This, that and the other:
* By this time tomorrow, the August School of Hard Knocks, otherwise known as two-a-day football practices, will have convened at the county's eight high schools.
Some teams, like perennial contenders Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills, will begin their summer drills with inherently high expectations.
Other teams, like Howard, Hammond, Mount Hebron and Centennial, will try to break away from the ranks of the mediocre and give the Wildecats and Scorpions a run for their money.
Then there's Atholton, coming off its worst season in nearly two decades, which hopes to rebound behind Coach Don Van Deusen, who annually does the most with theleast.
The most interesting team going into the preseason? Glenelg, hands down.
The Gladiators, who have been known to underachievewith promising talent, begin with a new outlook under Coach Ed Ashwell, who takes his first crack at running a program.
Ashwell, who spent eight years as an assistant to Wilde Lake's Doug DuVall and built a solid reputation as a defensive coach, is the second DuVall assistant to land a head coaching job in the county. The other, Hammond coach Joe Russo, begins his 14th season with the Bears tomorrow.
* Speaking of DuVall, we mentioned several months ago how rewarding the Wildecats football program had been over the past 20 years to its players. Wilde Lake players have benefited from some $2 million in college scholarships over that span.
Mount Hebron's girls basketball program has achieved similar results in its 13-year run under Coach Dave Greenberg.
The Vikings, who have won 11 county titles and six state championships under Greenberg, have seen nearly $500,000 in college scholarship money awarded to 16 players between 1980 and 1991.
The most recent recipients are Cescili Drake (University of North Carolina-Greensboro) and Christy McCauley (Western Maryland College), who helped Hebron win state titles in the past two seasons.
* HowardCounty put on a great show at the recent 11th annual summer All-Starlacrosse tournament in Bethesda.
The Howard Hero's girls team wonits fifth straight All-Star tournament by beating Baltimore Metro, 17-9, in the semifinals before edging Philadelphia, 13-9, in overtime to win the tournament.
Mount Hebron's Megan Drake, who looks like a solid early pick for Player of the Year next spring, earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors by scoring nine goals and adding two assists.
In the title game against Philadelphia, she either scoredor assisted on five of Howard's final eight goals, including three of four goals in overtime. Howard outscored Philadelphia, 4-0, in OT.
Other local players included Hebron's Andrea Cuzmanes (two goals, one assist), Lori Pasquantonio, Kate Mallon, Tierney Clark and goalieBeth Streagle; Glenelg's Michelle Hooker, April Pich and goalie DanaHoffman; Atholton's Allison Valentino; and Centennial's Lauren Mooney and Lilly Hahm. Streagle recorded four saves in overtime while shutting out Philadelphia.
* The St. Agnes Hospital Foundation is sponsoring a Labor Day 8-kilometer race Monday, Sept. 2. Pre-registrationfee is $10. Fee is $13 on race day.
Proceeds will support the construction of the $2 million Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for critically ill infants at St. Agnes, located in Baltimore City, a short drivefrom the county line.
* Questions to ponder as a new school sports year approaches:
Are there a group of kickers ready to emerge and challenge the exploits of last year's outstanding class?
Atholton's Joe Yankle, Mount Hebron's Nathan Kealey, Howard's Scott Frye and Centennial's Brian Reid put on quite a show, particularly Kealey. He booted a 55-yard field goal last September. Yankle, Kealey and Frye graduated.
Will Glenelg's boys soccer team break into the county's upper division? Under Coach John Bowman, the Gladiators have quietly assembled a competitive program that couldbe a threat for years to come.
Has someone finally arrived to challenge Centennial and Glenelg for field hockey supremacy? Mount Hebron and Atholton could be the teams.
How well will Mount Hebron's volleyball team recover from its graduation losses? Four starters from last year's state championship team are gone.
Speaking of graduation losses, did any team suffer worse than Oakland Mills girls basketball team, which lost its entire starting lineup after reaching the 3Astate finals last year?
Coach Teresa Waters will be starting fromscratch in November.
Will Oakland Mills wrestling coach Dan Ricker top his first three years? All Ricker has done after replacing Steve Carnahan --
a living legend in wrestling circles -- is win threestraight league titles while going undefeated against the county each season.
Could a state title be next? Oakland Mills is dropping to Class 2A, making that possibility more realistic.
Will Centennial softball pitcher Jodi Meitl keep her comeback going with a great senior season?
After overcoming serious injuries sustained in a car accident last spring that kept her out of action for the season, she deserves a great finale.
Will Mount Hebron's girls lacrosse team finally give Coach P. J. Kesmodel the jewel that would crown an exceptional coaching career -- a state title?
If that happens, Kesmodel will become the only lacrosse coach in the state to win titles coaching a boys and a girls team. He coached the Hebron boys to a state championship in 1983.