Don't look now, but the spring season is upon us. The Western Maryland men's lacrosse, golf and tennis teams begin their seasons in the coming week.
But before we get into the spring stuff, we have a little winter business to wrap up.
Alexander makes waves
Freshman Karen Alexander came home from the Middle Atlantic Conference championships last weekend with a first-place finish and two runner-up spots.
She became the first Green Terrors woman in seven years to win a MAC title, taking first in the 200-yard backstroke (2 minutes, 12.69 seconds) Sunday at Dickinson College. No Green Terrors woman had won a MAC championship since Dianne Curran took the 100 butterfly in 1986.
Alexander's second-place finishes came in the 200 and 400 individual medleys. The women finished sixth of 16 teams in the three-day event -- equaling their best finish in seven years.
Alexander is all but assured a trip to the NCAA Division III nationals on March 11-13 in Atlanta. Although she didn't hit on any automatic qualifying times, the Lancaster, Pa., native did reach the provisional qualifying times in the 200 backstroke and 400 individual medley.
According to the Collegiate Swimming Coaches' Association of America releases through Feb. 15, she had the ninth-fastest time in Division III in the 200 backstroke (2:12.30) and the 10th-best time in the 400 individual medley (4:46.19). She cut nearly four seconds off her time in the 400 individual medley on Saturday, finishing in 4:42.78.
The optional entry rule could enable Alexander to compete also in the 200 IM at the nationals.
Gettysburg swept the MAC team titles. The women won their ninth straight MAC championship, and the men made it four in a row. The Green Terrors men finished tied for 11th with Lebanon Valley.
Pinning down gains
Nick Stafford and Ted Spears led the Green Terrors to 13th place out of 17 teams in the MAC championships last weekend at Elizabethtown.
Stafford took fourth at 126 pounds. Spears was fifth among heavyweights.
Last year, the team finished 16th with no individual place winners.
Keith Reitenbach enters his first season as Green Terrors head coach after spending seven years as an assistant at his alma mater, Cornell.
Reitenbach takes over for Mike Williams, who guided the Green Terrors for 11 seasons before stepping down after last year's 7-5 season.
The Green Terrors will open their season Sunday at home against Rochester Institute of Technology. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at either the practice field or Bair Stadium.
They were scheduled to begin the season Friday against Widener at North Harford High in Pylesville, but soggy playing conditions postponed the game until late April.
Five starters, including all the midfielders, are gone from last year's squad. Returning is senior Joe Furnari, who finished last season with 30 goals and 28 assists.
Four of the top five men from last year's squad that took third in the MAC championships have returned.
Seniors lead the way, starting with Jeff Dierks, who qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament last season. Also returning are 1991 MAC individual champion Steve Comes and fellow senior Tom Brandt.
The Green Terrors, guided by seventh-year coach Scott Moyer, will open their season at the William & Mary Invitational on Monday and Tuesday in Williamsburg, Va.
The Green Terrors will try to improve on last year's 3-8 season starting Tuesday at home against Messiah.
Sophomore Colin Clark is the top player back. A year ago, he was 6-6 in singles play and was the only Green Terror to finish .500 or better.