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Boys Tennis: Ober, Schoeck give Hubs boys a potent punch

March 17, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Preps Previews
Washington County Preps Previews

North Hagerstown tennis coach Kevin Reynolds has a “problem.”

He has two former Herald-Mail boys players of the year returning, and only one No. 1 singles spot.

Teddy Schoeck won the honor in 2011 after a sensational freshman season, going 13-1 at No. 1 singles and winning the Region I doubles title.

Schoeck missed the 2012 season while recovering from a knee injury. Max Ober stepped into the Hubs’ No. 1 spot and made his mark with a 17-1 record, before teaming with Mollie Johnson in mixed doubles and winning county and region titles and finishing fourth at the state tournament.

Schoeck and Ober are engaged in a best-of-3 battle in practice. Schoeck won Thursday and Ober won Friday in tight matches. They’ll play again today to decide the No. 1 spot — at least to start the season.

“It’s a good problem to have. I feel bad for whichever one ends up No. 2 because they’re going to breeze through the entire year,” Reynolds said. “But they’ll be challenging each other all year, so it might go back and forth. Most schools would like to have just one of them. I have both.”

The Hubs are the favorites to win the MVAL Antietam boys championship. On the girls side, the coaches agree that it’s a wide open year, with none of the eight 2012 Herald-Mail All-County First Team honorees returning.

Boonsboro

First-year Warriors coach Ned Weirich has sure things at his No. 1 boys and girls spots, and after that it gets hazy.

For the boys, senior Serge Aleshin-Guendel (16-6 at No. 1 in 2012) is the two-time defending Washington County Tournament singles champion. Senior Chase Remsburg is penciled in at No. 2 singles. Senior Sam D’Alauro and sophomore Zack El-Mohandes are tentatively slated for No. 1 doubles, with seniors Steve Kurapaty and Rami Yanes staying at No. 2 doubles, where they played last year. The third doubles team is to be decided, with senior Josh Barnhart and Flip Nobakovic front-runners.

For the girls, senior Hannah Froehlich is back at No. 1 singles, where she went 10-10 in 2012, her first year playing singles. Senior Amanda Kerr also is back at No. 2 singles. Senior Cindy Poling and sophomore Dana Getka will likely play No. 1 doubles — Poling has had success at No. 2 and 3 doubles with different partners the past two seasons. Freshman Hadley May is penciled in at No. 2 doubles, possibly with senior Kendra Laster. Junior Sasha Margob and sophomore Emily Benson are front-runners for No. 3 doubles.

“The season is so sporadic with the weather,” Weirich said. “It’s snowed, it’s windy, it’s hard to tell how you’re going to play. It’s all up in the air. I can’t wait to get matches going.”

Clear Spring

Long-time Blazers coach Lisa Shives guided both her boys and girls teams to undefeated records and MVAL Antietam titles in 2012. That will be difficult to repeat — especially for the boys — after both teams lost significant talent to graduation.

For the boys, senior Corey McClure makes the jump to No. 1 singles after going 12-3 at No. 2 singles last year.

“The competition at first singles is terribly tough,” Shives said. “He’s going to have the weight of the team on his shoulders and I asked him if he can handle that, and he said, ‘Yes, ma’am!’ He’s going to have to be at the top of his game.”

Sophomore Logan Speak will be thrown into the fire at No. 2 singles, as Shives strategically put her actual second- and third-best players — seniors Levi Bucher and Nick Brandt — together at No. 1 doubles.

“They’re playing very well together,” Shives said. “They communicate well and they’re aggressive players.”

Juniors Johnny Henesy and Jacob Ernst are penciled in at No. 2 doubles, with senior Evan McDonough and junior Bradly Mills at No. 3 doubles.

“This is a rebuilding year. I don’t have that very often,” Shives said. “They just want to give it their all. ... They know they have a lot to learn and they’re practicing hard and they’re very coachable.”

For the girls, senior Cayla Garner played her way into the No. 1 singles spot, with sophomore Zoie O’Neal earning the No. 2 singles spot.

“Cayla is very athletic. A great soccer player makes a good tennis player,” Shives said. “She’s worked very hard in the offseason and is enjoying playing tennis. Zoie’s definitely dedicated to tennis, she takes private lessons and is a quality player.”

Senior Samantha Michael — 18-2 at Nos. 2-3 doubles with O’Neal last year — will anchor the No. 1 doubles team with sophomore Isabel Forsman. Senior Kim Jardine and sophomore Victoria Lulciuc are at No. 2 doubles, and senior Emily Staley and sophomore Emma Seibert are the front-runners at No. 3 doubles, although Shives said at least three other teams could see varsity action.

“There’s 26 girls on the team,” Shives said. “I think the girls team is going to be very good again, and it’s a lot of new players.”

North Hagerstown

In addition to Schoeck and Ober anchoring the boys lineup at the singles spot, brothers Drew Brady, a senior, and Michael Brady, a freshman, should be a formidable combination at No. 1 doubles. Senior Caleb Lyle and sophomore Clay Smith — who played together for the first half of the 2012 season — are back together at No. 2 doubles, while the third doubles spots are being contested in a round-robin tournament.

