Sep. 7—As a sophomore, Ava Lewis started at center back for C. Milton Wright girls soccer, playing every minute of every game she was healthy for. Of the six she missed, the Mustangs lost three, struggling in her absence. Her coach, Andrew Harrell, believes a breakout year is imminent.
Lewis isn't the only Harford County athlete expected to excel this fall.
There's also John Carroll sophomore goalie Josie Bianco, who is coming off a busy summer that included a USA U16 national selection camp invite and a chance to showcase her talent between the pipes in the 2023 Junior Olympic Games in Iowa. Bianco is another name to follow for postseason recognition.
How about junior Luke Plesniak for Patterson Mill football? He's an incoming transfer from Archbishop Curley and a wrecking ball at defensive tackle tallying 34 total tackles and four TFLs a year ago.
Here are a slew of other players capable of earning their first All-Aegis selection this fall:
C. Milton Wright: Senior Peter Donarum comes into this fall with sky-high expectations on the back of a strong work ethic this offseason.
Edgewood: Rams coach Jerry Henderson expects juniors Darian Walters and James Barreda, as well as sophomore Evan Oldewurtel to each consistently run a mid-16 to low-17 5K.
Harford Tech: Sophomores Kevin Roeder and Tanner Carson should each see notable growth. According to coach Eric Baranoski, "Kevin is a very savvy racer and will surprise some people after he put in a big summer of training." Carson was on track to break five minutes in the 1,600 as a freshman until he broke his foot at the Cobra Relays. Marley Seaborn and Caroline Bates were the Cobras' two top freshmen a year ago and elevated their training at the Fallston Area Running camp, Baranoski said.
John Carroll: Maddie Wassin ran a 5:22, 1,600 and 11:38 3,200 during track championships last year. Patriots coach Michael Monaghan said she has looked even better since then.
North Harford: Hawks coach Jimmy Cachola said junior Eden Hussung "is such a strong runner and will only get stronger as she continues to compete in cross country"
Patterson Mill: Sophomore Carli Lenhoff was the most improved Huskies runner last year, taking more than six minutes off her 3-mile time. Seniors Matthew Elliot and Kaiden Schopf both had strong outings during the track season with expectations for breakout years.
Bel Air: Senior midfielder Sophia Harrison is fast, has solid stickwork and can see the field. Bobcats coach Megan Lukasavage is eager to see compete in her final season.
C. Milton Wright: Mustangs coach Kelsey Lovelace said senior midfielder Anna Buyse is coming into this year focused and looking great she is ready to make a difference on the field after earning second team honors a year ago. Sophomore forward Paityn Gossman is also playing the best field hockey Lovelace has seen her play. "She is a scrappy finisher in front of the goalkeeper," the fifth-year coach said.
Edgewood: Junior goalie Olivia Huddler "saved a crazy amount of goals and is the main reason why our scores last year were so low," said Rams coach Adriana Pizzadili.
Fallston: Senior EK Roeder has been a versatile player contributing all over the field. This year, Cougars coach Jackie Cummings said she has found her place and is ready to help lead the forward line.
John Carroll: John Carroll has a handful of potential All-Aegis teamers. First-year coach Baily Kerr said junior midfielder Makayla Casey has really stepped up into a strong defensive force in our midfield line while sophomore midfielder Leah Foltyn has an innate ability to be poised on the ball and initiate offensive attacks. Senior forward, Annie Minoglio has been the spark to the Patriots' offensive line. And junior midfielder Sara Shorts has been another key player in the midfield line as a savvy distributor.
North Harford: Senior midfielder Grace Conklin was a second-team selection last season and is expected to take a step forward controlling the middle of the field for the Hawks this fall.
Patterson Mill: Ava Lopano started playing field hockey last year and is already showing tremendous improvement and drive for the game, according to Huskies coach Julia DeLuca. "You will notice that she can very confidently dribble and allows our team to keep possession of the ball," DeLuca said.
Aberdeen: Junior linebacker Terrez Boothe and sophomore running back Tavon Baines are two players their coaches tabbed as potential breakout players.
