Digest: Paralympian Tatyana McFadden aims for seven medals in Rio

Tatyana McFadden has won the Boston Marathon wheelchair race four times. In April, she crossed the line first at Boston and then at the London Marathon within seven days. So why not go for seven golds at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro this September, in events from the 100 meters on up?

"I'm really a sprinter," McFadden said after winning the 5,000-meter race Thursday night at the U.S. Paralympic trials in Charlotte, N.C.


Competing at the meet through today, McFadden, who grew up in Clarksville and graduated from Atholton, plans to attempt a medal haul rivaling Baltimore swimming star Michael Phelps' when she gets to Brazil.

Not that it seems to faze her much. Asked about her goal after the 5,000 on Thursday night, McFadden just praised her teammates and talked about the tough competition she'll face. It was basic athlete-speak from one of the faces of America's Paralympic team, and one of the few U.S. Paralympians with major corporate sponsors, including BMW USA, BP, Coca-Cola and Nike. McFadden's 11 Paralympic medals, including three gold over four previous games, means her quest is getting significant attention.


In addition to the marathon and 5,000, McFadden hopes to win gold in the 100 meters, the 400, 800, 1,500 and 4x400-meter relay.

"I've never had an athlete that could be so successful in such a wide range," said McFadden's coach, Adam Bleakney.

"The Notebook" is a movie that holds a romantic meaning to many of its viewers, but for paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden, it has a deeper connection.

That's good not only for McFadden, but also for the Paralympic movement in general, he said.

"These athletes deserve this type of system to be recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments and athleticism," he said. "Tatyana is a part of it."


Bleakney said his athlete's secret weapon is her ability to get off the starting line quickly. "She's layers of muscle on top of muscle," he said.

That strength and sprinting background becomes the deciding factor over long distances, when the outcome rests on being able to mount attacks past competitors.

This was evident on Thursday in the 5,000, when McFadden repeatedly surged past the other racers and moved from fifth to first with a few laps to go.

Earlier in the day, in the 800-meter final, McFadden pushed hard off the line and moved into the front of the pack.

"You can't have a mediocre start and be able to stay with the top athletes," said Bleakney, who has made mechanics at the gun a key element of McFadden's training, as opposed to simply piling on the miles.

McFadden is expected to get another edge with a new, aerodynamic, carbon-fiber frame racing chair designed by BMW USA for Team USA.

"It'll really become part of you, just like a pair of shoes," McFadden said. "They'll change the face of Paralympic sport."

Tatyana and sister Hannah went one-two, respectively, in the women's 100 T54 on Friday as Tatyana clocked in at 16.09 seconds. The sisters will both compete in their final events Sunday with the women's 1500 T53/54 and the 400 T34/51/52/54.

Paralympic swimming: Jessica Long of Middle River won the women's S8 100 butterfly and U.S. Navy veteran and two-time Paralympic gold medalist Brad Snyder of Baltimore erased three seconds off his preliminary time to win the men's S11 100 butterfly at the U.S. trials in Charlotte. On Thursday, Long won the women's S8 400 freestyle.

Varsity boys basketball

Former UMBC assistant Zito to coach John Carroll

John Zito has been named boys basketball coach at John Carroll, taking over for Tony Martin, who stepped down after 11 seasons to take a coaching position and be closer to extended family in Wilmington, N.C. Zito played at UMBC and has spent the past seven seasons at his alma mater as an assistant. John Carroll was 27-11 last season and won the Baltimore Catholic League championship.

— Glenn Graham


Ex-Terp Feifs named men's lacrosse coach at Vermont

Former Maryland men's lacrosse player Chris Feifs has been named head coach at Vermont. Feifs was defensive coordinator for 2016 national champion North Carolina, where he has spent the past seven seasons. Previously, he coached at Virginia Military Institute. Feifs played for the Terps from 2004 to 2007, reaching the NCAA semifinals in 2005 and 2006.

