoyte, assistant superintendent for instruction and school administration. But still, no successor. For now, physical education resource teacher Rick Wiles has assumed much of the workload. Among those who interviewed for the position,which pays close to $70,000, were Old Mill athletic director Jim Dillon and Chesapeake golf coach and Chartwell Country Club President John Irvine. "The condition of our physical education department is a positive reflection on the efforts of Paul Rusko and Jean Boyd overthe last 20 years," said Arundel athletic director and baseball coach Bernie Walter. * While the Northeast High sports program was completing one of its finest years ever, the athletic department was hip-deep in controversy. On May 29, popular athletic director Bob Grimm learned that his position of 15 years was being advertised after he received an unsatisfactory evaluation from Principal Joseph Carducci Jr. Carducci, who took over as principal Feb. 1, issued a one-paragraph statement in the evaluation that included an accusation ofinsubordination and cited "philosophical differences" between Carducci and Grimm. Carducci became the focus of community unrest, beginning with a student protest and, later, the formation of the Northeast Community Family Group. The committee, made up of about 75 parents, attended school board meetings, unsuccessfully lobbying for Carducci's removal. On the morning of May 31, between 250 and 300 students gathered in front of the school to protest what they viewed as unfair treatment of Grimm. Some carried signs that said, "Carducci -- Saddam of Northeast" and "Beep If You Want Grimm." The protest eventually moved to the school's cafeteria before ending shortly after 8 a.m. Six county police officers arrived as the protest was ending, but they took no action. Carducci suspended four students for "insubordination, for inciting a riot and inciting a school disturbance, and for failure to follow directives to go to classes." Grimm was transferred to Meade High on Aug. 26, where he remains as social studies teacher. He later was offered back his position of athletic director, but declined to return to the school. Assistant athletic director Bart Rader's job also was advertised, but he accepted an offer to return. "It's not that I don't want to be at Northeast," Grimm said in late August. "It's just, for now it's in the best interest of me and my family to be in an atmosphere without friction and without tension. And that's in no way meant as a criticism of the teachers there or the people in the Northeast community. They aren't the problem. It has been a great place to work until recently." Roger Stitt, head of the social studies department at Northeast, replaced Grimm as athletic director. * Just five years out of high school, pitcher Denny Neagle was called up to the major leagues by the Minnesota Twins on July 25 after going 8-3 at Class AAA Portland. Two nights later, he made his major-league debut as a starter at the Metrodome in Minneapolis against the Milwaukee Brewers. It sounds like a storybooktale, but the plot took an interesting turn. Neagle only wishes the line drive heading in his direction had done likewise. A 1986 graduate of Arundel High, Neagle had to leave the game in the fourth inning after being hit on his left throwing elbow by a liner from Milwaukee's Candy Maldonado. The Twins won the game, 7-4, but Neagle, who departed with his team ahead, 4-2, didn't get the decision. Neagle, 22, suffered a severely bruised elbow and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He returned as a long reliever, but was sent back to Portland in late August, before the deadline to be eligible for postseason. He returned in September and finished the regular season. Neagle's first taste of the big leagues came July 22 in the annual Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown, N.Y., where the Twins played the San Francisco Giants. He allowed five hits and two earned runs in six inningsto gain the win in Minnesota's 6-4 victory. He also struck out six -- including Matt Williams, Mark Leonard and Robby Thompson in the fourth inning -- and did not walk a batter. Earlier in the month, he started the Triple A Alliance All-Star Game in Louisville, Ky., and gave up one run in three innings. Last year, he was the only pitcher in the minors to win 20 games, accomplishing the feat with combined efforts at the Class A and AA levels. * The Anne Arundel Community College athletic department spent another year embroiled in controversy, as the men's basketball and women's soccer programs each were put on one-year probation Aug. 20 for using ineligible players. Neither program was allowed to participate in postseason play or appear in the national rankings during the 1991-1992 academic year, and players could not receive individual honors. The probation ended a seven-month investigation by the National Junior College Athletic Association that uncovered four violations of eligibility in the past threeyears. Two of the the infractions originally were discovered by an internal task force, which released a report to the NJCAA in early August. In early February, an anonymous letter and transcripts of men's basketball players James Sharps and Butch Williams were sent tothe media and the NJCAA office in Colorado Springs, Colo., claiming that both players were ineligible for three games earlier in the season. Williams was cleared, but