As two of the area's premier athletes, Damien Davis and Jaimee Reynolds rarely succumb to pressure.
Yesterday, however, nervous disbelief led them to each forgo acceptance speeches after being named Male and Female Athlete of the Year from among 105 candidates who attended The Sun's 32nd annual Athlete of the Year luncheon at Martin's West.
A 3.5 student with a 1,200 SAT score and All-Metro honors in wrestling and lacrosse, Davis became only the second non-senior to be named Athlete of the Year -- the sixth honoree from Gilman.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior described his blank-faced, on-stage expression as one of "total shock," adding: "There were so many good kids here, my parents, people around me were saying, 'Maybe next year.' When I got up there, I just blanked out."
An honorable mention Maryland Distinguished Scholar who scored 1,330 on her SAT, the 5-11 Reynolds has not missed a day of high school at Towson but acknowledged missing a few beats yesterday.
"All I was thinking was, 'Don't trip, don't fall,' " said Reynolds, Baltimore County's second straight Female Athlete of the Year, following Perry Hall's 1997 pick, Alisha McClinton. "You'd think I'd be used to the atmosphere, but I was completely shocked."
A second-team All-City/County football running back, Davis joined two-time winner Amanda White of Dulaney as the only non-seniors to win. The daughter of Gilman assistant football coach Stan White, Amanda was crowned in '92 and '93. Davis also follows Greyhounds graduates Victor Carter-Bey (1992), Ted Brown (1984), Jim Wilkerson (1979), Mike Austin (1976) and David Tickner (1973).
"Damien embodies the student-athlete role model that Gilman likes to produce, so for me, this is very special," said athletic director Tim Holley, a 1977 Gilman graduate who coached Carter-Bey in football and was Austin's football teammate.
As the football team's top rusher, Davis led Gilman to an MIAA A Conference co-runner-up season after finishing 2-8 a year earlier. Davis went 39-0 against Maryland wrestlers, earning MIAA and private schools state titles and being a National Preps runner-up.
As a lacrosse defenseman, Davis anchored the Greyhounds to a No. 1 area ranking and the program's third MIAA A Conference crown in nine seasons.
"Damien's accomplished a lot, getting where he is, but he knows if he quit school now, he'd be flipping burgers in his first job," said Marilyn Davis, Damien's mother.
Jaimee's mother, Soohoo Reynolds, credits athletics for making her daughter "a more focused, well-rounded person, as well as a team player." The 4.0 student was All-Metro in volleyball, basketball and lacrosse, the latter of which she'll play at Cornell University.
She led the Generals to their first state title in basketball, to the state final in lacrosse and also led a young volleyball team in almost every statistical category.
Reynolds earned Baltimore County Division I Player of the Year honors from U.S. Lacrosse, playing for the South I team that finished third at the national schoolgirl championships.
"Jaimee handled the difficult responsibility of juggling different things, making tough decisions," said Jaimee's father, Jim, an assistant dean of the University of Maryland's dental school.
"I've tried to do my best at everything and to have fun doing it," said Reynolds, 17. "But never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be The Sun's Athlete of the Year."
Pub Date: 6/09/98