Gilman duo leads on and off court

Boys high school tennis

  • Gilman's Michael Katz tries to return a ball to McDonogh's Alex Sidney (not pictured) during the MIAA Individual tennis championship A conference #1 singles match at McDonogh in Owings Mills, MD on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Gilman's Michael Katz tries to return a ball to McDonogh's… (Staff photo by Jen Rynda,…)
May 24, 2011|By Tom Worgo

From a coach's perspective, Gilman seniors Michael Katz and Alex Hoblitzell may be the closest thing to ideal players.

Both are extremely talented champions who will play at Princeton University (Katz) and Skidmore College (Hoblitzell) in the fall.

The former claimed a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference No. 1 singles title last year and the latter captured a No. 2 singles crown this spring.

Yet Gilman coach Jim Busick and his players might just appreciate Katz and Hoblitzell as much for their leadership abilities than for the hardware they've earned.

"A lot of times you get kids that can play, but they don't want to be here," Busick said, noting how his stars worked at supporting teammates at matches and practices. "They are very team-oriented players. That means working with the younger guys at practice."

Laddie Levy, coach of archrival McDonogh, noticed the dedication displayed by Katz and Hoblitzell.

"When you are talking about kids who play in college, they don't always play for their high school teams," Levy said. "Both of those Gilman kids have been devoted to high school tennis, and I think that is really terrific."

What Gilman did in the A Conference individual championships on May 12 was outstanding. The Greyhounds advanced players to finals in all three singles and the both doubles brackets.

Then McDonogh senior Alex Sidney (27-0) topped Katz, 6-0, 6-3, on the Eagles' home court to earn his second No. 1 singles title in three years.

Katz entered the match a perfect 16-0. The Greyhounds had better luck in the No. 2 singles championship with Hoblitzell cruising past Mount St. Joseph's Tristan Boustany, 6-2, 6-0.

Hoblitzell (16-0) said he performed much better in the title match than in a 6-4, 7-6 regular season victory over Boustany.

"I had to be more consistent," Hoblitzell said. "I really felt more confident. I was really aggressive with my serve and ground strokes."

Boustany's teammate, Kevin Gates, scored a 6-4, 6-4 decisio over Gilman junior Galen Rende at No. 3 singles.

Gilman split in the doubles. McDonogh's Jake Lazer and Tommy Sinnott beat Gilman's Robbie Demuth and Brian Midei, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) at No. 1. DeMuth and Midei finished the year 14-2.

The No. 2 Greyhound duo of Garrett Duncan and Garrett Weinstein (15-1) outlasted McDonogh's Clark Buchman and Vibav Mouli, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

"They are very strong and they are just very tough players," Levy said of the Gilman doubles teams.

A week before the individual championships, McDonogh edged Gilman, 4-3, to win the MIAA A Conference team title.

"It was a tossup," said Busick, whose team was the defending champion. "Some years you compete for the championship, but you really don't think you can win. This year, we thought we had a good chance to win."

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