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Mumaw proves age is just a number

June 18, 2008|By MARK KELLER

Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior ... the class doesn't make a difference. The best is the best.

That's the approach Jefferson girls tennis coach Judy Marcus has always taken when seeding her players.

"That's one of the things I like about tennis, that it can be settled right there on the court," Marcus said. "If I beat you on the court, I'm better. Seniority has nothing to do with it."

Jefferson freshman Katelyn Mumaw proved she was the best the Cougars had to offer, unseating senior Christina Hammond from the No. 1 singles position before the season started and overcoming a loss in her first varsity match to win 30 straight times.

In addition, Mumaw teamed with Hammond to go 26-2 as Jefferson's No. 1 doubles team. For those reasons, Mumaw was selected as The Herald-Mail's All-Area Girls Tennis Player of the Year.

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"My goal going into high school was to be No. 1 in singles," Mumaw said. "Now my goal is to win states."

She wasn't too far off of that goal as a freshman. After dropping that first match of the season to Petersburg's Emily Harman -- who went on to win the West Virginia Class AA-A title -- Mumaw didn't lose again until eventual Class AAA champion Alex Bush of Parkersburg eliminated her in the state semifinals.

Two losses, both to state champions. Not bad for a first year of varsity tennis.

"Once the weather got warmer, we could see her confidence grow," Marcus said. "We knew she wasn't going to lose many matches.

"Christina was still a leader and still a captain, but even at 14, you could see Katelyn really stepping up and assuming a role as a leader on the team."

"I'm hoping to get back next year and get another shot to play Alex Bush," Mumaw said. "The way I played this year tells me that I'm right there with them. I just have to go back and pick it up again."

Mumaw stays busy in the offseason with lessons and tournaments. But when she takes the court for her next high school match, she'll be sporting new colors. She's one of the many Jefferson students who will make the move to Washington High -- where Marcus will serve as principal -- when it opens in the fall.

She'll also be joined there by coach Chris Walter, who assisted Marcus for 10 years at Jefferson, and Stephanie Crum, who played No. 3 singles for the Cougars this season.

"Stephanie and I are good friends and I hope we'll be doubles partners next year," Mumaw said. "It should be really fun."

Joining Mumaw on the All-Area Girls Tennis Team:

Christina Hammond, Jefferson: Senior finished 30-1 at No. 2 singles, with her only loss coming in the state finals. Also teamed with Mumaw to go 26-2 at No. 1 doubles.

Gretchen Schoeck, North Hagerstown: Senior went 14-5 and won the Washington County singles title.

Sarah Dice-Amanda Jenkins, Clear Spring: Junior duo played singles during the regular season -- Dice was 17-0 at No. 2, Jenkins was 10-6 at No. 1. Teamed up to win the Washington County doubles title, place second in the region tournament and win their first-round match at states.

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