The bordering countries of Honduras and El Salvador fought a two-week war in 1969 over a World Cup qualifying match. There have been times when youngsters playing sports at neighboring high schools Woodlawn and Randallstown probably considered similar action.
Fights, trash talk, practical jokes, disrespect -- all were often part of the scene when the rivals met in supposedly friendly combat.
Lately, however, that has been changing. For instance, some Randallstown athletes, looking to improve as hurdlers, showed up at Woodlawn on Monday to receive instruction from Warriors coach Mike Sye.
"Conversely," says Randallstown coach Mike Gilman, "I've worked with their shot-putters. Mike and I always seek each other out at meets, the kids see that, and it's rubbing off.
"The schools are still very competitive against each other. But, at the same time, it's amicable. There's no reason for it to be any other way, no matter what the sport."
It wasn't too long ago when the rivals met in basketball and the game ended up serving as a preliminary for a good-sized brawl afterward.
"It was obvious something had to be done," said Gilman. "They talked about playing games on a mid-week afternoon with no spectators, just players and officials."
One day, Randallstown arrived at the 5th Regiment Armory early for a meet. The kids took seats in the stands off to the right as you come in. Then Woodlawn came in and took up residence nearby in the stands. There was no problem. It happened a few more times.
"We just kept meeting at meets, exchanging handshakes, and inquiring about each other's athletes," Gilman said of Sye. "We competed as hard as possible against each other but it ended there."
Then the coaches began talking about the kids as though it was one team, and the suggestion to help instruct athletes, no matter what school they represented, materialized.
"We exchanged information openly," said Gilman. "One time, both teams were competing in Boston, and we shared rides. We [the coaches] would make sure to congratulate kids for good performances without regard for the uniform they were wearing."
For the second straight year, Catonsville's boys soccer team has been honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America with a high school team academic award.
The Comets, who combined for a 4.11 weighted grade-point average, had the highest GPA of the nine Maryland teams honored and the fourth highest nationwide for the 1997-98 academic year.
John Carroll's girls (3.61), Hereford's girls (3.36) and Loch Raven's boys (3.5) also were among the 113 teams recognized, but coach Dave Lane's Comets are the only local repeaters and one of only 28 teams to repeat nationally.
The Comets had 16 players with a 4.0 average or better and 19 at 3.5 or better. Kai Degner led the way with straight As and a 5.25 average followed by Ian Callanan (5.12) and manager Tara Hanle (4.93). Their GPAs and several others included advanced placement, gifted and talented and honors courses.
The rest of the Comets' team: Matt Clagg, Phillip Deyner, Brian Schwartz, Dan Scott, Dan Carter, John Murrow, Raimon Cary, Won Hill, Kurt Uttenreither, Nathan Phillips, Ames Whitney, Andy Scrivner, Sam Adams, Eugene Hansen, Brendenn Mohler, Brian Heldman, Nate Bowie and managers Jen Bloomer and Chrissy Fallon.
Lane and the other coaches will receive their awards at the NSCAA convention in Philadelphia during the coaches breakfast Jan. 24.
Headed Down Under
Bryn Mawr girls lacrosse coach Wendy Kridel has been selected the coach of the U.S. women's lacrosse team that will compete for the second Under-19 World Championship in Australia in September.
Kridel, assistant coach of the 1995 Under-19 U.S. team, said she had hoped again to assist Kathy Henderson, the head coach in 1995, but Henderson did not apply.
"She was of the mind that, 'I've done it once and now it's your turn,' " said Kridel, "but I wasn't sure I would get it. I think they wanted someone older to take the kids to Australia, someone who had been overseas, and I've never been anywhere. The biggest challenge for me is just flying over there."
But Kridel has the coaching experience, because 1995 was the first time the United States competed internationally at the Under-19 level.
Kridel also coached Roland Park to four Association of Independent Schools championships and Towson to a state title before moving to Bryn Mawr last year.
Kridel's assistant, Courtney Crangi, also has local ties. The Florida native was an All-America player at Goucher College and is now a member of the U.S. national squad.
Lacrosse clinic set
The state Women's Lacrosse Committee will conduct a clinic for girls coaches from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 6 at Glenelg High School in Howard County. Loyola coach Diane Aikens and Johns Hopkins coach Janine Tucker will provide instruction for all levels -- youth, recreation, middle and high school.
Registration deadline is Jan. 27. Information or to register: 410-828-9126.
Pub Date: 1/15/99