Western's ace runner drops UNLV

Sommerville to attend Hampton instead

April 21, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

Citing turmoil within the University of Nevada-Las Vegas track and field program, Shalaiyah Sommerville rescinded her commitment to the Runnin' Rebels and signed a letter of intent with Hampton University yesterday.

The Western senior said she asked UNLV to release her from the letter of intent that she signed in November after the school dismissed Garfield Ellenwood, the assistant coach who recruited Sommerville, in March and several Runnin' Rebels called her and warned her that the situation at the school was unstable.

"It was difficult because I didn't know what to do," she said. "I was confused and who knew what was going to happen? But I felt like it was the best decision for me."

Sommerville chose Hampton over Maryland and George Mason. UNLV coach Barbara Ferrell-Edmonson could not be reached.

Former Atholton coach Maurice Sydnor said he accepted an offer yesterday from Towson University track and field coach Roger Erricker to coach the Tigers' sprinters and jumpers this spring.

Sydnor, the All-Metro boys Coach of the Year in indoor track and field who guided the Raiders boys team to its first state crown since 1996 this past winter, was not retained by Atholton after a teacher in the school requested Sydnor's position. Because Sydnor is not a teacher and was classified as an "emergency coach," priority was given to the teacher.

"I think it's like a blessing in disguise," said Sydnor, a 1997 Tigers graduate. "I get to go back to my alma mater and do the same things at Towson that I did at Atholton except that I'm doing them at a college level."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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