The Maryland high school basketball playoffs will not be broadcast on statewide public television this season for the first time in three years.
A fund-raising drive had previously been scheduled for March 7-9 by the Maryland stations, according to Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Assoiation.
Now Sparks is working to televise the state wrestling championships in its place.
Sparks had first suggested that the stations try to broadcast the state's indoor track championships on Feb. 22-23, but when technicians took a look at the uneven lighting at the site (Baltimore's Fifth Regimental Armory) they backed off.
The state wrestling championships will be held March 1-2 at Towson Center, which seems to be a perfect compromise since its lighting is far superior to the armory and doesn't conflict with the fund-raising drive.
"Nothing's set yet, but things look very good at this point that the wrestling championships will be televised," said Sparks. "The television stations really regretted not being able to televise the basketball championships this year. They even suggested playing the games in the morning and early afternoon so they could do both, but we decided against that.
"I expect that they'll televise the basketball finals again next season," Sparks said. "I don't expect any sort of conflict like this happening again and neither do the public television stations."
The wrestling championships were broadcast by a Baltimore County cable company last season, but weren't shown in the Washington area.
The six station consortium that will televise the wrestling championships doesn't include WETA-TV-26. The closest station is located in Annapolis.
How good is wrestling in the Washington suburbs? You need only refer to the recent statewide rankings of Maryland's scholastic wrestlers, as compiled by a state coaches committee where local athletes ranked No. 1 in 10 of 12 weight classes.
Heading the list was two-time state champion Stanley Proctor of Bowie at 155 pounds. Others judged the best in their class included: Matt Fanzio (Old Mill), 98; Kurt Tamai (DeMatha), 105; Mike Truby (Sherwood), 112; Charlie Royer (Old Mill), 119; Joey DePaul (Bowie), 132; Steve Mosier (Annapolis), 138; Norman Brown (Bowie), 167; Todd Evans (Arundel), 185; and Joe Hall (McNamara), unlimited.
Sherwood was ranked as the state's top team, trailed by No. 4 Bowie, No. 6 Arundel and No. 10 Laurel.
Last Thursday night's bad weather forced the postponement of a seminar at Woodward High School for students, parents, teachers, coaches and administrators about the alarming rise of substance abuse by athletes. The make-up date has been set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Walter Johnson . . . Gaithersburg football Coach John Harvill confirms that he'll be back to lead the Trojans next season. The dean of Montgomery County coaches, next season will be his 29th as head coach at Gaithersburg.
High school all-Americas 7 feet 2 Tito Horford of Houston and 6-3 Jeff Lebo of Carlisle, Pa., are among four players that recently accepted invitations to play in the 12th annual McDonald's Capital Classic at Capital Centre on March 31.
Tickets for the game, which will also feature DeMatha's Denny Ferry, go on sale Jan. 18 at all Ticket Center locations.