Robinson, a state semifinalist last year, returns little and will have to rebuild. Lake Braddock returns three players with two years experience, making it the team to beat. W.T. Woodson, bolstered by a strong junior varsity, should be close behind. Lake Braddock
The Bruins (17-7) return four starters from last year's team. Second team all-region selection Laura Teter (a 5-foot-9 center) averaged double figures in both points and rebounds. Senior Emily Rice (5-10) and junior Karen Jenkins (5-11) return with Teter to form a front line with two years of experience. Shooting guard Collette Cunningham (5-3) is back, as are Michelle Wyrick (5-10) and Grace Martindell (5-7).
Two years ago the Bruins surprised the rest of the region with a young team, but last year teams were ready for them. This year the Bruins have the experience to deal with expectations. It should make a difference. Oakton
The bad news for the Cougars (13-11) is the loss of a pair of 6-1 post players that averaged a combined 26 points. The good news is the team will much quicker than a year ago. Oakton was a tough team to stop last year when the Cougars managed to get the ball across midcourt.
Shooting guards Rula Malki (5-6), Christina Paige (5-9) and point guard Cathy Edmonds (5-7) will try to cut down on turnovers. Sophomore Carrie McKee (6-2, 10 points per game), who was second team all-District last year, is back. Newcomer Marcie McClain (a 5-11 junior) and 6-foot senior Jennifer Cremins will join McKee in an effort to replace a front line that dominated the boards.
Coach Tina Skidmore will need to get her group to play under control. Besides losing a pair of front liners, it also lost a point guard and a wing that contributed 14 more points. How the Cougars use their quickness will be the key to the season. Robinson
The Rams (25-4) have four players who played last year, but none who started the whole year. That could mean a slow start for the Rams, but Coach Traci Schneeweis expects her squad to be ready come playoff time.
Forward Kellee Franklin (5-9) and guard Becky Joy (5-3) were solid contributors on last year's team. Posts Julie Corns (5-9) and Jenni Woodward also saw time. But two new starters arrive in point guard Laura Brook (a 5-4 senior) and Chantell Schwandt (a 5-9 sophomore).
Scoring punch will be the biggest problem with the Rams since they lost all-region forward Paula Schuler (20 points) and center Anna Lee (12 points). T.C. Williams
The Titans suffered through a 2-18 season last year with a young squad that was forced to play a slow-down game. First-year Coach Bob Lacy will shift gears and try to take advantage of the team's quickness and year of experience.
Leading scorer Tanya Carter (a 5-9 senior, 10 points) is one of five players back. But guards Joslin Harris (5-5), Regina Fields (5-1) and Shelley Wilson (5-2), hold the key to their season. "We don"t have much height," Lacy says, "so pressing will be a major part of our game." West Springfield
The Spartans (8-15) return two players of note from last year's squad in 5-8 sophomore guard Erin Riddle and 6-1 junior center Ellen O'Day. Both will play major roles in West Springfield's fortunes.
Juniors Nikki Pollich (5-5), Erin O'Neill (5-9) and sophomore Kelly Wight (5-10) move up to the varsity. Second-year Coach Bill Gibson expects Wight to be a force on the boards. Injuries to junior guard Farrell Page and Tina Childs will slow the team's progress but Gibson has a young and promising club, which will improve with time. W.T. Woodson
The Cavaliers (13-10) frustrated Coach Harold Stewart last year. And, though only two players graduated, the coach cleaned house with four more players leaving the fold. But Stewart wasn't just being brave, he had something to fall back on.
Last year's junior varsity did not lose a game, and three of the players join the varsity. Junior Nicole Bradshaw (6-0) will start and should help with rebounding. Kristin Lewindowski (a 6-0 junior) and Sharon Murphy (a 5-7 junior) also will help in the front court.
The trio joins four players from last year. Most important is senior point guard Wendy Shaltis (5-11) who averaged 14 points a game. Guards Nancy Stengel, Kathi Rinaldi and Sharon Smith will supply the outside threat. Most coaches feel this a a team to watch.