Only four teams play field hockey in Baltimore City, but there is no lack of excitement with perennial contenders Bryn Mawr and Roland Park making up half the field.
The Mawrtians have won or shared the last three private schools tournament crowns. The defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champs, the Mawrtians shared the title with Roland Park in 1998.
Both should be in the hunt once again.
The Mawrtians face a rebuilding season after graduating 12 seniors, but they also return some exceptional players, led by Carey Fetting-Smith.
Midfielder Nikki Bogan, back Sarah Sanborn and forwards Kimmy Quicksilver and Megan Burker also return. Back Kelly Noon should rejoin the team in a few weeks after fully recovering from knee surgery.
The Reds, however, have a stronger returning core, which gives them the early edge. Forwards Allison Higgins and Cassie Harvey, midfielders Kelsey Twist, Sarah Scalia and Kinsey Morrison are back as well as the entire defensive unit.
At Friends, new coach Judy Turnbaugh is optimistic about the Quakers' chances to move back into contention after a disappointing 1999 campaign. Turnbaugh gets back three capable line players in Rachel Tranter, Theresa Naumann and Rebecca Meredith. Also returning is second-team all-city/county back Lizzie Cusak.
In the B Conference, Seton Keough will be looking to contend with preseason favorite Glenelg Country School.