The defending Maryland state champions in boys' and girls' lacrosse are off to strong starts and primed to make another deep postseason run.
In Class 4A/3A, the Severna Park boys won the program's sixth state title with a 9-3 victory against Howard in 2016. The Falcons have several key returning players, including senior attackmen Steven Zichelli and Trevor Patschorke; junior midfielders Josh Coffman and Chase Cope; and senior defensemen Tyler Ward and Cullen Joyce.
Severna Park started the season 3-0 with wins against powerful Hereford, Northeast and Mt. Hebron, which advanced to the Class 3A/2A state championship game against Linganore last year.
The Falcons put together a tough schedule with back-to-back games against Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" conference teams -- Archbishop Spalding April 11 and Severn April 13. Those games should keep Severna Park battletested for Arundel and the playoffs.
Howard is also a power in Class 4A/3A and could make another run to the state title game. The Lions, who won the state championship in 2015, are led by junior attackman Mark Bruner and junior faceoff specialist Felix Knorr. Howard opened the season with a pair of conference wins against Reservoir and Glenelg.
Linganore, of Frederick County, is the defending Class 3A/2A champion and started this season 3-0. The Lancers have a powerful attack led by junior Jordan Swoyer and senior Sam Honchalk. Hereford, led by junior long-stick midfielder Scott Middleton, will challenge Linganore, as will Marriotts Ridge.
In Class 2A/1A, Fallston is primed to repeat as champions after taking last year's title with a 12-5 victory against Liberty. The Cougars are led by Dylan Wolf, a four-year varsity player who scored 39 goals and had 22 assists in 2016. Fallston is shooting for its fifth crown in six years and has already knocked off Archbishop Curley, of the MIAA "B" conference, this season.
On the girls' side, Dulaney is once again the class of 4A/3A after winning the 2016 title, 15-11, against Leonardtown. The Lions have seven starters back from that team, including senior midfielder Kaitlyn Dabkowski and junior midfielder Maggie Kelly. Dulaney got off to a quick start to the season with a 17-6 victory against archrival Towson. Kelly led the way with five goals.
In 3A/2A, Glenelg has eight starters back on a team that knocked off Oakdale, 14-1, in the 2016 title game. The Gladiators have talent at every position and are led by senior Courtney Renehan, one the region's top midfielders, who has committed to Maryland.
Glenelg, which opened the season with three straight wins in Howard County, will face its toughest test from Marriotts Ridge April 21, which brings back eight starters from a team that had just two losses last season -- against McDonogh and the Gladiators. The Mustangs are led by senior midfielder Caroline Blalock, a Louisville recruit who had 36 goals, 16 assists and 19 draw controls in 2016.
Finally, Manchester Valley is once again the team to beat in Class 2A/1A. The Mavericks won their third straight title in 2016, dominating Fallston, 22-3, in the final. Manchester Valley, which beat Catonsville in this year's opener, has a solid defense led by senior goalie Kate Brewster, who is headed to Delaware.