Liberty newcomers find their sweet spot

Two Jacksons, Schmarje, arrivals from Germany, earn championships

Carroll County tennis

High Schools

May 16, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Last summer, a trio of burgeoning tennis standouts fell into the lap of Liberty coach Bruce Damasio.

Yesterday, as senior David Jackson and sophomores Debbie Jackson and JoJo Schmarje each won titles at the annual Carroll County tournament at Winters Mill, Damasio needed no reminding about his good fortune.

"It's sort of like Christmas came three times," said Damasio, who landed Schmarje as a German exchange student and the Jackson siblings when their family relocated to the area, also from Germany.

"We knew JoJo was coming in late June or July ... then the Jacksons moved in. We were lucky to fall into that. You talk to any other coach and everybody's always got a good kid, but these guys just fell out of the sky."

David Jackson (20-2) completed a perfect tournament by defeating Westminster's Marcos Campos, 6-0, 6-0, in the boys singles final, his third straight match decided by that score. His sister Debbie Jackson (20-2) then outlasted Westminster's Sam Ches, 6-3, 7-5, to win the girls singles.

Capping Liberty's day, Schmarje teamed with senior Amanda DuBay - who last year finished second in the county and third in the region playing singles - to beat Century's Whitney Hines and Mike March, 6-2, 6-1, in the mixed doubles finals.

Other champions were Travis Leyhe and Greg Mastelerz, who gave Francis Scott Key what's believed to be its first county doubles title by defeating Liberty's Chad Arnold and Andrew Rowdon, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. The Westminster duo of Ashley Groft and Katie Seibel defeated South Carroll's Sarah Weisse and Stephanie Scurci, 6-4, 6-3, to win girls doubles.

The day, however, belonged to Liberty's standouts.

"Today, I was really moving well and everything was working well at the right time," said David Jackson.

With parents in the military, the Jacksons were born in Florida and have moved around every few years since, both attending high school in Germany last year.

"I've seen a lot of tennis - different styles - and that helps," David Jackson said.

Debbie Jackson said the siblings had set a goal to each win the county singles title. Although she acknowledged that she's little competition for her older brother, she said they helped prepare each other in practice.

"He dominates, but it's good for me to hit with him," said Debbie Jackson. "Me and him were hitting a lot this week. Every chance I could I was hitting with David."

For Seibel and Groft, the girls doubles final was a rematch of last year's tournament semifinals, which they lost. Earlier this year, the duo came back to defeat Weisse and Scurci, 6-3, 6-3, and tried to follow the same formula this time around.

"We knew what we did last time worked, so we just tried to do it again - beat them at the net," Groft said.

For Liberty's DuBay, winning a county title in mixed doubles helped make up for falling just short each of the past two years, when she finished county runner-up in girls singles.

"I've been trying to do it for the past three years, so it's awesome," DuBay said.

"That's like a storybook thing," Damasio said. "She loses in the finals as a sophomore and a junior, she gets hurt, comes back and makes a decision for the benefit of the team [to play doubles] and she finally wins a county title. That's a great way to go out as a senior."

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