Churchill and Springbrook have been the dominating forces in Montgomery Class AA girls field hockey, but this fall former Class A powerhouse Bethesda-Chevy Chase moves up to coontend for top honors.
B-CC finished 10-2 in the regular season a year ago, before losing to Sherwood, 2-1, in the regional finals.
The Barons have graduated eight players, but return three senior starters, including Betsy Gillespie, who was selected to the Junior Olympic girls field hockey team.
"It'll be a challenge for us, but we'll hold our own," said Barons Coach Liza Abood. "We have the talent to compete in AA."
B-CC's only losses last year came to their newly appointed competition, Churchill and Springbrook; they lost, 2-1, to both opponents.
Churchill finished 14-2 in 1982, losing in the state finals to Perry Hall, 2-0, but may have lost its starting goalie, Bobbi Sullins to injury and team conflicts.
Sullin wants to play other positions on the field, according to Bulldogs Coach Mary Jobe. "I doubt if she'll be coming back this year," said Jobe. "She wants to play where there's more experience."
Junior Steffie Rapp will be Churchill's starting goalie on a team that has eight returning starters.
Springbrook, 12-2, was Churchill's chief competition last year, sharing the county title, but losing, 1-0, in the regional finals. The Devils have graduated seven players but, according to Coach Kerry Garofano, the "basic core from last year is back."
Garofano has a starting front line consisting of seniors Bryn Austin, Sharie Harmon and Linda Kenel. She says, "It'll be interesting to see what the sophomores of last year will do when they play an entire game," as starters this year. She has seven juniors returning.
In Class A, Sherwood (11-1),Kennedy ( 10-2) and Rockville (8-4) will contend.
Sherwood Coach Kathy Marron is in limbo.
"I don't know what's the team," said Marron, but "I would think most of last year's players will return." If so, Marron will have four of five senior starters that have played together for four years.
Kennedy, a state semifinalist last year, must begin anew after graduated nine players.
In Howard County, Glenelg and Centenial will contend for the county title.
Glenelg lost only three games in last year's regular season and advanced to the regional finals before losing to Centenial, 1-0.
"We're going to have to play more like a team this year," said Coach Georga Kinkaid. "We'll have to learn to spread the work load around. That's the game plan for this year,"she added.
Kinkaid is aware of Centenial's presence. "They've had strong programs in the past, and I assume they'll still be strong," Kinkaid admits. But she is still optimistic concerning her group.
"I think we'll do pretty well in county and will be a contender for the championship, as usual," said Kinkaid. Senior goalie Beth Cost and senior sweeper Lori Mellin will be the only returning starters to aid in their conquest.
In Anne Arundel County, Chesapeake is planning a rematch with Churchill, having played the Bulldogs in a state semifinal match, losing in sudden death overtime, 7-6.
Chesapeake also wants to defeat Severna Park, which it hasn't beaten since Arundel started field hockey seven years ago. Returning to the forward line are seniors Hope Clark, Mary Beth Long, Natalie Slater, Kristen Crowl and Carol Itte.
Arundel lost in last year's regional finals to Chesapeake, 1-0, and will be ready for a rematch. "We do alot of battle with them," coach Joanne Sobeck said.
Severna Park, for three years straight, has reigned as field hockey champions, winning in 1979, 80 and 81.
"Were working hard to gain the state championship back," said Coach Lilian Shelton, whose team went 14-1 last year, losing only to Perry Hall, 2-1, in triple overtime for the state title.
Severna Park is returning two starting seniors, Lynn Christensen, sweeper, and Chris Wojciechowski, defensive line, to its young, but nontheless experienced team. "We have such a strong (junior varsity) program," Shelton said. "As a result of that, they move right into the varsity program."