The phone call came late last month. The follow-up letter arrived soon thereafter.

Neither came as a surprise to Arnold resident PeterUlrich, 17, who was informed of his selection as a player participant for men's field hockey at the U.S. Olympic Festival July 12-21 in Los Angeles.

"From what everyone had told me, I made the team before I got my official notification," he said. "I knew I had gotten it, so there wasn't that big a reaction."

Except for the realization that as the 15th player chosen to a 15-member team, "I need to move up if I want to play."

This is the second time in three years Ulrich has received such an invitation to represent the East team. In 1989, he traveled to Oklahoma City for the weeklong event.

The 5-foot-11, 140-pound fullback leaves July 9 for Los Angeles, where he will practice for a few days before taking part in preliminary-round games against teams from the North, South and West.

Next come the medal rounds, and hopefully, something more to take home besides memories.

Ulrich bypassed the tryouts last year because his high school lacrosse team atSeverna Park was involved in an Easter tournament in Fallston. But he wasn't about to miss out on another opportunity to refine his skills and gain invaluable exposure.

The tryouts consisted of two four-hour sessions at Drew University in New Jersey. A three-member selection committee sized up the talent and chose separate teams. Anyone making at least two of the lists was invited to the Olympic Festival.

"It wasn't too difficult," said Ulrich, the youngest member of his team. "You just played games throughout. There weren't any drills or skill tests. They wanted to see how you played. It was like a meat market."

His involvement in a sport normally associated with femalesin this country initially was met with "shock" from his lacrosse teammates.

"The first question everyone asks is do I wear a skirt," said Ulrich, whose father, Ed, coaches the Severna Park lacrosse team.

The answer, of course, is no.

Ulrich is accustomed to having aparent serve as his coach. His mother, Bonnie, guided him through three years of field hockey -- grades six through eight -- at Key School in Annapolis.

"I was very surprised he played," said Bonnie, a physical education teacher at Key School.

"First of all, I didn't think he would ever go out for a sport where his mother was the coach.But since he has gotten into it, I think it has given him an unbelievable amount of opportunities; things the average person doesn't get to do."

Like traveling to the West Coast next month to compete in a sport he loves.

"I think one of the reasons he made the team washe's one of the up-and-coming players," Bonnie said. "There aren't too many younger players in the eastern area. The majority play in California."

Peter didn't get quite that far last fall, settling for New York City and the Greenwich Field Hockey Club. He's spent the last three years with a "practice group" in Bethesda.

Ulrich attendeda camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 1988, and will return next week for the Under-21 national team tryouts.

"If I make that team, they have a European tour in the fall," he said.

The dream doesn't end there.

"In '96, the (Summer) Olympics will be in Atlanta," he said. "We automatically qualify because we're the home country."

Which gets Ulrich thinking about the various talks given by instructors at the Colorado Springs development camp in 1988.

"When we all got there, they gave us a speech about how hockey can take you everywhere," he said.

Perhaps even Atlanta.

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