the Pioneers forfeited two victoriesfor allowing Sharps to play while making up work during the winter mini-semester. Sharps had to sit out two regional playoff games. OnApril 17, physical education teacher Bruce Springer, who also servesas the girls basketball coach at Broadneck, was suspended without pay for one year for distributing the transcripts. But three months later, the suspension was reduced to one semester without pay. Another violation in the men's program had occurred the previous year, whenTremayne Walker played during the spring semester despite lacking the necessary credits. On the women's side, it was discovered that Jen Bailey was allowed to play in a September 1989 game in New Jersey despite having an insufficient grade-point average. The NJCAA also found that another player, Sarah Yates, had played during the 1990 season even though she was ineligible. Coach Mike Miles resigned in February for "personal reasons," and his replacement, former assistant Hillory Dean, did likewise in July. South River coach James Shuck wasnamed Pioneers coach in August. Even the women's basketball team didn't go unpunished, having to forfeit four games after it was foundJen Berg played despite not attending school during the fall semester. * Anne Arundel County was well-represented in the state championship count this year, with 11 teams winning or sharing titles. Along with the Old Mill wrestling and Northeast baseball teams, others to bring home championships were: * An Old Mill girls basketball team consisting of just two seniors, Sandy Johnson and Denise Zellers, culminated the 1990-1991 season with a 53-51 4A state championship victory over Montgomery County's Springbrook. Against Springbrook, which entered the game with a 24-1 record and ranked No. 3 in the Washington area, All-Metro sophomore Stacy Himes scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots. * The second-seeded Arundel baseball team scored two runs in the opening inning and never looked back in unseating No. 1 Perry Hall as 4A state champions, 8-1, at McCurdy Field in Frederick. The Wildcats won their fifth state title and first since 1987. Designated hitter Larry Dobson went 2-for-4 with three RBI, including a two-run single in the first inning.Teammates Scott Young, A. J. Trout and Dusty Oldfather also had two hits each. Shawn Crews tripled, and Eric Hontz singled in a run. Pitcher Zach Collins (8-1) retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced, including six strikeouts. Coach Bernie Walter stopped short of calling this team his best ever, instead labeling them his "most complete." "When they played their ballgame, we didn't have a single hole. This team had outstanding pitching, excellent defense, balance and hitting through the lineup. They became the best base-running team we ever had. They're a complete ballclub," he said. * Lynn Pitonzo's Northeast softball team (19-3) made it an unprecedented four straight Class 2A state championships, and seven in the last 10 years, with a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Damascus at Upton Park. The top-seeded Hornets from Montgomery County were held to four hits by Northeast windmiller Kristy Zulka. Zulka (11-2) struck out six and needed only 56 pitches to finish the job. Catcher Kelly Tibbs poked adouble to right-center in the first inning to bring home the game's only run. * The Chesapeake softball team won its third state championship in the last four years at Upton Park, defeating fourth-seededFrederick, 6-0. The second-seeded Cougars (20-3) were led by senior pitcher Amy Jakubowski's third shutout of the year. Jakubowski,later chosen as the Anne Arundel County Sun Player of the Year, had 13 strikeouts and no walks and didn't allow a runner past first base -- all on just 77 pitches. * Old Mill's boys outdoor track team shared the 4A state title with Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George's County. The Patriots tallied their 63rd team point in the last event of the the three-day meet to forge the tie. Senior Brian Evans wasthe lone Old Mill athlete to capture an individual state title. His discus throw of 151 feet was a state best, while his shot put earned him runner-up honors. Junior Craig Dorsey placed second in the long jump and fifth in the triple jump. Distance runner Scott Boetig took second in the 3,200 run and Rocky McMillan took third in the 300 hurdles. * The Severna Park girls lacrosse team defeated Chesapeake,9-5, to win its fifth straight 4A-3A state championship at Catonsville Community College. Twins Tina and Tami Riley, goalie Sonya Muhly (17 saves) and defenders Tanya Simmons and Tracy McGarry helped theFalcons hold Chesapeake far below its average of 15 goals per game. "Severna Park just played a suffocating game defensively," said Chesapeake coach Jim Buchan. * Freshman sensation Peter Lombard led the Annapolis boys gymnastics team to a 4A state-regional title. Lombard went unbeaten in the all-around this spring, never scoring below 46 points and setting a state record with an 8.7 on the high bar. At the state-regional meet May 13, the 15-year-old won four events inclaiming the all-around championship with 48.55 points. "It felt great. I put a lot of work into it," Lombard said. * County and region champion Gary Carpenter carded rounds of 78 and 74 at the University of Maryland at College Park, leading the Arundel golf team to its first 4A state