Bel Air: Senior Jared Fletcher (WR/DB) and junior Julien Horton (WR/DB) "have all the tools to be All-County this season," said Bobcats coach Eric Siegel. "They are both extremely athletic and make all the players around them better."
C. Milton Wright: Seniors Brady Ashman (WR/DB) and Luciano Higgins (WR/DB) "have worked hard in the offseason and have shown a lot of growth in receptions and yards gained after the catch," said Mustangs coach Larry Ashman.
Fallston: Junior Evan Alcide (RB/LB) was the Cougars' leading tackler (22) at 6-foot, 200-pounds. Coach Keith Robinson said he "has added 25 pounds of muscle in offseason" and will assume the main running back duties. He also labeled him "physical and instinctive."
Harford Tech: Seniors Troy Wallace (DB/RB), Rex Bibio (DB/WR) and junior Jamaal Pearl are "poised to have big seasons from the work they put in during the offseason and how much they improved throughout the year last year," said Cobras coach Brad Hunt.
John Carroll: Senior JoJo Aidoo (DE/RB) has several Division-I offers. Patriots coach Mark Modeste called Aidoo, "One of the top defensive ends in our conference. Has potential to take a game over."
Joppatowne: Junior Lamar Watts (ATH) was a two-way starter as a sophomore. "He's a special athlete that with another year of growth and maturity is ready to be one of the leaders now," said Mariners coach Albert Goode III. Robert Martin is another, whose "athleticism and playmaking stand out on both sides of the ball. The way he prepares himself could make him one of the best two-way players in the area," Goode added. Sophomore Zion Elee is 6-5, 220-pound defensive end. Goode said he "has great knowledge and passion for football. He shows great promise as a young player."
North Harford: Coach Justin Martinek chose senior lineman Clay Lawrence. "He was overlooked his junior year," Martinek said.
Perryville: Senior Ben Clark is "a tall, rangy kid," according to coach Sean Sandora. Clark's season was cut short last year due to injury. Sandora's other pick was sophomore Jayden Byard (WR/DB), who is "An explosive, athletic cover corner."
Bel Air: The Bobcats best chance for an All-Aegis representative is Ben Bowen, who had a low of 41 last season, is very consistent, and was part of the Bobcats' four-man state team.
C. Milton Wright: Senior Joey LoBianco could be poised for a breakout year, according to coach Melissa Berardelli.
Fallston: Junior Cameron Konkle has the tools and the drive to get him into an all-county or even all state spot this year, according to Cougars coach Mike Capozzoli. "His out-of-season practice and work ethic is something that you can't teach," Capozzoli said.
Patterson Mill: Junior Charlie Topping has another year of experience and maturity on the golf course that coach Ray Paquin envisions will translate to a successful season.
Aberdeen: Sophomore midfielder Grace Buxton "is an all-around exemplar student-athlete," said coach Bridgette Morrissey. "Her hard work ethic could get her to the top this year."
Bel Air: Senior forward Cristique Duvall has made great strides in technical skills to add to her speed and ability to finish as a forward, according to coach Mike Friskey.
Fallston: Senior Ava Lambros (M) and sophomore Sydney McLaughlin (M) are both expected to be significant difference-makers for the Cougars.
Harford Tech: Seniors Alli Bierman (D) and Cali Parsons (M) play "with a calmness that make them both fun to watch and very worrisome for an opponent," said Cobras coach Matt Berg.
John Carroll: Junior midfielder Elle Turner is a "fierce competitor, game changer and strong presence on the field," said Patriots coach Hayley Howe. "Big impact player we are expecting a lot from."
North Harford: First-year coach Aidan Riordan thinks senior midfielder Aubrey Heise could be an All-County selection this season, having been on varsity for three years and consistently finishing as one of the Hawks' leading scorers. "She goes into her senior year very motivated to be successful and develop as she prepares to play in college," Riordan said. "I anticipate her being a key player in our midfield as she continues to score a lot of goals for us and tally many assists."
Perryville: Junior midfielder Macy Forest works hard on and off the ball and is willing to step into any position that helps the team, according to coach John Myers.
Bel Air: Bobcats coach Dominic Rose believes senior center back Owen Conway will be a standout and one of the leading candidates for best player in the county.
