Alexandria’s Olympic connection

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With the Beijing Summer Olympics scheduled to commence August 8, we are within four weeks of the quadrennial, monumental event.

Three Alexandria area female track and field athletes were among the hundreds participating in the very recent Olympic trials at “Hayward Field”/University of Oregon (Eugene, Ore) – June 26 through July 6.

From eldest to youngest, Thomas Jefferson class of ’83 middle distance runner Alisa Harvey (800 meters) participated at Eugene, but did not qualify for the Olympic team.

The University of Tennessee alumnus, who set numerous local, regional and State records at Jefferson 2 1/2 decades ago, has run at a number of previous Olympic trials as well.

West Potomac class of ’92 triple jumper Tiombe Hurd has had an injury plagued season in 2008.

Hurd, who was coached at West Potomac by Inez Bryant, actually qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympic Team in the triple jump, but did not fare as well this year.

(In fact, during her 2004 quest, she set the American mark in the triple jump).

Hurd was affected by a “quad pull” in 2007 and was also affected by an ankle injury in 2008 – the combination of which did not prove fortuitous in this years trials.

Hurd, who jumped collegiately at James Madison University, jumped 43’6″ in Eugene – which only placed her 19th overall (out of 22 competitors). (The top three finishers/placers in the track/field events qualify for the Olympic team).

Hayfield class of ’00 middle distance runner Nikeya Green (800 meters) also participated at Eugene but did not qualify for the Olympic team either.

Green, who owned a host of Hayfield records during the late ’90’s and ’00, advanced from the ’08 Olympic trial semi-finals to the ’08 Olympic trial finals with a time of 2:03.90.

However in the final, the Wake Forest graduate did not finish in the top three and thus will not head to Beijing.

((50 American women qualified for the ’08 Olympic track/field team. None are from the “beltway” area of Northern Virginia, however UCLA grad Sheena Johnson-Tosta (Garfield H.S. alumnus – Prince William County) qualified in the 400 hurdles. In addition, Virginia Tech sophomore Queen Harrison (Hermitage H.S. alumnus – Richmond) also qualified in the 400 hurdles)).

((53 American men qualified for the ’08 Olympic track/field team. None are from the “beltway” area of Northern Virginia. Three Virginians did qualify however: Charlottesville native Adam Nelson (shot put); Hampton native David Payne (110 hurdles) and Suffolk native LaShawn Merritt (400)).

In addition to the exceptional efforts of Harvey, Hurd and Green – at least eight previous Alexandria-area men/women have either qualified for past Olympic teams or have qualified for past Olympic trials: T.C. Williams alumni Fred Borchelt (’72) and Chip Lubsen (’73) both qualified for the ’76 Montreal Olympic team in rowing.

T.C. Williams Mike Porterfield (’85) as well as T.C. Williams Linda Miller (’91) both qualified for subsequent Olympic trials in rowing as well.

Michelle Griglione (T.C. ’86), one of the most decorated swimmers in Northern Region history, has also participated at a number of Olympic trials during the ’90’s.

In addition, Mount Vernon alumnus DeWayne Wallace (class of ’95) qualified for the Olympic trials in the 110 hurdles in ’00 and ’04 – according to Mount Vernon Director of Student Activities Bernie Forte. (Wallace set a number of Northern Virginia records prior to attending the University of Tennessee).

Also Mount Vernon alumnus Marcus Rogan (’00) – a native of Austria, qualified for the Austrian 2004 Summer Olympic team in swimming. While at Mount Vernon, Rogan was coached by Cathy Gorsuch.

Finally, Ireton alumnus Dan Zurowski (’99) qualified for the Olympic swimming trials in 2004. (Zurowski attended the University of Virginia).

Regarding Episcopal High School alumni and the Olympic trials current/past, veteran athletic director/football coach Mark Gowin commented – “I can’t recall anyone during my time here [20 plus years] that has participated at an Olympics or at an Olympics trials.”

(After several calls and significant research, it could not be determined that any Edison Eagle or St. Stephens/St. Agnes Saint alumni have ever participated in either the Olympics or the Olympic trials).

[TOWNES WAS NOT DRAFTED]:

At the recent NBA Draft, former Alexandria resident Darian Townes was not drafted in the two-round draft.

Only 60 players were selected by the 30 NBA teams and Townes not being selected was somewhat of a surprise.

The 6’10” Townes played his first two high school seasons at T.C. Williams and his final two high school seasons at Archbishop Carroll, D.C.

Townes played collegiately at the University of Arkansas and averaged nearly 16.5 points and nearly 10.0 rebounds his senior season.

It is not clear as of this writing as to his immediate plans.

FOOTBALL ON THE HORIZON
The NFL Camps are drawing near.

T.C. Williams alumnus/running back Tony Hunt (’03) will attempt to secure his roster spot with the Philadelphia Eagles for the second consecutive season.

The 6’1 230 pound Hunt played collegiately at Penn State and was primarilly involved with the Eagles in ’07 on special teams play.

Episcopal High School alumnus/running back Tim Hightower (’04) will attempt to secure his roster spot with the Arizona Cardinals during July/August.

The 6’1 225 pound Hightower set a number of offensive records at the University of Richmond this past fall, before being drafted in the fifth round by the Cardinals (the 149th overall pick).

Regarding the upcoming high school football campaign, the public schools are scheduled to commence practice on August 5. (Episcopal, by the fact that it is a boarding school, is not scheduled to commence its first practice until August 20).

Last season, the four Alexandria City High Schools combined for 22 wins – one of the most successful combined efforts in recent memory: Ireton (nine wins), St. Stephens/St. Agnes (six), T.C. Williams (four) and Episcopal (three).

All four of the Cities head coaches will be returning in ’08: Ireton (Tony Verducci), St. Stephens/St. Agnes (Dave Holm), T.C. (Dennis Randolph) and Episcopal (Mark Gowin).

SUMMER LEAGUE BASKETBALL
The St. Stephens/St. Agnes “Sleepy Thompson” Boys Summer Basketball League continues to progress, under the leadership of Kevin McLinton. Local schools “SSSA”, Ireton, Edison and Hayfield are participating.

T.C. Williams, on the other hand is participating in the “Falconers League” in Prince Georges County, Md.

T.C. (Virginia AAA ’07/’08 State Champions) will be led this upcoming hardcourt season by rising seniors: Edward Jenkins, Dominique Copeland, Gavin Peterson, Marcus Via; upcoming juniors: Joseph Moses and Ryan Yates and upcoming sophomores: Ben Dickinson and Jordin Taylor.

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