It's only mid-March, but already the college lacrosse race is taking shape and certain truths are evident:
Unbeaten Syzacuse (3-0) is(the No. 1 team in the country -- and has the talent to be there still when the NCAA champion is crowned on Memorial Day.
Loyola College, 3-0 after its 7-6 upset win over North Carolina Saturday, has a new star in freshman goalie Tim (17 saves) McGeeney. McGeeney could do a lot toward making the Greyhounds a Final Four team for the next four years -- and possibly the champion this year.
Johns Hopkins (2-0) appears to be better than most people expected this year, and not just because of the Blue Jays' 18-3 rout of a pooz Rutgers team over the weekend.
North Carolina, the defending national champion, is learning now the lesson Loyola learned a year ago after having gone to the title game the season before -- that it's not easy to pick up where you left off.
The Tar Heels, favorites in the preseason poll, have lost two in a row at Syracuse and Loyola.
Towson State, despite severe personnel losses, cannot be counted out, as it showed in its 13-9 win at Maryland Saturday.
Syracuse ventures out of its Carrier Dome for the first time this season (it beat Yale there, 19-11, Saturday night) when Hall of Fame coach Roy Simmons brings his team to Hopkins Saturday for the game of the week.
"I'm impressed by Hopkins," says Tom Hayes,Rutgers' veteran head coach. "Hopkins has a lot of weapons. They did a good job defensively in taking us out of our game plan."
Hayes also has faced Loyola, which won at Rutgers, 19-10, in the opener for both teams.
"Hopkins and Loyola are pretty close," says Hayes, "although we didn't test Hopkins the way we tested Loyola."
In assessing the Division I race it is worth remembering that since 1978 only three schools have won the national championship -- Syracuse, North Carolina and Hopkins. It's likely that one of those will win it this year.
* Congratulations are due Katonsville High's boys basketball team, which came from behind and beat Potomac, 70-69, Saturday at College Park and won the state Class 3A championship. It was the first time Catonsville had won the state title since 1928.
The star on that Catonsville championship tmim 64 years ago was Fritz Stude, who went on to gain fame as goalie on Hopkins' Olympic lacrosse team in 1932 and was elected to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Stude, who died only three months ago, always insisted he was a better basketball than lacrosse player.
* Jim Lacy didn't hang on to all his records this year. At Loyola College, Kevin Green fell 45 points short of matching Lacy's career basketball scoring record of 2,199. But in squash, in which Lacy had been the oldest player ever to win the state title (he was 42 when he beat Midshipman Scott Ryan), Sandy Martin recently won it at 45. Martin defeated Dirk Bartlett, half his age.
* Incidentally, even though Kevin Green is believed by some to be not physical enough for the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks must feel otherwise. The Bucks sent scouts to look at Green three times this season.
* Ex-Oriole Dave McNally is the example cited by the 1992 Elias Baseball Analyst to show how a pitcher, from one season to the next, can drop from 21-5 to 13-17 with virtually the same earned run average.
The Orioles, the book points out, scored only half as many runs in support of McNally in '72 as they did in '71 (when Dave earned the name McLucky). Pitchers at the top of the run support category average five more wins a year than pitchers at the bottom.
Another ex-Oriole, Jeff Robinson, had the best support in the majors in four years with Detroit. When he came to the Orioles last year, his support was the sixth lowest. Robinson was 4-9 and off to the minors by July.