Two weeks ago, when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America released its preseason prep top 20 rankings, Howard was No. 1 and Oakland Mills was No. 7.
Now the NSCAA doesn't have Howard, the area's No. 2 team, ranked at all, and Oakland Mills, the area's No. 1 team, just managed to slip into this week's poll at No. 20.
Walt Whitman, the defending state Class 4A champ, is ranked No. 9. The Bethesda school was not in the preseason poll.
Why the major changes?
Someone made a major mistake, said North County coach Steve Malone, the local representative on the NSCAA's committee.
"It was a screw-up," said Malone. "When I saw it in the paper, I said, 'Uh oh.'"
Gene Chyzowych, a New Jersey coach who is the chairman of hTC the NSCAA, selected Howard and Oakland Mills for the preseason poll because of their strong programs and because both had been nationally ranked at some time in each of the four previous years the poll has been in existence.
But Malone, who consults a local committee of coaches each week and submits at least two state schools for ranking in the national poll, says he chose Walt Whitman and Oakland Mills for the start of the 1990 season. Chyzowych had chosen the preseason poll before Malone made his selections.
"It was an honest mistake," said Chyzowych. "But they [Howard] definitely deserved to be there [in the poll] somewhere, maybe not No. 1. Traditionally, Howard has always been recognized as one of the best in Maryland, and that's also true for Oakland Mills. They are considered national powers. However, after the scrimmages the coaches felt Howard was not as strong. Therefore, revisions were made and Walt Whitman replaced them."
Howard coach Rudy Storch, who was somewhat miffed by his team's No. 1 preseason ranking, was stymied again after finding out his team was no longer ranked.
"It was nice to be No. 1 in the preseason poll. Obviously, they thought it over again. But that's OK, because it gives us something to go for," he said.
Chyzowych said more than 10 teams did not appear in the latest poll after appearing in the preseason poll.
"The preseason poll is extremely difficult to complete," he said. "There is not much networking in early August. We like to recognize the teams in August, so as a result we use last year's top teams. It was a mistake to some extent, but they [Howard] were supposed to be in the preseason top 20. Now that the second one has been released after further investigation, they are not as strong as last year. I'm sorry for the mistake."
By the way, Chyzowych's Columbia team from South Orange, N.J., is No. 5 after being No. 2 in the preseason poll.