Annapolis' Gehrdes happy to hit sideline

Director duties keep Panthers' coach busy

Girls Lacrosse

March 20, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

When the snow was falling this winter, Dave Gehrdes was busy coming up with contingency plans.

He was calling coaches, the bus company and referees to reschedule games, only a small portion of his responsibilities as the new athletic director at Annapolis High.

Gehrdes also was counting down the days to spring with March 1 -- the first day of practice for his two-time defending Class 4A-3A state champion girls lacrosse team -- marked on his calendar.

"It's nice getting back out there to practice. I know it's a time when no one is going to be calling on the phone -- it's a chance to release a little tension. Just being able to talk to the kids is great. They've put in a lot of work, too," said Gehrdes.

It didn't take long for Gehrdes to get an idea of how time-consuming the chores of an athletic director are. When he replaced longtime AD Fred Stauffer prior to the start of the school year, he gave up his coaching duties in boys soccer and wrestling, and had to cancel a family trip to the Pan American Games over the summer.

"It starts in July and is a non-stop job. There really isn't a dull moment -- it's a busy kind of job with a lot of paperwork to stay on top of," he said.

On the practice field and on the sideline, Gehrdes can temporarily get away from all that with another task at hand: winning a third straight state title.

That, too, will be a difficult chore without a dull moment.

Getting out of the demanding East region has been the biggest challenge for the Panthers the past two years. After regional play, they have had their way for the most part in state tournament action.

This year is no different.

In fact, it appears to have become tougher. And once again, Severna Park poses the biggest threat with Player of the Year Meg Miller and a solid group of Falcons focused and hungry.

"They're going to have to get by us, just like we're going to have to get by them. Some days we win and other days they win. We just have to beat them when it counts the most," said Severna Park coach Karin Peterson, whose Falcons dropped a tight two-goal decision to the Panthers in the region final.

Other key questions in the demanding East region: Can Broadneck, coming off a 15-3 season, continue to surge led by senior midfielder Rachel Shuck? And where does newcomer South River, which moves up from Class 2A-1A, where it reached the state tournament the last three seasons, fit into the overall picture?

In the new Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, St. Mary's, coming off a 12-8 season, is looking to rebound strong in the Lears Division.

The Saints have nine starters back, including midfielder Kelly Coppedge and a strong defensive pair in Courtney Thornton and Jess Mikula.

Coach Erika Bristow also has one of the smartest teams around. Combined, the group has about a 3.5 grade-point average.

The IAAM A Conference is loaded with talent. Roland Park, also competing in the Lears Division, will be tough to score on with standout defender Kelsey Twist and stingy goalie Meghan McInnes.

Over in the Sinclair Division, Bryn Mawr has a solid group back led by third home Theresa Sherry; Notre Dame Prep will be a major factor and Maryvale could be the surprise team.

In addition to competitive league races, the restraining line rule put into play for the girls this spring should make things plenty interesting. Only seven players per team are permitted inside the attack zones.

"Now, it's seven on seven with the defensive team also having the goalie instead of 11 on 11. What it will do is open up the scoring arc," said Gehrdes.

The big question: Who does it favor?

Severna Park has traditionally been known for its strong, cohesive defenses and Peterson feels the rule will be to the Falcons' advantage.

"With the restraining lines, you better be able to play defense because you can't put all players back there. Teams that will win have to have a good strong defense," she said. "I like the change. It takes it back to the old game -- spreads it out more and makes it more exciting."

On the flip side, Gehrdes is salivating at the thought of his highly-skilled attack getting all that extra space.

Sarah Oliphant (51 goals, 36 assists), Kristy Dirks (50, 32) and Acacia Walker (27, 27) will be back for the Panthers.

"I think it's going to give us a big advantage because it will be easier to score. There will be less people clogging things up."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.