Rexrode swings back into softball

Frostburg State standout in volleyball, basketball gives 3rd sport college try

State notebook


March 10, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

The fear of boredom has Frostburg State star Shannon Rexrode aiming for an appropriate encore after winning conference Player of the Year honors in women's volleyball and basketball for two straight years.

"I don't want everything to end," said Rexrode, whose basketball team won the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference tournament last month, but didn't make the NCAA Division III tournament. "I feel lazy if I'm not at practice or something."

So after three years of promising and then backing out, the Catonsville High product joined the Bobcats' softball team, which went 13-13 last year.

Her goal is another Player of the Year award, she says, "to be the first to do it in three sports in one year."

Of course, it has been so long since Rexrode played softball, she doesn't remember much about her performance in high school. She only remembers not being as good at it as she was in her other two sports.

The four years since have been a blur of records and honors at Frostburg, where she is the school's all-time leader in kills (2,019), hitting percentage (.385), digs (1,219) and blocks (774) for volleyball; and field-goal percentage (.527) and free throws (407) for basketball. She also finished third on Frostburg's scoring and rebounding lists, with career averages of 17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game.

So Bobcats softball coach Rebecca Keller knows to suspend disbelief when she hears of Rexrode's ambition.

"That could happen," Keller said. "For someone not playing since high school, that's a big feat, but Shannon Rexrode herself, she could do it. It was nice to see her in the first day of practice knock the ball right over my left fielder's head."

Blue Jays swim to NCAAs

Once again, the Johns Hopkins swim team has a massive presence at the NCAA Division III championships, which began the women's portion earlier this week at Emory University in Atlanta.

Twenty-one Blue Jays (nine women, 12 men) will have competed at the NCAAs by the time the men's meet ends March 18. "Our goal would be for both teams -- if we swim very well -- to be in the top five teams," said Hopkins' George Kennedy, in his 15th year as the school's head coach. "We'd have to swim poorly not to finish in the top 10."

High national finishes are customary for Hopkins swimmers, particularly the men. For Kennedy's first 13 seasons and for 29 straight years, the Blue Jays' men have ended the season in the top 10.

But a failure to find replacements for All-Americans who had graduated in 1997 and 1998, Hopkins sputtered in 1999, the men finishing 21st while the women placed 11th.

"We took a hit two years in a row and the record wasn't great," Kennedy said. "I saw it coming, but it wasn't something I could do too much about."

Luckily for Kennedy, several of the freshmen who enrolled at Hopkins have had a major impact. Four of the seven women swimming for Hopkins this week are freshmen, including Stephanie Harbeson, who was named women's Swimmer of the Year by the University Athletic Association.

Harbeson set school and UAA record times in the 200-, 500- and 1,650-meter freestyle races at the conference championships last month, but her greatest asset might be in creating momentum for the rest of the team.

"Without her, it would be really tough because the events she swims are the first events of the day," Kennedy said. "That gets the team in the right mode, it gets everyone picked up."

Dundalk's drive

Dundalk CC's men's basketball team will compete in the NJCAA Division II national tournament, beginning Tuesday in Danville, Ill.

Dundalk's Will Chase, who averages 27 points, was named Most Valuable Player for the Region 20 tournament, which his team won by beating Cecil CC, 90-63, in the final.

Et cetera

For the sixth straight year, Coppin State has a wrestler going to the NCAA championships, which take place March 18 in St. Louis. Cairo Moorman earned the berth at 149 pounds last weekend by winning the East Regional championship in Pittsburgh. In the final, he pinned Willie Reid of Delaware State. Twenty major-league scouts watched as Towson pitcher Chris Russ threw five scoreless innings (five strikeouts) during a 2-0 loss to Marist last weekend. Washington College will be host for its All-America Regatta March 18 beginning at 10 a.m. The event is open only to sailors who were All-Americans during their college careers, including Scott Steele, Scott Nixon and Peter McChesney from St. Mary's.

Hood College's Melissa Kelly and Rod Liller won Player and Coach of the Year honors, respectively, from the Atlantic Women's College Conference in women's basketball. Kelly, a three-time conference MVP, ends her career as the school's all-time leader in points with 1,268. Liller, in his first season, earned his award by leading his team (9-16, 4-4) on five wins in its last six games and the AWCC tournament championship.

Three Johns Hopkins basketball players were named first-teamers by the University Athletic Association. Leslie Ritter and Marjahna Segers made the women's team, and Joel Wertman made it for the men. The Capital Athletic Conference gave Salisbury State's women's basketball team a clean sweep of its awards. Lisa Neylan, Amy Campion and Bridget Benshetler earned Player, Rookie and Coach of the Year honors, respectively. Former Towson University track standout Derrick Terry recently became women's basketball coach at Essex CC.

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