Can an almost completely revamped North Hagerstown boys tennis team that lost four Herald-Mail All-County honorees defend its MVAL Antietam and Washington County Tournament titles?
Which county girls team will emerge as the team to beat? Clear Spring won the MVAL Antietam title last year, and Boonsboro and North Hagerstown shared the Washington County Tournament crown.
Can last year’s girls player of the year, South Hagerstown senior Tinuke Adetunji, place in the top two in Region I and reach the state tournament for the first time?
Will Clear Spring junior Zac O’Neal and senior Megan Crowl — who took second place in mixed doubles in both the county and Region I tournaments to reach states last year — team up for another run come May?
These and many more questions will be asked and answered over the next two months.
Frank McAdoo returns to the coaching ranks with the Warriors — he has previously coached both tennis and cross country at North Hagerstown.
He inherits a girls team with plenty of promise, and it starts with their doubles teams. The No. 1 team, featuring seniors Alice D’Alauro and Erin Scally, won the county title a year ago — beating teammates Sarah Colgan and Ashlyn Hawbaker, who also return for their junior seasons in the No. 2 spot.
“(Alice and Erin) are definitely going to be anchoring our team,” McAdoo said. “Our No. 2 and No. 3 teams are also the same. They should be stronger, more mature, a little more into tennis.”
Senior Samantha Barger moves up to the No. 1 singles spot after playing at No. 2 last year.
Junior Amanda Kerr is at No. 2 singles. The doubles teams are rounded out by sophomores Hannah Froehlich and Cindy Poling at the No. 3 spot.
On the boys side, sophomore Serge Aleshin-Guendel is back at No. 1 singles and senior Richard Hershey is in the second spot. Sophomore Nathan Weirich and junior David Heim are at No. 1 doubles, and senior Andre Nguyen and sophomore Chase Remsburg are at No. 2 doubles. The third spot is undecided.
Coach Lisa Shives has a wealth of talent back on both teams.
On the girls side, Crowl will play at No. 1 singles during the regular season.
“Megan gives her heart and soul to tennis,” Shives said. “She takes lessons a couple times a week. I canceled practice (Friday) and she was up on the courts in a snow squall with the wind chill 28 degrees to try out a new racquet.”
Junior Miranda Kearney gets the nod at No. 2 singles — she finished third with partner Becky Schrimsher in girls doubles at counties last year.
“Last year was her first year playing and she found out she loved it and improved quickly,” Shives said. “She’s earned her way into that second spot.”
Senior Ashlyn Long, who went 17-1 at No. 2 singles last year, will team with senior Bethani Jenkins at No. 1 doubles — Bethani’s older sister, Amanda, took third place with partner Sarah Dice in girls doubles at the state tournament in 2009.
Juniors Miranda Speak and Dominique Forsman will play No. 2 doubles, with the third spot in the air — sophomores Samantha Michael and Anje Garner are frontrunners.
On the boys side, O’Neal will play No. 1 singles — he was a combined 14-4 at first and second singles last year — and senior Brandon Kesselring gets the second spot.
“Zac spends a tremendous amount of time playing out of season, playing tourneys and private lessons,” Shives said. He’s very much a tennis player and really enjoys the game. Brandon is a really good all-around athlete. His soccer skills with his quickness and footwork help him. He’ll cover the court very well.”
Senior Tyler Brown — who went 15-3 in singles matches a year ago — will team with senior Gavin Myers at No. 1 doubles. Myers took second place in boys doubles at counties last year with Danny Mott.
“Gavin is as good as those other three players. He’s actually the captain of the team,” Shives said. “Gavin always wants what’s best for the team. He was fine playing doubles and he wants to get used to playing with Tyler.”
The other doubles teams could change. Junior Cory Caudell will play No. 2 doubles, likely with sophomore Corey McClure. Three juniors — Scott Hovermale, Sam Morris and Mike Snyder — could see action at No. 3 doubles.
First-year coach Kevin Reynolds — previously an assistant at Clear Spring — will try to help keep the boys at the top of the county mountain. It will be a challenge after player of the year Andreas Grahn and All-County honorees Joseph Knight, Ryan Paolini and Greg Harrison graduated.
Senior Eric Harrison — who won the county boys doubles title with brother Greg last year and earned All-County honors — returns at the No. 2 singles spot.
“Eric’s a really good player,” Reynolds said. “His big strength is his net play.”
The top spot was won by freshman Teddy Schoeck, whose siblings have left quite a legacy at North — Gretchen Schoeck won county girls singles titles in 2006 and 2008, and Vincent Schoeck won three straight county boys singles tiles from 2004 to 2006.
