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Honoring these athletes no mere academic exercise


Tomorrow evening at the Marriott Hotel BWI in Linthicum, the 20 students named to the 11th annual Anne Arundel All-County Academic-Athletic Team will be honored.

Ten boys and 10 girls will be in the spotlight at a banquet in conjunction with the Anne Arundel Trade Council Inc., which is conducting its 43rd annual spring general membership meeting.

It provides us with a forum to honor youngsters who excel academically and athletically.

Dinner is set for 7 p.m., and the program should begin at about 7:45, with each of the students being introduced and receiving a plaque from The Baltimore Sun. For ticket information, call the Trade Council at (410) 757-6709.

Approximately 70 students applied for this year's team, and all the candidates were impressive.

It was tough enough narrowing the field from 70 to 20, but it was even tougher selecting the top male and top female. Those two will receive a special award for their accomplishments.

Many county teachers, administrators, coaches and athletic directors took the time to write recommendation letters. Only two county schools -- Glen Burnie and Northeast -- of the 12 public and three private schools didn't nominate anyone.

I always find it hard to believe that there is not at least one outstanding student-athlete at every school.

During the 11 years of selecting this team, students from Glen Burnie and Northeast have made the team, and why no one from either of those schools applied this year is beyond my understanding.

Students who live in Anne Arundel County but attend a school outside of the county are also eligible, and one such student -- Tim Trotta of Mount St. Joseph -- made the team.

Broadneck and Annapolis nominated the most students, eight and six, respectively.

The team was announced on Monday, and today the honorable-mention list of those who just missed making the team is announced. Those students are:

* Honorable mention, boys -- Seniors: Geoffrey Atkinson, Severna Park, 4.0 GPA, track; Jayme Block, Southern, 3.2 GPA, football and lacrosse; Albert Hornyak, Severna Park, 3.1, football and lacrosse; Troy Green, Old Mill, 3.2, basketball and track; Ed Taliaferro, Severn, 4.0, soccer and tennis; Andrew Brought, Severna Park, 3.3, soccer and track.

Juniors: Eric Hoppa, Broadneck, 3.9, soccer and basketball; Steve Wojciechowski, Cardinal Gibbons, 3.9, soccer and basketball. Sophomore: Mark Chesla, Arundel, 3.5, soccer and wrestling.

* Honorable mention, girls -- Seniors: Alissa Webb, Severn, 3.5, field hockey and lacrosse; Tracey

Brown, Chesapeake, 3.5, field hockey; Tracy McGarry, Severna Park, 3.4, field hockey and lacrosse; Traci Koenig, Arundel, 3.9, volleyball and softball; and Anne Donovan, St. Mary's, 4.0, basketball and crew.

Juniors: Pam Patterson, South River, 3.5, volleyball and basketball; Lindsay Pell, South River, 3.9, volleyball and softball; Christine Burke, South River, 3.5, soccer, indoor track and lacrosse; Jessica Schmidt, Broadneck, 3.5, soccer and lacrosse; Susannah Johnson, Broadneck, 3.7, soccer, lacrosse and basketball; Rachel Lenzi, Broadneck, 3.5, field hockey, indoor track and softball.

* In other county sports news, did you know that homer No. 6 by Old Mill first baseman Ryan Dempsey puts the Patriots' cleanup hitter within four of the state single-season record of 10 set by Severna Park's Kevin Densmore in 1987?

The county record for career homers is 13 by Severna Park's Kevin Schiavone and Old Mill's Brian Antal during the 1988-90 season.

* Did you know that the 10 career triples by Northeast All-Metro catcher Rich Spiegel, who graduated last spring, set a state record? We discovered that in a search for another record this week. Four other players shared the record of nine before Spiegel, now catching at Anne Arundel Community College, got 10.

* Speaking of AACC, how about coach Clayton Jacobson's Pioneers upsetting defending national JuCo champion Essex, 11-7, at Memorial Stadium on Sunday after a Bowie Baysox minor-league game?

"It was a big win for us because it just about clinched one of the higher seeds for us in the Region XX tournament," said AACC pitching coach Larry Shillenberg. "We're shooting for third or fourth in the regional seedings."

AACC lifted its Division I record to 7-4 (16-10 overall), which has it in the hunt among the eight teams that qualify.

Essex took a 6-0 lead after two innings, but ex-Chesapeake pitcher Dave Ryder did the job in relief, keeping the Pioneers close until their bats picked up.

With three hits each from K. C. Murphy (Northeast), Chris Durocher (Arundel) and Frank Updike (Queen Anne's), the Pioneers unleashed a 15-hit attack for their fourth consecutive game in double-digit hits.

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