Western's Dana Johnson and Randallstown's Larry Washington, cited yesterday as The Evening Sun 1991 Athletes of the Year, shared a common sentiment.
Speaking at the 25th Anniversary Athlete of the Year Awards luncheon at the Sheraton Inn in Towson, both Johnson and Washington told the gathering of more than 300 that their coaches and parents had played an important role in their athletic achievements.
Johnson appeared nervous, but not nearly as excited as her coach, Breezy Bishop, who literally came out of her seat when Johnson's name was announced.
Washington had a slight grin, as he recounted how Gilman's Keith Kormanik, a teammate for the Crown All-Star baseball game, had told him two weeks ago that he thought Washington should win the prestigious award.
Johnson and Washington were saluted along with 70 other winners of The Evening Sun Athlete of the Week award throughout the 1990-91 scholastic sports year.
Johnson, a three-sport performer, gained national recognition this winter when Sports Illustrated listed her as one of the five best schoolgirl basketball players. She averaged 22.8 points and 21.0 rebounds for the No. 1-ranked Doves.
Johnson never had played a sport formally before arriving at Western, but went on to score more than 1,600 points and grab more than 1,400 rebounds for her career. She was recruited by many Division I colleges, but signed early with the University of Tennessee, the reigning NCAA champion.
Johnson also dominated the City-Wide volleyball league. The Doves went 57-5 during the 6-foot-3 Johnson's career and won three division titles.
This spring, in the City-Wide track and field championships, Johnson capped her stellar career, setting a meet record in the shot put with a throw of 39 feet, 3 inches, best in the area at that time.
This summer, Johnson will compete in basketball for the East team in the National Olympic Festival Games. Her play there could lead to a spot on the U.S. roster for the 1992 Olympic Games.
In the classroom, Johnson carried an 86.2 average in her college preparatory classes.
Washington, also a three-sport performer, became the first athlete to win the weekly honor twice in the same season. In the season opener, he rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns, including a 98-yarder. He continued his prolific season, the best ever by a state schoolboy, and was honored again for his performance in the state semifinals.
Washington led the Rams to a 13-0 record and the state Class 4A championship, winding up with 2,275 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns. No state runner had gained more than 2,000 yards in a single season.
In three tournament playoff games, Washington scored 10 of Randallstown's 11 touchdowns and gained more than 700 yards.
Washington was a natural choice as The Evening Sun All-Metro Player of the Year.
At 5 feet 10 and a solid 210 pounds, Washington started every game for the Rams basketball team where he was a rugged rebounder. Against Catonsville, the unbeaten state Class 3A champions, Washington had his best game, scoring 24 points.
This spring, he led the Rams baseball team in batting (.529) and extra-base hits and also set a school record for steals. He was a first-team All-Baltimore County outfielder and gained All-Metro honorable mention recognition.
Before going to the University of Maryland next fall, Washington will lead the Maryland all-stars against the Pennsylvania all-stars in the Big 33 football game at Hershey Park Stadium next month.