“He’s tall and really coordinated,” Reynolds said. “He’s an all-court player, great serve, good strokes and great at the net. Being a freshman, wow.”
Senior Max Psillas and sophomore Drew Brady will start at the top doubles spot until sophomore Max Ober returns when his broken foot heals. Ober will replace Brady, who will then play at No. 2 doubles with junior Oscar Shao. The No. 3 spot is up for grabs.
On the girls side, seven of last year’s eight varsity players return.
Senior Laura Wagner — a two-time county and Region I mixed doubles champion with Grahn — is at No. 1 singles, with senior Katelyn Goodnaugh — who played for South Hagerstown two years ago — filling the second spot.
Seniors Rachel Ober and Amanda Breidenstein — who finished fourth at counties in girls doubles last year — will team up, as will juniors Mollie Johnson and Samantha Roberts. Those two teams will battle for the top spot, while juniors Kelli Wright and Rachel Greenwald will fill the third spot.
“(The girls are) going to be very, very strong,” Reynolds said. “I really expect to win a lot of matches with these girls. All we did is get a year older and wiser, and that typically leads to a lot of victories.”
The Saints girls — led by coach Sabina Spicher — have already been hit by injuries. Junior Rose Chiumento, who went 7-2 at No. 2 singles last year, is out with a wrist injury that required surgery.
“Losing Rose is huge,” Spicher said. “She’s definitely my most experienced player.”
Most dual meets Saint James plays follows a format with four singles and three doubles, with singles players allowed to play doubles as well. The four singles spots will be held by freshman Candice Yang, sophomore Sarah DeWitt, senior Claire O’Connell and senior Myers Rhoads, with the order to be determined.
“Yang has played for five years, so I’m hoping that will pay off on the court, but playing a freshman at No. 1 is a lot to ask,” Spicher said.
First-year boys coach David O’Connell takes over a Saints squad led by three returning players — Juniors Emmett Orfan and Boudi El Gohary at first and second singles, and senior Elliott Walker, who will play first doubles with senior Nikhil Gupta.
“Emmett’s a terrific athlete. He starred on our basketball team,” O’Connell said. “He’s very quick. He covers the court like nobody else and he’s very good at extending points. Nikhil was a JV player for a couple years but he’s really worked hard. He played USTA junior leagues and went to an academy in Waynesboro. He’s improved a great deal and is set up to be an integral part of our doubles. Boudi will be our darkhorse.”
Junior Hussein Faridi and senior Luke Zhang round out the singles lineup. Seniors Jae Kim and Sang-Yun Lee will play second doubles, and sophomore Thomas Rocca and freshman Jeff Lee will play third doubles. Freshman Daniel Pike will likely see some action.
Coach Kurt Conaway has high hopes that his girls team can challenge the other established county squads.
“We’re feeling pretty good, especially on the girls side with so many seniors and so much experience,” Conaway said. “We’re expecting a lot out of them.”
Senior Vanessa Mackley and juniors Emily Seifarth and Jennifer Gerold — a German exchange student — are competing for the two singles spots. The odd girl out will play No. 1 doubles with senior Andrea Bodine.
“Emily and Vanessa battled all last year for No. 2, and their challenge matches were pretty even,” Conaway said. “Jennifer is definitely an equal to them, so it’s an interesting fight. It’s going to be open between them all season. My lineup may shuffle on an every-match basis.”
Seniors Brittany Weicht and Katie Gigante will play No. 2 doubles, and junior Cori Potter will play No. 3 doubles with a partner to be determined.
On the boys side, junior Haroon Pasha is the frontrunner to play No. 1 singles, and the second spot is up for grabs — juniors Corey Scharenbroch, Matt Deal, Logan McSherry and Christian Grosh — who previously played at St. Maria Goretti — are in the running, as is sophomore Young Chin.
Deal and McSherry could wind up playing No. 1 doubles again this year, and senior Christian Rejonis and sophomore Jacob Dwyer also will play doubles.
St. Maria Goretti
Coach Al McGarity’s boys are led by senior Max Agbayani, who finished second in the now-defunct Apple Valley League tournament at No. 1 singles last year.
“Since practice started a week ago, he’s exhibited a tremendous attitude,” McGarity said. “He’s more of the team leader and leads by example and direction. He is bigger and stronger, and I credit soccer for that.”
Like Saint James, most of the Gaels’ matches follow a 4-3 format. Seniors Zack Fawaz and Max Stockslager and junior Rodrigo Reyna played singles last year, and sophomore Aaron Snook is battling to win a singles spot.
