Shelton deserves flip-flop in schedule


October 05, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The first lady of Anne Arundel County field hockey is closing in on a milestone.

Severna Park's Lil Shelton, who will be inducted into the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 23 is just three wins away from 300 career victories after Friday's 4-0 victory over Chesapeake.

Now in her 23rd season as the dean of county field hockey, Shelton has one of the most incredible records at 297-38-55 (.887) in all county athletics.

Shelton has won a record nine state and 18 county championships and her Falcons' dominance is even more amazing in that 15 of her 38 career losses came in the first three seasons.

It was one day back in the early 1970s that Shelton found some old field hockey sticks in a closet of the physical education department at Severna Park.

Shelton brought them out and started teaching the sport in physical education class. The girls loved it and by 1975 Anne Arundel County had its first team.

"There was nothing for the girls and we started playing in intramurals," Shelton recalled. "When I got approval to start a team, we made an announcement at school."

The coach was overwhelmed when enough girls to field both varsity and JV teams came out. They played on the front lawn on the Robinson Road side of the school, and Shelton said a tree "mysteriously disappeared to make room for the goal nets.

"People thought I removed the tree, but I don't what happened to it," Shelton chuckled.

Annapolis added the sport two years later in '77 and by '78 it was a county-wide sport. Shelton and her field hockey program had played a major role in the advent and growth of girls athletics in Anne Arundel County.

Shelton says when she reaches win No. 300, it will "truly be a tribute to the girls I've had," and wishes it could happen at home. Barring an upset of her No. 2-ranked Falcons (9-1), No. 300 figures to come at South River on Oct. 14.

Severna Park is at Annapolis Tuesday and home Thursday vs. Arundel. If the Falcons win those two as expected and South River would be No. 300, maybe the two schools could flip-flop their schedules for '97 and '98 and South River could come to Severna Park on the 14th.

Without question, Shelton's teams have been the closest knit in county history. During the season, the Falcon girls practically eat, sleep and breathe together. The togetherness off the field year around and long after graduation is unmatched.

A record crowd for a girls event would likely be set that night if Shelton was going after No. 300 in Severna Park. Hopefully the change will be made because this, after all, is no ordinary coach.

She's the one who started it all.


Former Severna Park field hockey player Erin Book, a '97 grad and freshman at Elon (N.C.) College, has landed a part as an extra in the new Spike Lee movie, "He's Got Game." The movie, starring Denzel Washington and Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks, is about a basketball recruit. Book was selected from among 200 screened for non-speaking parts.

There's something special about the school spirit at Southern of Harwood. It seems to stay with Bulldogs fans and parents for a lifetime.

Jack Castro of Shady Side is a good example. Castro is still a Southern supporter and attends Bulldog football games to root for the home team some 20 years after his son graduated.

Dale Castro, Jack's son who will be inducted into the county sports hall of fame on Oct. 23 at Michael's, graduated from Southern in 1977 and went on to set kicking records at the University of Maryland.

The efforts of coach Gary Gubbings have led to Southern's baseball field becoming one of the best in the county with its new grass infield. Dugouts are in the works for the '98 season. The first inter-division volleyball matches on Tuesday will be highlighted by No. 13 Annapolis (7-0) visiting No. 2 Severna Park (7-1) at 5.30 p.m. Broadneck assistant football coach Jeff Tonini will coach the Bruins' indoor and outdoor track teams. Baseball America is predicting that Davidsonville's Kevin Gibbs, a 23-year-old outfielder in the Dodgers' chain, could make it to the big show in the near future on his "defense alone." Do you agree with Spalding's first year coach, John Moscato, who says it's easier to coach high school football than little kids in rec ball?

Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline, 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 10/05/97

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