More men's lacrosse: Mike Daly, who coached Tufts to three Division III championships, was named to replace Lars Tiffany at Division I semifinalist Brown; Tiffany left last month to become coach at Virginia.

Men's soccer: Navy named Tim O'Donohue the sixth coach in the program's 95-year history. O'Donohue spent the past five seasons as the associate head coach at Connecticut and was head coach at Division III Stevens Institute of Technology the previous 10 seasons.

Standout defensive back Brendon Clements has been dismissed from the Naval Academy football team for the second time this year.

Football: Navy announced its 2016 recruiting class, which includes 6-foot-3, 290-pound Gilman offensive lineman Wes Mehl of Westminster. ... Backup quarterback Travis Marshall has retired from the team and will serve as a student assistant coach.

Facilities: St. Mary's announced plans for a 4,200-square-foot lighted stadium that will be situated between synthetic and grass fields on Mattapany Road.

Et cetera

UM field hockey alums Bam, Witmer going to Rio

Maryland alumnae Katie O'Donnell Bam and Jill Witmer were named by USA Field Hockey to the 16-player roster for the Olympics in Rio this summer. Bam, who played for the Terps from 2007 to 2010 and won two national championships and is the program's all-time leader in points, was on the 2012 Olympic team. Witmer, a Terp from 2010 to 2013, who also won two national titles, will make her first Olympic appearance.

Bam and Witmer helped Team USA win bronze in the Champions Trophy in London last month. The United States is ranked No. 5 in the world.

Former Maryland forward Robert Carter Jr. turned down a chance to be drafted in the second round by two different teams.

NBA: Forward Robert Carter Jr. joined the Golden State Warriors' Summer League roster. The All-Big Ten honorable mention selection is poised to make his NBA debut at the Las Vegas Summer League next Saturday.

NHL: The Washington Capitals signed forward Brett Connolly to a one-year, $850,000 deal. Connolly, 24, had 25 points in 71 games last season with the Boston Bruins. He'll help replace left wing Jason Chimera, who signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the New York Islanders. The Capitals also signed goaltender Joe Cannata, defenseman Darren Dietz and forward Christian Thomas to one-year, two-way deals and defenseman Connor Hobbs to a three-year, entry-level contract. Cannata is expected to start for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.

WNBA: Elena Delle Donne had 28 points and 11 rebounds, Courtney Vandersloot hit a game-winner with 4.6 seconds left in overtime and the host Chicago Sky (7-9) rallied for an 86-84 win over the Washington Mystics (9-9).

Major League Soccer: Bill Hamid made a save on a breakaway in the 90th minute, Jared Jeffrey scored in stoppage time and D.C. United tied host Real Salt Lake, 1-1, on Friday night. Hamid won a 1-on-1 battle after sliding to get a foot on Olmes Garcia's shot. Two minutes later, Fabian Espindola's corner kick was headed in by an unmarked Jeffrey. D.C. United (5-6-6) is still winless at Rice-Eccles Stadium since its first trip to Utah in 2005. Juan Manuel Martinez scored in the 57th minute for Real Salt Lake (8-5-4).


Professional hockey: A single-A level league has expressed interest in expanding into Salisbury. Federal Hockey League Vice Commissioner Andrew "Sarge" Richards says the league, which is in its seventh year, is looking to broaden itself geographically and thinks Salisbury would be a good fit. Wicomico County Parks and Recreation Director Steve Miller says the county is just beginning to examine the possibility of having a professional hockey team. Richards says for a team to survive, each game would generally need to see 1,200 to 1,500 attendees at about $10 per ticket.


TV: Maryland Public Television will air "Honor Man: Remember the Life & Legacy of Lt. SEAL Brendan Looney" three times this month. The half-hour documentary can be seen July 4 at 11 p.m., July 4 at midnight and July 11 at 10:30 p.m. The film, produced by DeMatha High and narrated by CBS' James Brown, chronicles the life of former Navy lacrosse player Brendan Looney, a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan in 2010.