Hammond hopes to challenge usual powers High school tennis preview

March 28, 1993|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Contributing Writer

Atholton Raiders

Tim Coleman enters his third season as the Raiders' coach with high expectations. After posting a 6-8 record in 1991, Atholton moved into contention with perennial tennis power Centennial last year, finishing second in the regular season with a 10-4 record and second -- again to the Eagles -- in the county tournament.

"We have a strong team returning and should be in the running for first or second place if the boys develop," Coleman said.

Atholton's early strength will come from the girls, with six of the Raiders' top seven players returning. Junior Pam Yep will fill the No. 1 spot, followed by juniors Nicole Auclair, Jaime Green, Erin Getschman and Ellen Barth. Sophomore Jordana Dworkin and senior Sylvia Park round out the Raiders' ladder that Coleman said has "no superstars."

Coleman has four of his top seven boys players returning, led by No. 1 Josh Prangley, a sophomore who ascended to the Raiders' top spot last year, and No. 2 Brian Naftlay, a junior in his third varsity season.

Atholton's boys side is hoping to get a lift from two German exchange students, sophomore Sebastian Hommen and senior Tobias Boddker.

"The addition of the two German visiting students takes this from being a nice team to a strong team," Coleman said.

Senior Jason Mazur, a No. 5 singles player in his fourth season, is Coleman's strongest doubles player.

Centennial Eagles

Winners of eight of the last 10 county championships, Centennial once again is expected to be among the best on the court.

However, Eagles coach Bill Shook said he doesn't expect another season like last year, in which Centennial breezed through the regular season 14-0 and went on to win the county tournament.

"We graduated five senior boys and two senior girls, but our biggest loss was two of our top girls players not returning this season," Shook said.

One of the girls the Eagles didn't expect to lose was last year's No. 1 player, Natalie Rich. The senior All-Metro soccer star, already with a scholarship to play at Maryland next fall, decided to concentrate on soccer this spring.

Centennial also will be without Melissa Esposito, last year's No. 3 girls player who moved to San Diego with her parents.

Last year, Esposito teamed with junior Becky Kanouse to reach the state doubles finals before losing to Walt Whitman's Liz Henkins and Laura Martin. Kanouse moves into the No. 1 spot this spring and her younger sister Stephanie will join her as a doubles partner.

For Centennial's boys, junior Khan Pathan occupies the No. 1 spot and is followed by freshman Brian Ruppert and senior Dave Allocco. A mix of lacrosse and baseball players will round out the remaining four spots. Juniors Quang Hoang and Chong Choe form Centennial's top doubles team.

Besides the Kanouse sisters, the Eagles' girls team will rely on junior Susan Green, sophomore Michelle Brown, freshman Julia Dougherty and sophomore Shelley Gerhard.

Glenelg Gladiators

Glenelg second-year coach Jean Vanderpool expects a season similar to last year's 7-7 record. The Gladiators have a strong contingent of returning girls.

"My top six girls are back and the only thing that's hurt them is having very limited time or space to practice," Vanderpool said.

Junior Tracy Brown, the No. 1 singles player, has been fortunate to play in several area tournaments in the last six months and should be sharp, Vanderpool said. Brown is joined by senior Marguerte Myers, junior Beth Brittle, sophomore Allie Spencer, junior Michelle Farley and sophomore Andrea Bedingfield as returning starters. Junior Molly Hood, the No. 7 player, is the new kid on the court.

Four boys return for the Gladiators, including No. 1 player Dan Gaertner. He is joined by fellow seniors Kevin Horowitz and Scott Cline (No. 4) and junior Jerry Pollack (No. 6).

"I'm counting on the boys athleticism to get us through a few matches," Vanderpool said, noting six of her boys were members of the Gladiators' Class 2A state co-champion soccer team.

F: Brittle and Farley make up the top girls doubles team.

Glenelg Country School

Rookie coach Claire Walker takes over Glenelg Country's second-year tennis program that will benefit from seven returning players.

"I'll be happy if they're competitive," Walker said. "They really are an enthusiastic bunch, but they need to work on their overall skills."

Unlike Howard County's public schools tennis matches, which is a best of nine set-up, Walker's squad plays just five matches -- three singles and two doubles events.

Sophomore Nate Mack battled his way to the boys No. 1 singles spot with senior Josh Peklo, junior Brendon Curran and sophomore Zaid Ashai rounding out the roster. Peklo and Ashai combine for Glenelg Country's top doubles team.

Junior Anne Dawson is the best girls player, Walker said, and the second-best player on the team.

Hammond Golden Bears

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