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DCIAA track, volleyball gear up

Ballouís Iracks, Fields and Wilsonís Hill, Mapps star on teams to beat

(Published October 4, 1999)

By MICHAEL NEWALL

Staff Writer

Although many D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association fans may be lost in the excitement of Saturday afternoon football games, two other fall sports are gearing up for the start of their respective seasons. Cross-country track and girls volleyball are set to begin their division matches, and it seems that, for the most part, not much has changed since last season.

DCIAA boys and girls track teams held their first meet Sept. 30, and Ballou Senior High began right where they left off last year. Ballou, which has held the outdoor track title five of the last six years and is highly favored this year to continue its reign of dominance, put on an impressive performance with runners placing second, fourth and sixth in the boys event.

Highly touted returnee Ricardo Iracks (junior) once again led the team to victory, placing second in the 2.8-mile run. Iracksí performance was no surprise to Head Coach Tyrone Bryant.

"Coming off the amazing outdoor season he had last spring, we expect a lot of good things out of Ricardo," Bryant said. "He is a young, talented runner who is mature beyond his age."

Iracks earned "most valuable player" honors last spring when he dominated the outdoor track championship, setting a record in the steeplechase, winning the mile and two mile, and placing second in the 800.

With Iracks leading the boys squad, Coach Bryant is confident in his teamís chance of gaining yet another title.

"Not only do we have some experienced runners returning in Ricardo, Cole Perry (senior) and Devon Porteous (sophomore), we also have a good core of young talent coming into the program," the coach said.

"If we can stay focused on our team and individual goals and keep working hard, I believe that this will be a very successful season."

Ballouís girls team, which also is highly favored as this yearís team to beat, suffered a major scare Sept. 30 when star returnee Yasmine Fields went down with an ankle injury in the girls event. Fields, a senior who finished second overall in last yearís cross-country standings and was the MVP in the outdoor track and field championships, was leading the girls 2.8-mile race when she stepped in a hole and slightly sprained her ankle. Coach Bryant said the injury was enough to take her out of the dayís competition but she should not miss any further meets.

Look for Wilson Senior High School, which also welcomes back many of its top runners, to be the main challenge for Ballou in the boys division and Anacostia to be a threat for Ballouís girls team.

As for girls volleyball, Wilson Senior High is once again rated as the cityís top public school team.

All-Met outside hitter Genevieve Hill (senior) will lead Wilson, who defeated Anacostia in last yearís championship. Coach Loren Hill described the senior as the teamís key weapon and probably the top hitter in the league.

Wilson will be gaining much-needed size in 6-footer Maya Mapp. Mapp, a senior transfer from Banneker Senior High, will step into the middle hitter position, providing for an intimidating combo along with Hill.

"Maya has good height, good jumping ability and is an excellent passer," Coach Hill said. "She will surely be a key element to any of this teamís success."

Coach Hill was not shy in his predictions for the team.

"Right now the other teams in the league are not quite up to us," he said. "I would say that we rate above the public school teams and somewhere in the middle of the private school teams."

Wilson, which was 3-3 in its pre-season matches versus private school teams, will begin league play Oct. 5 when the team takes on Banneker.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator