When Nancy Burch took over the Thomas Stone cross-country program last year, she didn't have enough runners to field a team. It wasn't anything new--the Cougars hadn't fielded a girls cross-country team in four years. This fall, things are different.

Led by senior Jewel Clark, a standout girls basketball player and outdoor track performer (high, long and triple jumps) who is running cross-country for the first time, the Cougars are 3-5. Clark, whose fastest time is 22 minutes 12 seconds, finished first in a meet with Westlake and Lackey on Sept. 29 and added two second-place finishes last week.

Senior Beth McLaughlin, who also plays soccer for the Cougars, has three top-six finishes in the past three meets.

LA PLATA: The boys soccer team--two-time defending SMAC champions--has rebounded from a distressing start. The Warriors dropped their first three games of the season--all nonconference contests--but went 6-0-1 after that, until Friday's 3-1 loss to St. Mary's Ryken. La Plata's annual showdown with No. 6 Thomas Stone, the co-defending 3A state champions, is Thursday.

Leading the Warriors' resurgence is junior F John Metcalf, who has a team-high 10 goals. F Josh Parrot has added five. Senior D Ryan McClary and GK Mike Consalvo, an all-SMAC selection in 1998, head the defense.

LACKEY: The field hockey team will play its first home game of the season Tuesday night against Westlake. Construction and scheduling problems have forced the Chargers (0-11) to play all their games on the road this season.

"The only playable field we have right now is the football field," Athletic Director Dave Anderson said. "So we decided to put the field hockey team on the road this season. . . . This is the last game of the season, so we wanted to let them play at home in front of their fans."

McDONOUGH: Moving junior Megan Hoko has paid off for the field hockey team, which is 4-6 heading into the final two games of the regular season. Coach Jennifer Smith shifted Hoko from link to left wing this season to give her a better opportunity to score, and she has done just that, leading the Rams with seven goals.

Senior F Lindsay Ingolia is second on the team with five goals, but the anchor remains senior D Sara Tipsword, a tough defender known for her stick work. The Rams finish off the regular season this week against St. Mary's Ryken and Patuxent before heading into the regional tournament.

WESTLAKE: The girls soccer team (9-0-1) has netted an impressive 39 goals this season but the Wolverines have been equally impressive on defense. Goalkeeper Danielle Iuppa, a former volleyball player who switched to soccer this year, has allowed 13 goals. She recorded her first shutout in a 5-0 victory over Chopticon on Tuesday--the same day she celebrated her 17th birthday.