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.
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.
PressBox Lacrosse Spotlight: Landon Attackman Nate Buller
Senior Landon attackman Nate Buller has been a four-year starter for one of the top high school lacrosse programs in the nation. He battled injuries last season but still finished with 20 goals and 11 assists. Buller is now fully healthy, and the Bears have enough depth to make a run at the Interstate Athletic Conference title. Buller has committed to Navy.
What goals have you set for yourself this season?
Nate Buller: My goal for this season is to come every day ready to compete at the highest level I can. I feel like if everyone does that, then we can achieve our ultimate goal of an undefeated season.
As a senior, what is your message to some of the younger players about playing for an elite program like Landon?
NB: It's hard to realize it in the moment, but I try to make it known how fortunate we all are to wear Landon across our chest every day. I think it motivates a lot of us that we're lucky enough to be a part of such a dynasty and to savor every moment.
What does Landon have to do to regain the IAC title?
NB: I think the talent is there, and, obviously, the coaching is there, too, so if we all buy in 100 percent; there's no doubt in my mind we should get the title back.
PressBox Regional Power Rankings
5. Boys' Latin
6. St. Paul's
8. Calvert Hall
10. Severna Park
2. Good Counsel
3. Manchester Valley
4. Notre Dame Prep
6. Marriotts Ridge
8. Severna Park
10. Roland Park