Sister acts garner raves Falcon families: Six sets of sisters play on varsity and junior varsity field hockey teams at Severna Park.


Want your daughters to play for the best field hockey team in the state?

Move them to Severna Park at an early age, enroll them in as many camps as possible and start showing up at all the Severna Park High games to get indoctrinated into a program that thrives on a seemingly endless succession of talented sister acts.

Everything else should fall into place. It usually does for the No. 1 Falcons, who have won 47 straight games, three consecutive state titles and have not lost since the last regular-season game of 1992.

They should call them the Severna Park Sisters instead of the Severna Park Falcons.

There are six sets of sisters (13 total) in the 1995 Severna Park field hockey programs. That breaks down to one set of three sisters and five sets of two.

Even the real sisters on the varsity have "little sisters" on the junior varsity who are not related to them but play the same position.

On game days, the big sisters prepare bag lunches for the JV players. All Severna Park varsity and junior varsity games are played back-to-back on the same field on the same day, making every game day similar to a picnic.

The nights before every home game aren't bad either.

The players munch on tacos, lasagna and pasta at dinners presented by parents of senior players.

Certainly the car pooling to these dinners is made easier by the predominance of sisters.

Recruiting is also a breeze for varsity coach Lil Shelton.

Her team is planned out years in advance.

For instance, Abbigayle Horn is 8 years old and already knows she wants to follow in the footsteps of two older sisters who are on the Severna Park varsity (Sarah) and junior varsity (Beth).

An even younger Horn sister, Claire, 6, has said she wants to play field hockey at Severna Park.

"Abby and Claire have a while to wait before they can play in the GARCI League but they have already made up their minds," said Sarah. "When we come home from games, that's all they want to talk about. They have miniature sticks and love to pretend they're playing."

The GARCI League is a developmental program for youngsters who have reached the sixth grade.

A fifth Horn sister, Rebecca, 11, already is making strides toward the Severna Park program by playing GARCI field hockey.

Shelton, in her 21st year, loves every minute of it.

"I've had twins on my team before and lots of sisters but never this many in one year," she said.

"It makes for a great situation. The girls push each other, talk about field hockey at home and know everything that is going on. And the younger ones come right in and play without missing a beat. They've been to the games, the lunches and dinners and know what to expect."

Having many of the same families involved in the program over the years also means Shelton has very few surprises.

"I know my players are coming from strong parents who support their kids and our program to the fullest," she said. "I know the kids are going to be high-caliber students and athletes. It makes everything so much fun that everybody wants to be part of our program. We have the luxury of having kids quit soccer sometimes to play field hockey, and that doesn't happen too often."

The only sisters who actually play side-by-side on the varsity are midfielders Kristen and Lauren Hancock. A third Hancock sister, Erin, is a freshman on the junior varsity.

Kristen, a senior with three goals and three assists, plays in the middle of the field and Lauren, a junior with one goal and three assists, is on the left side.

The Hancocks amaze others with the way they communicate and get along so well on and off the field. There are no nasty spats.

"We've always been very close," said Lauren. "We rarely ever disagree and seldom fight even at home. We're sisters first. Kristen will correct me quicker than others because I'm her sister. If I'm crowding her, she'll tell me to spread out."

And there is a fourth Hancock sister, Kaitlin, 11, who is prepping for the Severna Park show in the GARCI League.

Completing the list of sisters on the varsity and junior varsity are the Shanks (Becky and Julie); the Davises (Kim and Beth), the Grupskys (Kristin and Allison) and Gronkiewiczs (Julia and Mary).

Becky Shank, a senior, has never played in a losing field hockey game for the Falcons. She joined the varsity in her freshman year right after the loss to Queen Anne's in 1992 and has been around for all 47 straight wins.

"It would be unbelievable to never lose a game in my entire career," said Shank.

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