“I expect (the Bradys) to do very well. They play together all the time, they’re both highly skilled and they’re highly skilled at doubles especially,” Reynolds said. “Mikey, for a freshman, he can really play. They might be playing singles for other teams. ... Clay and Caleb are the clear-cut No. 2 team. I expect big things out of them. Again, on other teams in the county, they may be playing singles. I expect us to do very well.”

For the girls, junior Maddie Dunn moves up to No. 1 singles after going 11-5 at the No. 2 spot last year.

“Maddie is a clear-cut No. 1. There’s no other player on our team that comes close,” Reynolds said. “She’s like a bulldog, she’s a hustler, she’s very athletic and now her tennis is starting to catch up with that.

Sophomore Tiffany Ross is at No. 2 singles. Senior Emily Irwin, who went 14-5 at Nos. 2-3 doubles in 2012, will team with senior Caroline Bradford at No. 1 doubles, with juniors Cate Hershey and Morgann Wilcox penciled in at No. 2 doubles. Just like the boys, the No. 3 girls doubles spots are up for grabs.

“It’s a rebuilding year. I don’t think we’re going to be terrible, but we’re not going to be running roughshod over the conference,” Reynolds said.

Saint James

Saints boys coach David O’Connell and girls coach Sabina Spicher can only speculate on where players will play at, as they’ve been away on spring break.

For the boys, freshman Esim Oykhman — who plays on the juniors circuit in Florida — should anchor the Saints at No. 1 singles.

“He’s distanced himself from the pack,” O’Connell said. “He’s the most committed and gifted player we have.”

He will be followed in some order by sophomores Chester Collins and James Chang and senior Thomas Rocca. Tentative doubles teams include junior Daniel Pike and freshman Bill O’Leary, junior Jeff Lee and sophomore Kaelin Thrasher, and junior Scotty Manesh and sophomore Austin Corace. Junior Dong Kim and sophomore Hongei Zhang could see playing time.

“We have some good young talent coming in,” O’Connell said. “It will be an interesting mix between the old and the new.”

For the girls, junior Candice Yang and senior Sarah DeWitt will likely fill the top two singles spots — Yang was 6-2 at No. 4 singles and DeWitt 8-4 at No. 3 singles in 2012.

“Sarah is really like a backboard. Candice takes more risk, and I like that as a player,” Spicher said. “I give them plenty of opportunity to challenge each other. All of the players have an opportunity to move up the ladder.”

Seniors Rida Faridi and Aiman Siddiqui will remain at No. 1 doubles, where they went 8-4 a year ago. Seniors Tessa Thomas and Suzie McKelvey and sophomore Evie Hammer will likely see action.

Smithsburg

Leopards coach Kurt Conaway’s lineups are in flux — especially at the doubles spots, which could change on a weekly basis.

For the boys, brothers Jacob Dwyer, a senior, and Adam Dwyer, a sophomore, are favorites to hold the singles spots after going 9-3 together at No. 3 doubles in 2012. Freshman Sid Rao has a chance to make the lineup at singles. Senior Josh Lee and junior Young Chin are at No. 1 doubles — they went 13-4 at No. 2 doubles last year. Senior Kyle Huntzberry, sophomores Matthew Wilson, Blake Rath and Austin Jones, and freshman Brandon Lee are in the mix for other doubles spots.

“I don’t have anybody who’s nailed down,” Conaway said. “Chin and Lee at No. 1 doubles is the only thing really solid, and they should make some noise. ... I hope to at least match last year’s record (8-7), hopefully exceed it. It’s going to depend on how these young guys step into their spots.”

For the girls, junior Alyssa White will likely move up to No. 1 singles after being No. 2 a year ago, with senior Kayla Griffith holding the No. 2 spot.

“I’m hoping to see Alyssa really progress,” Conaway said. “Her baseline game has improved over the years. I think she’ll be pretty competitive. ... We’re hoping Kayla can transition well from the doubles game. She was new to the sport last year and came on strong.”

Junior Shelby Stotelmyer, sophomores Jennifer Wood and Alyssa McCunn, and freshmen Devyn Shank, Morgan Fraser and Claire Bodine will likely see doubles action.

“My doubles are going to be a toss-up,” Conaway said. “I have so much youth and inexperience there. We’ll see what they can do and we’ll have them learn as much as they can.”

South Hagerstown

Rebels coach Jason Kamler is hoping this is the year junior Kevin Henson — South’s No. 1 boys singles player for the third straight season — takes a step forward.

“I’m hoping this is the year Kevin shows the consistency he needs to show to be considered in the top tier,” Kamler said. “He has the ability.”

Junior Julian Miller is the favorite to play No. 2 singles, although junior Hunter Gift could challenge for it. For now, Gift is penciled in at No. 1 doubles with junior Dallas Rhoades. Sophomores Brady Nutter and Tyler Chupak are at No. 2 doubles, with sophomore Vincent Angelo Hael to play No. 3 doubles with a player to be determined.

“We’re still looking at some inexperience. It’s going to be finding the right combinations trying to get some wins,” Kamler said. “Hopefully we find a couple guys who can work well together. That’s always a key at doubles.”

