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2013 Could Be a Big Year

Charles E. Sutton | 1/3/2013, 1:10 p.m.

Many sports fans feel that 2012 was the year that put D.C. sports teams back on the map.

If that's the case, 2013 could be the year the District evolves into one of the best sports cities in the country. We've already witnessed what Robert Griffin III can do, and he's staying put. While the Redskins are at the forefront, and the Capitals may not have a season this year, here's some others that could grab their share of the limelight in 2013.

As long as they can remain healthy, the Nationals should contend in 2013. Nearly their entire roster will return, with the possible exception of Adam LaRoche. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman had offseason shoulder surgery, but should be fine for the season. The Nats will also get a full season from Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Washington also added center fielder Denard Span in a trade. It should be another exciting summer in the District.

Georgetown and Syracuse will play their final game as Big East rivals on March 9, but three weeks later, Verizon Center will serve as one of the host sites for the second week of the NCAA tournament. The last time the District hosted the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, George Mason shocked Connecticut. Perhaps Maryland could be this year's Cinderella.

Speaking of Maryland basketball, sophomore center Alex Len has moved up on NBA draft boards. Irrespective of how Maryland performs this season, the Ukrainian 7-footer will be a player to keep an eye on once March Madness ends. It seems unlikely that Len will ever play against Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. because of the schools' ongoing silly feud, but they both could be serious prospects to watch in June's NBA Draft. Incidentally, it appears that the Wizards have a real good shot at securing a lottery pick.

Let's not forget, Tiger Woods will once again bring the PGA Tour to Congressional, and D.C. United could be one of the favorites to win the MLS with Dwayne De Rosario. If the District doesn't get the opportunity to host a U.S. World Cup qualifying match, the payoff could be a rumored friendly match in June against Germany to celebrate the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th anniversary. Throw in the possible announcement of a new D.C. United stadium, and Southwest Washington could be the local hot spot for sports in the District.