All-County Boys Tennis: Ober stands out when it counts
North Hagerstown's Max Ober is The Herald-Mail's 2012 Washington County Boys Tennis Player of the Year. (By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer / June 12, 2012)
Ober made the transition from doubles — in which he went 29-7 as a freshman and sophomore with three different partners — to singles this season, where he took over the No. 1 spot because of an injury to sophomore Teddy Schoeck, the 2011 Herald-Mail county player of the year.
Putting his motto — “Hard work will ultimately bring success” — to practice, Ober went 17-1 in the regular season, the best singles record by any county player. Then he teamed with Mollie Johnson to go 8-2 in mixed doubles, winning county and Region I tournament titles and finishing fourth at the Maryland state tournament.
So much for preseason prognostication. Ober is an easy choice as the 2012 Herald-Mail Washington County Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
“I’m truly honored because I’ve never had a sports accomplishment like this before,” Ober said.
“He hit with me a lot (during the season) and you could see the progression,” Hubs coach Kevin Reynolds said. “He just got better and better.”
Ober’s only singles loss came to Boonsboro’s Serge Aleshin-Guendel, 6-3, 7-6 (6), in the third match of the season. Ober said his seventh match of the season — a 7-6 (7), 6-1 victory over Clear Spring’s Zac O’Neal — was a turning point.
“I was down 0-5 in the first set and came back to win the first set, and I knew from that point I had it,” Ober said. “I knew I was capable of beating the top players in the county.”
Two weeks later, Ober got revenge on Aleshin-Guendel, 6-4, 6-3.
“I was really pumped for that one,” Ober said. “I knew if I played my best, I was capable of beating him. It felt really good winning that one. ... I think every match I learned more and more how to play singles and I feel like I improved every match going forward.”
“When he played Serge the first time, he didn’t have that selective aggression, so Serge picked him apart,” Reynolds said. “By the end of the season, Max had learned the strategies and he blew him off the court. ... There’s not a player in the state that I think is more fit than Max is. He can outrun anybody and outhustle anybody. Once the skills came along, he started burying people.”
Before the county tournament, Reynolds made the decision to pair Ober up with Johnson, a move that worked out well. Ober said he had no problem with not being given a postseason shot at singles.
“I was really excited because I thought it gave us an opportunity to make it to the state tournament, which ultimately is what happened,” Ober said. “I was excited to get back to doubles as well, having played doubles the previous two years. I knew with a strong player like Mollie, we could go far.”
Ober is joined on the All-County First Team by:
Anthony Adams, Williamsport
Wildcats senior went 11-7 at No. 1 singles, finishing third at the county tournament.
Serge Aleshin-Guendel, Boonsboro
Warriors junior went 16-6 at No. 1 singles, repeated as the county tournament singles champion and finished fourth in Region I.