Hylton named John Colantuni head baseball coach Monday, replacing Mickey McDade, who resigned in July to pursue a computer-related job opportunity, Athletic Director Jim Qualls said yesterday.

Colantuni was the Bulldogs' head junior varsity coach the past three seasons and helped McDade with the varsity.

"This has been a lifetime goal of mine," said Colantuni, who does not teach at the school. "I appreciate Doctor Qualls giving me the opportunity. I've always wanted to coach at the high school level, and to be here where the coaches are treated so well and I know all the kids is just as fabulous as can be."

McDade was a varsity assistant coach at the school from the time it opened in 1991 until 1997, when he was named varsity coach. He had a 32-31-1 record in three seasons and took the Bulldogs to the Virginia AAA state quarterfinals in 1998.

Colantuni was a catcher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria from 1978 to 1982 along with Gar-Field Coach Mike Wright, who was a pitcher. The Alexandria Sportsmen's Club recently named both among the top 100 athletes of the century. He played at Broward Junior College in Florida and Shorter College in Georgia before becoming an assistant to his brother, Steve, at T.C. Williams in the early 1990s. He was also president of the Dale City Little League in 1995 and 1996.

"John knows all the kids, and he's great with them," Qualls said. "He is very level-headed and has a lot of experience coaching baseball. He'll be great for the program."

Osbourn Park Tested

After cruising to a 4-0 start--2-0 in the Cardinal District--the No. 3 Osbourn Park volleyball team faces perhaps its toughest week of the season. Last night, the defending district champion Yellow Jackets played Woodbridge and face a clash Thursday with No. 10 Gar-Field (8-2, 4-0) for the district lead.

"I hope my girls are anxious to showcase their ability," said Osbourn Park Coach Dan Jones, whose team has three seniors who were All-Extra performers last season. "We've had a long string of matches that were not at the highest intensity, but we know we will have to play our best volleyball."

Gar-Field first-year coach Sue Shelton is hoping her team can maintain focus throughout Thursday's match.

"In almost every match we have a tendency to slip mentally," Shelton said. "We outplay our opponent at the beginning, and then it could be the referee or some bad passing that gets us off our game. We can't do that Thursday. We have to stay in it mentally and not let errors get to us."

A First for James

The Gar-Field tennis team was able to win only one match against district leader Woodbridge on Friday, but it was a big one. Kendra James, the Indians' No. 1 seed, registered her first victory against Vikings senior Mariko Esannason, 7-5, 6-1.

James overcame "erratic" groundstrokes and a 5-2 first-set deficit, Gar-Field Coach Steve Davis said.

"She was spraying her shots too much," Davis said. "She was overplaying points instead of riding them out, so we just had her concentrate on getting her groundstrokes deep and not attempting too much. She served very well and was very consistent once she got herself back in the match. She played some phenomenal tennis, her best tennis of the year."

Woodbridge remained undefeated (8-0) with its 8-1 victory over Gar-Field. The Vikings' match against Osbourn Park yesterday was postponed until Friday.

Rainouts had Gar-Field set to play matches on seven consecutive school days beginning last Wednesday, but more rain postponed yesterday's match with Potomac until Friday. Based on weather forecasts, today's match against Woodbridge likely will be moved to Monday.