Just call the Wildecats a fun bunch

HOWARD NOTEBOOK

Wilde Lake tennis team, 14-0, a close-knit group

May 02, 1999|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Wilde Lake's tennis team has had a lot of fun this spring. And along the way, the Wildecats haven't lost a match.

"We just have fun, that's it," said Stephen DeVito after Wilde Lake's 7-2 victory at River Hill improved the Wildecats' record to 14-0. "It'll be great to win the county, and we're thinking about that, too. But right now we're just having fun. It's great. We have fun playing tennis."

Wilde Lake has won county championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985. A victory tomorrow over visiting Centennial (13-1), a team the Wildecats beat 6-3 earlier this season, should all but guarantee an unbeaten season. After facing Centennial, Wilde Lake faces Atholton, Hammond and Howard. The Wildecats beat those teams by a combination score of 26-1.

"Centennial is a very good team," said sophomore Lauren Bondroff, the Wildecats' No. 1 girls player. "But we know how their players play, and who can beat who, and we can just set it up to our advantage."

In county matches, being the home team has a built-in advantage, because it determines who plays singles or doubles. That's what made the Wildecats' victory at Centennial so impressive.

"That was a big deal for us to beat them at their place," said Bondroff.

Wilde Lake's strength is its chemistry.

"We're all friends on the team," said DeVito, one of five seniors on the boys' ladder. "We all work together and cheer each other on. It's not so much that we have more skills than other teams. It's just that we stick together and support each other and work things out together."

Said No. 1 boys player Ari Zweig: "We work well together and encourage each other. We have a good attitude going into each match and believe we can win."

Said coach Ron Shelton, now in his fourth season: "They've been together for a while, and most of the kids play in the winter league, which helps a lot. They really have a lot of spirit, and they help each other out."

Relaxed but competitive practices also have made the Wildecats better.

"They have fun and kid around, but they're also trying to win at the same time," said Shelton. "They challenge each other and play hard."

Said Zweig: "We make each other better at practice."

Beside DeVito, Carl Szabo, Thuan Tran and David Taylor are seniors among the top seven on the ladder. David Lax is a freshman.

The girls ladder is young with only two seniors -- exchange student Mariluz Rubert and Rachel Lax. There are three juniors -- Lizzie Richman, Kathryn Jaller and Lucy Howey -- and one sophomore -- Jackie Taubman.

Softball

Wilde Lake and Atholton have each won a county championship -- the Wildecats in 1971, the year the school opened, and the Raiders in 1973.

One of those teams, perhaps both, will earn another title this season.

Atholton and Wilde Lake enter the week with 13-1 county records and are comfortably ahead of third-place River Hill (10-4) with four games remaining. But a game Wednesday stands out: Wilde Lake travels to Atholton.

Atholton shut out the Wildecats, 4-0, in the first meeting March 14. Howard handed Atholton its only loss, 4-3, on March 22.

Here are the remaining schedules for both teams: Atholton -- at Glenelg, Wilde Lake, River Hill, at Long Reach. Wilde Lake -- Centennial, at Atholton, Hammond, at Howard.

Glenelg ended a three-game losing streak Friday when junior Amanda Strandquist threw a no-hitter against Mount Hebron. Strandquist walked five and didn't strikeout a batter in the 3-0 win.

Sophomore Shannon Emerson saved the no-hitter with an over the shoulder catch in left field off the bat of Lauren Merkle in the fourth inning. Strandquist also was helped by 17 Mount Hebron ground outs.

The Vikings scored in the first thanks to a leadoff walk, two ground outs and an error. Glenelg had four extra-base hits -- a triple and double by Laurie Driver, a double from Kelly Ryan and a triple from Melissa Krause.

Girls lacrosse

The county championship will be decided Thursday when No. 1 Mount Hebron travels to Centennial. Both teams are 6-0 in the county. The Vikings have outscored county opponents 133-15 this season.

Standings

Here are county standings through Friday's games:

Softball: Atholton 13-1, Wilde Lake 13-1, River Hill 10-4, Howard 9-5, Long Reach 7-6, Mount Hebron 6-8, Centennial 5-9, Glenelg 5-9, Hammond 1-13, Oakland Mills 0-13.

Girls lacrosse: Mount Hebron 6-0, Centennial 6-0, Hammond 4-2, Glenelg 4-2, River Hill 4-2, Atholton 2-4, Howard 1-5, Long Reach 1-5, Oakland Mills 1-5, Wilde Lake 1-5.

Tennis: Wilde Lake 14-0, Centennial 13-1, River Hill 11-3, Mount Hebron 10-4, Atholton 6-8, Glenelg 5-9, Hammond 4-10, Long Reach 3-10, Howard 3-11, Oakland Mills 0-13.

Athletic trainers

Howard County schools Superintendent Michael E. Hickey proposed a list of budget cuts at a work session last Thursday, including $86,000 earmarked for providing certified health trainers for athletes at each high school.

The Howard County Council has the power to restore the $4.8 million that County Executive James N. Robey has refused to fund from the school board's request. The county council will conduct a public hearing at 7: 30 p.m. Thursday at the George Howard Building in Ellicott City. Parents and students who feel that athletic trainers are needed should attend. People wishing to speak to the council can sign up beginning at 6: 30 p.m.

The final decision on the budget will be made May 26.

Tournament draw

The tournament draw for lacrosse, baseball and softball will be held next Sunday at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County. The draw for boys and girls lacrosse will start at noon, with baseball and softball to start at 1: 45 p.m.

Pub Date: 5/02/99

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