`Soul Patrol' is at heart of McDonogh's success


High Schools

March 30, 2000|By Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield | Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

McDonogh's boys lacrosse team boasts a rarity on any one Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference lacrosse team: Five African American players who have given themselves the nickname, "The Soul Patrol."

The group is composed of junior keeper Devon Bates, senior defender T. C. Cosby, senior midfielders Kevin Smith and Jay Mayes, and senior reserve goalie Kenny Sanders.

All but Sanders are "major impact players, and are all starters," said eighth-year coach Jake Reed, whose Eagles are defending MIAA A Conference champs.

"A lot of people think that, to play in the A Conference, you have to start lacrosse at an early age. But other than Devon none of them really played before coming to McDonogh," Reed said.

"In a sport that is considered by many to be an elitest, rich and preppy, this goes to show that anybody who has the heart and desire can be successful in the game of lacrosse."

Reed said Mayes and Smith already are headed to Division III Gettysburg to play lacrosse, and that Mayes turned down Division I scholarship offers.

Five-foot-8 Bates might be the most promising: A B-plus student with a PSAT score over 1,200, he made 18 saves in Tuesday's win over Severn.

Cosby, a 6-2, 230-pounder, has drawn interest from Penn State assistant lacrosse coach Rick Young.

A two-time All-Metro linebacker who led the Eagles' football team to three consecutive titles, Cosby is headed for Penn State on a football scholarship but likely won't play lacrosse after this season.

All in the family

Girls lacrosse is a family affair for the Wittelsbergers at Dulaney.

Marlena and Lauren Wittelsberger are the team's top two scorers while their dad, Franz Wittelsberger, is head coach.

Having played together since they were 5 and 6 years old, the sisters have developed into quite a combination on attack. Of the 33 goals the No. 10 Lions (2-1) have scored, the duo has contributed to 22.

Marlena, a senior headed for Johns Hopkins, has nine goals and four assists this season while Lauren, a junior, has nine goals and three assists. In Tuesday's 16-5 win at Fallston, Lauren had eight points and Marlena, seven.

They have certainly learned -- or inherited -- a lot from their dad. As an All-America attackman, Franz Wittelsberger helped Johns Hopkins win a national championship in the early 1970's.

"We were watching a film at home a couple weeks ago and I was trying to make some points, but it got a little heated up," Franz said, with a laugh. "At that point, I thought it's not fair to them to do that because who do they have to complain to about the coach?"

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