John Carroll girls lacrosse coach Nelia Cheney has become a fan of Dr. Jerry Lynch, sports psychologist and spiritual advisor to Maryland's six-time defending national champion women's lacrosse team.
After reading the book Lynch co-authored, called "Thinking Body, Dancing Mind," Cheney has been gradually introducing those principles to her team.
"Anything that Maryland does sinks in. Maryland is a team that everybody looks up to," said Cheney, one of a growing number of high school coaches turning to sports psychology.
Cheney, who was introduced to Lynch's philosophy by John Carroll graduate and former Terrapin Kathleen "Beanie" Lund, found his approach easy to accept. Lynch preaches turning the perspective of the athlete inward to focus on a genuine love for sport rather than an obsession with winning.
"You have to find the right key and give them some life philosophies along the way," said Cheney. "Life is where we need to support each other and not beat each other up. Hopefully, this will trickle down to the rec level, where it's so cutthroat with all the college money that's out there. Sports should be for fun."
Cheney has introduced meditation as a way for the Patriots to focus on positive thinking, putting the team over the individual and having fun.
"I think it's working," said Cheney, whose 5-5-1 team tied No. 8 Severn, 7-7, on Friday. "Against Severn, they really played as a team for most of the game."
Doves take 4th title
Western's softball team clinched its fourth straight Baltimore City Championship last week and ran its league unbeaten streak to 33.
The Doves' 20-2 victory over Edmondson Friday boosted their record to 43-1 in the city over the past four years. With Tuesday's game vs. Southern the only league game remaining, the Doves (12-2) are 12-0 in the city.
Senior pitcher Ericka Butler improved to 8-2 overall with a 1.22 ERA and 78 strike outs in 46 innings. She also leads the team with a .558 batting average as well as 10 doubles, three home runs and 30 runs scored.
Butler has 18 RBIs as does teammate Heather Delair, who is batting .488 with 29 runs scored.
Rolonda Brown bats .459 and Beth Mason, .422. Second pitcher Amy Wisniewski is 4-0.
Eastern Tech's girls lacrosse team is celebrating the first outright division title in the program's five years.
The Mavericks (9-2) defeated Sparrows Point, 15-8, Friday at CCBC-Essex to clinch Baltimore County's Division II crown. Last year, the Mavericks tied for the top spot with Pikesville. They went 8-0 in the division this years.
"The players are strong, devoted to the program and used to playing with each other," said Mavericks coach Wrae Wene, "and the few new girls we've brought up fit in real well."
The Mavericks boast balanced scoring, led by Kristen Griffith, with a team-high 33 goals. Griffith scored three in the victory over Sparrows Point while Jaime Kreit, Melisha Pereqoy, Laura Shearer, Kelly Brookshire and Krystal Nelson scored two each.
Defensively, Erin Smith and Ashley McCleaf lead the way along with goalie Becky Knauff, who had 17 saves on Friday.