Blazers double up to make run at county titles

May 10, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING - The smallest school in the MVAL Antietam is the conference's top dogs in tennis this season.

Clear Spring - which has about 600 students enrolled - had 38 of them come out for the tennis team, and the depth paid off for the Blazers. The girls team went 17-0 and the boys 15-2, with each compiling undefeated records in Antietam dual meets to capture league titles.

"You only play 16 kids. We've got another whole team wanting to play, and they'll stick around and play exhibitions," Blazers coach Lisa Shives said Friday. "If we were allowed to play more than two singles and three doubles in the regular season, we'd fare even better. ... We have so many kids who want to play, and they know they'll be challenged. It makes them work harder to keep a spot on the team."

Clear Spring's next challenge comes today at the Washington County Championships, beginning at 8:30 a.m., at North Hagerstown. It's the start of tennis' second season, with lineups being shuffled as the run to the state tournament begins in five categories - boys singles and doubles, girls singles and doubles, and mixed doubles.


"I've never understood why we don't do mixed doubles in the regular season," Shives said. "If we do it at the state level, why are we not doing it all season long?"

Of the Blazers' nine entries in the county tournament, eight are doubles teams - including defending girls doubles champions Amanda Jenkins and Sarah Dice. The two juniors played No. 1 and No. 2 girls singles earlier this season but are back together.

"One thing to their advantage is their experience," Shives said. "They're very powerful. They'll play very aggressively. If they get a chance at the net, you can bet it will be a hard smash. Both girls are very athletic to begin with."

Cory Shives won the county boys doubles title with Andrew Beadle last year. Beadle graduated, but Shives is back, partnering with Francesco Scotto di Carlo.

Lisa Shives said the Blazers' mental approach has been a key to their success this season and will be key again today.

"A lot of tennis is mental," Shives said. "You have to really concentrate and not get down, because it only takes a few points to lose a game."

High strung

The Clear Spring tennis team has blazed a trail to the Washington County Championshps with nine entries in today's tournament, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at North Hagerstown. Here's a look at the nine entries and how the players have fared this season:

Boys singles

· Christian Ernst

17-0 at No. 3 boys doubles

Boys doubles

· Cory Shives/Francesco Scotto di Carlo

Shives is defending county champ in boys doubles, played No. 1 singles and doubles

di Carlo is 16-1 at No. 2 boys singles

· Jarret Martin/Zach Repp

Martin is 15-2 at No. 1 boys doubles

Repp is 12-3 overall at No. 1 boys singles and doubles

· Sam Myers/Brandon Grimm

Grimm is 13-4 at No. 2 boys doubles

Girls doubles

· Amanda Jenkins/Sarah Dice

Defending county champs

Jenkins is 10-6 at No. 1 girls singles

Dice is 17-0 at No. 2 girls singles

· Jessie Kissner/Brittany Smetzer

No. 1 girls doubles all season together, 13-4

· Megan Crowl/Beth Andrews

No. 3 girls doubles all season together, 13-4

Mixed doubles

· Derek Reichard/Katie Blickenstaff

Reichard is 13-4 at No. 2 boys doubles

Blickenstaff is 17-0 at No. 2 girls doubles

· T.J. Socks/Kelsey Hovermale

Socks is 17-0 at No. 3 boys doubles

Hovermale is 17-0 at No. 2 girls doubles

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