Five members of the Robinson wrestling team earned berths in last year's state tournament -- and none came away with a championship. This year, at least six Rams could find their way to the states, including one surprise.
Sophomore George Mills compiled an 11-1 record wrestling at 98 pounds for the Rams, who were 12-1 before last night's Northern District match with W.T. Woodson. Even as an astute judge of talent as Rams Coach John Epperly Sr. did not predict such early success for Mills, who did not emerge from a quartet of 98-pound potentials until several days before the first meet.
"We are real pleased with him," said Epperly, whose team's only loss came to Cox, 29-26, three weeks ago. "He came out of the group of four, and actually, all of them are very close in ability. It has worked out very well."
Robinson's other top hopes of advancing to the state tournament are all seniors. Leading the pack is Epperly's son, John Jr., who won state titles as a freshman and sophomore and is 13-0 at 126 pounds this year.
The other Rams off to sensational starts this year are John Kainer (13-0 at 112 pounds); Eric Ritari (12-1 at 119); Jeff Davis (12-1 at 132), and Sam Roots (12-0-1 as a heavyweight).
Last week was a difficult one for Langley basketball Coach Joey Hite. Only the encouraging play of his Saxons made it bearable.
His office was broken into and his entire set of keys were stolen. Hite immediately had the locks on his home changed, but because it was exam week, he was not going to get his car locks changed until this week. Too late.
Within a day, his car was stolen from the school parking lot and had still not been recovered by the weekend. The thefts, a rare occurrence at the school, occupied much of Hite's thoughts before Friday's Great Falls District game with Marshall.
The Saxons helped salvage some of Hite's week as they won their seventh straight, 79-70, to improve their league record to 6-0 (9-3 overall) and retain first place in the district. Senior Jeff Williams led Langley with 18 points and 13 rebounds in his best performance ever.
"It was really hard to get my mind on the game," admitted Hite afterward. "It took me two hours just to do a game plan which normally takes 15 minutes."
Whatever went into the extra planning was productive. The Saxons shot 65 percent from the floor in the first half.
Robinson's Cherylynn Lillvik may have surprised herself in winning the all-around competition at the North-South Invitational last weekend at Lake Braddock, but her task will be even more difficult Saturday when Robinson hosts Lake Braddock in a Northern District duel meet.
Absent at the North-South meet was Lake Braddock's top all-around, Lisa Zucker. Zucker should be present Saturday to create one of the regular season's best individual competitions. Even without her, the Bruins edged the Rams for the North-South team title, 105.45-105.10.
Oakton's boys and girls basketball teams continued their hard-luck ways last week as their combined record fell to 1-24. It is the girls team, however, that has the sole victory. Last week's Notebook mistakenly reported the boys had broken out of the winless column.