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Doubles trouble

Experienced duos lead North, Clear Spring to team titles

Experienced duos lead North, Clear Spring to team titles

May 09, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

The regular season is over, tennis' second season has arrived, and a pair of Washington County doubles teams who have experienced it all before are doing everything they can to make their senior seasons memorable.

Clear Spring's Sarah Dice and Amanda Jenkins rolled to the county girls doubles title for the second straight year -- beating teammates Jessie Kissner and Brittany Smetzer in the final for the second straight year, 6-2, 6-3.

North Hagerstown's Charlie Brasher and Allen Sandberg won their second straight county boys doubles title, turning back T.J. Socks and Brandon Grimm of Clear Spring 7-5, 6-3 in the final.

North won the boys team title with 38 points, 18 ahead of Clear Spring. The Blazers won the girls title with 31 points, 16 more than South.

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Dice and Jenkins earned Washington County's only victory at the state championships last year, reaching the girls doubles quarterfinals after placing second in the Region I tournament. They filled the Blazers' two singles spots during the regular season -- Dice went 13-0, Jenkins 11-1 -- and had little trouble working together again.

"With all the rain, we didn't have time to practice doubles, but we're so used to playing together," Dice said. "We'd really like to win regionals, that would give us a better seed for states. I think we've matured and gotten better. Last year was a learning experience."

"The good thing about singles is they get to hit the ball twice as much, so their overall game improves," Clear Spring coach Lisa Sives said.

How much has it improved? Jenkins is thinking big.

"The goal is to win states," she said. "I'm going to set the bar high."

Brasher and Sandberg won the Region I title last year, a feat they'll hope to duplicate next week at Baker Park in Frederick. They went 13-3 as the Hubs' No. 1 boys doubles team in the regular season.

"We've been playing since we were 7 or 8 years old at Northwood," Brasher said. "He's athletic and gets everything at the net. I just try to keep the point going."

"We've been picking it up every game," Sandberg said. "That's all we're looking to do -- get better, pick it up at regionals and then try to get a win at states."

North senior Alex Persinger won the boys singles title with a solid 7-5, 6-4 victory over Boonsboro senior Keith Welch. Persinger, a left-hander, used a big serve and forehand to earn the title.

"The key is staying consistent, keeping my head straight and going for my shots," Persinger said. "The forehand cross-court is probably my best shot."

"His mental game is what's come along this year," Grunberg said. "He's got all the strokes, and now he's got the mental approach. He didn't lose to anyone in the county this year."

South Hagerstown junior Kara Henson won the girls singles title, outlasting Clear Spring sophomore Ashlyn Long, 6-4, 6-2.

The girls singles competition turned into the most competitive. Henson struggled early in her semifinal win against North's Meredith Reynolds, who took the first set 7-6 by winning the tiebreak, 7-5. Henson found her stride and rolled in the last two sets, 6-0, 6-1.

"I had to move my feet, hit cross-court, find her weakness and run all over," Henson said. "I had to make sure to get in front and follow through on every shot."

Long was the survivor in a three-hour struggle with Boonsboro's Erin McMurtrie that was by far the longest match of the day. Long prevailed 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

North junior Andreas Grahn and sophomore Laura Wagner teamed up to roll to the mixed doubles title, defeating Clear Spring's Gavin Myers and Megan Crowl, 6-2, 6-3.

"Andreas is very good at the net and a very consistent player," Grunberg said. "Laura is growing. She played singles this year, and she is consistent enough. Andreas is very quick and Laura also moves well."

The top three finishers in each category advanced to the Region I tournament, making the consolation matches much more important.

North's Joseph's Knight beat Clear Spring's Christian Ernst 6-0, 6-2 for third in boys singles, while McMurtrie recovered from her marathon loss to Long by beating Reynolds for third in girls singles.

Brothers Greg and Eric Harrison of North beat Williamsport's Brent Baker and Austin Britner 6-1, 6-0 for third in boys doubles. South's Heather Greszler and Christine Kantner beat Boonsboro's Alice D'Alauro and Erin Scally 7-5, 7-6 (3) for third in girls doubles. Clear Spring's Zach Repp and Katie Blickenstaff beat teammates Danny Mott and Kelsey Hovermale 6-4, 6-0 for third in mixed doubles.

Washington County Championships



at North Hagerstown

Boys team scores: 1. North Hagerstown 38; 2. Clear Spring 20; 3. Williamsport 11; 4. Boonsboro 8 1/2; 5. tie, Smithsburg and South Hagerstown 2.

Girls team scores: 1. Clear Spring 31; 2. South Hagerstown 15; 3. North Hagerstown 11; 4. Boonsboro 10 1/2; 5. tie, Smithsburg and Williamsport 1.

Note: Top three places in each category advance to Region I Tournament, to be held next week at Baker Park in Frederick, Md.

Boys singles

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