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Digest: Gibbons hands Babe Ruth baton — or bat — to Herne

Digest: Gibbons hands Babe Ruth baton — or bat — to Herne
The front of the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, shown in July 2014. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

After 35 years as the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation's executive director, Mike Gibbons is handing off the position to deputy executive director Shawn Herne.

Gibbons will remain on board at the the foundation's director emeritus & historian, overseeing all curatorial, archival and exhibit development projects.

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Between 1982, when Gibbons volunteered to organize a makeover of the Babe Ruth Birthplace, a time when annual attendance dipped to roughly 2,000 visitors, and 1992 — nine years after he was named executive director — Gibbons increased annual attendance to 60,000. In addition, through the foundation, Gibbons raised $265,000 to create new exhibits on Ruth and the Orioles, as well as the six Marylanders enshrined in Cooperstown.

Herne has worked on developing and administering museum exhibits and programs. He served for more than 12 years as chief curator of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and Sports Legends Museum. Before rejoining the Babe Ruth Museum last year, he was executive director of the Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis.

Varsity wrestling

St. Paul's McHenry to miss National Preps

St. Paul's wrestling coach Rob Eiter and Lee Dove, executive director of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, confirmed on Wednesday a Flowrestling report that Crusaders sophomore Kurt McHenry, one of the top wrestlers in the country, will not compete at this weekend's National Preps wrestling tournament at Lehigh because of an incident at the Maryland Independent State tournament Saturday. McHenry was assessed an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty immediately after the final whistle of his 106-pound championship match against Mount Saint Joseph freshman Chris Barnabae for what Dove said was a "head-butt-type situation," according to the official's report. McHenry was then called for a second unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty after something was said between McHenry and Gaels coach Harry Barnabae, who is Chris' father, during a customary handshake after the match. McHenry was deemed to be "taunting" the crowd, Dove said, according to the official's report.

For more of Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Tim Schwartz's story about McHenry, including video, go to baltimoresun.com/varsity.

College wrestling

Baltimorean Downey dismissed by Iowa State

Patrick Downey III, a former Maryland state high school wrestling champion who earned All-America honors last season at Iowa State, has been dismissed from the Cyclones program for what coach Kevin Jackson called "repeated violations of team rules." A redshirt junior who began his Division I career at Nebraska after being a junior college All-American, Downey was undefeated this season and ranked No. 10 in the country at 184 pounds. Jackson said in a statement that Downey will not participate in either the Big 12 or NCAA championships. It is the latest misstep for Downey, who spent his high school career at three different Baltimore-area schools. He was kicked out of Mount Saint Joseph after his freshman year, and was undefeated as a sophomore at Loch Raven and as a junior at North County. Downey, 23, lost his high school eligibility to wrestle in Maryland during his senior year because of trouble off the mat. He spent a week in a Baltimore jail when he was still in high school after pleading guilty to two second-degree charges.

—Don Markus

Et cetera

Major Arena Soccer League: The Blast will have an Eastern Division playoff game March 9 at 7:05 p.m. at Royal Farms Arena. With three games remaining in the regular season, the Blast are 11-6, the best record in the Eastern Division. Individual tickets will go on sale today at 10 a.m. through all TicketMaster outlets. Blast mini-plan holders can contact Steve Cooke at scooke@baltimoreblast.com to get mini-plan pricing. The other three teams in the division remain in the playoff hunt. If the Florida Tropics make the playoffs, Game 2 would be played on the road March 10 at 7:05 p.m. If the Syracuse Silver Knights make the playoffs, Game 2 would be played on the road March 12 at 3:05 p.m. If the Harrisburg Heat make the playoffs, Game 2 would be played on the road March 14 at 7:05 p.m.

Laurel Park: M M G Stables' multiple-Grade 3 winner El Areeb, based at Laurel Park with trainer Cal Lynch, will return to Aqueduct Racetrack for his next start in the $300,000 Gotham (Grade 3) on March 4. El Areeb has won four consecutive races dating to last year, including the Jerome (G3) and Withers (G3) this winter at Aqueduct to make himself a contender on the Triple Crown trail. "I wanted to make sure and give him the time coming out of the last race just to make sure everything was OK," Lynch said.

Varsity girls basketball: Katie Fleming scored 31 points, including the 1,000th of her career, to lead Mount Airy Christian to a 79-41 victory over Redeemer Classical on Tuesday night at New Life.

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WNBA: The Washington Mystics signed free-agent forward Tianna Hawkins (Maryland).

From Sun staff and news services

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