Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Local girls lacrosse stars receive national honors

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For high school girls that play lacrosse, especially those that want to continue to play in college, getting the word out that they have talent can be tough to do. Sure, there are the college coaches that come to club tournaments, and occasionally a regular-season game, but maximum exposure comes with national accolades. Late last month, U.S. Lacrosse heaped that on some of Montgomery County’s best players when it named the High School All-American and Academic All-American teams.

‘‘It is a fantastic honor,” Bethesda-Chevy Chase coach Jenna Ries said. ‘‘It is a great way to showcase some deserving players publicly. U.S. Lacrosse does a very good job with that.”

Of the players from Montgomery County that were named to the All-America team, every one played in the county’s private schools, underscoring the disparity that still exists between public- and private-school programs. Heading that list were a pair of stars from Holton-Arms: Lucy Hayes (who will play at North Carolina) and Bailey Fogarty, headed to Virginia. Joining them on the first team are two other players from the Independent School League, Bullis’ Alex Aust and Christina Roa. Also represented on the first team is the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, as Good Counsel’s Mary Swarthout and Monica Baumgartner made the first team squad, as did Holy Cross’ Grace Dinn. The county also had several honorable-mention players, including Hayley Katzenberger of Holy Cross, Holy Child’s Jordan Quinn, Holton-Arms’ Catherine Swanson, who will play at Stanford, and Dina Jackson and Amanda Hechinger from Bullis.

‘‘The private schools are on the radar, but they also play tough schedules and their players get a lot of exposure against tough competition,” Ries said.

One of Ries’ own players, B-CC junior Mimmy Wenzel, was named to Academic All-America squad. Joining her are several other Montgomery County standouts, including a trio from Holy Cross: goalies Kelley Brady and Julia Nagle and midfielder Christina Benedetti. Blake, which made it to the semifinal round of the regional playoffs, had four players named to the list, rising seniors Nicky Wannen, April Hartman, Chelsea DeBarnardis, Kerry Irion and Darin Murray. A quartet of newly graduated players from Good Counsel also made the list, headed by All Gazette first-team selection Swarthout as well as classmates Kristen Oakey, Elaina Ponchione and Whitney Eagleson.Holton-Arms Caroline Duffy and Swanson, Bullis’ Adrienne Wendling and Holy Child’s Sophia Sherry did the ISL and their schools proud in getting named to the team.

‘‘These girls show that they can do it all,” Ries said. ‘‘They are young and they have the energy to go for it.”