With one day left, Pikesville wraps up yet another crown

Panthers clinch ninth county title in a row and 37th in past 39 years

Baltimore County tennis

High Schools

May 12, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Pikesville celebrated its 37th Baltimore County tennis championship in 39 years yesterday even though the tournament still has a few matches to be completed today.

The Panthers will finish with at least 45 points and are too far in front for second-place Catonsville to catch them. The Comets could finish with as many as 30 points when the boys Nos. 1 and 2 singles and their consolation matches are completed today at 4 p.m. at Catonsville High School.

The tournament ran a little behind schedule for three reasons: a record number of entrants, a rain delay during Friday's preliminary rounds and some incredibly long matches.

Yesterday's quarterfinal match at CCBC-Catonsville, won by Eastern Tech's Zach Martin over Catonsville's Pat Nolan, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, lasted nearly three hours.

In earning their ninth straight county crown, coach Jerry Dresner's Panthers bolted ahead in the team race by winning four of the seven completed flights - Andrew Kaye and Brian Hirshfeld in boys No. 1 doubles, Ben Offit and Ben Petasky in boys No. 2 doubles, Lindsay Buck and Carly Beitler in girls No. 2 doubles, and Stacy Siegal and Paul Petrov in mixed doubles.

The Panthers will challenge for two more titles today when Zach Chafitz plays Catonsville's Matt McDaniel in the No. 1 boys singles final, and Todd Jacobson meets Perry Hall's Ben Graf in No. 2 singles.

For Kaye, a senior who has won four county doubles titles with three different partners, the secret to the Panthers' success is simple.

"We keep having quality players come up who are freshmen," said Kaye, "and they have a lot of skill as freshmen and it just gradually gets better over time. By the time they're seniors, there's another group of freshmen that's just as good, and we keep getting stronger that way."

While the Panthers were dominating most of the events, Catonsville had control in the girls' singles events, with Ashley Harvey winning at No. 1 and Katie Buchanan taking the No. 2 title.

For Harvey, county tennis titles are a family affair. Her older sisters, Leslie and Elizabeth Harvey, won titles at Randallstown in the late 1990s. This was the second title for Ashley, a junior.

Ashley Harvey won a singles title in her freshman year, only to be dethroned last season by eventual state champ Beatrice Grasu, a senior from Franklin. Yesterday, however, Harvey cruised past Towson's Lauren McCann, 6-0, 6-0, in the final.

McCann, who will play doubles in the regional tournament, had nothing but praise for her opponent.

"She's real consistent," said McCann. "She has great angle shots. She's been playing for such a long time, and she's always been a star. She plays lots of tournaments, and she's a pretty tough competitor."

Harvey, who started playing tennis along with her older sisters when she was 5 years old, did not lose to a county foe this season. Her title completed a run that began after a bout with tendinitis.

"Coming into the season, I felt confident," said Harvey. "I had an injury in my right foot, and I was still lacking a couple of things. I just kind of built it up. High school tennis was the first thing I did after my injury, so I really didn't practice or anything before that."

Loch Raven also earned two gold medals from Anna An and Christine Han, who were involved in another marathon match, a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, win over Pikesville's Milly Turakhia and Kaitlin Geller.

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