Andy Kostka

Sports reporter at the Washington Times.

University of Maryland Class of 2020. Former sports editor of The Diamondback, the independent student newspaper.

Four Region 2 SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards. Seventh-place finish in Hearst Sports Writing Competition.

Navy’s handling of NFL hopeful Cameron Kinley raises questions

When Phil McConkey was growing up in Buffalo, New York, he had two dreams: Become a pilot and score a touchdown in the Super Bowl. But despite playing for one of the top high school teams in the state as a wide receiver and defensive back, the 145-pound McConkey didn’t receive any scholarship offers to play football at a high college level because of his size. That seemingly diminished his chances at accomplishing both dreams. “So I figured, at least at the Naval Academy, I’ll get a shot at on

For Maryland baseball, a trip to the NCAA Regionals is just the start

As the University of Maryland baseball team gathered in the outfield grass, they could turn and watch the East Carolina dogpile, the celebration underway after the Pirates secured a place in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Super Regionals at the expense of the Terrapins. Maryland had booked a meeting Sunday in an elimination game against East Carolina at the tail end of a breakout season for coach Rob Vaughn’s group. The Terrapins won 30 games for the first time since 2017.

Bino Ranson excited for DePaul challenge after 11-year run with Maryland basketball

Bino Ranson wasn’t looking to leave Maryland basketball. The assistant coach enjoyed his 11 seasons with the Terrapins, spending the last 10 as part of coach Mark Turgeon’s staff. But in the coaching business, Ranson said, opportunities occasionally find you. And when Tony Stubblefield — Ranson’s old friend from when he coached at Xavier and Stubblefield was at Cincinnati — was hired to become DePaul’s new head basketball coach, one thing led to another.

Playing her sister ‘dream come true’ for Mystics’ Erica McCall

When DeWanna Bonner gets frustrated on the court, Erica McCall knows what she’ll do. Bonner will put her head down and attack the lane, using her combination of height and speed to wreak havoc on opposing defenders — including her sister. When the Washington Mystics and McCall take the floor against the Connecticut Suns and Bonner, McCall doesn’t expect her team to stop Bonner. Instead, she hopes to contain her just enough to give the Mystics a chance, leaning on what she learned when the siste

Faster fastballs, all-or-nothing swings add up to more no-hitters

For the second time in 24 hours — and for the sixth time this season — a pitcher raised his arms and was swarmed by his onrushing teammates, history achieved. Wednesday night was Corey Kluber’s turn to feel that exhilaration, hugging Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka before he was sprayed with water bottles. Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull felt that elation the day before, mobbed by his teammates after throwing his own no-hitter. The Padres’ Joe Musgrove got the train rolling in early April with

Golf industry hopes its pandemic boom doesn’t bust

When a global pandemic shuts down normal life for more than a year, there are going to be economic winners and losers. Airlines, movie theaters and malls took it on the chin. Streaming services, drive-thru windows and home delivery? Through the roof. Go ahead and add the booming sport of golf to the latter list. While COVID-19 torpedoed the Tokyo Olympics, staggered college football and wreaked havoc on team sports and youth athletics across the country, golf — a game where participants play outdoors, don’t share equipment and can easily socially distance — was quietly having a near-record year.

Special delivery: Scherzer hurls complete game with wife set to give birth

After Max Scherzer blew one more fastball past a Miami Marlins hitter Sunday, he hopped off the mound. He hugged Yan Gomes, who caught his nine-strikeout complete game. He high-fived all his teammates. Then he trotted down the dugout steps and into the clubhouse, took a shower and headed to the hospital. Scherzer powered the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 win, securing his team their first series sweep of the season. The Nationals improved to .500 and hold a place atop the National League East.

Felipe Martins envisions D.C. United return after recovering from torn ACL

In the days and weeks following Felipe Martins’ knee surgery to repair his torn ACL last summer, the D.C. United midfielder documented each stage of his recovery. He’d be awake at 3 a.m. or later, in too much pain to sleep, opting instead to ice his knee or use Game Ready, a cold compression system. He’d pull out his phone and take pictures or videos of dull early-morning sessions. He wanted to remember how low he felt then, at the beginning of his rehabilitation from a major injury.

After a long road back, Tayon Fleet-Davis is taking advantage of his second chance

When Tayon Fleet-Davis talks with his younger teammates, he knows they might not listen the first time. They’re young. They’re in college. And Fleet-Davis knows all about that combination. But the Maryland running back stays in his teammates’ ears. He wants his message to break through, and the sooner the better. Because Fleet-Davis doesn’t want what happened to him to happen to any of his fellow Terrapins — when one misstep put his football career on hold.

