Meghan Carroll Puls, 16, high school basketball player

September 28, 2001|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Meghan Carroll Puls, a junior at Seton Keough High School who excelled at basketball in scholastic and league play, died Tuesday at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of head injuries from a Sept. 18 traffic accident. She was 16 and lived in Ellicott City.

Miss Puls also played soccer and lacrosse, but basketball was her favorite sport, said her father, G. Timothy Puls, lacrosse coach at the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

"She was big in basketball. She was the captain of the Seton Keough junior varsity team as a freshman and they won the IAAM [Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland] championship," he said. The IAAM includes the state's independent schools.

Miss Puls moved in her sophomore year to the varsity team, which won the A-division championship with a 16-0 record last year, Mr. Puls said.

In addition to high school ball, Miss Puls played for four years for teams of the Maryland Waves Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), a competitive basketball league, beginning at its under-12 level, which won the state championship and traveled to Nashville to play in a tournament of more than 100 teams.

For the next three years, she played in national AAU tournaments at Disney World, New Orleans and, this summer, Oklahoma City. The national competitions are attended by college coaches, and Miss Puls dreamed of going to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said Mr. Puls.

Jackie Boswell, her longtime coach and the high school's athletic director, said, "She was one of those utility players who could fill in either spot: If we needed a guard, she was a guard; if we needed a forward, she was a forward. She had the ability to do both. She was a strong inside player, a good rebounder and ... she could shoot from the outside."

The Waves' Web site received messages from friends and players all week, offering get-well wishes and prayers for Miss Puls. In addition to noting her smile and strength, many included her jersey number, 21, and her nickname, "Sprouts."

The nickname had nothing to do with her height, Ms. Boswell noted. It developed after an incident that occurred when Miss Puls was about 10 years old and cut her bangs, which took about two years to grow back in.

Miss Puls had gone on an outing to buy dresses for the homecoming dance and was a passenger in a friend's car when the crash occurred about 8 p.m. Sept. 18, her father said. The accident occurred on northbound Interstate 95 near Interstate 895 in Howard County, where the road was uneven due to resurfacing.

Police said the driver apparently lost control of the 1993 Chevrolet Corvette after veering onto the lower surface of the next lane. Miss Puls, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected.

Born in Baltimore, Miss Puls attended Resurrection St. Paul School at her church before entering Seton Keough. She was a part-time hostess at Bare Bones Grill & Brewery restaurant in Ellicott City and loved to baby-sit.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Church of the Resurrection, 3155 Paulskirk Drive in Ellicott City.

In addition to her father, she is survived by her mother, Catherine A. Puls, and two brothers, Timothy John Puls and Travis James Puls, all of Ellicott City; her grandparents, George C. and Mary Loretta Puls of Ellicott City, and Raymond D. and Mary Agnes Campbell of Catonsville; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family has established a scholarship fund, the Meghan Puls Memorial Fund, at Seton Keough High School, 1201 Caton Ave., Baltimore 21227.

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