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Soccer team recognized by family of late player

By TAMMY SHOWALTER

Staff writer

Jerry Ballengee of White Plains said it’s an honor to recognize his daughter each year in presenting a sportsmanship award to a soccer team that displays just that good sportsmanship.

Jerry and Marge Ballengee lost their daughter in a car accident in 2009 and Michael Ballengee lost his 23 year old sister, Michelle Ballengee, a 2003 Lackey graduate when a Waldorf man, driving over 120 miles per hour and under the influence of PCP struck her vehicle on Hawthorne Road near Marshall Corner Road on April 29, 2009. He was also driving on a revoked license.

A life taken, but never forgotten.

Michelle Ballengee, who started playing soccer at age seven had received a soccer scholarship to North Carolina Wesleyan College where she majored in athletic training. She had taken her love for soccer back to Lackey high school where she was coaching. Jerry Ballengee also coached for the Chargers.

Ballengee was a prime standout in her four-year soccer career at Lackey, receiving All-SMAC honors three times starting from her sophomore season. Even though, Ballengee was an exceptional talent on the offensive side, she received All-County honors as a defender in her junior season. Soccer was not the only sport she played. Ballengee was also a member of the basketball, softball and tennis teams at Lackey.

Dr. Ed Barrett, a representative from the Capital Area Soccer’s Association announced Jerry Ballengee to the attendees of the sports banquet at Great Mills high school after each team gave out their sportsmanship award to their respective players.

The Ballengee family has presented the sportsmanship award in memory of Michelle for the past three years.

Jerry Ballangee presented the sportsmanship award to the girls soccer team at Great Mills high school. The team is coached by Ashley Nines and Kelsey Stauff.

“It’s certainly an honor coming from the referee’s association,” Jerry Ballengee said. “I’ve been associated with them now since the mid-90’s.”

Jerry Ballengee said that his son Michael and Michelle both wanted to become more involved in soccer and thought, what a better way than to become a referee.

Michelle Ballengee was a certified soccer referee for USSF and Futsal. She also played soccer for the College of Southern Maryland women's indoor and Charles County outdoor women's soccer leagues.

“We all got involved and now coming out of the Capital Area Soccer’s Association, it’s an honor to have an award named after her.” Jerry Ballengee said.

The award was presented to Lackey high school last year.

“We feel extremely honored and excited,” Nines said. “We were surprised, we weren’t quite aware that we were receiving it.”

Nines was pleased with her team and how hard they fought this season. Captains for the Hornets are sophomore Aynsley Anderson (All-SMAC), Rebecca Murphy and Kimberlee McMaster. McMaster won the sportsmanship award for the team.

Nines said the team’s best games were against McDonough, Lackey and their 4A East first round playoff game against North County. Great Mills defeated the Rams 5-3 and Lackey 10-0. It fell to North County 2-1.

“This year I think they played tough games, more competitive than in the past,” Nines said. “The playoff game was well played; hard-fought and our games against Leonardtown ones they always get up for.”

Anderson, a midfielder who made varsity as a freshman last season, said she was proud of her team and the recognition.

“We’ve worked hard throughout and we never gave up,” Anderson said. “We always had heart in the hard times. Against Calvert we were doing so well, even though we lost, we had so many chances.”

Anderson said she was touched by Michelle Ballengee’s legacy.

tshowalter@somdnews.com

AJ Mason contributed to this report.