ESPN RISE takes a look at the teams to watch this month in this area:
Girls' Track -- Midlothian
Midlothian girls' track coach Stan Morgan doesn't mind a
little travel. Whether it's a drive to the Armory in New York or
trips to North Carolina and Virginia, the veteran coach has
no problem withstanding the long distances to further
enhance the development of his team. "They enjoy competing
against good competition,"Morgan says. "We like to go
out and face new schools. I definitely think it helps them and
they love it." The tactic has yielded positive results for the
team, which captured a state title in 2007 but faltered in
2008 due to a lack of experienced sprinters. This year's unit
returns several talented runners, four of whom earned All-
State, All-District and All-Metro honors last winter. The quartet
of senior captain Paige Johnston (800), juniors Amy Witt
(3,200) and Kathleen and Leia Lautzenheiser (1,600), lead
the veteran cluster of the team and have their coach brimming
with hope for another title. "They are a very tight-knit
group and they thrive on competition," Morgan says.
Morgan is elated to trot out a new crop of up-and-coming
stars in freshman Meghan Mulroy and sophomores Claire
Benjamin and Krista Willard. Senior Anne Tenser will attempt
to make the transition from the swimming lanes to the track
— to add veteran leadership to the team. With a solid core
and fresh faces to strengthen the nucleus, Morgan and Co.
are gearing up for a run at another state title.
Boys' Basketball -- Gonzaga
The loss of a pair of ESPN RISE All-Area players should not derail the perennial powerhouse thanks to the return of senior forward
Ian Hummer, junior guard Cedrick Lindsay and the progression of dynamic junior guard Tyler Thornton. The Eagles compiled
a season for the ages last year, going 34-1 and winning the City, WCAC and the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament
titles. Gonzaga won 17 games in a row before falling to DeMatha, then ended the season with another 17-game streak.
Girls' Basketball -- Paint Branch
With the tandem of senior guard Tarik Hislop and veteran coach Heather Podosek in the fold, Paint Branch looks to
repeat as Maryland 3A champs. Last winter, Podosek leaned on her playmaker, who led the Panthers to a 25-0 record and
the school's second state crown in eight years. Hislop dominated in all facets of the game, pacing the offensive attack with
21 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 4.8 steals. Senior Khalilah Quigley is a veteran presence on the interior.
Boys' Wrestling -- Colonial Forge
The Eagles return a multitude of senior stars in Shane Gentry, Ian Squires and Washington Post All-Met first-teamers Max
Huntley and Michael Garofalo from last year's Virginia AAA state championship team. Last winter, Huntley compiled a
remarkable 57-4 mark, with all but one of his victories coming by way of the pin, and earned an individual crown in the 189-
pound weight class. Gentry and Garofalo also nabbed titles, powering the Eagles to their second consecutive title.
BREAK OUT TEAMS
GIRLS' SWIMMING -- POOLESVILLE
After winning a pair of events at Metros, junior Cara Chuang is primed for a breakout year.
BOYS'TRACK -- WESTLAKE
Seniors Deandre Robinson and Devon Smith return to the state runners-up.
GIRLS'TRACK -- CHANTILLY
Sophomore Amira Idris and senior Lia DiValentin are battle-tested in big meets.
BOYS' HOCKEY -- DEMATHA
The Stags'attack is powered by junior Casey Thrush and senior Shaun Gibbons.