When Liberty opens its season tomorrow night at home against Long Reach, coach Dave Trumbo will send out three of the most accomplished athletes in Carroll County.
Although the list of girls playing three varsity sports continues to grow, few programs are fortunate enough to have athletes the caliber of senior Colleen Cox and juniors Michelle Allen and Jessica Roguski.
All three play the same sports -- soccer, basketball, lacrosse -- and each has a different favorite. For Cox, it is basketball; Allen prefers soccer and Roguski lacrosse. Even when they are playing an in-season sport, they are often playing another sport for a club team.
Throw in academic averages ranging from 3.5 to 3.9, and it is obvious these girls know how to budget their time and lives to be successful in both arenas.
"Classes, sports, and schoolwork," Allen said of her daily routine last night before practice. "You don't watch TV; you don't talk on the telephone. All three of us like it that way. We enjoy what we do. If we were not doing it, we'd miss it."
All date their athletic careers to the rec leagues, starting in one sport or another by the time they were 5 years old. Where Allen and Cox went through the Carroll County programs, Roguski learned in the Towson rec leagues, as she moved to the county with her family just before she started ninth grade.
How proficient were they when they entered Liberty as freshmen?
Consider: Allen has been on three varsity teams since she started, earning All-County twice in soccer (player of the year as a sophomore), once in basketball, and twice in lacrosse.
Cox has played four years of soccer and was a two-time All-County selection; four years of basketball, one All-County nod, and played lacrosse last year after running two years of track. "Sports have to be about fun, and track wasn't fun," she said. "In lacrosse, I had a lot of fun."
Roguski was a varsity player in all three sports last year after playing JV in soccer and basketball as a freshman. She has been All-County in both her varsity lacrosse seasons.
Interestingly, each is an offensive force in at least one sport, a defensive standout in another. Thus, the 5-foot-6 Allen is on the offensive as a forward in soccer and an attack in lacrosse, but she is a defensive player in basketball. As a midfielder, Roguski, 5-11, is the same in the field sports and a defensive specialist in basketball.
"I have a lot more experience in lacrosse [she is a year-round player] and soccer, but my basketball is limited," she said. "I want to play lacrosse in college, so if I have to give up something on the weekend, it's no big deal.
"I was going to take a break this winter, but I need a tight schedule. I don't want to be stressed, but I don't need a lot of free time, either."
Of the three, this basketball season means the most to Cox, a 5-8 guard. Not only is she a senior, but she had to endure hoop purgatory for two years when the program was a shambles. There were only eight wins in four years, and when Trumbo came last year, he was the fourth coach in four years.
"As much as I hated the first two, it made last year all the sweeter," said Cox of her team's county championship and final 10-13 record.
"Before, you knew you were going to lose; you just didn't know by how much. Last year, we could look around and see we had the talent, but we didn't know the coach."
That quickly changed.
Trumbo started with the basics, and "we all learned so much last season," Roguski said. "Coach helped us understand the game. It was basics then, but now we are taking that experience and building on it."
Allen added, "It was fun last season, because when we beat people the first time, they kind of thought it was a fluke. By the second time, they realized what they were up against.
"Even last year, before the season, we looked at the talent and thought we were capable of winning the county. Now we're talking about the conference. Knowing we can be good makes us want it more."
Roguski promptly put the current basketball picture in perspective when she said, "People are going to be scouting us. Can you believe it?"
Pub Date: 12/03/98