‘This isn’t necessary’: Why some NFL players are opting out of voluntary offseason workouts

When the NFL’s voluntary offseason workouts began Monday, there was no on-field contact. But between the league and the players’ association, there have been ample off-field clashes already. Players from more than half the teams in the NFL have announced they won’t participate in the league’s voluntary offseason workouts, a decision made with the coronavirus pandemic in mind but one that includes, spokesmen say, other factors. According to union representatives, the league’s “voluntary” workou

Max Scherzer’s secret to longevity: an eagerness to evolve

Max Muncy managed to foul off the first cutter he saw in his fourth inning at-bat Sunday against Max Scherzer. But when Scherzer hurled another cutter Muncy’s way the very next pitch — this one sliding three inches off the plate with a late horizontal run — Muncy’s swing came up empty. In the middle innings of Scherzer’s second start this season, the Washington Nationals ace displayed his versatile pitch arsenal, the type of selection that keeps hitters guessing and whiffing.

Opening day won’t be entirely normal, but fans will be there to see it

Brian Campbell knew the crowd for the opening day game at Nationals Park on Thursday was capped at 5,000 because of pandemic concerns, so he wasn’t expecting to score tickets. But when he logged onto the website last week, he clicked April 1 — just in case the unthinkable was possible. There they were: two seats in right field. “I was super pumped, and I was scared that somehow the servers were overloaded, almost like a [PlayStation 5] situation,” the Hagerstown, Maryland, resident said.

Wander Suero still a cutter-first pitcher, but his secondary pitches make him more versatile

Batters know what to expect from Wander Suero when they step up to the plate. And Suero knows those batters know. He sees them crowd the plate, anticipating the cutter he throws more than 80% of the time, the pitch with a late bite to take it away from a right-handed hitter. “It’s my best pitch,” Suero said Thursday, when asked if he enjoys throwing the cutter as much as he does.

Damian Chong Qui ‘embraced’ his adversity. That’s led he and Mount St. Mary’s to the NCAA tournament

Toward the end of a group call with the Mount St. Mary’s coaching staff, Damian Chong Qui’s father asked the question that had been playing on his mind. He knew there were no scholarships available for his son that upcoming season. But if Chong Qui played well, could he earn one? Could his preferred walk-on spot be the first step toward something greater? Mountaineers coach Dan Engelstad was honest. He couldn’t make any guarantees to the father of the 5-foot-8 Baltimore point guard on the other

Trading card collectors turn private hobby into major industry

A sports collector 21 years ago spent $8 on a pack of football trading cards destined to change his life. He just needed to wait. Inside the pack was a Tom Brady Playoff Contenders rookie card — fewer than 100 are in existence — that sports memorabilia expert Ken Goldin estimates will bring in well over $1 million when his New Jersey-based auction firm, which is handling the sale for the collector, puts the item on the market.

Big Ten tournament a can’t-miss event for longtime Terrapins fans

The run began in 1990, when Doug Mangum made his first trip to the ACC tournament. A newbie who didn’t know better, he booked a room about 35 miles outside of Charlotte, North Carolina — and ended up battling traffic to get to and from the arena. But Mangum soon became an expert on planning and executing an annual college basketball tournament road trip, first to the ACC competition, then, once Maryland switched conferences, the Big Ten.

‘Something special’: Anthony and Nendah Tarke enjoy path from pick-up games to Coppin State

On the little basketball court at their house in Gaithersburg, Md., Anthony and Nendah Tarke pretended they played on some larger, grander stage. The then 8-year-old and 5-year-old would set the kitchen microwave’s timer to 12 minutes, emulating an NBA quarter, keeping score for a full 48-minute game. Or they’d play first to 100 points, going for hours, fueled by their love of basketball and a competitive spirit that didn’t lend itself to quitting or losing.

D.C. teams in a holding pattern as fans return to stadiums around country

When the Capitals earned a power play early in Sunday’s win against the Flyers, a “ref, you suck” chant rang around Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. And Washington defenseman John Carlson loved the sound. “I’m tired of the [fake] crowd noise,” Carlson said. “I like to hear some booing and some cheering — normal things that go on in an NHL game, even though it’s not a packed house like it shouldn’t be. But it means a lot to the players, I think. It feels a lot more natural for us.”
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