Bull's-eye becomes Blazers' net result for successful run

March 17, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

After a tremendously successful 2008 season, the Clear Spring tennis teams will have to adjust to something new in 2009 -- having targets squarely on their backs.

"It's definitely different from last year," Blazers coach Lisa Shives said. "We had no idea at the beginning of last year how well they would do."

Clear Spring's girls team went 17-0, the boys finished 15-2, and both squads won MVAL Antietam titles.

While the boys team has to do a little rebuilding this season, the girls team returns virtually unchanged -- led by seniors Sarah Dice and Amanda Jenkins.

Dice went 17-0 at No. 2 singles last year, while Jenkins went 10-6 at No. 1. Once the dual-meet season was over, the two teamed up to win the Washington County girls doubles title, finish second in the region and reach the state quarterfinals. They earned Herald-Mail All-Area honors in girls doubles.


Whether Dice and Jenkins play doubles all year or split up to do singles again is still to be decided. Either way, they'll be formidable foes.

"The advantage this year is we have a lot of strong players right behind them," Shives said. "I think our girls team is going to be very strong again."

The boys team lost three of its top four players. Seniors Zach Repp and Sam Myers should comprise a very good doubles team -- Repp earned Herald-Mail All-County honors last year while teaming with Jarret Martin -- and senior Chris Ernst, a coaches' All-County Second Team selection last year, is likely to play No. 1 singles.

"I think the boys are going to have a great year, too," Shives said. "My top six players are almost of equal ability. It's not a big drop-off. The kids just want to get out there. They're really excited to play. We just have a very enthusiastic team. They've asked me, 'Do you think we're going to be better than last year's team?' I think they want to do better."


The Warriors lost their top two boys and top three girls to graduation. Coach Eric Vesely will look to rebuild with a young group.

On the boys side, senior Keith Welch -- a coaches' All-County First Team selection last year -- will play No. 1 singles, with senior David Engle in the No. 2 spot. Junior Matt Jardeleza and sophomore Eric Ryberg are tentatively penciled in at No. 1 doubles, with junior Chad Love and sophomore Richard Hershey in the No. 2 slot.

For the girls, junior Erika Deatrich and senior Erin McMurtrie will fill the two singles spots. McMurtrie was a coaches' All-County Second Team pick last year. Four sophomores -- Erin Scally, Alice De'alauro, Maddie Zayas and Samantha Barger -- will fill out the top two doubles teams.

Clear Spring

If Jenkins and Dice play singles again, the Blazers won't be lacking for girls doubles depth. Seniors Jessie Kissner and Brittany Smetzer finished second to Jenkins and Dice at last year's Washington County tournament to earn Herald-Mail All-County honors. Two more seniors -- Katie Blickenstaff and Kelsey Hovermale -- should comprise another tough team. Hovermale was a coaches' All-County First Team pick, Blickenstaff earned a Second Team selection.

For the boys, sophomore Gavin Myers -- the younger brother of Sam Myers -- will fill the No. 2 singles spot. Seniors Brandon Grimm and T.J. Socks will make up the No. 2 doubles team -- Socks was a coaches' All-County First Team pick last year, Grimm a Second Team pick -- and juniors Danny Mott and Jake Stevens will play No. 3 doubles.

North Hagerstown

Hubs coach Pete Grunberg can count on seniors Charlie Brasher and Allen Sandberg -- the Washington County and regional boys doubles champions last year on the way to Herald-Mail All-Area honors -- to anchor the boys team. Junior Alex Persinger -- a coaches' All-County Second Team pick a year ago -- is at No. 1 singles, with juniors Joseph Knight and Ryan Paolini battling for the No. 2 spot.

On the girls side, coaches' All-County First Team pick Christina Heard is back for her senior year and will likely play No. 1 singles. The rest of the lineup is to be determined, with senior Mariel Beachley (coaches' All-County Second Team), juniors Beth Zimmerman (coaches' All-County Second Team) and Meredith Reynolds, and sophomores Laura Wagner, Rachel Ober and Amanda Breidenstein all likely playing significant roles.


First-year coach Kurt Conaway inherits a very young squad.

On the boys side, senior Chris Ecker -- a coaches' All-County Second Team pick a year ago -- and junior Dan Gillen will likely play singles, with junior Jong Kim expected to anchor the No. 1 doubles team.

For the girls, junior Lara Seidman will likely play No. 1 singles, with senior Lindsay Deal in the No. 2 spot. Three sophomores -- Andrea Bodine, Vanessa Mackley and Brittany Weicht -- will be counted on in doubles.

South Hagerstown

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