The Howard Community College men's basketball team, under second-year coach Mike Smelkinson, represented itself well at the National Junior Athletic Association Division II tournament at the Danville Area Community College in Illinois

The unseeded Dragons — with a season record of 16-12 — had a tough draw, playing second-seeded Monroe, New York (30-3) in their first game. The Dragons gave Monroe all it could handle before falling, 62-56. The Dragons then rebounded by taking out Grand Rapids, Michigan, 85-72, before losing to third-seeded Louisburg, North Carolina (34-2), 69-66 on March 22.


Howard Community College's games were televised back to the school and gave the students here a chance to see firsthand their team play on the national stage. We were all disappointed that the team didn't win all of its games but we are also proud that they showed they can play with the best of them.

Elite Track Club shines

At the USA Track and Field National Youth Indoor Championships held at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex, coach Sharron Smith's Elite Track Club of Columbia did exceptionally well. Anthony Valentine, who attends Cradlerock Elementary School,  took gold in the 7-8 year boys division with a national record for the 400 meter dash (1:14.71).

Aliyah Murray of Talbot Springs Elementary School finished third and broke the indoor record in the  55 meter dash in 8.91 for the girls division and sixth in the 200 meter dash.

Clarksville Middle School's Sydney Robinson won the gold in the 11-12 girls division 400 meter dash (1.03) and won silver in the long jump, with a record-breaking jump of 16 feet, four inches. She also finished third in the 200 meter dash in 27.12.

Dominique France, who attends Arundel High School, finished fourth in the 200-meter dash in the 17-18 women's division.

The Elite Track Club competed with just six athletes and four of them placed nationally. That was quite the performance and Coach Smith deserves to be recognized for motivating  that club to compete at a very high level.

Headers for Hope

Headers for Hope is a non-profit organization that raises funds for local charities in the fight against cancer. This year, the organization has selected the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults as a tournament partner for a Women's Soccer Showcase series of games to be played on April 13 at Howard High School. Headers for Hope founder Louise Waxler has brought in some of the top soccer teams on the east coast, including the University of Maryland, Loyola University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Old Dominion University, Penn State University, the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia. Play starts at 9:30 a.m.

A word to the wise

A quick word of advice for those who submit scholarship applications: make sure your application is complete. Eliminate poor grammar and have someone review your writing before you submit.

If someone is submitting a supporting letter on your behalf, make sure that it talks about you specifically. I have read applications that contain the same supporting information by the same teacher or school official.

Finally, make sure that your application identifies the scholarship and is not being submitted to a "school or scholarship" or worse, "To Whom It May Concern." Those generalities are a sure turn-off for any committee.