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Ober and Johnson settle for fourth at state tennis

May 26, 2012

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — North Hagerstown’s mixed doubles team of Max Ober and Mollie Johnson settled for fourth place at the Maryland State Tennis Tournament at the University of Maryland on Saturday.

Ober and Johnson, the third seed in the mixed doubles draw, lost 6-1, 6-2 to second-seeded Tyler Collins and Rachel Land of Huntingtown in the semifinals before falling 6-1, 6-3 to Howard’s Kyle Shope and Emma Hoesman in the third-place match.

“We struggled capitalizing on the key points,” Ober said. “They were making all their shots and we were making unforced errors in crucial points. We couldn’t put any games together. We’d have some nice points but we couldn’t finish out the game. I thought both opponents we were capable of hanging with on our best day, but we just didn’t play our best today.”

“When you get to the state semifinals, there are no more cupcakes. You don’t get there on accident,” North Hagerstown coach Kevin Reynolds said. “We just had an off day. When you play people of that caliber and have an off-day, you tend to lose. We had so many missed opportunities at the net. The scores aren’t close to showing how close the games were, we had so many deuces.”

Ober and Johnson were the first Washington County tennis athletes to reach the semifinals of the state tournament since Clear Spring’s girls doubles team of Sarah Dice and Amanda Jenkins finished third in 2009.

The county’s last state champions were the Hubs’ mixed doubles team of Zach Tran and Kelly Moler in 1993.

“That’s something to be really proud of,” Reynolds said. “Fourth place out of the entire state, that doesn’t happen much for this county, doesn’t happen much for anybody in the state.”

Ober went 17-1 at No. 1 singles for the Hubs’ boys team in the regular season, while Johnson went 10-7 at No. 1 singles for the girls team. Reynolds made the decision to team them up prior to the Washington County Tournament, and it paid off.

“That’s why I put them together,” Reynolds said. “I knew Max dominated in singles and I knew they could do this. It worked out.”

— Daniel Kauffman

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