Snook and sophomore Bryce Reeder will form a doubles team, and juniors Aaron Hawk and Mateo Pelja and sophomore Brady Shaper could also see action.
“Both Aaron and Bryce are going to surprise some people this year,” McGarity said. “They’ve both been working very hard. Both in singles and doubles, they’re going to be very good.”
On the girls side, four returnees — senior Meagan Shirley, juniors Ashley Robinson and Laura Winalski, and sophomore Monica Divinagracia — will anchor the squad.
“Those four played together a lot last year as singles and doubles,” McGarity said. “Each of them has played with each other, so they know each other well. It’s a good core.”
Senior Alyson Cushwa and junior Annie Cochran will form a doubles team. Junior Beth Eich, sophomore Brooke Shives and freshman Eva Kuehler also could see action.
Coach Jason Kamler is confident Adetunji, who finished third in Region I in girls singles a year ago — one spot out of qualification for the state tournament — will take the next step this season.
“She obviously improved leaps and bounds last year and I’m expecting the same thing this year,” Kamler said. “She worked hard in the offseason and is in the best tennis shape she’s been in. ... She’s looking to win (regionals). She came close last year.”
The No. 2 singles spot is a battle between three seniors — Isabella Narti Adetunji (Tinuke’s half-sister), Nicole Thompson and Breanna Green. Two of them will drop into doubles.
Four seniors return for the boys team. Frederick Huang will likely play No. 1 singles, while Anthoney Denkulich, Jean-Claude Coomer and Zach Ricker are battling for the second spot.
That battle could be flipped on its head by freshman Kevin Henson — the brother of Kara Henson, who won the county girls singles title in 2009.
“He’s already told me he wants to do better than his sister, so he has high expectations for himself,” Kamler said.
First-year coach Josh Grace takes over a boys team with a lot of experience.
Junior Anthony Adams is back at No. 1 singles, where he went 12-5 and finished fourth at counties a year ago. Sophomore Stephen Flessner will play No. 2 singles.
“(Adams) has some high hopes for this season,” Grace said. “I know he wants to get to regionals really bad.”
Senior Brad Miller and junior Kyle Marshall are back at No. 1 doubles, and senior Taylor Leonard and junior Ryan Corgard also are back at No. 2 doubles. Miller and Marshall finished third at counties a year ago, beating Leonard and Corgard, who settled for fourth. Juniors Stephen Longnecker and Matt Stemper round out the doubles teams.
“The same team’s returning from last year,” Grace said. “Last year they were pretty inexperienced, but this year they’re a year stronger. They should be solid against anybody. Kyle and Brad made it to regionals last year and I expect them to get there again. We might be able to get two teams there.”
On the girls side, junior Sam Kelly will play No. 1 singles and junior Jessica Mies is in the second spot.
“Sam is really strong. I think she can make it through counties and into regionals,” Grace said.
Senior Miranda Wollard and junior Casee Cornett will play No. 1 doubles, junior Cassie Wollard and sophomore Jordan Shoemaker will play No. 2 doubles, and sophomore Cheyenne Moore and freshman Elsie Martinez round out the doubles teams.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Anthony Adams, Williamsport — Junior went 12-5 at No. 1 singles last year and finished fourth in the county tournament.
Max Agbayani, St. Maria Goretti — Senior placed second at the Apple Valley League tournament at No. 1 singles.
Tyler Brown, Clear Spring — Senior went 15-3 in singles matches last year before taking second at the county tournament. Will play doubles with Gavin Myers this season.
Eric Harrison, North Hagerstown — Senior was an All-County honoree last year after winning the county boys doubles title with brother Greg.
Zac O’Neal, Clear Spring — Senior went 14-4 in singles matches last year before taking second in mixed doubles with Megan Crowl at the county and Region I tournaments.
Tinuke Adetunji, South Hagerstown — Senior was The Herald-Mail’s Girls Player of the Year after going 17-1 at No. 1 singles and winning the county tournament last season.
Megan Crowl, Clear Spring — Senior was an All-County honoree last season, taking second in mixed doubles with Zac O’Neal at the county and Region I tournaments.
Alice D’Alauro, Boonsboro — Senior was an All-County honoree last season after winning the county girls doubles title with Erin Scally.
Ashlyn Long, Clear Spring — Senior went 17-1 at No. 2 singles last year. She will team up with Bethani Jenkins at No. 1 doubles this season.
Erin Scally, Boonsboro — Senior was an All-County honoree last season after winning the county girls doubles title with Alice D’Alauro.