Beth Tfiloh proving to be good sports Athletics blossom under Tarleton

December 01, 1992|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Stuart Tarleton has helped the Beth Tfiloh sports program come a long way in a short time.

Tarleton, a Finksburg resident, is in his sixth year as athletic director at the school, which had no varsity sports when he started. Now the Warriors compete in the Maryland Scholastic Association in six sports.

Beth Tfiloh, a co-educational Jewish private school in northwest Baltimore County, is slowly making progress in the MSA. The Warriors, admitted to the organization in early 1989, spent a long time on the short end of scores.

"We had to take our licks," said Tarleton. "It's still a process. The hard work [is paying] off, that's for sure."

One place it's paying off is on the tennis courts. The Warriors turned in a perfect season and defeated Archbishop Curley for the B Conference title last spring. Beth Tfiloh also competes in cross country, soccer, basketball, baseball and outdoor track.

The work is paying off for Tarleton, too. He has made numerous contacts for the school and been asked to sit on the Executive Council of the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association.

Tarleton, a hurdler at Loch Raven High and at Western Kentucky who coaches Beth Tfiloh's cross country and track teams, is chairman of the MSA cross country program. He scheduled all of the races and directed the MSA championship that took place on Election Day.

Tarleton, who is finishing his master's degree in athletic administration at Western Maryland College, started at Beth Tfiloh as a middle and lower school physical education teacher in 1986. Beth Tfiloh began establishing a high school the next year.

When he took over the sports program, Tarleton struggled with the double-edged sword of scheduling an independent school that was trying to build a varsity program.

"I realized it was quite a lot of work to make an independent schedule," said Tarleton. "I wanted them to have something to shoot for."

He investigated the possibility of playing in the MSA. Beth Tfiloh applied, went through a probationary period, was accepted in early 1989 and began competing.

Tarleton now hopes to build the girls program. Beth Tfiloh makes its first appearance in the Association of Independent Schools basketball league this winter.

"We're not a pushover like schools may have thought," said Tarleton. "I think they don't look at us as an easy 'W' any more."

Tarleton's part in the program's improvement has been noticed.

"Stuart is a person who is very professional in the way he goes about things and very human in personal relationships," said Pieter DeSmit, director of physical education and athletics at Friends. "It's not easy, when you're working with a small number . . . They come with a good attitude and an appreciation for sport and for excellence."

Students at Beth Tfiloh are taking more pride in their sports program, something other coaches say is a good sign.

"Once they believe in themselves, that carries over to all other walks of life," said Johnnie Foreman, head track coach and assistant football coach at Gilman. "Get the kids to participate and, sooner or later, it'll click. That's Stuart's mind-set."

Beth Tfiloh has only about 100 students in its high school. Tarleton hopes to keep the athletic program growing by using the middle school as a feeder program.

So far, that's exactly what's happening.

"Kids are coming out in droves for middle school sports," said Tarleton. "Athletics are thriving at Beth Tfiloh."

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