title. The Division V champion Wildcats posted a team score of 655 to edge runner-up Damascus of Montgomery County by two strokes for the team title. "This is exciting," Arundel coach Carol Nutt said. "This is not only the first time an Anne Arundel County team has won the states, but the first time a team from District V has won it, so that just shows that there is another side to the state." After 18 holes, Arundel led the 17-team field with a score of 327. Damascus trailed the Wildcats by five strokes, while defendingstate champion Walt Whitman was in third with 333. Freshman Paul Wills carried the Wildcats in the first round and finished with a 75-83-158. Also contributing were Kurt Osborne (84-84) and Graham Niemi (90-87). * Severna Park began the season as the metro area's top-ranked volleyball team, and the Falcons held true to form, winning thestate title by defeating previously unbeaten Northern of St. Mary's County, 6-15, 15-10, 15-7, 15-5. Northern was last year's 3A statechampion. With the victory, fifth-year coach Tim Dunbar, the AnneArundel County Sun's Coach of the Year, improved his overall record to 72-3 in match play and 91-8 including round-robin tournaments. Missouri transfer April Kaiser (5-foot-9), the Anne Arundel County Sun's Player of the Year, led the county with 163 kills, and posted a team-leading 94.1 serving percentage with 30 aces. Kaiser, who also was chosen as The Sun's Player of the Year, was joined on the All-County first-team by teammates Cassandra Melton (5-8), Catherine Kirk (5-11) and Jen Conner (5-9). Kirk also was an All-Metro selection. * The past year also will be remembered as a time when an abundance of well-publicized streaks came to a sudden end. Included were: * With its 68-62 victory over Annapolis on Jan. 15, Old Mill's boys basketball team ended the Panthers' longest winning streak at 22 games. * Old Mill's wrestling team kept the Class 4A/3A state title in thecounty for the fourth consecutive season, but Broadneck ended the Patriots' regular-season winning streak at 33 on Jan. 25, forcing a three-way tie with Annapolis for the county championship. * Glen Burnie's Heather Smith singled with one out in the bottom of the 16th inning to score Michelle Ackerman and hand Northeast a 4-3 loss on April17, ending the Eagles' winning streak at 64 games. The streak wasthe nation's fourth-longest ever. Afterward, Eagles coach Lynn Pitonzo said, "Actually, (the loss) probably will make them work harder." She was right, as Northeast won the 2A state championship. * The Severna Park girls lacrosse team had its 57-game winning streak ended by rival Chesapeake, 17-16, in overtime on April 19. The Cougars' Diane McBee scored with one second left in regulation to force the extra session, and added two goals in overtime. "We had our chances,but we let it slip away," said Falcons coach Carin Peterson. * The Annapolis softball team won its first game since 1986 with an 8-7, 10-inning victory over Southern on May 8. Jennifer Mauch ended thePanthers' 90-game losing streak with a two-out single that scored Uyen Do, who had reached on an infield hit. Mauch also was the winning pitcher. "As soon as I saw the ball go in the outfield, the first words out of my mouth were, 'Lord, have mercy,'" said Annapolis second-year coach Gloria Day. * Rodney Rawlinson scored the winning goal with 1 minute, eight seconds left in the second overtime to give the visiting Meade boys soccer team a 1-0 win over Severna Park on Oct.12, ending the Falcons' regular-season winning streak against countyfoes at 35. Meade, which eventually won the Region IV crown, had been the last county team to beat Severna Park, in the 1987 regular-season finale. * The Archbishop Spalding football team upset Southwestern of Baltimore, 13-12, on Oct. 19, the Cavaliers' first win in 28 games. Spalding had lost to Southwestern the previous year, 59-2. "It feels great because it had gotten pretty frustrating," said junior receiver/cornerback Jeff Paxson, who caught the game-winning touchdown. "We always think we can win despite the record, but it was pretty frustrating." Spalding hadn't tasted victory since a 38-0 romp over Friends School of Baltimore on Oct. 15, 1988. * Senior Terri Bogle's two goals lifted the Old Mill girls soccer team over Severna Park, 2-1, on Oct. 22, halting the Falcons' 57-game unbeaten streak, the nation's fifth-longest ever. The Falcons hadn't lost sinceNovember 1987, when Old Mill again prevailed, 2-0, in the regional finals. South River had ended Severna Park's winning streak at 46 games with a 1-1 tie on Oct. 8. * Old Mill's Pat Chance, SevernaPark's Andy Borland and Annapolis' John Brady possess 49 years of coaching experience. By the end of 1991, they had more than 700 wins. Chance won her 300th game against Severna Park in the regional semifinals, 45-32, on March 1. The total would grow to 303 by season's end. Borland, who began his career as Severna Park's football coach 19 years ago, reached the 100-win plateau on Sept. 16 with a 35-10 rout of Queen Anne's. He finished the season with a 105-88 lifetime record. Brady won his 300th career game as Annapolis boys basketball coach earlier this month, 75-74, over Mount St. Joseph, his alma mater. Among Brady's accomplishments are an unprecedented eight straight 20-win seasons, 14 consecutive trips to the regional finals, 13 county titles, 11 regional titles and one state championship (1989-1990).