The start of the high school football season is still two months away, but it appears that City's Dwight Banks is among the state's top college prospects.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior with a 4.5-second 40-yard -- is listed as one of the country's top 10 receivers by Prep Football Report.
Banks, a second-team All-Metro selection, caught 29 passes for 656 yards and five touchdowns last season for two-time Maryland Scholastic Association champ City, which for the second straight season had a 10-0 record and was top-ranked in the metro area.
Based on his sophomore season totals of 20 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns, Banks began last year listed by Street and Smith's as one of the nation's top 50 Underclassmen to Watch.
He proved himself worthy of the honor in City's 12-7 come-from-behind victory over then seventh-ranked Gilman.
City trailed Gilman, 7-0, when Banks scored his third touchdown of the season -- a momentum stealing 79-yarder -- by out-leaping a Greyhounds defender and racing down the sideline and into the end zone.
Another honor abroad
Representing the United States at 182.5 pounds in last weekend's Cadet World Wrestling championships in Lunen, Germany, McDonogh sophomore J. R. Plienis finished eighth in the 38-country event.
An honorable-mention All-Metro who placed third in the Maryland Scholastic Association, Plienis, 14, was among only three Americans to place in the event, losing to a Russian and a Cuban.
A 15-time national champion in various wrestling disciplines, Plienis qualified for the competition by pinning all three of his opponents -- including his fastest fall in 1 minute, five seconds in the title bout -- to win a 12-man bracket in the April 16-18 freestyle qualifier at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
He is presently in Columbia, Mo., for the four-day Cadet Nationals tournament, where he will wrestle in the Greco-Roman competition today and tomorrow, and the freestyle tournament on Friday and Saturday.
AAU basketball heating up
Amateur Athletic Union state representative Melvin Parker reports that Cecil-Kirk's 16-under boys basketball team, representing the city, is in Oklahoma City for the AAU Nationals, which end Saturday.
The competition is the first of several national AAU events involving local boys state champs, with the under-19 champs from Cecil-Kirk -- including All-Metros Keith Booth (Dunbar), Kevin Norris (Lake Clifton) and Shawnta Rogers (Lake Clifton) -- playing in the July 27-Aug. 4 nationals in Knoxville, Tenn.
The rest include the 11-under Severna Park Green Hornets playing in the July 31-Aug. 7 nationals in Cocoa Beach, Fla.; the 13-under Baltimore Bullets in the July 26-Aug. 3 nationals in Memphis, Tenn.; the 14-under Bullets in the July 17-25 nationals in Yakima, Wash.; and the 15-under Bullets in the Saturday-July 17 nationals in Kingsport, Tenn.
A near victory
In last weekend's National Age Group Track and Field Association championships in Durham, N.C., members of Ed Waters' track club in Baltimore turned in excellent efforts as the team -- with 310 points -- was a runner-up to the host Durham Striders (365).
The best individual performances in the event, with representatives from more than 40 states, came from Mervo's senior All-Metro sprinter Anthony Stuckey and Old Mill's senior All-Metro Jamal Dixon-Hawkins, each competing in the 17-18 category.
Dixon-Hawkins won the shot put (51 feet) and discus (150 feet), and Stuckey won the 400-meter -- in 47.7 seconds.
Among the relays, the 1,600-meter team of Brian Harold (Lake Clifton), Garfield Thompson (West Baltimore Middle), James Carter (Mervo) and Derrick Smith (West Middle) crossed the line in 3:20.6 -- good for first in the 15-16 age group.
Also in the 15-16 group, Perry Hall's All-Metro Jim Banach was third in the 100, and Carter was a runner-up in the 400 --.
Among the 15-16 girls, All-Metro hurdler Sheraie Darby (Woodlawn) was a runner-up in the 110 hurdles and third in the 400 hurdles, and second-team All-Metro jumper Mona Jackson (Howard) was third in both the triple jump and high jump and fourth in the long jump.
Four boys relay teams placed at the 13-14 level, including the third-place 3,200 and 1,600 squads.
Other results: Runner-up finishes in both the 7-8 girls and boys 400 and 1,600 relays; a 400-relay runner-up finish at 11-12 boys; a 400 runner-up effort at 13-14 girls; and a 3,200 runner-up effort at 15-16 boys.
Ed Waters' club competes in this weekend's United State Track and Field qualifiers in Newport News, Va., with the top three finishers in each event earning a spot in the July 26-Aug. 1 USTAF nationals in Baton Rouge, La.
Local kickers stopped
The husband and wife coaching team of Kevin and Dawn Healy took their under-13 squad to last weekend's United States Youth Soccer Association regionals in Princeton, N.J.
The club took a 2-0-1 tournament record into last weekend's semifinal game against Huntington, N.Y., having outscored its rivals 7-2, but the New Yorkers won, 6-0.
"That [Huntington] was the best team we've played all year," Dawn said, adding that keeper Angie Rucco played well. "The improvement our team made since the beginning of the year was tremendous. We peaked at the appropriate time and we're definitely on the rise."
On June 6, their Soccer Club of Baltimore won a State Cup title in its first appearance and hoped to add to its best season.