Patterson Mill tennis coach Heather Consla wasn't sure what to expect this spring. It's the school's first year, so the Huskies have only freshmen and sophomores, many of whom lack tennis experience.
Patterson Mill, however, is battling Aberdeen and Havre de Grace for first place in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference's Susquehanna Division. The Huskies are in first with a 6-0 record (6-1 overall), just ahead of Aberdeen (7-1 in conference) and Havre de Grace (6-2).
"They have been working really hard," said Consla, who coaches the team with Kevin Casey and Leslie Butt. "The key is that they're very motivated and they're intelligent and they take instruction well and practice hard."
The lineups have stayed pretty consistent throughout the spring. Cameron Wann has been at No. 1 in singles for the boys, while Adam Kramer and Spencer Buchness alternate at Nos. 2 and 3.
Jason Kravec and Nick Gentry are No. 1 in doubles. David Eberius and Derek Messer compete at No. 2.
On the girls side, the Nguyen sisters have led the way in singles, with Danielle (No. 1) and Dominique (No. 2) both posting 11-0 conference marks through last Thursday.
Jillian Casey is at No. 3 in singles but also occasionally helps at doubles. Erika Richardson and Jennifer Espeland are at No. 1 in doubles, with Sarah Sharrow and Kristin Poole combining at No. 2.
Consla has used a couple of teams in the mixed doubles spot. Anthony Young and Marcela Ciappi are one pair, and Scott Terrell and Kirstyn Wilson are the other.
What makes everything more impressive is the fact that several of the players never picked up a racket before February.
"I'm really proud of them," Consla said. "I have very serious practices, and we have a lot of talks about strategy and the psychology of tennis. I don't want them to take it lightly."
She doesn't need to worry about that. In fact, several of the players do extra practice on their own after the team's workouts and have even gotten their parents into taking up the sport to hit with them.
Consla understands what it's like to start from the beginning. She made her high school team when she was in ninth grade and improved so much that she played four years at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a Division II school. She moved to the area last year and is Patterson Mill's first tennis coach.
"I didn't know what to expect," Consla said. "They're just making it work."
John Carroll girls track -- The Patriots might not have as much depth as powerful Seton Keough or McDonogh, but they will be making some noise at next month's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland track and field championships. Coach Rob Torres' team went 2-2 in the IAAM A Conference through last Wednesday, losing only to Seton Keough (the defending indoor champion) and McDonogh (the defending outdoor champion). "The girls are coming around really nicely. The sprinters are really starting to look good," he said. "We're gearing up for the championships." Erika Stasakova and Nicole Clarke give the Patriots a powerful one-two punch in the distance races. They can be two of the top runners in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. The 800 relay team that features Laura Vinton, Alesia Etinoff, Colleen O'Connell and Liz Loiodice has been pushing to set a school record and break the time of 1 minute, 50 seconds. John Carroll has up to eight girls who can run well in the 200, starting with the four in the 800 relay. In field events, Julia Ryczak (high, triple and long jumps) and Etinoff (one of the conference's top long jumpers) will score points.
C.M. Wright girls track -- The Mustangs edged Fallston by 1.5 points to win the UCBAC Chesapeake Division title. The Mustangs dominated in distance runs, as Lindsay Smith won the 800 and 1,600, and Sara Bailey took the 3,200. C.M. Wright took the top two spots in all three races and swept the top three in the 1,600 and 3,200. The Mustangs also took the 3,200 relay. All of that accounted for 74 of its 135.5 points. Fallston finished with 134. The Bel Air boys finished second with 127. Elkton won the boys title with 134.