Perenial leaders McDonogh, Pikesville serving up winning lineups again

March 31, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Area high school tennis teams are looking a lot like last year's.

McDonogh and Pikesville once again stand far above the rest of their respective private school and Baltimore County rivals.

For McDonogh, winner of the past two Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (formerly Maryland Scholastic Association) A Conference championships, the lineup is strong just like at nearby Pikesville, where the Panthers boast similar depth.

City and county public schools have boys and girls compete in the spring while private schools go with boys only.

At McDonogh, coach Laddie Levy said his team's best work still might be a year away. The Eagles (14-2 last year) won all six individual slots in last year's MSA A tournament. They were so dominant during the season that all of their victories were wrapped up after singles were finished.

McDonogh, winner of six of the past seven A Conference titles, won 72 of 73 league matches last year and eight of its 10 players have returned.

Junior and defending conference champion Scott Ackerman will be in the No. 1 spot once more, followed closely by classmate Ross Cooperman (A Conference winner at No. 5 last year). Sophomore Nicky Colvin (winner at No. 3) is No. 3, junior Andy Robbins (winner at No. 2) is next and juniors Kevin Fishkind and Craig Schulman (winner at No. 6) vie for the fifth spot.

"We have a wonderful group of kids," said Levy. "What's so [nice] is most of them are here next year."

That's not so nice for others in the A Conference, namely Gilman and coach Jim Busick. The Eagles already topped the Greyhounds, 4-1, last week. Junior Alex Fine is at No. 1 for Gilman, followed by seniors Randy Michaels and Hugh Coles, junior Alex Wasserman and freshman Parijat Didolkar.

In the B Conference, the race for the title is expected to be between Curley, Friends and Park.

Curley (8-1) lost nothing to graduation, and its top group has seniors Mike Hemelt and Bob Schaffer at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, plus juniors Mike Zeiler (No. 3) and Greg Loftus (No. 4). Coach Mike Fell said the last three each won B Conference singles titles, and Hemelt and Schaffer added the doubles crown.

Experience is big here, as Hemelt and Schaffer are four-year starters while Zeiler has started for three years and Loftus for two.

Park, under new coach Mike Clark, got hit hard by graduation. The Bruins lost two of their top three players. In addition, before the school's break last week, Park had limited practice time.

Still, the Bruins (8-1) have lots of talent. Seniors Jeremy Horelick and Niki Kittur, sophomore Jacob Vogelstein and junior Adam Penn all should keep Park in the race.

Friends (5-3) will be there, too. The Quakers are young but talented. Junior captain Dan Motz plays in the No. 1 slot, followed by juniors Zach Niman (B Conference champion at No. 6) and Will Sieck (winner at No. 5), sophomore Josh Hantman and senior Seth Sherman.

Pikesville (unbeaten again last year) is easily the class of the county's 1A-2A division -- and the entire county. Coach Tom Bender's Panthers will benefit from the skill of the Margolis sisters -- Kelly (sophomore) and Jaime (freshman).

Kelly Margolis burst onto the high school tennis scene last year by making it all the way to the state finals, before losing a tough three-set match. Kelly will play at No. 1, and Jaime starts her high school career at No. 2.

Seniors Ryan Cole and David Shane should fill the top two spots at singles for boys. Cole was No. 1 last year while Shane saw most of his action in doubles.

"We've got a lot of depth," said Bender. "I'm carrying a lot of players. I'm still trying to figure out lineups."

Perry Hall, Franklin and Dulaney have good lineups in the county's 3A-4A Division.

Perry Hall, the county's defending 3A-4A champion, boasts a perfect record in league play for the past three years and should be led by junior Brandon Oliver and senior Matt Banks on the boys team, and junior Ipsita Das and sophomore Kathleen Bell.

"Our boys look really good," said Insinga. "We can compete with anybody."

Franklin (9-1) and Dulaney also should do well. Coach Warren White's Indians return several key players, including senior Jason Lantz and junior Joe Park along with seniors Mindy McCauley and Michelle Hare.

The Dulaney rebuilding effort of the past few years seems to be coming to fruition.

Coach Pat Heil, returning after missing last year due to surgery, finds several experienced players. Junior Jeff Smith plays at No. 1 while freshman Tim Meclinski and junior Patrick Delaney battle for the No. 2 spot. Junior Erica Sugar and senior Jen Gavin will pace the girls.

In the city's public schools, Poly (6-1 in league competition) will have a fight on its hands to retain the District IX championship as both Patterson and City field talented teams.

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