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Youth club opens business office at Kiwanis-Wallas Park


SOME OF the stuff people in the Howard County amateur sports scene are talking about as spring seasons blur into summertime:

HCYP: The growing, four-sport Howard County Youth Program, centered in Ellicott City, is getting its first office. The office is small, about 10 by 12, but has been needed for years, and its location makes sense for anyone who has been involved with this active club.

The new space is at Kiwanis-Wallas Park, on Route 144 just off U.S. 40 in western Ellicott City, where the club has its primary baseball and softball fields.

The office, being leased from the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, is in the county's recreation center there. The space will be a business home, finally, for HCYP Executive Director Mike Burroughs, the club's first paid administrator. He has been working out of his home for the past year.

Anchoring the club's operations in one spot should help with registering and serving the nearly 2,000 youngsters who take part annually in baseball, softball, volleyball and basketball programs, making HCYP a year-round operation.

HCYP has long had storage space at Kiwanis-Wallas, a complex it leases for $1 a year from the rec department under terms of a bequest.

That lease arrangement for the fields has recently been extended, as well.

John Byrd, supervisor of parks for the county's rec department, said the new deal extends HCYP's privileges at Kiwanis-Wallas to 2020. Under the pact, the youth club pays to maintain the fields and operate the complex virtually on an exclusive basis, with the government agency paying for major construction.

"It's been a great relationship," Byrd said.

The county, by the way, is planning to do some regrading at Kiwanis-Wallas after ball play ends this fall, Byrd said, to correct a problem caused by water running off parking lots and keeping one diamond wetter than desirable at times.

SOCCER: Bill Stara, the multi-title-winning boys coach at River Hill High and nationally honored youth coach who this spring left the coaching director's job at Soccer Association of Columbia-Howard County, has agreed to be technical director for Loudon County Soccer Club in Northern Virginia.

"I'm allowed to make all the soccer decisions," Stara said, alluding to a major reason why no new contract could be reached with SAC-HC.

Stara, who has long been involved with the Columbia-based club, has continued coaching one of its travel teams, an under-17 boys squad on which his son, a River Hill junior, plays.

The Loudon club, Stara said, is similar in size to SAC-HC, about 6,000 players, and also offers recreation- and travel-level competition.

MORE SOCCER: Dave Gould, in his third year - and last, he says - as president of the Thunder Soccer Club, a travel organization based in western Howard County, has been elected to the board of the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association.

AND MORE SOCCER: This past weekend couldn't have been more beautiful for SAC-HC's annual Columbia Invitational, a large, always-competitive tournament troubled by rain in the past four years. Four of the home club's teams made it to age-group finals and one, the under-15 boys, won. Teams were entered from as far away as Colorado, though most, as usual, were from the Mid-Atlantic.

An under-11 boys Thunder team also qualified for Monday's championship play.

COLUMBIA RAVENS: Club members were saddened by the unexpected death at age 47 last week of Columbia resident Keith Tennessee, an active volunteer who coached basketball and helped with the football program.

"Keith was the kind of guy who just helped you in any way that he could," said Ravens President Melvin Powell. "As an example, he was already coaching one basketball team this winter, but when the coach of another team sort of walked away, Keith took that one on, too. He was also our technological guy, for anything we needed."

Tennessee, a former Army officer who worked in the computer field, was the Ravens' Web master and served as a DJ at football games. He died May 23 after a heart attack, leaving his wife, Bettie, a daughter, Asia, and a son, Austin.

MEN'S LACROSSE: Congratulations to Shawn Burke, coach of Howard Community College's men's lacrosse team, on being named National Junior College Athletic Association Region XX Coach of the Year.

Call the writer at 410-332-6525 about anything involving amateur sports in Howard County or send e-mail to lowell.sunderland@balt

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