From sweltering August two-a-day football practices to chilly rides to winter basketball practices, and through the indoor and outdoor track seasons, this school year was full of shining moments in Prince George's County. Champions were crowned, victories earned, defeats suffered and lessons of the games learned. Among the highlights:
The dominance of Friendly football. Led by All-Mets Leon Joe and Tra Tribble, the 13-0 Patriots outscored their opponents by a combined 424-125, culminating with a 45-29 victory over Eastern Tech of Baltimore in the Maryland 3A championship game.
Another strong year for Suitland football. The Rams shared the Prince George's 4A title with Northwestern and advanced to the Maryland 4A title game at Byrd Stadium without surrendering an offensive touchdown in their first two playoff games.
Dwayne Vaughan, running to greatness. Vaughan enjoyed one of the most successful days in Maryland history on the final day of the state 3A/2A indoor track championships in March. The DuVal junior won the 55-meter dash and the 300 run, and ran a leg on the winning 4x200 relay team. In the final event of the meet, the 4x400 relay, Vaughan ran a spectacular leg to help the Tigers win the race and the team championship.
Suitland's girls basketball state title repeat. How confident were Rams co-coaches Stephany Nolan and Thornton Boone that their squad would come through? Before the 4A state championship game, they bought T-shirts with "Back-2-Back" printed on the back. The Rams rolled over Western of Baltimore, 53-28.
Bowie-Eleanor Roosevelt, baseball reprise. The teams marched through the Maryland 4A South Region playoffs to meet in the final, where Eleanor Roosevelt rallied from six runs down to earn a 9-8 victory and advance to the state semifinals. It was the Raiders' second consecutive victory over Bowie in the regional final, and third in four seasons.
Joy Parker's joy. The Douglass senior won the 800-meter run in the Maryland 3A outdoor track championships last month. Parker's victory, along with a standout performance from senior sprinter Andrea Pressley, helped the Eagles win their third consecutive team title.
Allen Simms's wins. The Eleanor Roosevelt junior, a two-time All-Met, did not lose a triple jump event all season, capping his year with firsts at the Maryland 4A championships in the triple jump and long jump.
Robert Wingate-Robinson, James Graham key Northwestern. The Wildcats won their first 4A state outdoor track and field title as senior Wingate-Robinson keyed the 4x400 relay team to a state record and junior Graham won the 300.
CAPTION: Winning angles, from above: The Suitland girls basketball team, celebrating 4A semifinal win, repeated as champions; Eleanor Roosevelt two-time All-Met Allen Simms won 4A state titles in triple jump and long jump; All-Met running back Germaine Bennett (25) rushed Suitland into a tie for 4A title with Northwestern and a spot in the state title game (the Rams fell to Seneca Valley, 7-6, at Byrd Stadium); Joy Parker of Douglass, who took first in the 3A 800 meters, guided the Eagles to their third straight team outdoor title.
CAPTION: Athletes memorably on the move (clockwise from right): DuVal's Madieu Williams trails Dwayne Vaughan, who was part of four 3A/2A indoor titles; Tra Tribble guided Friendly to 3A championship; Eleanor Roosevelt earned 4A South Region baseball crown; Northwestern's Robert Wingate-Robinson led 4x400 relay team to state record.