HAGERSTOWN — Clear Spring junior Miranda Kearney spent all season playing second fiddle for the Blazers.
On Saturday, Kearney made a significant leap to first chair at the Washington County Tennis Championships.
Kearney — who played No. 2 singles behind teammate Megan Crowl and went 17-0 in the regular season — took a back seat to nobody, stunning defending champion Tinuke Adetunji of South Hagerstown 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the girls singles final.
Relying on her defense, Kearney kept getting ball after ball back to Adetunji — who hit some great shots, but couldn’t pull off the five or six good shots required to find a way through Kearney in each point consistently enough.
“That was her game plan, to keep the ball in play one more time than her opponent and keep it deep in the court,” said coach Lisa Shives, whose Blazers swept both the boys and girls team titles by winning three of the five divisions. “Sometimes, the simplest game plan works.”
The girls singles final was a shocker from the start, with Kearney breaking Adetunji in the first game, then again for a 5-2 lead that let Kearney serve for the first set. Adetunji got one break back, but Kearney held on her next service game to move a set from victory.
“I was scared she was going to come back and crush me,” Kearney said. “I was not rejoicing.”
Adetunji found her offensive game and rolled past a tiring Kearney in the second set. Kearney got to rest for several minutes as Adetunji took a restroom break before the third set, and had enough in the tank to keep defending well and frustrate Adetunji into more errors, breaking her three times in the final set.
“Coach was just telling me to play like I did that first set, keep my feet moving, stay energized and believe in myself,” Kearney said. “When it was 4-2, that’s when I thought, ‘I need to keep getting to the ball, this could be it.’ I didn’t want to go into a tiebreak, I was getting tired.”
Two other finals went three sets Saturday.
The boys doubles final was a much-anticipated affair pitting North Hagerstown’s Eric Harrison and Teddy Schoeck — a combined 27-1 in singles matches this season — against Clear Spring’s Tyler Brown and Gavin Myers, who went 16-0 at No. 1 doubles in the regular season. Brown and Myers remained undefeated, notching their victory in a high-octane 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 thriller.
“We had to shake off the realization we lost our first set all season (in the semifinals against North’s Max Ober and Max Psillas) and realize if it’s going to happen for us, it’s going to happen,” Brown said.
“We definitely want to win regions if we can,” Myers said. “We want to get past the first round at states and keep going as far as we can.”
In the boys singles final, Boonsboro sophomore Serge Aleshin-Guendel avenged two three-set losses to Williamsport junior Anthony Adams with a three-set victory, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
“It’s a big deal for me. My dad taught me tennis and he died last year. I dedicate this to him,” Aleshin-Guendel said. “I had a bet with my friend that I could make it to states, so I want to follow through with that.”
The girls doubles final was a rematch of last year’s final, with the same result — Boonsboro seniors Alice D’Alauro and Erin Scally beat junior teammates Sarah Colgan and Ashlyn Hawbaker 7-6 (2), 6-2. Both teams were 19-0 this season entering the final.
“We’re going to wear both our (county) championship medals to graduation,” Scally said. “I don’t think (Colgan and Hawbaker) realize how good they are. They had nothing to lose. We had all the pressure.”
Clear Spring’s Zac O’Neal and Megan Crowl — who reached the state tournament last year after finishing second at both the county and Region I tournaments — beat teammates Corey McClure and Dominique Forsman 6-0, 6-1 in the mixed doubles final. McClure and Forsman reached the final as the No. 6 seed.
“We definitely want to win regions if we can, and make it past the first round at states,” O’Neal said. “We’ll keep going as far as we can.”
The Blazers boys scored 28 points to beat North Hagerstown by eight, while Clear Spring’s girls scored 29 points, eight more than Boonsboro.
“I’m so happy and thrilled for the kids. Everybody played very well,” Shives said. “I can’t say enough good things about this team. Not only are they great athletes and great competitors, but they’re great young men and women.”
Washington County Championships
Boys Team Results: Clear Spring 28, North Hagerstown 20, Williamsport 16, Boonsboro 14, South Hagerstown 3, Smithsburg 2.
Girls Team Results: Clear Spring 29, Boonsboro 21, North Hagerstown 14, South Hagerstown 9, Williamsport 6, Smithsburg 3.
Note: Top-three finishers advance to the Region I tournament Friday and Saturday at Baker Park in Frederick, Md.
Quarterfinals: Henson (SH) d. Kesselring, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4.
Semifinals: Aleshin-Guendel (B) d. Flessner (W), 6-2, 6-2; Adams (W) d. Henson, 7-5, 6-1.
Final: Aleshin-Guendel d. Adams, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Third place: Flessner d. Henson, 6-3, 6-2.
Quarterfinals: Adetunji (SH) d. Speak (CS), 6-0, 6-0; Gerold (Sm) d. Barger (B), 6-1, 4-6, 7-5; Kearney (CS) d. Nartey (SH), 6-2, 6-3.
Semifinals: Adetunji d. Kelly (W), 6-2, 6-2; Kearney d. Gerold, 6-3, 6-1.
Final: Kearney d. Adetunji, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
Third Place: Kelly d. Gerold by forfeit.
Quarterfinals: Harrison/Schoeck (NH) d. Shupp/Hovermale (CS), 6-4, 6-3; Marshall/Miller (W) d. McSherry/Deal (Sm), 6-3, 7-6 (2); Ober/Psillas (NH) d. Corgard/Leonard (W), 6-1, 6-3; Brown/Myers (CS) d. Heim/Remsburg (B), 6-2, 6-0.
Semifinals: Harrison/Schoeck d. Marshall/Miller, 6-1, 6-1; Brown/Myers d. Ober/Psillas, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Final: Brown/Myers d. Harrison/Schoeck, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Third Place: Ober/Psillas d. Marshall/Miller, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.
Quarterfinals: Breidenstein/Ober (NH) d. Mackley/Seifarth (Sm) 6-1, 6-2; Colgan/Hawbaker (B) d. Cornett/Mies (W), 6-1, 6-1; D'Alauro/Scally (CS) d. Niang/Thompson (SH), 6-3, 6-1; Jenkins/Long (CS) d. Goodnaugh/Johnson (NH), 7-5, 6-2.
Semifinals: D'Alauro/Scally d. Breidenstein/Ober, 6-3, 6-2; Colgan/Hawbaker d. Jenkins/Long, 7-6 (4),6-3.
Final: D'Alauro/Scally d. Colgan/Hawbaker, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
Third Place: Breidenstein/Ober d. Jenkins/Long, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Semifinals: O'Neal/Crowl (CS) d. O. Shao/Roberts (NH), 6-4, 6-0; McClure/Forsman (CS) d. Hershey/Froehlich (B), 7-5, 6-3.
Final: O'Neal/Crowl d. McClure/Forsman, 6-0, 6-1.
Third Place: O. Shao/Roberts d. Hershey/Froehlich, 7-5, 6-1.