For Barrett, a season of change

Girls lacrosse: A former All-County player in softball, Atholton junior Chelsey Barrett is doing well in her transition to lacrosse this spring.

High Schools

April 20, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Chelsey Barrett doesn't pretend to know everything or be perfect.

That's why the junior attack is straightforward about her first day of practice with the Atholton girls lacrosse team last month.

"I was like, `Oh my gosh, I don't remember the rules. I'm going to have to reteach myself,' " said Barrett, who had played lacrosse for a couple of years before giving it up for softball as a freshman.

That's how it has gone for Barrett, a former All-Howard County outfielder who traded her bat for a lacrosse stick this spring.

But the transition hasn't been too difficult for Barrett, who also plays volleyball and was named a second-team All-County pick in basketball last winter.

"She's a natural athlete," Raiders lacrosse coach Beth Mazanec said. "You could put her on a football field having never played football in her life, and she'd know what to do."

Barrett's decision to switch sports may have surprised observers who figured she would return to an Atholton softball squad that had won four consecutive county championships and advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals twice in the past three seasons.

For Barrett, the move was a no-brainer. Her older sister Aubrey - a two-time All-County outfielder - and many of their teammates on the softball team had graduated.

In fact, the Raiders softball team returned just two players from last season's roster.

"Now that my sister is gone, that was my main reason for playing softball," Barrett said. "I just thought I would try lacrosse to do a little more running and see how it went."

Atholton softball coach Maureen Shacreaw said she wasn't exactly startled by Barrett's decision because she knew the sport involved too much standing around for Barrett.

"For her, softball may have been too boring in the sense that she couldn't run," Shacreaw said. "Lacrosse is a quick-moving game. ... Softball is not so quick."

Although she had played softball since she was 4, Barrett had some experience in lacrosse, picking up the sport in the seventh and eighth grades with a local recreation team.

Returning to lacrosse has been an eye-opening experience for Barrett. Mazanec said Barrett sometimes has a tendency to take a shot from outside the 8-meter arc, thinking a goal from that distance will be worth three points, as in basketball.

The basketball frame of mind was evident in volleyball, where Barrett would approach a spike attempt with her hand underneath the ball as if she were attempting a layup - which quickly became her nickname.

"I just relate every sport to basically things I do in basketball," said Barrett, who calls basketball her favorite sport. "If you can put something in terms of basketball and tell me how to do it in the next sport, I can pretty much pick it up."

Barrett still is learning some of the details of lacrosse, such as cradling the ball in her stick with her left hand and throwing from her left side.

Thus far, she has registered 20 goals and five assists for the Raiders, who are 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the county.

But Barrett said she's far from a finished product.

"There's always room for improvement whenever you play any sport," she said. "I guess I'm happy with the way I'm playing after not playing for a while, but I still want to get better."

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