Defending state champions Bel Air and Glenelg were among the local teams earning top-seeded spots in their sections when the brackets for the state girls lacrosse playoffs were announced Monday.
Bel Air won last year in Class 4A-3A while Glenelg won its second straight 3A-2A title, but this year, the playoffs have expanded to four classifications. Prince George's County, which introduced lacrosse just three years ago, began play in the state championships last season, providing enough participants to expand the playoffs to four classifications.
Bel Air is now in Class 3A while Glenelg is in 2A. Defending Class 2A-1A champion Century is also in Class 2A, though not in the same region as Glenelg.
The change doesn't affect two of the state's hottest rivalries.
Severna Park, which lost to Bel Air in last year's final, is in Class 4A and in the same region with South River. The Falcons edged South River, 9-8, last week and the two are playing for the Anne Arundel County title tonight.
Severna Park, which has won 13 state titles, is the top seed in Class 4A East, Section I while South River is the top seed in Section II. They could meet in the regional final May 16.
In Howard County, Glenelg's 15-10 win over Marriotts Ridge gave the Gladiators the county title, but they could also meet again May 16 in the 2A South regional final. One or the other has won five of the past seven 3A-2A crowns. Century won the other two.
Bel Air is the top seed in Class 3A North Section II, which also includes C. Milton Wright.
A couple of intriguing matchups could be on the horizon for Carroll County teams. County champion South Carroll, seeded second in Class 2A West, faces a rematch with third seed Century on Friday. The Cavaliers won the regular-season meeting, 9-7.
In Class 3A West Section I, top-seeded Westminster could face Manchester Valley on Friday. The Mavericks play Blake in Wednesday's opening round and the winner advances to play at Westminster on Friday. The Owls won the regular-season meeting, 16-10.
Other local teams to earn No. 1 seeds: Western (4A North, Section I); Milford Mill (3A North, Section I), Mount Hebron (3A East, Section I) and Chesapeake-AA (3A East, Section II).
Hereford (2A North), and Dunbar (1A North) are the overall No. 1 seeds in their regions, which include just five teams. Anytime the number of teams drops to one or two in a section, that region is seeded as a whole.
Hereford and Dunbar both have byes through to Monday's regional semifinal, as do Eastern Tech, seeded second in 2A North and Carver A&T and Sparrows Point, seeded second and third, respectively, in 1A North.
The new Class 1A includes only one team that has ever won a state championship — Loch Raven, although the Raiders won their most recent title in 1995. In 28 years of the state girls lacrosse tournament, no team from outside Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties has won a state title.
The regional finals will be held May 16 with the winners advancing to the May 18-19 state semifinals. State championships will be contested May 22-24 at Stevenson University.
To see all the brackets go to the MPSSAA website.