Reginald Davis praised his son Damien's "sacrifice for team excellence" while performing against the pressure of expectations. Lee Gaines admired his daughter Betsy's "competitive fire" and "sheer dedication."
So excited were the two families yesterday about their children earning The Baltimore Sun's 1998-99 Male and Female Athlete of The Year honors that the two athletes planned a get-together last night to discuss it some more.
Gaines is the first honoree from Roland Park, but Davis is the sixth winner from Gilman. And Davis did so one year after becoming the first non-senior male to earn the honor. Dulaney track star Amanda White, in 1992 and 1993, was the first athlete to win twice.
"I was worried with some of the other guys here who are great athletes," said Davis. "Winning it once -- what a great honor that was. Twice is just incredible."
A soup kitchen volunteer and mentor of a seventh-grader, Davis carries a 3.5 grade-point average with a 1,200 SAT score and will major in economics or business while playing football and lacrosse at Princeton.
Davis said "the wrestling coach already has my name in a program down there," but he'll give up that sport in accordance with the wishes of his mother, Marilyn.
A community service worker for the Long Green Volunteer Fire Department and a senior intern for Fox 45, Gaines carried an 89.9 average and will major in broadcasting or communications while playing lacrosse at North Carolina.
Having played basketball since she was 8 -- longer than either of the other two sports she plays -- Betsy "had a long face when her college coach asked her to concentrate on lacrosse," said her mother, Beth.
"It'll be tough not being able to take basketball to the next level," said Gaines, 18. "I'd like to do basketball, but the seasons will overlap too much in college."
Each athlete earned first-team All-Metro honors over five straight seasons: Davis twice for lacrosse and wrestling, and once for football; and Gaines, twice in lacrosse and basketball and once in field hockey.
Davis was the only male to earn All-Metro in three sports this season, and Gaines the only female.
Last fall, Davis was a running back on Gilman's 10-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship football team that earned a No. 1 area ranking. Davis' career included 30 rushing touchdowns and over 3,000 yards as a three-year starter.
Gaines had eight goals and 13 assists to lead Roland Park's field hockey team through a 22-0-1 season, a No. 1 area ranking and a share of the Association of Independent Schools A Division title.
In wrestling last winter, Davis won his second consecutive private schools' state tournament crown in his fourth straight title-bout appearance, finishing as a National Preps runner-up for the second straight year and as the Greyhounds' top point-scorer on the mat for the third year in a row.
Last winter, the 5-foot-6 Gaines was the Reds' go-to basketball player for the third year in a row, leading Roland Park to its third straight AIS final.
Gaines averaged 15 points, four assists and three steals per game and ends her career as the basketball program's all-time leading scorer with 1,359 points.