1998 All-Baltimore City/County tennis team

June 05, 1998|By Jeff Seidel

Coach of Year

Jim Busick, Gilman: Busick was watching his team play McDonogh during the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship match when he was asked for his feelings about the Greyhounds. "They're probably better than we are," said Busick, "but we really played well as a team." The Greyhounds ended McDonogh's six-year hold on the A Conference title with a 4-2 victory in the championship match. Despite losing at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, Gilman rallied and won the other three -- including two matches Busick's players had lost in the A Conference tournament just three days earlier -- plus clinching the crown with a victory in doubles. The Greyhounds finished with a 14-1 record -- McDonogh was the only loss -- and Busick clearly got the most out of his team with some clever moves during the tournament. This was his 19th year coaching the Gilman tennis team and his first championship since 1991. Gilman also had been the last team ever to beat McDonogh in an A Conference match, also in 1991.

Boys Co-Player of Year

Chris Chiu, McDonogh, junior: Chiu clearly had been the area's best singles player until Andy Kolker upset him in the MIAA A Conference tournament's quarterfinals and went on to take the championship at No. 1. Chiu had won the individual titles in each of his first two years and still finished a strong 16-4 this season, once more combining with Zach Myers to give the Eagles one of the best 1-2 punches around. Chiu was 10-1 in the league and continued to grow as a player. He gained size and strength and benefited from that as well as the intense schedule that McDonogh played.

Boys Co-Player of Year

Andy Kolker, Park, junior: Kolker was a bit of a surprise in the tournament. Most expected this to be Chiu's tournament once more, but Kolker played solidly and beat the McDonogh junior in three sets. He took off from there, scoring straight-set victories in both the semifinals and finals -- the championship win coming against Kevin Strouse of Loyola. Kolker was the first Park champion since Steve Krulevitz won back in 1969. Kolker then quickly did something even more notable at the tournament. Despite having just 45 minutes rest, he combined with teammate Jon Caplis to win the doubles crown for Park. Kolker finished with an 11-2 mark.

Girls Player of Year

Leslie Harvey, Randallstown, junior: Everything came together for the talented junior this year. She had won the county and region titles in both her freshman and sophomore years but struggled in the state tournament, beating top-seeded Jennifer Hellier from Broadneck, 6-4, 6-4. There was not a problem this year, as she rolled through that tournament to win her first state championship and finish the season with a perfect 20-0 mark. Last year, she was seeded first in the state but fell in the second round. This year was a different story. She was seeded third but played solid tennis all the way through, not losing a set. Harvey has a complete game, loaded with good ground strokes, power and pinpoint accuracy that helps her win points from all over the court. She again will be one of the best players in the state next year, going for back-to-back state crowns.

The team

Gary Diamond, Pikesville, junior: Diamond once again dominated play in Baltimore County for the long-strong tennis power at Pikesville. Diamond eased through the Panthers' opponents, never losing a set until he lost his lone match of the season in the first round of the state tournament. He finished with a 20-1 record, capturing his second straight county and region titles. Diamond won both of the championships at No. 1 singles. This was the third time that Diamond took a county title, as he was part of a doubles team that won during his freshman year at Pikesville. He then moved to singles, where he has ruled over Baltimore County ever since. His next goal is to be more of a force in the state tournament.

Laura Edmonds, Perry Hall, sophomore: She combined with Lily Ubillus to win the Region 6 doubles title. They played singles during the season -- with Ubillus at No. 1 and Edmonds at No. 2 -- before hooking up for the postseason action. Edmonds was 8-2 at No. 2 (plus 1-1 at No. 1), but coach Ed Dick thought they would made a good pair for the region tournament. They had to work hard in the region, rallying to win the second and third sets in both the semifinal and final matches. Edmonds wasn't even in the lineup last year, only being classified as an alternate, and Dick said she improved vastly since then and jumped right into this year's playing group. "She offered a strong challenge to Lily at No. 1," said Dick. The two will battle for top seed on the Gators' roster next year.

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