Recent Maryvale graduate Miranda Ibello is excited for the opportunity to play in the Federation of International Lacrosse Under-19 World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland for the U.S. Women's National Team.
She's also glad she was willing to pay the price to compete in championship tournament, which runs from July 23 through Aug. 1.
There have been intense tryouts in Florida, practices in Tennessee and rigorous workouts every morning at 6:30 this summer at Sweat Performance in Lutherville.
"We have been working for this for an entire year," said Ibello, a Cockeysville resident who sometimes worked out twice a day during the school year. "We had tryouts for this like a year ago.
"All the work and sacrifices that we have made for this amazing opportunity are just unbelievable. We will be on display on the field for everyone to see."
The U.S. Women's National Team will be gunning for its fifth straight world championship, defeating Australia for the 2011 title in Germany.
The team plays Canada, Wales, Australia, Israel and England. And there could be two playoff games before the championship on Aug 1.
"Our team is really, really motivated to win it," Ibello said. "It's more motivation than I have experienced on a team before. Everyone is so determined, it's just like crazy. That's why I really think we will be successful."
The 5-foot-6 Ibello, a four-time All-American, was named MVP of the championship Baltimore squad in the Under Amour Underclassmen tournament last summer. She will play attack for the U.S. Women's National Team after working as a midfielder for Maryvale the past four years.
Ibello, who will attend John Hopkins University on a lacrosse scholarship next season, had 67 goals and 42 assists, and won 113 draws in 16 games for Maryvale.
"She's going to do really well in Scotland and be a huge asset for the team," Maryvale coach Jessica Randasi said. "Attack is a huge strength for her. She can score almost on command and her feeding skills are tremendous."
U.S. Women's Under-19 Women's National coach Kim Simons Tortolani said Ibello picks up her teammates with her intensity and enthusiasm.
"One of the reasons she made the team is that we knew she would bring the energy on and off the field," the coach said. "The enthusiasm she plays with is infectious. I have always been a coach who loves the player who puts themselves out there."
Two other local players, recent Roland Park Country School graduates Francesca Whitehurst and Jenna Baverman, will also compete in the Federation of International Lacrosse Under-19 World Championships.
Whitehurst, a midfielder who will play lacrosse at Georgetown University, will be teammates with Ibello and two other area players, McDonogh School's Brindi Griffin and Andie Aldave on the U.S. Women's National Team.
"For me, it's been an amazing experience," Whitehurst said. "They are the most hard-working, skilled and competitive girls I have ever played with. We will be playing Canada, Australia and England and some other countries. It will be unbelievable to represent the United States and be able to wear our red, white and blue for a sport we love. I will be proud of that."
Baverman, a defender and Hofstra University recruit, will captain the Israeli squad in the World Championships.
Baverman qualified for the team after tryouts in December.
She has been training with the team in Israel for nearly a month. Her team plays Japan, Republic of Korea and Finland, among other squads.
"I definitely think it's a once-in-lifetime opportunity for them," said Kristin Nicolini, who stepped down as Roland Park's co-coach after this season. "For these girls to compete and train at that level, I think the experience will really strengthen them as a player and really prepare them for (college). For this, they are a team of the highest caliber of players."
St. Paul's School for Girls recent graduate Rachel Yafee, a Lutherville resident, will represent Israel in another tournament in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The 5-foot-2 Yafee, a four-year starter at St. Paul's who also played field hockey and squash for the Gators, will play in the U-18 International Festival of Lacrosse as a defender and face teams from Wales, England and Ontario among other squads.
"I am so excited to represent Israel and meet people from all over the world in a country I have never been to," said Yaffe, who will play lacrosse at George Washington University next year. "I am also really excited because I get to support and encourage the girls on Israeli championship team who are kind of new to team sports in general."