TWO FRANCIS SCOTT Key High School boys earned top honors in recent competitions. One's interest is in golf, the other's in farming.
Ray Sheedy, 17, was named the Middle Atlantic PGA Junior Tour Player of the Year in his age group, 16 to 18 years old. Ray won on points over the summer tournament schedule conducted by the organization, which held the final event Aug. 19-20 in Williamsburg, Va.
Russell Wantz, a senior, was named the Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Tractor Operator Champion at the Maryland State Fair.
Russell was one of the top three in the tractor operator contest held at the Carroll County Agriculture Center during the county fair. He also took a 50-question written test.
"It's a practical exam," Russell said. "A tractor has a problem and you have to write what is wrong."
The driving test included taking a four-wheel bale wagon and driving it around and then backing it into a space. He also drove a tractor up and down an alley and through a figure-8 course.
After qualifying at the county level, he went on to the state fair and performed the same tasks.
When the contests were done, Russell said he did some calculations.
"I didn't think I had made first," he said. "When they announced it, I was speechless."
Russell said he has always been interested in mechanics and tractors. Four years ago he purchased a 1950s Allis-Chalmers W.D. 45 tractor.
"It was in bad shape," Russell said. "I'm rebuilding it and repainting it. I like antique tractors. They are easier to work on. You can do a lot with them. And they sound neat."
Russell, whose family lives on a farm on Pleasant Valley Road, plans to study mechanics at a technical school after high school. He is the son of Debbie and Leander Wantz.
For Ray, golfing, not tractors, is the big thing. He got into the sport by accident. Literally.
"I broke my leg playing basketball," he said. So, his sister's boyfriend gave him a set of clubs to swing around. That was five years ago and Ray has been hooked on the sport ever since.
"I love it," he said. "It's the best thing that ever happened to me."
Ray said he has played many sports, but that golf is the most difficult.
"If you're good at it, you can feel really good about yourself," he added.
He said the Middle Atlantic PGA Junior Tour holds 25 tournaments throughout the summer. Each player plays five tournaments. The top 12 golfers were then selected to play in the final event and Ray had the winning season total.
Ray plays varsity golf and basketball at Key. He said he plans to study business management when he attends college, though he has not decided where. And, he plans to play golf in college.
Ray praised his parents, Ray Sheedy III and Eloise Sheedy. "I'm just very thankful of my parents," he said.
Rasche makes court
Angie Rasche was one of four girls to make the State Fair Farm Queen's court. She competed against 20 other farm queens across the state.
"It was such a great experience for me," said Angie, Carroll County's farm queen. "The four of us girls on the court became such good friends."
Angie said it was almost better being on the court than being named the queen. The state queen had to attend all events of the state fair.
"But those of us on the court were able to choose what activities we wanted to attend," she said. "This way I didn't have to miss any school."
Angie, a senior at Francis Scott Key, is the daughter of Bill and Mary Rasche.
Bells are ringing
The Taneytown Senior Center is offering a trip to the Allenberry Playhouse dinner theater in Boiling Springs, Pa., to see Bells Are Ringing. The bus leaves at 10 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Cost is $55.
Information: Jackie Boisvert, 410-756-4557.
Tennis league reminder
Taneytown is organizing an adult tennis league. The league will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday beginning next week. Information: 410-751-1100.
Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.