As another year draws to a close, let's look back at some of the highlights from 1990, both on and off the playing field. Here are 10 of the year's more notable happenings, chosen in chronological order: Cliff Dutton of Glenelg High School landed the most notable athletic scholarship of the year, and arguably in county football history, when he signed a letter of intent in February to play for the University of Tennessee.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Dutton had been seriously recruited by UCLA, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Virginia Tech before settling on the Volunteers, a Division I team ranked for much of the 1980s in the top 20. The commodity that attracted such big-time interest in Dutton was his speed. He'd been timed in 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard --. Tennessee recruited him to play wide receiver.
Although the Gladiators finished a disappointing 3-7 in Dutton's senior year, he was the team's bright spot. As Glenelg's quarterback, he averaged 122 yards a game passing and threw eight touchdowns. He also rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns.
Mount Hebron High School's girls basketball team won its fourth state championship in five years on March 10, when the Vikings pounded Middletown (Frederick County), 59-35, at Catonsville Community College.
The Vikings tuned up for their playoff run with their eighth undefeated season against county competition and their 10th county title in 12 years under coach Dave Greenberg. They finished the season with a 23-1 record and a 22-game winning streak.
Hebron also overcame its share of adversity. The Vikings lost starting senior point guard Amy Eberhart to a knee injury in the regional championship game against Loch Raven, Baltimore County. And during the week leading up to the state tournament, three players experienced a death in the family.
The Vikings looked sluggish in the 2A semifinals against Northeast, Anne Arundel County, falling behind 31-25 at halftime. But Hebron quickly gained control in the third quarter and pulled away to a 54-44 victory.
The next day, the Vikings took the lead early against Middletown and never trailed.
Centennial's girls lacrosse team did on April 25 what no team had been able to do for more than two years. The Eagles beat Mount Hebron, 4-2, in a game at Cedar Lane Park. The game was forgettable in terms of artistic value -- it was marred by four yellow cards and nearly 50 foul calls.
Still, Centennial broke Hebron's 16-game winning streak against the county dating back over two county-championship seasons, and the Eagles went on to win their first county title. Rebecca Savage scored two goals and Cecily Auvil and Kerry Carlson added one apiece to lead the Eagles.
Centennial then marched through the regional playoffs all the way to the Class 3A/4A state finals, where they dropped a 13-11 decision to Severna Park, Anne Arundel County. It was the Eagles' lone loss in 14 games.
Glenelg's softball team began the season by quietly piling up victories, but by the end of the county season's second round, the Gladiators weren't sneaking up on anyone. They went undefeated to win the county championship.
The Gladiators then won the regional championship before getting eliminated by Damascus, 5-2, in the Class 2A state semifinals -- Glenelg's lone loss in an 18-1 season.
Glenelg had all the right ingredients: speed, great defense, the ability to move runners along the bases consistently. But the most intriguing player was senior pitcher Heather Williamson, who decided to give pitching a try last year.
Williamson never missed a turn while going 18-1, striking out 94 batters in 114 innings and working to an ERA of 2.70. At one point, she pitched eight times in two weeks.
The county's top sports story of the year was also its longest-running.
In May, the Howard County Coaches Association threatened to strike in the fall unless the school board reopened pay negotiations with the Howard County Education Association, which represents teachers.
The coaches, unhappy with a three-year, 35 percent raise they received as part of a three-year contract ratified by the county's teachers May 10, wanted the county to adopt an hourly pay plan like the one used in neighboring Montgomery County. Howard coaches make roughly half of what Montgomery coaches make.
The coaches made other demands. They wanted the board to extend workshop pay -- a two-week, $750 stipend given only to football and soccer coaches -- to all coaches. They also wanted the board to provide money to start a program to provide an athletic trainer at each high school. Lastly, coaches wanted a guarantee from the board that money taken from the county's athletic budget to buy uniforms for bands at three high schools would be restored next year.