On the surface, it would seem that the Edison High School girls basketball team was lucky to win the state title last week.
They won by flawlessly executing a defense they had only used twice before. They had to beat two previously undefeated teams on consecutive nights. And their coach, Steve Gutekunst, says that two years ago he "tried to think of reasons not to take the job" because he had never "been good enough to play on a basketball team."
Gutekunst feels Edison's intensity, itelligence and experience against stiff Northern Virginia competition during the regualr season prevailed.
Leading by only 20-17 at the half in the final game against Norview, Gutekunst's team had to neutralize their opponents' superior inside strength.
"I decided to throw in a full-court zone press," Gutekunst said. "We had used it in our first game of the season and then in our last. I had wanted them to use it in the second quarter, but only one girl did and she caused two turnovers herself. I figured if one girl did that, the press should be effective."
It was, enabling Edison to burst into a 44-23 lead after three quarters on the way to a 50-38 victory.
Gutekunst, a music teacher at Mark Twain Intermediate School, said that two years ago he looked into the possibility of coaching Edison's junior varsity girls team.
"Another coach on their staff took that job, but I was told by the school that someone was neeeded to coach the varsity. I was scared to death of the job because I had heard of their talent," he said.
Nevertheless, Gutekunst accepted, began watching a lot of games, and got help from Edison's boys coach, Tom Wriston, and other friends. The team suffered several key injuries and went 8-7 last year.
Senior Kim Albany, Mimi Walters and Pauline Landes from this year's 21-3 team are all being sought by colleges, including William and Mary and Virginia Tech.
No starters will return next year for Edison, a problem that should test Gutekunst's coaching ability even further. But he doesn't seem worried.
In other area sports news.
FAIRFAX HIGH SCHOOL - Senior Lene Jordan has received a golf scholarship to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Jordan, 18, has played on the Fairfax High School golf team for two years. The only other girl on the team is her younger sister, Michelle.
"We have to play from men's tees," said Lene. "Of course, the boys are much stronger and that's a big difference. But that's about it. I have a good short game and I get on people's nerves because I'm consistent. I stay on the fairways and don't make mistakes."
Jordan has been working at her golf game "for about six years." She has won several national and local titles including the Tournament of Champions for Virginia and Maryland, the Washington Junior Girls Tournament, runner-up in the Virginia Girls Championship and the Army-Navy Country Club Championship, among others.
"I decided on Brigham Young because it has a fine golf program and it's close to a lot of good skiing in the winter," Jordan said.
MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL - Basketball coach Bobby Joe Smith has been named coach of the Virginia All-Stars when they play the Maryland All-Stars in the annual Capital Classic all-star game to be held at the Capital Centre on March 30.