Severna Park, Arundel serve up tough challenge

March 25, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

There is little disagreement among coaches about Anne Arundel County's tennis pecking order.

Severna Park, which went 12-0 and won the county tournament under coach Margie Nicholson, is invariably the first name mentioned. Arundel (11-1 and second in the county) is loaded, coaches say.

"One of them will be 12-0 this year and the other 11-1," said Greg Helms. "I don't see any dark horses. Then you'll have Chesapeake, Broadneck, Old Mill and Annapolis."

Helms, The Baltimore Sun's Anne Arundel County Coach of the Year last season at Arundel, no longer will revel in that school's tennis prosperity. He switched to North County, and the Arundel job is now Gerry Quickel's.

"I live in Linthicum and have two kids at North County," Helms said. "This is a chance to watch them play high school sports and cut my commute by 40 minutes."

North County, Helms concedes, will be "down in the pack." Competitive, perhaps, but not in championship contention, even with Eric Matuszewski and Emma Ketterle as the aces.

From Helms, Quickel inherits Andrew Carlson, Neely Harris, Greg McGuffin, Jen Beers and Dave Townsend. Carlson's sister, Lindsay, will help as a freshman.

At Severna Park, Nicholson has an abundance of returnees in Ben Rawitt, Dan Hatef, Bronwyn Fulton, Sarah Keller and Jen Weitz. A freshman, David Hatef, along with his brother Dan, will challenge Rawitt for the No. 1 singles position. There is also Britta Adolph, an exchange student from Germany.

"She'll probably be No. 1, although it's not set in stone," Nicholson said. "We're deep. We should be able to accomplish what we did last year. We're always strong in doubles and now we're strong in singles, too."

Like Helms, Nicholson envisions a two-team race. "It'll probably come down to us and Arundel, and that will be a fight," she said.

Traditionally strong Chesapeake (10-2 and third in the county) is hurt by the loss of Jay Kimmel, The Baltimore Sun's Boys Player of the Year in the county. Kimmel was 21-1, lost only one set during the regular season, won the county and district titles and reached the second round of the state tournament.

But Kimmel is skipping his junior season to play on the Maryland-Virginia-Delaware circuit in hopes of improving his national ranking to impress Duke and Vanderbilt, one of which he hopes will offer a scholarship.

"Jay has high academic and tennis goals, and I would support anybody who works to achieve them," said coach Ginny Barnicoat. "Those schools want him to try to get into the top 50 nationally by playing in tournaments this spring. He does say he wants to play for Chesapeake again next year as a senior."

Shane Hatmaker replaces Kimmel at No. 1 and Liz Keenen is the top girl.

At Broadneck, which finished just behind the top three, coach Phoebe Kelly is leading with senior Michael Dabbs and sophomore Eric Horine, who are competing for the No. 1 singles spot.

Annapolis features Meghan Cornwall, The Baltimore Sun's Girls Player of the Year in the county who, as a freshman, was 22-2, didn't lose a set during the regular season, won the county tournament and was second in the districts and third in the states.

"Meghan is improved this year, particularly in serving," said coach Rick King. "After our 2 1/2 -hour practices, she goes three or four nights a week to her private coach and gets more instruction or plays pickup matches."

King expects Dave Wilson, No. 1 in boys singles, "to be among the top five in the county." Emily Lowe is the girls No. 2 and Brad Kovach will team with Florida transfer Nate Rodenbarger in boys doubles.

"We're better than we were last year," King said.

Even in a rebuilding year last season, Old Mill went 7-4, one year after tying for the county title.

"We've now rebuilt," coach Dick Hobbs said. "We're ready to challenge the top two or three in the county."

Old Mill will challenge behind Jason Reynolds, Andy Servinsky, Jen Laning and Andrea Melocik.

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