Bishop Ireton of Alexandria is on the verge of becoming the ninth member of the Metro Conference, the area's most prestigious private high school league.
Principals and athletic directors of the other nine schools were scheduled to meet this week to discuss Ireton's application for admission beginning with the 1985-86 season. The only matter to be resolved before acceptance was Ireton's desire to not start competing in football until 1987.
J. Dallas Shirley, commissioner of the league, said the football matter should not be a major concern. "On the face of things, that doesn't seem to be an insurmountable problem," he said.
This year, Ireton is 0-3 against much weaker football teams than it would meet in the Metro Conference. Ireton Athletic Director Larry Rentch said the school will try to build its program in the next two years.
He said if Ireton started playing football in the league in 1985, its team would lose "worse than we are doing now." In other sports, Rentch said, "I feel we can compete successfully."
Another change in the Metro Conference, starting this year, will involve O'Connell, which will not be competing in basketball for at least this season. O'Connell is 3-56 in league basketball games since joining the conference four years ago.
O'Connell Athletic Director Darrell Snyder said his school is hoping to copy a successful plan pioneered by Gonzaga in football within the past decade. Gonzaga did not compete in the league for two years to upgrade its program.
"It's very frustrating for our kids," said Snyder. "They go to DeMatha and get beat by 60 points. They go to Carroll and get beat by 60 points. Then they go to Mackin and only get beat by 50 points."
O'Connell will play each team in the Metro Conference once this season, but the scheduled second games have been replaced with schools such as Sidwell Friends, Broad Run and St. Stephen's.
Money, as well as competition, was a factor in the decision. Snyder said fans have not turned out for home games against the powers. He said the total gate for last year's rout at the hands of Mackin was about $60.
"We are committed to the league," said Snyder. "We may or may not win any more games than we did before (after rejoining the league), but hopefully, we will be competitive."
The Virginia select team, chosen to represent the Northeast in last weekend's U.S. Youth Soccer Association's 18-and-under tournament, practiced three times before it headed to the four-team tournament in Dallas last weekend. The other teams, from Texas, California and Missouri, had all been practicing at least two months.
So it was not surprising that Virginia found itself trailing 1-0 early in each game. What may have surprised some was that Virginia went on to defeat Missouri, 2-1, in the semifinal and then overcame California, 2-1, to win Sunday's championship game.
In the title game, Wendy Gebauer of South Lakes tied score on a penalty kick and Cindi Kunihiro of W.T. Woodson scored the winner with 15 minutes remaining off an assist by O'Connell's Mo McTeague."
Defensively, Kathy Daly of Woodson and Sue Montagne of Robinson marked the best opposing strikers and Fairfax' Katia Lewis did a good job at midfield.
"When we were down 1-0 in each game, I told them the same thing," said Coach John VerStandig. "It was time to batten down the hatches and play some serious defense."