At the age of 4, Mount Airy's Jason Cox started playing ice hockey.

The following year, he began playing soccer and the next year he added baseball.

So what do you think the 18-year-old senior at Towson Catholic was playing Friday?

How about volleyball?

"Every year the seniorsplay the faculty in volleyball," Cox said Thursday. "The seniors haven't won for a long while, but I think this might be the year. We're working hard and definitely taking it a little more serious this year."

Cox takes all his sports seriously.

He finished his fourth year of soccer at Towson Catholic last fall and now is starting his second year playing baseball.

He plays his favorite sport, ice hockey, for a club team in Bentfield, near Severna Park in Anne Arundel County. The team travels to Delaware, New York and Pennsyl

vania, aswell as competing here in Maryland.

"I play hockey almost all year round," he said. "The (Bentfield) league starts in October and justfinished up earlier this month. I also play in a summer league in Fairfax, Va., and usually go to a summer camp as well."

On the ice, Cox is a sturdy defenseman who loves to check. On the soccer pitch, he plays midfield in much the same fashion.

"He's a very physical and defensive-minded player," Towson Catholic soccer and baseball coach Dan McIntyre said. "He puts a lot of his hockey skills to use in soccer, knowing which way to force an (offensive) player and exactly when to make a tackle."

McIntyre attributes much of Cox's success tohis willingness to listen and learn.

"He's a very coachable kid,"McIntyre said. "He's not a naturally gifted athlete but is willing to listen and learn. He lets things soak in and eventually excels."

His third sport is baseball, which he just renewed playing last yearafter a four-year absence.

"Baseball was the toughest sport for me to pick up when I was a younger and it's pretty tough now after walking away from it for four years. But things are going pretty well sofar this season," he said.

If he had his choice, however, Cox would much rather play and talk about his bread and butter sports of hockey and soccer -- particularly the defensive side of the games.

"You're a lot more involved playing defense. The goal scorers usually get all the attention, but I think it is much tougher stopping somebody than going around somebody," Cox said.

"Everything is always in front of you (playing defense). In hockey, you're like the playmaker breaking out of the (defensive) zone and creating the play while you still have to be prepared to play defense."

Then again, there is an offensive side of Cox that comes out

occasionally in the two sports.

"Every once in a while I get the urge to play more offensively. (In hockey) I like to rush the puck up sometimes and get by a few people. Last year (in soccer), I scored a goal about 25 yards out, put it right in the corner," he said.

After graduating from Towson Catholic, he would like to pursue both sports in college.

"I've applied to Salve Regina in Rhode Island and New England (College) in NewHampshire but haven't heard back from them yet. I'd like to play both sports. Ice hockey is real big up there. I'd like to improve on my skating and see what college hockey is all about. I've heard it's a much faster game," he said.

For now, he is enjoying his high schooldays at Towson Catholic.

"It's a neat school. I like it because it's a small school, co-ed and you get a lot of personal attention," Cox said.

Along with all the sports he plays, Cox is maintaining a solid grade-point average and has found an interest in photography that he plans to pursue in college.

"I started getting interested in photography my sophomore year," Cox said. "A friend and I reopenedthe school's photography lab and it just started out with the two ofus but now it's really big.

"Both colleges have good photography programs and I would like to pursue that along with a minor or major in business."

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