Bruce Arena, the coach of the U.S. men's national soccer team, looked out at the crowded ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel in Northwest Washington and issued two challenges to the metropolitan area's top high school athletes.
The featured speaker at the 13th annual Washington Post All-Met Luncheon urged the 330 honorees to apply the lessons learned in sports to everyday life and make an effort to give back to their communities.
"Whether you like it or not, you are role models and one or two years down the road, people are going to look at what you're doing," said Arena, whose son, Kenny, was an All-Met soccer selection from Oakton. "Walk away with class and give something back to your sport. It pays tremendous dividends not only for yourself, but for the people around you."
Thirty-one high school coaches also were recognized for their contributions and accomplishments this season. DeMatha had 20 athletes and coaches named All-Met, the most of any school this year. Jefferson had 12 honorees and Lake Braddock 11.
Whitman volleyball player Mariel Davenport-Pollock and Maret basketball standout Tony Dobbins won the Michael L. Trilling Awards. The awards, named after the late Washington Post high school sports editor, are given to All-Met athletes who excel academically and are also involved in the community.
Dobbins, who is involved in his church's youth ministry program and reads stories to second-graders, shared Arena's sentiment that athletes should be involved in the community. "Some people feel they have to do something big to make an impact in people's lives without realizing that people appreciate the little things," said Dobbins, who will attend Virginia Tech on a basketball scholarship in the fall.
Nancy Burke, who is in her 21st year as athletic trainer at South Lakes, was presented the Donald Huff Award, which recognizes unheralded service to high school athletics.
CAPTION: Featured speaker Bruce Arena congratulates Jennifer Henderson, girls soccer coach at Leonardtown, chosen as one of The Post's coaches of year.