Wilde Lake's Nguyen snags state title



COLLEGE PARK -- To say Wilde Lake's David Nguyen had a tough draw in the Maryland state high school tennis championships would be an understatement.

All he had to do was beat a player ranked No. 3 in the nation among 16-year-olds by the U.S. Tennis Association -- and a two-time state champion -- in the semifinals and another ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic section in the same age group in the championship.

Mission accomplished.

Nguyen, a sophomore, used a powerful serve and an attacking strategy to beat Winston Churchill junior Jared Pinsky in the semifinals, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. The win over Pinsky was Nguyen's first over him in 10 tries. It also foiled the junior's bid to become the first boy in the state to win three consecutive titles.

"When I learned that I'd be playing him, I spoke with my coaches and we decided to try a different strategy," Nguyen said. "I always seem to allow him to get into a rhythm, and I didn't allow him to do that today."

Pinsky, who was playing with a bad back, was complimentary of Nguyen's effort.

"I always felt I could come back [when I got down], but he played too well," Pinsky said. "I tried to keep fighting throughout, but he won the match."

After defeating Pinsky, Nguyen took care of Rockville's Chris Goodwin, 6-3, 6-4, in the championship.

"It feels great to represent my school and win a state championship," Nguyen said.

Nguyen's victory was the only state championship by a Baltimore-area player, with Montgomery County players winning the other four classifications.

Centennial's unseeded Emily Adams and Kewen Xie pulled off two upsets to advance to the mixed doubles state final before losing to Walt Whitman's Jessica Kahlenburg and Kirby Mayo, 6-4, 6-3.

"We played our best," said Adams, who played No. 1 singles during the year. "We had a 3 1/2 -hour match yesterday [to upset Towson's top-ranked Chelsea White and Hayden White] in the first round, then we had another three-setter today, so we were tired."

In the girls singles, Winston Churchill's Maggie MacKeever, a senior, won her third consecutive state championship, defeating Quince Orchard's Alice Chen, 6-4, 7-5. MacKeever finished her career with only two losses and became the first since Annapolis' Megan Cornwall in 1996 to win three consecutive state titles.

In the consolation finals, C.M. Wright's Jessica Ahn, who lost to Chen in the semifinals for the second straight year, beat Lackey's Kelly Lai, 6-3, 6-4, for third.

In an all-Baltimore County consolation final, Justin Lui and Andrew Lutz of Pikesville defeated Austin Cohen and Eric Sharosky, 6-1, 6-4.

The Century mixed doubles team of Stephanie O'Neil and Jake Brooks lost in the consolation finals to Olivia Chang and Joshua Lin of Winston Churchill, 6-7 (7-3), 6-2, 6-0.

In other championship finals, Andrew Marcus and Felix Sun of Winston Churchill won the boys doubles, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, over Jason Lao and Grant Houghton of Wootton in an all-Montgomery County final.

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