Out-of-season play pays off for Centennial girls lacrosse


Sports Beat

Howard County schools

April 27, 2005|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The Centennial girls lacrosse team is taking a page from the successful game plan of No. 1-ranked perennial county champion Mount Hebron by encouraging its members to play as much out-of-season lacrosse as possible.

It's paying dividends. In a league in which the order of finish is normally Mount Hebron, Glenelg and Centennial, the Eagles' 7-3 victory over Glenelg last week was their biggest in seven years. That's the last time Centennial defeated Glenelg, a streak of eight straight losses.

"This [victory] is a really big thing," said Eagles coach Katie Marks. "It's kind of a relief. I've worked hard the past six years to build this program, and it takes awhile. But we're finally seeing results. All of our varsity players play club, so their skill level is phenomenal."

The Eagles have a talented, patient attack and a lot of scorers, including North Carolina-bound senior Chelsea Parks (15 goals, 12 assists) juniors Jessica Sturgill (13, 11) and Jana Faulkner (10, 6), and freshman Jenny Michael (9, 5).

The defense is led by senior goalkeeper Lynn Cooper.

Basketball changes

Several changes in basketball scheduling, including the initiation of a county championship game next season for boys and girls, have been made by new coordinator of athletics Mike Williams in response to requests by the basketball coaches.

The championship game is the biggest change to the basketball landscape. It will feature the first-place team vs. the second-place team. Ties will be decided first by head-to-head competition, and secondly by fewest average points allowed as a team.

Another change is the reduction in the number of in-county games, necessitated by the fact that the county was unable to complete its full schedule (by one game) before the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association held its seeding draw this year.

That scheduling quirk at some point might have cost a county team the home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Now, each county team will play 18 county games instead of 20, and two teams each year on a rotating basis will play 19 (next season it will be Glenelg and Howard).

Williams said there was some concern that a team might finish 20-0, and a second-place team might go 15-5 and lose twice during the regular season to the first-place team, and then the first-place team loses the title in a one-game playoff.

Centennial boys coach Jim Hill, whose Eagles won the title this winter, said: "I think it detracts from the team that finishes first and works hard to win the league. They deserve the title of county champ. Otherwise, there's no difference between finishing first and second."

Smith sets mark

Atholton sophomore Alison Smith set a meet record in the 800-meter run at the Jaguar Invitational at C.H. Flowers High School in Springdale on Saturday.

Smith, the defending Class 2A state champion in the 1,600, took the 800 in 2 minutes, 18.7 seconds. The previous meet record of 2:22.3 was established by Mervo's April Mullens in 2002.

Sophomore Kate Caffrey won the 3,000 in 11:29.1.

Lightning forced Saturday's Hawk Invitational at Urbana High in Ijamsville to end early, but the Glenelg girls track and field team managed to fare well, anyway.

The Gladiators and Middletown each posted 38 points to gain third place with four events left at the invitational.

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