3 by 3, Panthers add titles

N. Carroll rules county with same formula as '99


High schools

May 14, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Different year, same results for the North Carroll tennis program.

Mirroring their performance at last season's Carroll County Tennis Championship, the Panthers produced three champions at the annual tournament at South Carroll in Winfield yesterday.

Top-seeded freshman Maria Covell routed senior No. 2 seed Charlotte Gowen of Francis Scott Key, 6-1, 6-1, to claim the girls singles title.

At mixed doubles, the second-seeded duo of seniors Heather Easter and Junior Souto thumped the No. 4 team of sophomores Sara Smith and Aaron Taylor of South Carroll, 6-2, 6-1.

And the top-seeded junior pair of Matt Lowe and Shawn Czajkowski defeated the fifth-seeded team of juniors Geoff Sanzenbacher and Josh Loar of South Carroll, 6-3, 6-3, to win the boys doubles crown.

The outcome was nearly a repeat of last year's tourney, when North Carroll won county championships at girls singles, mixed doubles and girls doubles."It means a lot," said Lowe, who is 15-2 with Czajkowski."The team did well, and it's nice to see the program be successful."

Added Czajkowski: "It's nice to see a few friends come with us to the regionals [at North Hagerstown High on Friday]."

In boys singles and girls doubles, the top seeds held form as Liberty sophomore Doug Ferguson and the Westminster duo of junior Anne Yust and senior Rachel Lindsay prevailed in the heat.

Ferguson was winning 4-1 in the first set of his match against sophomore No. 2 seed Ben Hamlington of South Carroll when Hamlington retired due to leg cramps.

Hamlington, who outlasted third-seeded sophomore Jesse Myers of Westminster, 6-4, 7-5, in a 2 1/2 -hour semifinal, said he started to feel the muscles in his leg stiffen before his match against Ferguson."I was up for the match, but I couldn't go," he said. "I was cramping up on every shot."

Ferguson said he shared Hamlington's disappointment in not being able to play an entire match."I was looking forward to playing him," said Ferguson, who improved to 16-2.

Yust and Lindsay put last season's third-place finish behind them with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over their Westminster teammates - No. 9 seeds Andria Kerns and Megan Beaver.

Yust and Lindsay said they left team camaraderie on the sidelines.

"We concentrated really hard and used it as an advantage," said Yust, who is 16-0 with Lindsay. "We knew their strengths and weaknesses."

Perhaps the most surprising outcome of the tournament was at girls singles, where Covell dispatched Gowen.

In their previous meeting, Covell won the first set, 6-0, but Gowen fought hard before losing the second set, 7-5.

Yesterday, Covell's ability to pound deep ground strokes with two-fisted forehands and backhands proved too much for Gowen.

"I felt pretty on today," said Covell, who improved to 16-2.

"I had a good first serve. She hits cross-court a lot, so I had to move her around to the corners."

In mixed doubles, Easter and Souto attacked the net and pressured Smith and Taylor to hit weak returns or long passing shots.

The county championship is Easter's fourth in her four-year tennis career at North Carroll. She previously won three county crowns at girls doubles, but played No. 2 singles behind Covell this season.

"It's fun," Easter said of returning to doubles. "I like playing doubles better than singles."

Said Souto: "She's the best partner. She's an incredible player."

The finalists in each bracket will play at Friday's regionals.

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