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All-County Boys Tennis: Persinger improved mentally

June 09, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

There's always something for tennis players to work on: The serve, the forehand, the backhand, drop shots, volleys, lobs, top spin and slice shots.

But for North Hagerstown senior Alex Persinger, the biggest improvement he made had nothing to do with how he swung his racket.

"The biggest improvement was my state of mind, my mentality," he said. "I wanted to stay more relaxed. I could put the points behind me that I lost so I didn't explode. I didn't get angry."

With better focus, the Hubs' tall left-hander rolled to a 14-4 record at No. 1 singles and won the Washington County Tournament boys singles title. He went undefeated against all county competition.

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Persinger is The Herald-Mail's 2009 All-County Boys Tennis Player of the Year.

"He worked on his shots, but experience and confidence, that was the biggest thing, having confidence in the shots and just going for them during the match," North coach Pete Grunberg said. "I expected him to do very well this year and I felt he could beat everybody in the county. Whether he would do it, I wasn't really sure."

Persinger said his breakthrough came against Walkersville's Sean Danganan in the first of two dual matches the Lions and Hubs had.

"Walkersville is always a very good team, a good reputation, so I was psyched," Persinger said. "Everything that could have gone right went right for me. I played almost a flawless match, all my shots were in and I beat him 6-0, 6-2. Once I did that, I thought, 'Wow, I could go far.'"

Persinger beat Boonsboro senior Keith Welch 7-5, 6-4 for the county tournament crown, then beat him again 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-2 for third place in Region 1 to cap the season.

"I had to outpower him. With his consistency, it's hard to get it by him because he's quick and he can get everything back," Persinger said. "That's really what challenged me."

Joining Persinger on The Herald-Mail All-County Boys Tennis team are:

* Keith Welch, Boonsboro -- The senior finished 10-8 at No. 1 singles, took second at the county tournament and fourth in Region 1.

* Charlie Brasher and Allen Sandberg, North Hagerstown -- The seniors finished 15-4 at No. 1 doubles and won the county tournament title for the second straight year.

* Andreas Grahn, North Hagerstown -- The junior finished 18-3 across all matches; he went 11-1 at No. 3 doubles, 2-0 at No. 2 singles, and 5-2 in mixed doubles with sophomore Laura Wagner en route to the county tournament title and second place in Region 1.

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