Columbia has long been a fertile recruiting ground for college soccer coaches, and it's no surprise that Howard Countians are playing a part in the NCAA Division I tournament.
In its first NCAA appearance, Hartford upset Columbia University, and the Hawks probably wouldn't still be playing were it not for the contributions of Chris Love, a junior back out of Oakland Mills.
"Chris is a very strong marking back who's usually assigned the opposing team's top scoring threat," Hartford coach Sasho Cirovski said.
Chris Williams, a junior midfielder out of Wilde Lake, is a regular for Hartford, and Ryan Thomas, a senior from Centennial, has started half of the Hawks games. The career of Mike Rotsel, another Centennial product at Hartford, has been on hold since he suffered a knee injury in 1989.
Hartford, the North Atlantic Conference champion, plays at top-ranked Virginia Sunday in the round of 16.
North Carolina is one of four other ACC teams that made the NCAA field, and the Tar Heels beat UNC-Charlotte 1-0 in the first round on a goal by Todd Haskins, a sophomore out of Howard High who was one of the nation's top prospects two years ago. He has eight goals and four assists for North Carolina, which plays at third-ranked St. Louis Sunday.
Two freshmen from Howard High are also at North Carolina. Defender Jon Armstrong played the entire second half against UNC-Charlotte, and Steve Sietsema is being red-shirted.
Karla Simmons, a senior defender out of Centennial, is one of only three players who have started every game for the Virginia women, who are making their first Final Four appearance.
* Navy junior Greg Keller will make his third straight trip to the NCAA Division I cross country championships. The meet is next Monday at the University of Arizona.
Keller placed fifth in the IC4A gathering at Lehigh last Saturday, running the six-mile course in 30 minutes, 40.36 seconds. Connecticut's Chris Owens, a senior out of Poly, was 38th in the same race, grabbing one of the last qualifying spots. This will be his first NCAA appearance.
Jeff Campbell also will be making his NCAA debut. A three-time state 4A champion at Randallstown High who was one of the nation's premier junior college runners for Brevard (N.C.) the past two years, Campbell became the first from South Alabama ever to qualify for the NCAAs with a ninth-place finish at the District III meet.
Campbell was the Sunbelt Conference runner-up to Western Kentucky's Sean Dollman, an Irish import who's among the NCAA favorites.
* The Division III cross country championships will be held in Newport News, Va., Saturday, and Johns Hopkins senior John Robinson boosted his chances with a victory at the Mideast Regional. Robinson, who did his high school running in Alabama, didn't qualify for the NCAAs last year, but he was a national scorer in track and field, as a steeplechaser.
Frostburg State earned an NCAA team berth with a second-place finish to Haverford at the same regional. Vernon Chavis and Vernell Chavis, twins from Parkville, were 11th and 15th, respectively, at the regional.
* Shayne Mains is having another solid football season for Shippensburg (Pa.) State, which is in the 16-team NCAA Division II tournament.
A junior from Havre de Grace, Mains has been in on 137 tackles and intercepted eight passes, a Shippensburg record for a linebacker. Mains figures to be a repeat first-team selection when the Pennsylvania Conference all-star team is announced.
Brian Fordyce, a sophomore running back out of C. Milton Wright, is being red-shirted by the Red Raiders this fall.