Rule changes attempt to level playing field

Boys, girls play separately

other format changes added

Preseason notebook

March 20, 2000|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Two significant changes have been made this season in county high school tennis. And that's not to mention the six schools that have new coaches.

Last year's system of play -- four singles matches and four doubles matches (two boys, two girls in each) and one mixed doubles match -- has been scratched. Girls and boys teams will be separate this season, and two county champions will be crowned. Competition during the season will consist of two singles matches and three doubles matches.

Unlike last season, when home coaches decided whether players were in singles or doubles, coaches have been told this season to use a straight-up lineup. That means the first two players on each ladder will play singles, the next two will make up the first doubles team, and so on.

The old system gave home coaches an opportunity to maneuver players to their advantage. Players from visiting teams didn't know until they arrived whether they would be playing singles or doubles.

"It gave every school a chance to win some matches, and that strategy is gone," said Centennial coach Jean Vanderpool.

Wilde Lake coach Ron Shelton, whose team won the regular-season and Tournament Cup titles last year, fought for the new format. He feels it will benefit the players because they will know from the outset whether they will play singles or doubles, and coaches can instruct them accordingly.

Although mixed doubles has been eliminated from the regular season, it still will be played in the county, region and state tournaments.

New coaches

After 22 years at Glenelg, the last eight coaching tennis, Vanderpool has moved to Centennial.

"It was time for a change," said Vanderpool, who teaches computers and accounting. "I had been [at Glenelg] a long time."

Vanderpool said she is "absolutely thrilled to be here. It's an excellent program and I'm very excited about being a part of it."

The Eagles always have had strong teams, and Vanderpool said this season is no different.

"They're good tennis players and they know how to win," Vanderpool said.

The other new coaches are: Rick Jones at Atholton, Mary Ellen Doyle at Glenelg, Chris Barber at Long Reach, Betty Golibart at Mount Hebron and Matt Graves at River Hill.

Teams at a glance

Here are some of the top players on each team:

Atholton -- Sophomore Sam Guarnieri is the No. 1 boys player, and sophomore Sam Guarnieri and senior Varun Ram are vying for the second slot. Freshman Monica Budnichuk will lead the girls, followed by junior Jennifer Gill.

Centennial -- Seniors Matt Lano and Shawn Sultan will lead the boys, and senior Jessica Able and junior Christina Wong will head the girls.

Glenelg -- There are three freshman on the boys' ladder, and two of them, Ryan Yao and Dan Wasyluk, lead the way. Sophomores Becca Gaylor and Monica Marrie head the girls team, which is without any seniors.

Hammond -- Leading the boys will be sophomores Dan Merti and Mike Sandler. Senior twins Mary and Jeanette Porteuous are the top girls. Coach John DiPaula said this year's group "is the strongest I've had in four years."

Howard -- Sophomore Nathan Forster, who topped the ladder last season at Long Reach, is doing the same this season at Howard. Junior Hana Kim is the No. 2 boys player. Freshman Hajin Kim leads the girls.

Long Reach -- Seniors Billy Martinez and Sean Holcolm-Jones are the top boys, and senior Raina Panee and freshman Gwen Duong are vying for the top girls position.

Mount Hebron -- Freshman Rohan Nabar moved to the area from Florida and is the boys' top player. Senior Brandon Nam is No. 2. Senior Katie Long returns as the girls' No. 1, and freshman Audrey Damrongsri is No. 2.

Oakland Mills -- Junior Areo Siahpoush and sophomore Bobby Serin lead the boys, and junior Michelle Fairbanks and sophomore Jenelle Brown-Niles head the girls.

River Hill -- Senior Eric Buchner and sophomore Britt Boras top the boys' ladder, and senior Kristin Manglitz and junior Devon Humphries lead the girls.

Wilde Lake -- Defending county champion Ari Zweig, a senior, is the No. 1 boy, and junior Jay Kim and sophomore David Lax were in competition for the second spot. Junior Lauren Bondroff, a finalist in last year's county championship, returns at No. 1, and junior Jackie Taubman is No. 2.

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