There was a time when Hope Lane got her kicks from drugs. Now, the 25-year-old Riverdale resident gets her kicks a different way -- in taekwondo and karate. And despite only four years of training, she is already a USA karate team member and is the country's fifth-ranked heavyweight in taekwondo.
The Delaware native moved to Riverdale nine months ago to train with taekwondo Master John Holloway and karate instructor Senfi Patrick Byrns. She had given up on athletics and turned to drugs when she was cut from her high school softball and basketball teams as a junior.
"It was devastating to me when I got cut -- everything just fell apart for about four years," said Lane, who said her interest in martial arts began with a fascination with Kung Fu movies. "But I suddenly just realized my life was going nowhere. I guess it was trading one obsession for another."
A brutal training routine has her running two miles each day at 5 a.m. Twice a week she trains with Holloway. Three times a week she takes taekwondo classes and lifts weights. Saturday is devoted to karate. This is squeezed around a full-time job as, of all things, a bill collector.
"It's an everyday thing. I don't have a social life basically, but I don't mind because I knew what I was getting into before I started," said Lane, a black belt in taekwondo. "You've got to give up things to get things."
The two-time defending Delaware state karate champion and reigning Maryland state taekwondo champ, Lane will compete this weekend in the Maryland State Games at Frostburg State College. She's hoping to add to a resume that already includes national and international success and more than 30 state and regional titles.
"I want people to realize there is life after drugs. You can do it -- you've just got to want it bad enough," Lane said. "I guess I just wanted to get my life together."
Michelle Collins, the all-world softball pitcher from Surrattsville High School, is spending the summer the way she spent the spring -- mowing down opposing hitters.
Collins, who will attend the University of Virginia in the fall, has led the Vienna Shamrocks to three tournament titles and a 32-2 record as they prepare for the Hall of Fame Tournament in Oklahoma City this weekend.
The Shamrocks finished third in Oklahoma last year and Coach Tom Orndorff is confident Collins gives his club an extra edge this time around. "I think this year Michelle is the best pitcher in the country in her age group," said Orndorff.
Collins is 15-0 this summer with 229 strikeouts in 98 innings. Having allowed only one earned run, her ERA is a staggering 0.07. Combined with Michelle Hall, who won 24 games last season for Coastal Carolina College and is 16-1 for the Shamrocks, Orndorff is confident his club can compete with the dominant California teams in Oklahoma, and later this summer in the national tournament in Lodi, Calif.
"People say pitching is 80 to 90 percent of the game and they are probably right," Orndorff said. "And we have two pitchers who are probably as good as anybody in the country."
Dunbar's football team is trying to raise funds for a trip to Brooklyn where it will play Thomas Jefferson on Sept. 9. For information, or to send contributions, contact Coach John T. Nunn, c/o Dunbar Senior High, 1301 New Jersey Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. . . . Stan Nance, an all-interhigh basketball player at Spingarn in 1974, has been named men's assistant basketball coach at Old Dominion University.