The Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference will continue to grow this spring.
UCBAC commissioner Bob Slagle confirmed last week that boys and girls lacrosse are going to become conference sports for the first time. The change comes because Cecil County has agreed to take up lacrosse as a varsity sport for both boys and girls - which it has never done before.
However, the conference alignment will be different from other sports. Instead of splitting teams into the usual two divisions, lacrosse will compete in three groups. Harford County schools will make up two divisions, one with four teams and another with five, and the five Cecil teams will form the third division.
Slagle also said there won't be a UCBAC championship in lacrosse this year. The UCBAC usually has a title game in which the regular-season division winners meet; Slagle said that might happen in 2007. League officials want to see how well the Cecil teams fare in their first year of competition.
If all goes well, UCBAC officials could realign the teams in two divisions next year and then play a championship game.
"This is a continuation of the growth that the conference has shown," said Slagle, a former longtime coach in Harford County. "It's just another aspect of the growth and cooperation between the two counties."
Slagle said bringing in a new sport will allow developing teams to keep improving while letting stronger schools compete at the highest levels possible. The UCBAC is in its second complete year and third year overall. Boys volleyball and swimming are the only two sports that Harford and Cecil counties don't share in the UCBAC, since Cecil County doesn't offer those sports.
Time to win
The John Carroll boys and girls indoor track teams fared well in their recent conference championship meets, especially when it came to the high jump.
Seniors Kevin Turek and Jessica O'Brien each won the high jump competition at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference (boys) and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference (girls) meets, respectively. Both took place 12 days ago at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.
Turek took the title and set a meet record with a jump of 6 feet, 5 inches. That was John Carroll's first individual champion at an MIAA track meet. Turek added a third-place finish in the 300-meter run.
O'Brien won her title with a jump of 5-0. She repeated as champion after winning last year with a meet record of 5-2.
"We just got fortunate in that we've got a couple of kids who could jump really well," said John Carroll coach Rob Torres. "They work hard and can jump well."
Junior Brittany Furst also gave the Patriots a win when she set a meet record in the 3,200. Furst's time of 11 minutes, 32.20 seconds gave her an easy victory over Seton Keough's Alyssa Doyle. In addition, Furst took third in the 1,600.
Also for the girls, junior Jess Hnatiuk finished fourth in the 500, and sophomore Erika Stasakova took sixth in the 1,600.
The girls finished in fifth place overall in the team competition with 42 points. McDonogh ran away from the field for an easy victory.
John Carroll's boys finished ninth with 17 points, as McDonogh completed the sweep, with the boys edging rival Gilman.
Picking up the slack
The Edgewood boys basketball team was dealt a blow when mononucleosis sidelined top scorer Jordan Hancock recently. But the Rams are deep and kept on rolling, stretching their winning streak to eight and taking over first place in the UCBAC's Susquehanna Division.
Hancock was the quarterback on the varsity football team and plays a big role on the athletic and speedy basketball team. He's been out for a few games, and Edgewood hopes he'll return in the next several days. But the rest of the Rams have picked up the slack in a big way, as they improved to 10-3 overall and 6-0 in the division after a 68-47 rout of host North Harford last week.
Charlie Brown led the Rams with 17 points - including a pair of thunderous dunks in the second half - and Edgewood had nine players score overall. The Rams have a deep bench and several players who can handle the ball well enough to play point guard.
Edgewood's talent left North Harford coach Tim Dougherty shaking his head. His Hawks had a 24-17 lead late in the first half, but the Rams reeled off 33 of the next 39 points to break the game open.
"And they did it without [Hancock]," Dougherty said with a smile. "They'll give any team in Harford County trouble."
The North Harford wrestling team is enjoying success under first-year coach Tom Corrice. The Hawks were 14-7 through last week for Corrice, who teaches at rival Harford Tech. ... The UCBAC has said that since Havre de Grace's wrestling team has suspended operations for the season, any match scheduled with the Warriors will count as a forfeit victory for the other team. However, there won't be any change in Havre de Grace's record. The Warriors will finish with an 0-6 record and hope to try again in wrestling next year.