Baltimore City


March 21, 2001|By Mike Frainie

Tennis in Baltimore City appears to be on the upswing this year, with area coaches reporting greater involvement from their student bodies. This is especially true at the public schools, as city schools will field 12 teams this season.

Gilman will again be the class of city tennis, and one of the favorites to win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title. The Greyhounds will battle it out this year with longtime rival McDonogh, as well as Calvert Hall, for supremacy in the area's toughest tennis league.

The defending champion Greyhounds will be led by junior Justin Rofel, an All-City/County choice last year. Senior Michael Fisher hasn't lost a dual match in his four years. The Greyhounds will also be strong in doubles, with A. B. Aglubat teaming with either Peter Ahn or Amir Narang.

The Greyhounds will have big shoes to fill with the graduation of senior Amir Zamadi, who now plays for Stanford.

Mount St. Joseph returns three starters, but only one of its top four from last year. The Gaels will have senior Tedros Snyder playing No. 1 singles, followed by juniors Jeff Lamberton and Mike Farber. Senior Tim Bach, half of the team that won the A Conference doubles title, will also return.

Friends will be trying to improve upon a 3-5 season last year. Sophomore Elmar Trust, who played No. 1 singles as a freshman, will lead the team. The team will be very young, and coach Eric Atas thinks it's probably a year away from contending.

In the MIAA B Conference, defending champ Archbishop Curley returns an experienced group. Seniors Joe Falbo and Mike James, as well as junior Brian Kinnear, will pace the Friars. Mike Stevens, a 1972 graduate of the school, will take over the program this year, and big things will be expected. The Friars will be challenged by Anne Arundel's Severn and St. Mary's for the conference crown.

Among the public schools, Poly again looks like the team to beat. The Engineers return Mike Fowler, a member of The Sun's All-City/County team last year. Fowler, a senior, advanced to the regional semifinals last year before he was eliminated. The girls will be led by a talented group composed of seniors Carrie Wixted, Diana Geroso and Rowena Jalova.

Western will be led by Portia Wood, who's been picked to The Sun's All-City/County team the past two years. Wood only lost one match in the city last season.

At Patterson, the Clippers have been hit hard by graduation. Coach Donna Bowers says the team does not have a standout player. Senior Gregory Lawson and junior Salah El Nour are the only returning boys, while junior newcomer Ewelina Blachewicz has the most experience on the girls side.

City coach Patty Kirby likes the enthusiasm she's seen from her young team. The Knights will be stronger on the girls side, with senior Serena Bushrod and juniors Andrea King and Tiffany Mack earning most of the points. Junior Brian Durel is the most experienced boys player.

Douglass returns four players from last season, but the most experienced will be No. 1 singles player Darrell Brown, a junior. The Ducks have set their goal to finish in the top three in the city, and this could be the year.

Lenny Lockhardt will be the new coach at Southern, and he's optimistic about the future of the program. Lockhardt has been successful at getting some of the Bulldogs basketball team to play tennis, so the boys will be led by seniors Melvin Scott and Marcus Wise, and junior Davon Allen. Juniors Donna Smitley and Heather Hunt and senior Veronica Cook will pace the girls.

Edmondson lost some key players from last year, but a lot of the strength returns. City semifinalists Dontay Jackson and Katrina Greer both return.

The story is a bit different at Lake Clifton, where the Lakers are definitely rebuilding. Junior Anthony Brown is the only experienced player to return.

Jeff Tuchman has revived a program at Northwestern that has been dormant for more than 10 years. The Wildcats will be satisfied to learn the basic skills this season.

Walbrook, Southwestern and Northern will also field teams in the city league this season.

At Walbrook, the Warriors have a good mix of experience and new players. The team went 5-5 last year, and coach Wayne Hicks will look for seniors Shaun Thomas and Brandon Clements for the boys and Tracey Fickling for the girls to provide leadership.

Players to watch

Portia Wood (Junior, Western) Two-time city champion will go for title No. 3 this season

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