Amy Bilmanis is used to hearing the phrase "younger sister of . . ." whenever her name is mentioned at track and field meets.
Her older brothers, Andy Jr. and Tim, have made their marks on the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference and the state over the past eight years. Andy, a rising senior at the University of Connecticut, is a former state champion who competes in the long and triple jumps for the Huskies. Tim, a 1999 graduate of Thomas Stone, heads to the University of Virginia this fall as the two-time state champion in the discus.
Amy, 12, doesn't mind standing in the shadow of her older brothers. She doesn't mind emerging from it, either.
Bilmanis, already making a name for herself on the track and field circuit, set a national record for discus in the 12-year-old age division Saturday at the AAU Junior Olympics in Cleveland. She topped the record of 104 feet 4 inches by half an inch on her fifth toss, then smashed it with a throw of 121-0 on her sixth and final attempt. Last year, Bilmanis set a record for the 11-year-old division with a throw of 88-10, more than seven feet better than the previous mark.
She also won the shot put in the 12-year-old division Sunday with a heave of 39-6 1/2.
"I cannot wait to have her," Thomas Stone girls track coach Nancy Burch said. "She is so incredible, you just don't understand. When I go to the middle school meet, I always say, 'Come on, Amy, just put on a Thomas Stone uniform.' "
Much to Burch's chagrin, high school is still two years away for Bilmanis, a rising seventh-grader at John Hanson Middle School. Her numbers, however, would already rank atop the SMAC. Bilmanis's marks at the Junior Olympics surpass those of former Leonardtown standout Helen Young, who won the 1999 3A state championship in discus at 116-1 and in shot put at 38-8 (though Bilmanis's discus and shot are lighter).
"She has already accomplished a lot, but I don't think her winning right now is going to be enough for her, not if she's anything like Tim and Andy," Burch said. "They always wanted to better themselves. They had determination and willpower and always wanted to get better and better. I bet Amy has those same qualities, and that is going to make for some unbelievable throws."
Northern to Face Patriot Alums
Northern boys soccer coach Colin Grimsey cracked open the school's old yearbooks this summer in search of individual entries that read: varsity boys soccer player. He mailed invitations to those who used to play the sport at the school for the first alumni soccer match, which will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 27. The alumni will team up to play Grimsey's current varsity team in a fund-raiser for the boys soccer program.
"It was really John Erly and Ryan Harbaugh's idea," said Grimsey, in his fourth year as the Patriots' head coach. "They are both alums, and they first came up with the idea, but the second I heard of it I thought it was great. The three of us have been working nonstop since to get it off the ground."
Grimsey and Harbaugh searched through yearbooks and Internet sites and located 110 alumni, including the 13 players who graduated in 1999 and 12 more who graduated in 1998. Grimsey has scheduled the match as one of only two official preseason scrimmages allowed under state guidelines.
"I really think it could be tough," Grimsey said. "It's really difficult to know since it's the first time, and we're not sure who is going to show up, but if they get eight or nine guys from those most recent teams, we'll have a tough time staying with them."
Leading the alumni will be H. Leon Langley, who coached the Patriots to 10 straight winning seasons from 1978 through the 1980s and was twice named SMAC coach of the year. Harbaugh and Mike Chase, 1991 graduates, and Erly, who graduated in 1981, also have committed to play.
"I wasn't sure at first I was going to play, but it's hard to put everybody else up to it and not at least get out there myself," said Erly, now a lawyer at Cumberland & Erly in Calvert County. "I guess I'm in as good a shape as a trial lawyer can be, but that's not saying much. I'm just going to get out there and have fun."
Alumni who make a $30 contribution to the boys soccer program will receive commemorative game T-shirts and are guaranteed playing time.
CAPTION: Amy Bilmanis, who shattered the national discus record for 12-year-old girls on Saturday during the AAU Junior Olympics in Cleveland, displays her technique at Thomas Stone High School. She is the latest Bilmanis to set records in track and field-- following behind brothers Andy Jr. and Tim, who are Thomas Stone graduates.