By Christian Swezey and Mark Giannotto
Wednesday, March 31, 2010; D03
Good Counsel senior Sean Wright's lacrosse career began two years before it should have. Youth lacrosse in Olney starts in the second grade, and Wright was in kindergarten when he accompanied his parents to register his older brother to play lacrosse.
"Sean was going for tee-ball but the person at the sign-in pointed at him and said, 'He looks big enough, sign him up for lacrosse, too,' " said the boys' mother, Julie Wright. "I told her he wasn't old enough, but she said it didn't matter."
Wright still is big for his age -- he is 6 feet 7, 210 pounds -- and still is playing lacrosse. He has a team-high 19 goals for the Falcons (4-1, 2-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) as they enter a crucial week. They face defending WCAC champion DeMatha on Wednesday and top-ranked Georgetown Prep on Saturday.
Wright will play for Providence next year. His height is unusual in lacrosse -- the tallest players among the Division I preseason top 25 teams were two from Duke and Georgetown, each of whom is 6-7 -- and seems better suited for basketball. He was a four-year varsity player at Good Counsel and started to draw interest from Division I programs in that sport as a sophomore.
His late father, Steve Wright, played basketball at Einstein High and Boston University in the late 1970s. He was the first player in BU history to have his jersey number retired; he also played professionally in Europe and was active as a youth coach in Silver Spring.
But Steve Wright had leukemia diagnosed in 2002. He kept an online journal about his fight against the disease until he died in 2004, at the age of 45. Sean Wright said he wanted to play basketball in college to honor his father but realized last spring that his heart wasn't in it.
"I sort of felt like I had an obligation to play basketball because of my dad," said Sean Wright, who wears jersey No. 33 -- his father's number at BU. "But my mom told me my dad would want me to play what made me happiest. And I know he's happy with my decision."Severna Park starts well
After being part of Severna Park's three straight Maryland state championship teams, senior defender Sami Kizer was well aware of the pressure she and her teammates faced this season. But she still was surprised when she glanced at the Falcons' early schedule.
"Holy cow, we're gonna have to work hard," Kizer said when she found out the Falcons would face No. 6 St. Mary's-Annapolis, No. 9 South River and No. 7 Annapolis at the start of the season. "We've never had such hard teams so early in the year."
But the Falcons haven't missed a beat, establishing themselves as the favorite once again among Maryland public schools. Severna Park took out St. Mary's, 10-8, and followed it up with a 12-9 win over the Seahawks in a rematch of last year's 4A/3A East region final.
With eight starters back, the fast start has a lot to do with the experience gained during a challenging 2009 season. The Falcons got a midseason "reality check" last year, according to Kizer, when they had their 47-game winning streak snapped.
As a result, this year's team isn't taking anything for granted. With a senior-laden defense and a youthful attack, Severna Park spent much of the fall and winter playing pick-up games together, ensuring 2009's late-season chemistry would still be around for this year's daunting early-season slate.
Perhaps the best sign came against South River, when Princeton-bound Sarah Lloyd scored a game-high four goals and goalie Emily Mata made nine saves. Lloyd was injured in 2009 and played goalie down the stretch with Mata out with a broken hand. Both are healthy again and are two reasons why the Falcons are flying high already.
"Last year we got a slap in the face and I think we're thankful for that," said Kizer, an Oregon recruit. "This year we had no idea how we were gonna click and it was just immediate. It was noticeable and awesome."