Smith, who lists the heel flip as his best trick, is also preparing for the upcoming season. He'll travel to New York City for the Juco Journal Northeast Invitational on July 10. Smith will also take a science class and hopes to study genetic engineering after earning his associate's degree at BCCC.

"I felt like that was something I could put a lot of time into and answer a lot of questions people have in life," he said.

— Colin Stevens

Ambassadors for the sport

Johns Hopkins defender Brooke Lipinski and her Blue Jays teammates opened their summer vacation with a championship.

Competing in Italy against teams from Prague, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, Hopkins represented the U.S. during a two-day lacrosse tournament in an attempt to garner more interest for the sport.

"It wasn't so much of this tight, intense lacrosse game that we're used to playing," Lipinski said. "I ended up, in one of the games, playing offense, which is something in a regular-season game you will never, ever find me doing. And at one point one of our goalies got on the field. She borrowed someone's goggles and grabbed a stick and just went out there and was running around."

Hopkins' trip wasn't just about lacrosse. The team traveled to Florence, Venice and Milan. One of the highlights of the trip came when the team learned to make pizza.

"Each of us got to put it into the big oven and pull it back out," Lipinski said. "A few of us had some mishaps where we dropped the stuff and made some holes in some pizzas. But other than that it went well."

— Colin Stevens

An educational vacation

The Stevenson women's soccer team will get a firsthand look at the intensity of the sport in Europe this summer when they play three exhibition games against Italian teams during a nine-day trip to Italy.

"I have no idea what the level of the teams we're playing against is, but I think it will be just so cool to actually say we played soccer in Italy," senior captain Allison Humphries said. "The people over there are crazy about soccer — football, as they call it. I hope that they have some fans out there and it'll be interesting to see how they get excited about the game and the sport."

During the tour, the Mustangs will do sight-seeing in between contests. They plan to take a gondola ride through Venice, visit Vatican City and stop by the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Humphries and her teammates are also scheduled to teach physical education classes at a local school.

"Going over there, I didn't know much about Italian culture at all before I heard about this trip," Humphries said. "Me and some other girls have been listening to tapes in Italian and trying to get in that culture because it's important to go over there and be respectful of their culture, and in that way you're going to leave a good impression."

— Colin Stevens

At home while parents serve

Military families are accustomed to frequent changes in scenery, and Towson cross country runner Brandi Gervais says she's lived almost everywhere. But this summer, she is staying at Towson while her parents are across the globe serving a one-year term of service in Iraq.

"It's for sure the hardest thing I've had to go through in my entire life," she said. "I've been getting by because I have roommates that are living with me and are helping me out. But it's definitely one of those life things that's definitely going to make me mature."

Gervais tries to communicate with her parents as often as possible, using e-mail frequently and phone calls when it's convenient. Her parents' involvement in the military is something she admires and she hopes to one day follow in their footsteps.

"They taught me to be disciplined, and I think that goes a long way with what I've been able to achieve in my life. I really look up to them," she said.

Selected by ESPN The Magazine as a third-team Academic All-American for track and field and cross country, Gervais works as a tutor at Towson for anatomy, algebra and calculus during the summer and the school year.

Gervais is also taking care of her three dogs this summer while her parents are away instead of putting them in a kennel. She has little flexibility to travel, but she still hopes to make it to Colorado for a week of training before the end of summer.

— Colin Stevens

kaitlyn.carr@baltsun.com

colin.stevens@baltsun.com