On the girls side, both singles players return in sophomore Alisha Adkins and senior Madeleine Niang, who flip-flopped positions a couple times in 2012. Adkins showed potential in going 8-9 as a freshman last season.

“We’ve had them playing some sets in practice and Alisha’s coming out on top,” Kamler said. “Alisha’s worked extremely hard in the offseason. Last year she was using instinct and athletic ability. Now she’s understanding the game and the strategy that goes into winning singles. She’s developed some weapons. Maddie played a lot of No. 1 last year, so she has a lot of experience. She’s another player who can hang with anyone in the county I’m aware of.”

Juniors Grace Porter and Nicole Goodnough are at No. 1 doubles, sophomores Taylor Nuse and Elena Young are at No. 2 doubles, and junior Amila Husejinic and sophomore Renee Williams are tentatively at No. 3 doubles.

“Last year, we had a lot of freshmen in the lineup. We still have a young lineup, but with some experience and the county talent having turned over so much, we may be able to get some wins,” Kamler said. “I look at my lineup and I see the ability, but I also see the inexperience.”

St. Maria Goretti

Gaels coach Al McGarity has a solid duo leading his boys team in senior Aaron Snook (No. 1 singles) and Bryce Reeder (No. 2 singles), who also will team at No. 1 doubles, where they were 9-4 last year. Snook also went 7-7 at No. 1 singles in 2012.

“Aaron’s very focused. He won the (Tennis Club) indoor winter tournament in (boys) doubles and mixed doubles. He could end up with a really impressive record,” McGarity said. “Aaron and Bryce have been playing together since their freshman year so I expect them to be strong. At singles, Bryce will do really well.”

Also for the boys, junior Simon Wroblewski is at No. 3 singles, while senior Brady Shaper and junior Ozair Waseem could battle for the No. 4 singles spot all season. Wroblewski and Waseem are penciled in at No. 2 doubles. The Gaels have forfeited at third doubles in their first two matches.

“I think we can win matches even if we forfeit the third doubles,” McGarity said. “It could be a good year.”

For the girls, senior Laura Winalski is at No. 1 singles after going 9-6 at No. 2 singles in 2012, while junior Lauren Clopper is at No. 2 singles after finishing 8-2 at No. 3 singles last year.

“Laura played No. 1 last year in a couple matches. She’s worked on her game, got more aggressive,” McGarity said. “Lauren is not far behind her. She’s an athlete and has a real competitive spirit. Their challenges were close and I’m sure they will be close.”

Senior Monica Divinagracia is at No. 3 singles and junior Kristen Downing is at No. 4 singles. Winalski and Clopper will play No. 1 doubles, with Divinagracia and Downing at No. 2 doubles. Sophomore Emma Mullineaux filled in for Downing in the first two matches. Junior Nicole Downing, the twin sister of Kristen, also could see action.

“Monica and Kristen played for me all winter. Laura and Lauren played together quite a bit last season and last summer,” McGarity said. “They should do pretty well, and they could do very well.”

Williamsport

Wildcats coach Josh Grace lost the majority of his boys team to graduation, but does have senior Stephen Flessner back. Flessner is 29-6 at No. 2 singles over the past two seasons and won the county tournament doubles title with Kyle Marshall last year. He moves up to No. 1 singles this season.

“Stephen now gets his shot (at No. 1),” Grace said. “He doesn’t have the big shots like some of the players do, but he definitely likes to scrap, and if he can go to three sets, he’s just as good as anybody.”

Junior Wornden Ly, a left-hander, is at No. 2 singles — and gave Flessner a good battle for No. 1.

“He’s done nothing but play tennis this offseason. He’s really taking it seriously,” Grace said. “He had a good match with Flessner for the No. 1 spot. He has a pretty big forehand and a pretty consistent backhand. He’s been wanting to play singles since last year, since he’s not a big fan of doubles.”

The tentative doubles lineup has senior Jeremy White and sophomore Stephen Crossland at No. 1, senior Robbie Koons and sophomore Alex Snouffer at No. 2, and seniors Corey Reasner and Colton Myers at No. 3.

“The good thing about doubles is we have seniors at each of the positions,” Grace said. “With a lot of people just moving up in the spots, I’ve been able to work with them for two years now. We’ll just have to put in the work and see how it all pans out.”

The girls singles spots were determined in a tournament. Junior Jordan Shoemaker beat sophomore Mandi Saum in the final for the No. 1 spot, with Saum settling for No. 2.

“We had a ton of girls try out for the team, so I rated everybody and seeded them into a tournament,” Grace said. “They made it to the finals, it was a close match, but Jordan has a little more experience and that helped out. Jordan’s strokes are really coming along, but it’s a big jump up playing the best girls in the county.”

The tentative doubles lineup has sophomores Rebekah Russo and EmmaLeigh Nally at No. 1, senior Krista Lang and sophomore Hallie Pennington at No. 2, and junior Jodeci Albertson and freshman Taylor Baker at No. 3.

“The girls roster could change every other week,” Grace said. “A lot of these girls are very close together and it depends on how they handle the pressure and the matches.”

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