The Vienna high school club lacrosse team has made major strides to upgrade the strength of its schedule each of the past three seasons, but that has not prevented the team from continually improving its record.
Vienna defeated DeMatha, 6-2, Sunday at St. Andrew's in Bethesda to win its first Washington Area Lacrosse League tournament. Tournament victories over DeMatha in the title game, Lake Braddock in the semifinal and Bethesda in the opening round should have closed Vienna's season at 14-1, its best ever, but third-year coach John Dodd was hoping to add one more game -- against Landon, perennially one of the top teams in the area.
Under Dodd, Vienna previously produced records of 9-4 and 10-4 despite constantly seeking a higher caliber of opponents each year. Dodd is hopeful Landon will become a regular entry on Vienna's schedule.
This year, Vienna has averaged about nine goals per game, but Dodd said its strength is defense.
"We probably have one of the best defenses in the area," said Dodd. "Dave Gregory, who will be playing at Radford next year, is outstanding. Rob Moorhead is another senior who has played excellent for us."
Twice Vienna allowed as many as seven goals in one game this season. The first time was a 10-7 regular-season victory over St. James, the defending WALL champion, and the second was an 8-7 overtime win over Bethesda in the tournament.
Senior attack man Joe Costello, who is headed to Ohio State, scored 39 goals. Junior midfielder John Franklin had 11 goals and nine assists.
Dodd sees good things for Vienna's future because goalie John Kelly is only a sophomore.
"When you have as good a young goalie as we have coming back," said Dodd, "you always have something to build around."
Buzz Male has coached track at Episcopal High for 13 years, but he said senior Richard Beaver is easily the best distance runner he has ever had in the program.
Beaver, a 5-foot-11, 140-pound senior, will be running for Dartmouth next year. He has finished his high school career in style this spring, including victories Saturday in the 1,600 meters (in 4:19.5) and 3,200 (9:33.1) at the Interstate Athletic Conference/Metro Conference all-star meet at Episcopal.
The fifth-place finisher in the 3,000 in last month's Penn Relays in a time of 8:32, Beaver holds the 12th fastest high school 3,200-meter time this year, according to Track and Field News. The 9:26.6 mark he posted at the IAC championships, which broke Anthony Desir's 1977 meet record by five seconds, came in his only 3,200-meter race this spring.
Among the other major races he won this year were the 1,500 at the Dogwood Relays (4:03) and the 1,600 at the T.C. Williams Invitational (4:22).
"His best event is the 3,200, but we had been using the other races this spring to prepare for the Penn Relays," said Male. "He has a great future, and in my opinion, there is no better distance man in the area this year."
Jonathan Hall, the standout of some mediocre Madison High football teams, emerged from the University of North Carolina's spring football practice as the Tar Heels' No. 1 quarterback.
The 6-2, 200-pound sophomore is one of 15 returning starters Coach Dick Crum will count on to improve last year's 5-6 team. Hall started the last three games last season, including a 21-20 victory over Clemson in which he directed the game-winning last-minute drive, but he still entered spring practice in an unsettled position.
"We hadn't anticipated Jonathan playing at all last year," said Crum. "But we got in a situation where we had to let him play. He fit right into our system."
Crum let Hall and another sophomore-to-be, Mike Bowman, compete for the starting job this spring. Hall, who completed 38 of 79 passes (45 percent) for 559 yards and four touchdowns last year, clinched the position with a nine-for-11 performance in the spring game.