Eleven high school tennis teams will get their last chance to dethrone defending champion Severna Park this afternoon at Anne Arundel Community College.
The Falcons once again will be the favorite to take their fourth tournament crown in the last five years. Old Mill broke their string of three straight championships in 1989.
The Falcons' credentials are impressive -- four-time defending county champs, a 67-match win streak dating back to 1986 and a 12-0 slate this season, capturing their fifth straight regular-season title.
"I'm confident, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed," said Severna Park coach Marge Nicholson. "This tournament is one of those 'anything-can-happen' deals. As long as my players don't let the pressure get to them, I think we'll be all right."
In the single-elimination tournament, divisions are divided in the same format as in the regular season, with brackets in boys and girls singles, boys and girls doubles, and mixed doubles. Each division contains eight seeded players or doubles teams (except mixed, which has four seeds) based on their regular-season performances.
The top three finishers in each division will move onto the District Five Tournament, at Liberty and South Carroll high schools in Carroll County on May 18 and 19.
While Severna Park has the slight edge based on regular-season play, Arundel (11-1) looms as a threat. The Wildcats have two seeded players in boys singles, including No. 1 seed Doug Neagle, a sixth-seeded boysdoubles team, two seeds in girls singles and seeded boys doubles andmixed doubles teams.
"I'm pretty optimistic, but I think we're going to have to rely on some upsets by our unseeded players and do well in head-to-head matches against players from Broadneck, Severna Park and Old Mill," said Arundel coach Greg Helms.
The Falcons have placed two players each in the top eight in both boys teams, and one girls doubles contingent.
Old Mill (6-6, a victim of four forfeit matches) boasts one seeded singles player (No. 2 Matt Servinsky, 11-1), one in boys doubles (No. 1 Brent Layman and Phil White), two seededgirls doubles teams and a mixed doubles squad.
Chesapeake (8-4) and Broadneck (10-2) have four and three top seeds, respectively.
"I'm surprised that we had as many seeds as we did," said Chesapeake coach Ginny Barnicoat. "I really don't expect Katherine Hobbs (No. 1 seed girls singles, 12-0 during the regular season) to lose, but in all of the other brackets, especially boys singles, I think it'll be aphoto finish."
Seedings for tournament:
Boys Singles: 1. Doug Neagle (Arundel); 2. Matt Servinsky (Old Mill); 3. Wade Berusch (Broadneck); 4. Al Thomas (Severna Park); 5. Sean Moore (Chesapeake); 6. Ben Rawitt (Severna Park); 7. Jason Kesselman (Arundel); 8. Mark Jacoby (Broadneck).
Girls Singles: 1. Katherine Hobbs (Severna Park); 2. Jen Whitley (Arundel); 3. Stacy Jenkins (Chesapeake); 4. Mollie Benz (Southern); 5. Suzette Povich (Severna Park); 6. Shannon Sheleheda (Arundel);
7. Stacey Gilligan (Glen Burnie); 8. Beth Kenny (North County).
Boys Doubles: 1. Brent Layman/Phil White (Old Mill); 2. Troy Brengle/Jim Hollis (Severna Park); 3. Tim Marshall/Mark Meyer (Chesapeake); 4. Jesse Haslip/Chuckie Griffith (North County); 5. Chris Browning/Jason Reese (Meade); 6. Andy Touma/Matt Durose (Arundel); 7.Travis Moreland/Brian Knupp (South River); 8. Joe Laidley/Andy Smith(Severna Park).
Girls Doubles: 1. Anne Weston/Melanie Earle (Broadneck); 2. Petra Smeehuyzen/Erika Fulton (Severna Park); 3. Kirsten Schaffer/Katie Cimbolic (Annapolis); 4. Jen Noon/Alina Smith (Arundel); 5. Tracey Zettle/Stacey Parkinson (South River); 6. Lucina Galles/Terri Lee (Old Mill); 7. Laura Novak/Mary Patton (Arundel); 8. Amy Heffelfinger/Leigh Brokovich (Old Mill).
Mixed Doubles: 1. Matt Atwood/Angie Manifold (Southern); 2. Matt Pharr/Beth Zawislak (Old Mill); 3. Ryan Ekenrode/Nicola Rust (Arundel); 4. Eric Kuchera/Amy Myers (Chesapeake).