Severna Park's Carin Peterson, who has won more state championships in girls lacrosse than any other coach, has stepped down as Falcons coach.
Last week, Peterson guided the Falcons to their 12th state title since the state tournament began in 1990. Her teams never had a losing record, but after coaching at her alma mater for 25 years, Peterson said she knew it was time to go.
"You know when you're like a kid looking out the window that can't go out and play," Peterson said with a laugh. "I want to do some other things. I don't know what yet, but we'll see."
Peterson, 49, told the Severna Park administration Tuesday of her decision to resign. Afterward, she met with the players, including a lot of young ones expected to return next year after finishing 15-2 this spring with a No. 11 ranking.
Peterson's career came to an end May 21 with a 15-5 win over Catonsville for the Class 4A-3A title.
"It's great to go out on top. There's no doubt about that," said Peterson, the second Anne Arundel County girls lacrosse coach in two years to resign after winning a state championship. Broadneck's Karen Tengwall did the same in 2013.
For Peterson, winning her most recent two titles was especially rewarding. They came during an emotional run for this year's seniors, who were rocked two years ago by the death of one of their teammates and classmates. The team rallied around goalie Rachel Vander Kolk after her twin sister, Tracy, died of an undisclosed cause.
Tracy Vander Kolk died during the 2012 playoffs and Rachel played a key role in helping the Falcons win that title. Although they didn't make it to states last year, they came back to finish their careers with a championship.
"This last one was special with this group of seniors and everything we had gone through," Peterson said. "I think the last two titles were special for this group, and they were a great group of kids."
Peterson also cited as a highlight the 2000 championship when the No. 3 Falcons defeated No. 10 Liberty, 5-4, in triple overtime, thanks to two saves in the second overtime by Kim Lawton, now Kim Bloomfield and Peterson's assistant coach.
Bloomfield is expecting her first child this summer and will not return either. Peterson said she did not know who would get the job, but she's hoping her niece Kaitlyn Fuller, the Falcons' JV coach, will remain with the program. With Peterson, her sisters and her nieces, she said, there has always been a Peterson involved in the Falcons lacrosse team.
Peterson, who began playing in high school, enjoyed the particular challenges of both sides of the game.
"Obviously, I liked playing better because I had more control," she said. "With coaching, the fun part for me was the strategic part, to try and figure out how we were going to match up and if we didn't have the matchups, what we were going to do to get us past this game. The strategy part, I'll really miss."
After graduating from Severna Park in 1983, Peterson went on to be a two-time All-American and win a national championship at Maryland. She also played on a Terps national championship field hockey team.
The All-Metro Coach of the Year in 1993 and 2011, Peterson played on the U.S team that won the 1993 women's lacrosse World Cup after being an alternate for the 1989 team.