A classic football marriage

After 237 victories during 37 years at Patterson as a teacher and coach, Roger Wrenn is taking over Poly's storied program

Notebook

April 12, 2006|By LEM SATTERFIELD AND KATHERINE DUNN | LEM SATTERFIELD AND KATHERINE DUNN,SUN REPORTERS

The contract has been signed and the move has been made.

Next fall, longtime Patterson coach Roger Wrenn will be standing on the Poly sideline where coaches he admired - Augie Waibel and Bob Lumsden - once stood.

Wrenn, 59, replaces Anthony Knox, who resigned after three years as Poly's coach after the 2005 season. Baltimore's winningest football coach with a career record of 237-96-2, Wrenn is ending a 37-year association with Patterson as a teacher and football coach - a tenure that includes 29 seasons as coach of the Clippers' baseball team.

"At the end of last football season, I told my team that this may be the last game I coach at Patterson," Wrenn said. "My original target date was to retire this June."

But after Knox' s resignation, Wrenn said he was encouraged to apply for the position by a number of Poly alumni. Wrenn was offered the position on March 24 by Poly principal Barney Wilson during a meeting that also involved alumni president Adrian Palazzi.

Wrenn said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to coach at a school with one of the city's most storied football traditions.

"I want to try to put the Big `P' back in Poly football," he said.

"This was entirely a coaching decision. It has nothing to do with my relationship with Patterson's principal, Laura D'Anna, whom I love and respect," Wrenn said. "I'm taking the job because I'm respectful of the tradition established by Augie Waibel and Bob Lumsden. I'm going to retire from teaching at the end of next June, but I'll continue to coach as long as I'm healthy enough to do it."

Wrenn said he was going to retire from teaching and just coach, but he might ask to stay on as athletic director at Patterson because it is one of the schools targeted for takeover by the state.

Although Wrenn said D'Anna has not yet begun to review candidates to replace him, he believes his former assistants, Chris Stalker, Josh Mason, Micah Kurtz and Marcus Wolowicz, are committed to remaining at Patterson, which shared last year's city A Conference title with Dunbar and City.

Seniors lead Poly

Poly's girls lacrosse team started 5-0, thanks in large part to the leadership of senior attackers Elise Victoria and Caitlin Mathers.

Victoria, who will play next year at Long Island University, has 16 goals and one assist. Mathers, who is considering LIU or Fairleigh Dickinson, has 17 goals and two assists.

"They are leaders on and off the field," coach Josh Headley said. "They bring patience to the attack. At times, you do a run-and-gun game, but once you have that lead, you utilize time and try to run the offense and set up a play. You wouldn't know it by their stats, but they're unselfish players."

Poly has also gotten a boost from converted defender Kiara James, who leads the team in scoring with 23 goals and eight assists.

The defending Baltimore City champs have beaten all of their city opponents as well as Randallstown. The closest match was a 14-10 win over Western.

The Engineers are gearing up for the regional playoffs, where they will find tougher competition.

"The main goal is playoffs. At the beginning of the year every year, our team goal is to advance one more round than we did last year. So far, we've not been able to do that," said Headley, whose team has never won a regional playoff game.

With the improvements the Engineers have made as well as a realigned Class 2A-1A South region in which they should be more competitive, Headley is cautiously optimistic.

"It's a possibility the first game could be a close game rather than the blowout it's been in the past," he said.

Winning at Walbrook

Walbrook, which features nine returning starters from last year's 13-3 boys lacrosse team, has won its first five Baltimore City League games, including a 10-9 victory over defending champion Poly.

Leading the charge over the first four games were attackmen Eric Pitts (28 goals, 13 assists) and Bruce DeWitt (20, 10) and midfielder Antione Lewis (four, 10).

Brian Cromwell and junior Anthony Walker anchored the defense in front of goalie Eugene Bougknight, who never had played lacrosse before this season.

Fenton at his finest

Second-team All-Metro wrestler Mitch Fenton (130 pounds), an independent schools state champ from Archbishop Curley, decisioned Colorado state runner-up Cory Casady and Michigan state place-winner Adam Wilson en route to a 5-2 record at last weekend's Brute Scholastic Showcase at Delaware State University. Three-time state champ Eren Civan of Montgomery County's Walt Whitman went 6-1 to help Maryland to 11th place out of 21 teams.

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

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