Poly wrestler Kevin Tolson believes he has a firm grip on the school's integration history, and, along with Engineers swimmer Sam McLaughlin, has been submerged in records, research and investigative reporting.
"We're working on a documentary called The Integration of Poly, and we're trying to prove that Poly was the first public high school south of the Mason-Dixon Line to integrate," said Tolson, the Engineers' 160-pound senior captain.
"Everything until now has said no integration in public high schools in the south took place before Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954, but we know that our school was integrated two years before that," Tolson said. "Our goal is to rewrite the history books, and Sam and I believe that people will be receptive to the new information."
The project is part of the seniors' independent studies class and is their second film together.
"Last year, we did one on blues and jazz and its affect on African-American expression," said Tolson, who is black. "This year, we really wanted to do something that would ring a bell, locally."
The two students recently interviewed Dr. Carl Clark, a 68-year-old North Carolina resident whom they say was the first African-American to graduate from Poly in 1955.
"We just had an alumni dinner in November honoring Dr. Clark as the first black graduate, and he came back to it," Tolson said. "When he did, we were able to get an interview with him on tape."
Other interviews include Gene Giles and Miton Cornish, two men whom McLaughlin said were "among the first 13 African-Americans accepted into the institution."
"In our interview with Mr. Cornish ... he told us that the Urban League was responsible for starting the fight for integration - not the NAACP," McLaughlin said. "We believe that's a common misconception. Our documentary will really show how the Urban League took a stand in history. We have several sources that recognize [Poly] as the first school to integrate, but Kevin and I still want to validate those claims further."
There are those who believe the Northwestern Wildcats' boys basketball team boasts a two-player combination that is Baltimore City's best-kept secret.
Junior center Reginald Forbes, 6 feet 5, and 5-9 junior point guard Jeremy Robinson have helped the Wildcats win 10 of their first 13 games, culminating with Friday's 44-43 victory over Lake Clifton. The run included winning their second straight Wes Unseld Classic title in a tournament held last month at CCBC-Catonsville.
Robinson and Forbes shared tournament Most Valuable Player honors at the tournament. Robinson is averaging 20 points, seven assists and five steals, and Forbes, 15.3 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Robinson scored 31, 29 and 22 points, respectively, in consecutive victories over Forest Park, Digital Harbor and Reginald Lewis. And with 31 points, Robinson single-handedly outscored Forest Park in a 64-28 rout.
The Wildcats suffered losses by one point to Southwestern and Mervo, with Forbes missing the latter game with a pulled hamstring. The Wildcats lost, 51-50, to Southwestern, against whom Robinson scored 18 points, and Forbes added14 points and 15 rebounds.
"Mervo was the first home game, and we were flat. It was one of our worst games of the year," coach Doug Robertson said. "And we were beating Southwestern through the whole game until the final three seconds. We're turning the corner, and those two guys are the leaders."
Friends senior basketball player Pat Sissman reached a personal milestone Jan. 14, with his 22 points in a victory over CHEN taking him over the 1,000 point mark for his career.
Sissman was also the goalie for the Friends soccer team, leading it to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title game this past fall.
An excellent athlete, Sissman is also a baseball player for the Quakers, as well as the Northwood Baseball League in the offseason. Sissman was honored at the Friends-Gilman game on Friday.
Right choice for Price
After leading the 9-0 Gilman football team to its ninth Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown, a No. 1 ranking in The Sun and the state and a No. 12 national ranking in USA Today, Greyhounds running back Sean Price had a number of Division I schools interested in his talents.
The 6-1, 208-pound Price had gained 1,701 yards and scored 13 touchdowns to earn All-Metro honors for the second straight season, being named The Sun's Baltimore City Offensive Player of The Year and earning Consensus All-Maryland honors as selected by a panel of high school football writers statewide.
But Price believes he made a wise choice in turning down offers from big-time programs to attend Division III James Madison University, a 2004 national champion.
"Last Friday [Jan. 20], Coach Ulrich Edmonds made a trip down to Gilman to pick me up for my official visit, once more going out of his way to show me what they would do to have me come to James Madison," Price said. "I was blown away during my visit how much they reminded me of the Gilman family. It seemed like I had known the players for quite some time. We talked about everything. We shared similar feelings about wanting to win and be successful in life."
Before he left for home the next morning, Price informed the Dukes of his decision to play for them.
"I look forward to being an outstanding student and player and helping them win a few more national championships," said Price, who will sign during next month's official early signing period.
Last summer was a mix of good and bad for Erin Brooks.
At the Amateur Athletic Union Nationals in New Orleans, the Seton Keough track and field standout won the bronze medal in the triple jump, leaping 38 feet, 4 1/2 inches.
But Brooks missed qualifying for the finals in the events considered her forte - the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
"I think I was a little intimidated," recalled Brooks, who set Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland records in the 100, 200 and triple jump at the conference championship last May. "All the girls looked very fast, and I didn't think I could compete with them. It turns out that if I had run the times I ran in the IAAMs, I could have made the finals in both the 100 and 200 and maybe even won a medal."
The sophomore has had no such problems this winter. Among the Baltimore area athletes, she owns the best mark in the triple jump (36-11) and is tied for sixth in the 55 (7.1 seconds).
Brooks, who has been bothered by a slight hamstring pull, has taken up Pa Kua, a type of martial arts recommended by her father that helps her focus on her breathing and stretching.
"The warm-up exercises relax me," she said.
While happy with her time in the 55, Brooks said her goal is to lower that mark by 0.3 of a second.
"I feel good about my times so far this season, but I hope to do better," she said. "I hope to get stronger before the end of the indoor season."
Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.