Digest: Ellicott City's Aaron Russell on U.S. Olympic volleyball team

Outside hitter Aaron Russell, a 23-year-old Baltimore-born outside hitter who attended Centennial and grew up in Ellicott City, was named Tuesday to the U.S. men's volleyball roster for the Olympics.

Russell, 6 feet 9, won a gold medal and was the youngest member of the U.S. men's team for the 2014 Norceca world championship qualifier. He was named Best Spiker at the 2014 qualifier, where he made his national team debut.


While at Penn State from 2012 to 2015, Russell helped the Nittany Lions reach the 2013, 2014 and 2015 NCAA tournaments and was named a 2014 and 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association first-team All-American and 2013, 2014 and 2015 Uvaldo Acosta Memorial EIVA Player of the Year.

Russell played for the Maryland Volleyball Program in Rockville and was a member of the 2010 and 2011 youth national teams. He was a three-year letter winner and two-year team captain in soccer at Centennial, earning first-team All-Howard County and honorable mention All-State as a junior and second-team All-County as a senior.


The U.S. men won the Olympic volleyball gold medal in 1984, 1988 and 2008 and won bronze in 1992. They finished tied for fifth in 2012. The Summer Games will be Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janiero.

The U.S. team will play this weekend in the FIVB World League in Rome and July 1-3 in World League matches in Dallas.


Phelps finishes probation; Olympic trials next week

As he prepares to compete for a spot in a fifth Olympics, Michael Phelps reached another milestone this week when he completed the probation he received as a penalty for driving under the influence in 2014. Phelps, who also received a one-year suspended sentence when he pleaded guilty to the charge in Baltimore District Court in December 2014, says he has not had a drink of alcohol since he entered a 45-day inpatient treatment program the weekend after his arrest. The drunken driving arrest was his second. He is expected to compete for Olympic berths in three individual events at U.S. trials next week in Omaha, Neb. A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services confirmed that the swimmer completed his 18 months of supervised probation Sunday.

Childs Walker

Et cetera

Stumble costs Catanzaro in 'American Ninja Warrior'


Kacy Catanzaro, the Towson alumna who last year set the stage for women competing in NBC's hit reality physical fitness competition "American Ninja Warrior," returned to the show Monday night in the Oklahoma City qualifying rounds, but failed to make it to the finals after a stumble during the third challenge. The 5-foot, 95-pound former gymnast fell into the water during the Log Runner, which required her to cross a series of unstable logs to the next platform. Catanzaro lost her balance on the third log and fell onto the fourth, where, despite an attempt at recovery, she lost her grip and fell into the water. The crowd's gasps and groans were only an indicator that many expected Catanzaro, who was the first woman to complete a city finals course and compete in the finals in Las Vegas, to go further.

Brittany Britto

NFL: Former Maryland defensive end Yannick Ngakoue — the Terps' single-season sack record-holder — signed his rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to, the NFL's collective bargaining agreement guarantees Ngakoue a minimum salary of $540,000 and a minimum signing bonus of $856,000. Ngakoue and the Jaguars will negotiate an additional $456,000 of available compensation. Ngakoue was the Jaguars' third-round draft choice and the No. 69 overall pick.

Daniel Gallen, Baltimore Sun Media Group

College football: Four-star running back Anthony McFarland of DeMatha tweeted that Maryland is among the 10 schools he's considering. Between now and Feb. 1, the Terps will go toe-to-toe with programs such as Alabama, Miami, Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Texas A&M for McFarland. According to composite rankings, McFarland is the No. 2 player in Maryland, No. 4 all-purpose back in the nation and No. 54 overall player in his class.

Daniel Gallen, Baltimore Sun Media Group


Soccer: Baltimore-based Christos FC pulled off a rare double on Sunday with the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Region I Open and Amateur Cup titles in the same day. In the Open Cup final, Christos FC beat FC Motown (New Jersey), 7-2. In the Amateur Cup championship, Christos FC beat the Lansdowne Bhoys (New York), 1-0. The team will compete for national championships in both cups.

Todd Karpovich

Major League Soccer: LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers (Maryland) will be sidelined for at least six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his ankle.

WNBA: Kristi Toliver (Maryland) scored a season-best 20 points, but they weren't enough as the host Los Angeles Sparks (11-1) lost, 72-69, to the Minnesota Lynx (13-0). This was the first matchup of two unbeaten teams from the WNBA, NBA, NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball with each squad having at least 10 wins with no losses and no ties, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.