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For high school athletes, hot fun and lots to do this summer

Ah, the sounds of summer. The splash of the swimming pool. The crack of the baseball bat. The sizzle of grilling burgers. And, of course, the alluring melody of the snoball truck coming down the street.

Rachael Nock remembers that tune's effect on her as a little kid.

"It was so exciting. You heard the music coming and you were like: 'Mom! Mom! I need money,' and I'd run out," she said, laughing. "Definitely good memories of the ice-cream truck."

Now Nock, 17 and a senior this fall at Severn, is the Pied Piper of summer, bringing sweet treats to kids of all ages around Severna Park, driving a snoball truck for Go-Melbo, which covers Anne Arundel County and also has trucks in Ocean City.

When Nock started looking for a summer job, a friend who drove for the same company suggested she try it. The flexible hours were a big plus, fitting nicely with her Maryland United Lacrosse Club practices and frequent weekend tournaments, said Nock, who also plays soccer at Severn and has committed orally to play lacrosse for New Hampshire.

After learning to make snoballs — her favorite is egg custard — and, more importantly, receiving instruction on how to drive safely with so many children around, Nock is off on her designated beat for the rest of the summer. She makes regular stops at pools and other places where children gather, but she mostly tours a regular neighborhood route.

"It's really fun. It's so relaxed, and that was what I was looking for this summer. I didn't want a job that I despised. It's the best of both worlds. I can go out and be in the nice weather and just drive around. It's so gratifying seeing the kids so happy. People are running out of their house, calling: 'Wait! Wait!' I just love it."

However, Nock might have to keep an eye on her truck for one particular stowaway — brother Sam, who is 9 and wild about his big sister's new job.

Selena Guerrero-Martin, Poly

Cross country, swimming, lacrosse

Selena Guerrero-Martin is getting a jump on her plans to become a doctor by doing research in biomedical engineering this summer at Johns Hopkins.

The Poly senior's project, through the Ingenuity Project for accelerated math and science study, involves testing her own theory for correcting keratoconus, a disorder of the cornea that can lead to blindness. She will test a hydrogel that is liquid when injected but becomes more solid when polymerized or exposed to light and, she hopes, will correct the curvature distortion caused by the disorder and restore vision.

"It was just a really good opportunity to do something different, to make a difference," she said. "Part of the reason I want to be a doctor is I really like to help people, and this was kind of a first step, kind of to prep me for that. It's a really good experience."

Working at the lab fits in nicely, too, with Guerrero-Martin's plans to visit such colleges as MIT, Princeton and Carnegie Mellon as well as her early-morning swim practice with the Retriever Aquatic Club and lacrosse practice a few nights a week with her Ravens club team.

Darius Jennings, Gilman

Football, basketball, track and field

A lot of college football scouts have looked at Darius Jennings over the past year, and now he's scouting their programs.

The summer before his senior year means more college visits for the highly recruited Gilman quarterback, rated the No. 2 player in Maryland by Rivals.com. A first-team All-Metro selection who can play many positions, Jennings has been to such schools as Maryland, Rutgers, Iowa, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, with trips planned to Ohio State and Virginia Tech, among others.

He's looking for a program where he won't have to wait long to play, as well as a school where he can get an education to carry him beyond his football years. Jennings also will be in the Gilman weight room and will play a few seven-on-seven tournaments. A family trip to a Virginia resort will give him a break, but not for long.

"It's always nice to relax," Jennings said, "but this is a big part of my life, which college I choose to go to, so I'm just taking it all in. I'm thankful to have the opportunity."

Maura Linde, Century

Cross country, indoor track, track and field

Maura Linde will be on the run this summer. One of the area's premier distance runners since her freshman year at Century, she is working hard to be even better in her senior year.

An eight-time individual state champion and an eight-time All-Metro first-team selection, Linde is no slave to mileage, aiming to run about 45 minutes a day with a couple of longer runs each week. She will also spend time in the weight room, cross-train with swimming and biking, and go to a couple of running camps.

"I'm always trying to make myself stronger, more fit all the way around. I always have room for improvement, so summer's a really good time to work on that. I really want to improve form and get in the weight room a lot and just try to stay healthy," said Linde, who was The Baltimore Sun's 2010 Performer of the Year in indoor track and in track and field.

Linde also will fit in a few college visits, mostly up north, where she has already visited Princeton, she said, after making a swing through North Carolina that included Duke and Wake Forest.

Beth Mahr, Westminster

Soccer and basketball

On the soccer field, Mahr, set to be a senior in the fall, has played center midfield, stopper back and left wing. In basketball, she has played both forward spots but also has helped bring the ball upcourt.

She says she's happy to be able to play so many positions, adding: "Whatever helps the team."

Spoken like a true leader.

Next month, Mahr will get a valuable opportunity to add to her leadership skills as she was selected a Maryland delegate to the National Federation of State High School Associations Leadership Conference in Indianapolis. The four-day conference, set for July 15-18, will include workshops, guest speakers and community service work.

"I am really grateful to be chosen and for the opportunity. I'm just going to absorb everything I possibly can and hope to come out with a lot of ideas to bring back and share with my school to become a more comfortable leader," she said.

Mahr, who maintains a 4.0 grade-point average, is considering Alvernia or Duquesne with plans to study sports management or marketing.

Cici Palmer, Annapolis Area Christian School

Basketball

Before she heads back to the basketball court for her senior year, Palmer, who will turn 17 in August, is traveling to Poznan, Poland, next month on a mission with International Messengers, an evangelical interdenominational mission's organization.

For 12 days beginning July 21, Palmer will be teaching English and conducting Bible studies for families there. To raise money for the trip, Palmer and the group have organized fundraising events, with a car wash next on the list. Teammate Eleanor Grammas will be joining her on the mission.

"I'm really excited. I've always wanted to do a mission's trip, and this is a perfect opportunity. I just think it will help broaden my knowledge of other cultures, and I've always been a caring person, so it brings me joy to help other people — especially with God's work," Palmer said.

Tyler Smith, Western Tech

Golf and baseball

When asked about his summer plans, Smith, who was the school's top golfer and a team captain on the junior varsity baseball team as a freshman, rattles off all the things he'll be doing and places he'll be going.

There's golf to be played in Ocean City, a baseball tournament in Reading, Pa., a golf camp at Fox Hollow Golf Course, and a second family trip to Ocean City "to relax and, yeah, probably play more golf," he says.

In between ventures, he will be volunteering his time at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Great Strides program in Glen Burnie.

He laughs: "Yeah, I got a lot going on this summer."

To cap a fine freshman year, Smith was chosen this month as the recipient of The Baltimore Sun's third-annual Hayley Milbourn Award for Integrity for his inspiring battle with the disease.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

As we head into the first summer holiday weekend, and local high school and college athletes and coaches, plus the Ravens, have had a break since their respective seasons and practice sessions ended, we asked what they planned to do, or have already done, this summer.

Each day this week we'll run their answers and hopefully give you some ideas to cure the summertime blues. No matter what you decide to do, have a safe, and most importantly, fun summer.

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