If laughter is the best medicine, the Mount Hebron girls' lacrosse team will be one of the healthiest squads in the area thanks to senior Kristen Waagbo.
Whether it's a joke that pierces a tense moment or an off-the-wall comment during practice, Waagbo, a senior attack, keeps the Vikings loose and carefree.
"She's got such a great sense of humor, and she's so laid-back," Mount Hebron Coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland said. "I call her 'my vitamin' because she's good for at least two laughs a day."
But Waagbo is no joke for opponents.
She is one of the top offensive threats in the area, compiling 160 goals and 80 assists in her first three years. But Kuhl-McClelland thinks those numbers are not representative of Waagbo's ability. Because the Vikings frequently open up big leads on their county opponents, Waagbo rarely plays a full game.
"We haven't really seen what she's capable of because we have to hold her back," Kuhl-McClelland said. "She can maneuver through double-teams and get to the goal and score at will."
Despite her scoring ability, however, Waagbo does not demand the ball. Having played lacrosse since age 10, she has developed a keen understanding for the game and knows she doesn't have to score to be effective.
"She's really unselfish," Mount Hebron senior All-Met defender Laura Cipro said. "She can go to goal whenever she wants, but she's always looking for somebody else."
An example was last season's 18-7 victory over Annapolis in the state championship. Waagbo scored just once but broke a Maryland record for assists in a playoff game with six.
"When a double-team comes, she keeps her cool and doesn't rush it," senior midfielder Lindsay Dutch said. "She has tremendous game smarts."
Last year Waagbo scored 61 goals and had 33 assists as the Vikings went 19-0 and won the Maryland 3A/2A state championship -- their sixth state title in a row. Waagbo earned All-Met honors, and Mount Hebron finished the year ranked No. 1 in The Post.
That's where the Vikings start this season, and they could have an extended stay at the top with a bevy of experienced returners and a refreshed Waagbo. The senior, who will play lacrosse at Duke next season, led the Mount Hebron girls' basketball team
"People always say playing basketball risks injury, but I love my team," said Waagbo, who averaged a team-high 20.2 points while guiding the Vikings' to an 18-5 record and a berth in the 3A East semifinals. "It's good to have that time off from lacrosse so I don't get sick of it. Now, I'm ready to play."