Somewhere along Interstate 95 south from Philadelphia to Washington late Saturday afternoon, look for a 6-foot-6, 270-pound giant of a man being transformed from a football player to backup basketball center.
It will be Bowie State junior Charles Alston switching gears from his role as a defensive end to his more gentle pursuit of basketball. At his side will be Bowie State sports information director and chauffeur Scott Rouch.
The two men will be rushing back from the school's delayed season-ending football game against Cheyney State to the basketball season opener that night at the University of the District of Columbia.
"This has probably never happened at our school before," Rouch said. "Our football season should be over, but Cheyney wanted to make up the game we didn't play Sept. 15 [because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks], and we agreed to it."
The Bowie-Cheyney football game near Philadelphia starts at noon and should end around 3, meaning Alston has three hours to shower, get dressed, eat and make the more than two-hour trip to UDC for a 7 p.m. start. He hopes to arrive at 6 for the basketball game, giving him one hour to do his stretching and warm-up drills.
Alston, an All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association first-team pick in football, said he will save the school meal money and himself time by not stopping to eat.
"If I eat an omelet for breakfast, I'm good to go for the rest of the day," Alston said.
Loyola men's soccer coach Mark Mettrick and the Greyhounds remained on a roll with Sunday's 1-0, double-overtime victory over Fairfield in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship game.
The win sent Loyola (15-1-2) to the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time since 1993 and extended the team's unbeaten string to 17 games. The Greyhounds also moved up two places in the national rankings to No. 10, as they await NCAA tournament selections Monday at 3 p.m.
While waiting to see when, where and whom they'll play, the Greyhounds are celebrating a sweep of the top MAAC awards. Junior defender Niall Lepper was selected Player of the Year, Reb Beatty (10 shutouts) was chosen Goalkeeper of the Year and 10 Loyola players were named to the All-MAAC team.
There is also a lot of NCAA Division I tournament hope for Towson, Navy and Maryland these days.
The Tigers (14-4-1) will go to the tournament if they beat Northeastern at noon Saturday in the America East championship game at Towson. The Tigers have scored a school-record 54 goals, fourth best in the nation.
Navy (11-2-3) has made the Patriot League tournament as the No. 4 seed, and the Mids will meet top-seeded Holy Cross at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Worcester, Mass. Navy goalkeeper Brian Steckroth will take nine shutouts and a 0.46 goals-against average into the Patriot League semifinals.
Maryland could receive an at-large berth in the NCAA field with a strong showing in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament this week.