Franks develops a champion, something new for Oldfields Coach of the Year 1993 ALL-BALTIMORE CITY/COUNTY GIRLS LACROSSE TEAM

June 02, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Oldfields girls lacrosse coach Beth Franks knows how to turn a program around.

In the past five years, she has taken her team from winless to peerless in the Association of Independent Schools B Division.

Oldfields rebounded from an 0-11 record in 1989 to 11-2 in 1993. Franks' team capped the turnaround this spring by winning the B Division Tournament championship, 9-8, over Institute of Notre Dame.

Winning a title, even in the B Division, is a tougher task for Franks and her players than most in the AIS, because Oldfields, in northern Baltimore County, is a boarding school. This year's varsity included players from eight states, Washington, D.C., Colombia and Japan.

"Most of the girls who come to boarding school learn lacrosse when they get here," said Franks, The Baltimore Sun's Baltimore City/County Coach of the Year. "My main objective is not necessarily winning, but having the kids leave here feeling good about themselves."

That wasn't easy four years ago when the program hit 0-11. That same year, Franks became athletic director at Oldfields.

thought the way to build the program was to play teams on our level, but the AIS was set up East-West, and the scores were kind of humiliating. I pulled out of the AIS, and we played an independent schedule," said Franks, a Towson High and West Chester graduate.

Franks also scheduled a couple of invitational tournaments, and gradually Oldfields improved. The players wanted to return to AIS competition, and Franks agreed.

Meanwhile, the AIS switched to a divisional setup based on strength, enabling Oldfields to compete on a more level playing field.

At the same time, interest in the sport was growing on campus, so much so that this past season, Franks added third and fourth squads. Of 186 students in eighth to 12th grade, 80 played lacrosse.

"It looks like things will be OK," said Franks, who lives on campus with her husband, Tom and their daughter, Lindsey, 2. "The girls are really excited about the season. They've ordered bumper stickers and there are T-shirts in the bookstore, and we've never had anything like that before."

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