Sports in Brief

Future SMAC Track Stars Compete in AAU Regional

Aajah Showell will burst onto the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference track and field scene soon enough. Today, the 14-year-old standout hopes to make her mark at the East Coast Championships held at Mount St. Mary's College. One of nine regional AAU competitions of its kind being held this week, it features athletes from Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The top four finishers in each event will qualify to participate in the national championships, to be held Aug. 1-7 at Wallace Baldwin University in Cleveland.

Showell, a rising freshman at McDonough, finished fifth last year at the national meet in the pentathlon, which is scored on points accumulated in the 100-meter hurdles, 800-meter run, long jump, high jump and shot put. All five events are completed in one day.

Showell has a personal best of 15.7 seconds in the 100 hurdles, 2:41 in the 800, 16 feet 4 inches in the long jump, 5-4 in the high jump and 37-2 in the shot put. With those times and distances, Showell would have placed either first or second in every event at this year's SMAC meet except for the 800, where the winning SMAC time was 2:25 by Leonardtown's Cyprian Gillingham.

"She is just remarkable," said Andy Bilmanis, coach of Showell's club team, the Thunderbolts. "I am clearly very proud of her. I follow the SMAC, and so I know how incredible she is. Aajah will be joining the SMAC next year, and she's just going to be a star. I know she is."

Bilmanis's 12-year-old daughter, Amy, also qualified for nationals in the pentathlon last year, but was limited to competing in the shot put and discus because of injury. She won both of those events at the 1998 nationals and set a record for her age group in discus with a toss of 88-10. She will compete in the open shot put and discus events at the regional meet Saturday and Sunday at Mount St. Mary's College.

Amy is the younger sister of two-time state discus champion Tim Bilmanis -- a 1999 graduate of Thomas Stone who is headed to the University of Virginia -- and Andy Jr., now a sophomore at the University of Connecticut who is competing in the long jump and triple jump.

"She's been a track baby since she was born," Andy Bilmanis said of his daughter. "And, of course, she has migrated to all of the events that her two older brothers did. But she's been growing very fast for a couple of years and has had a lot of problems with her knees, pain in the joint, so myself and the doctors have restricted her this year to the throwing events to take some of the pressure off her knees."

Amy, who attends John Hanson Middle, won the middle school meet for sixth-graders this past spring with throws of 109-3 in the discus and 33-9 in the shot put. Her personal bests this year are 110-10 in the discus and 38-4 in the shot put. To compare, the winning throws at this year's SMAC meet were 37-3 in the shot put and 118-5 in the discus, both by eventual state champion Helen Young of Leonardtown.

Powerlifting

McDonough Stars Compete

Though powerlifting is not a recognized high school sport in Maryland, McDonough's Megan Davey and Kim Ferebee each got a chance to flex her muscles June 25 at the second annual Spirit of York Strength Spectacular in York, Pa.

Davey, a rising senior, stole the show in the 123-pound weight class, setting world records in the squat (225 pounds), deadlift (235 pounds) and total points (580) categories. Davey also bench-pressed 120 pounds.

Ferebee, a 1999 graduate of McDonough, was the reigning super heavyweight champion but was hampered by illness at the York meet. Instead of taking advantage of the three lift opportunities given for each category, Ferebee made just one attempt at each category to preserve her strength. She squatted 425 pounds, bench-pressed 200 and deadlifted 400 at the meet, each weight falling beneath her personal best marks. Ferebee holds the world record in her weight class with a squat of 475 pounds, and has bench-pressed a personal best 235 pounds and deadlifted 450.

"She only totaled 1,025 pounds at this meet, so it's quite below her average," McDonough club coach Dave Bradshaw said. "But she was just so ill. Still, I think it was a real good experience for both of these girls. They got to see some professional women who were really strong, and I`m sure that will serve as a source of motivation to them next year."