John Carroll School has found success in another varsity sport.
The Patriots went 6-1 in their first year of competition in equestrian show jumping this spring, going against a variety of public and private schools from the metropolitan area. School officials there are expecting even bigger things in the future.
Athletic director Larry Dukes said the team had 15 members - 13 girls and two boys - that went up against schools such as McDonogh, Bryn Mawr, Roland Park and Hereford. Dukes said the school had been losing potential students who were interested in coming there but didn't when they found out John Carroll did not have equestrian teams.
"We wanted to be the first school in Harford County to [do this]," Dukes said. "Now, we're actually attracting people from Harford County to come to John Carroll because of this."
Dukes said that since the sport is not an official one, a different type of scheduling must be used. The Patriots followed a Baltimore County circuit that has horse shows for kids on a regular basis.
That's why the team didn't have any home meets. Dukes said that will change in the fall and next spring when some of the competitions will be held at the Harford County Equestrian Center in Bel Air.
In addition, Dukes said that since the program got off to a strong start with 15 competitors, he's hoping it will double in size over the next two years.
"This program has a promising future here," Dukes said.
Debbie Supik-Jones is the team's coach, and she works with Rusty Hess and Laura Leroy, two of the area's top horse trainers, to train the Patriots. The top riders are freshmen Lauren Moran and Ali Driver, sophomores Sarah Hinder, Caroline Clark and David Dukes and junior Andrew Michael.
The program's success or popularity hasn't surprised the athletic director.
"I really thought that if we could get the program put together ... that this thing would really take off," Dukes said. "I think that for the first year it was great, but the potential is even bigger."
Harford County tennis players excelled in last weekend's state tournament at College Park.
Jessica Ahn of C.M. Wright made it to the semifinals before losing to Quince Orchard's Alice Chen. Ahn bounced back to beat Catonsville's Ashley Harvey in straight sets to take third place. Harvey hadn't lost a set all year until falling in her semifinal match, but Ahn handed her a 6-2, 6-1 defeat.
Also from C.M. Wright, Roger Torres won his first-round match before falling to Michael Goodwin of Richard Montgomery in the quarterfinals. Both Ahn and Torres won the Harford County singles championships this season.
The Fallston doubles pairing of Jordan Bukovsky and Matt Winter also won their first-round match before falling in the quarterfinals to River Hill's Scott Burtzlaff and Trevor Anderson.
In mixed doubles, the Fallston pairing of Jackie Conrad and Jeremy Butanis made it to the second round before losing, as did C.M. Wright's Anita Sahu and Josh Weiner.
The John Carroll boys lacrosse team saw its two-year run as champions end recently when Park scored a 5-4 victory in overtime in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference final.
The Patriots finished the season at 14-4. Coach Keith Hinder's team loses eight seniors who played key roles the past few seasons.
"It's going to be tough losing those guys after having them for four years," Hinder said. "They've been great guys, and they're worked really hard. The whole school's going to miss them."
With John Carroll's offense struggling this season, the defense carried the Patriots for much of the spring. Senior goalie Greg Boyle and defensemen Dan Hinder and Michael Tagliafari sparked the defense, while midfielder Dane Frank and attackman Brett Leppert helped on offense.
The Patriots had a 22-game winning streak that Park ended at midseason, 6-5 in overtime. John Carroll paid back the Bruins later with a 10-5 win, but Park prevailed in the final.