C. Milton Wright: Senior Travis Kozak (D) will "bring leadership, speed skill and toughness to the defense from the center back position," said coach Eric Riedlbauer.
Harford Tech: Cobras coach Mike Dempsey feels that sophomores Jack Priebe (D) and Brody Smith (M) along with junior Chris Jimenez (M) can all contend for All-Aegis selections.
John Carroll: Seniors Charles Green (D) and Tyler Mezzedra (GK) along with junior Samuel Duracka (M) all played for the Pipeline 06 ECNL team that has won a national championship. "Charles and Sam as transfers to the team will have an immediate impact," Patriots coach Jim Fendryk said. "And Tyler is a top goalkeeper who has been injured for large parts of the last two high school seasons."
Perryville: Panthers coach Chris Tome called sophomore center midfielder James Abrams the best freshman in Cecil County last year. "We expect bigger things from him this year," Tome said. "He has amazing field vision and is a clinical finisher. Very creative player with the ability to play the most difficult balls."
Aberdeen: Senior Jasmine Adams is an all-around force on the right side and middle blocker. Eagles coach Jimmia McCluskey said, "she is an all-around athletic individual who has the ability to block girls, who are inches taller than her due to her vertical jump ability. Jasmine is someone with a versatile hitting ability. She plays a major part in Aberdeen's scoring group."
Bel Air: Sophomore outside hitter Annalise Lewis stands above the pack of potential All-Aegis selections from Bel Air. Fourth-year coach Dave Simon said "Annalise has a good leap and should provide a consistent attack from the outside."
C. Milton Wright: Maddie Duffalo has all the tools for postseason recognition. The junior right side hitter "can play any position, has a lethal serve, can pass really well, and has the best arm/hand control of any girl on the team," said Mustangs coach Dave Naugle.
Harford Tech: Outside hitter and setter Lauren Kunes is said to put her whole heart into every game she plays. The junior is a solid player all-around.
Havre de Grace: Warriors coach Ashley Algard named three players with potential for impressive seasons: seniors Ava Holloway and Kailyn McCoy and junior Kinsey Mentzer. "Their effort on the court hustling to any ball and communicating with teammates, with the work put in in the offseason shows their drive to be the recognized," Algard said.
Joppatowne: Junior outside hitter Sanaya Nevels was the Mariners most valuable player as she was as a sophomore and figures to continue an upward trajectory this fall.
North Harford: Hawks coach Barbara Matthews advised fans to keep an eye on junior Emily Signor as a strong hitter and middle blocker.
Patterson Mill: Sophomores Harlon Jones and Sophie Lopano have both developed high-level volleyball skills over the summer as the Huskies' top-two outside hitters contributing power and positivity.
Perryville: Senior Ryleigh Racine (OH) is in her third season on varsity, having seen improvement in hitting and serving each year. This season, Panthers coach Matt Borrelli expects her to truly reap the benefits while serving as team captain.
Bel Air: Bobcats coach Larry Tsomos, now in his 29th season, called upon five seniors: "William Harbaugh because he is an effective hitter and all-around player, Tom Silver because he is an outstanding setter, Jason Corcoran because he is dangerous at the net, Austin Barnes because he brings energy and defensive effectiveness and Spencer Schulze because he is the rock of our defense."
C. Milton Wright: Sophomore Brody Hichkad has a unique combination of size, athleticism and skill, coach Shawn Duffalo said. Senior Shawn Thomas is also "a seasoned setter with great volleyball skills and the ability to run the offense as a true leader."
Fallston: Senior Jackson Killough (OH) is a strong all-around player who led the Cougars in kills for the 2022 season. Senior Jake DiSciorio (MH) was close behind him. And will step into a more prominent role as the team's go-to setter.
Harford Tech: Junior Saxon Fuller (OH) was second team last year but Cobras coach Gary Clement expects him to make first team this year with solid hitting and more all around experience.
John Carroll: Senior libero Wyatt Leach became "an unbelievable leader on the court while improving his abilities in the offseason," said Patriots coach Jordan Smith.
Patterson Mill: First-year coach Lucas Daniel noted juniors Jacob Rakaczky (MH), Blaise Jones (RSH) and Kasey Keech (S).