North Hagerstown tennis coach Kevin Reynolds has a “problem.”
He has two former Herald-Mail boys players of the year returning, and only one No. 1 singles spot.
Teddy Schoeck won the honor in 2011 after a sensational freshman season, going 13-1 at No. 1 singles and winning the Region I doubles title.
Schoeck missed the 2012 season while recovering from a knee injury. Max Ober stepped into the Hubs’ No. 1 spot and made his mark with a 17-1 record, before teaming with Mollie Johnson in mixed doubles and winning county and region titles and finishing fourth at the state tournament.
Schoeck and Ober are engaged in a best-of-3 battle in practice. Schoeck won Thursday and Ober won Friday in tight matches. They’ll play again today to decide the No. 1 spot — at least to start the season.
“It’s a good problem to have. I feel bad for whichever one ends up No. 2 because they’re going to breeze through the entire year,” Reynolds said. “But they’ll be challenging each other all year, so it might go back and forth. Most schools would like to have just one of them. I have both.”
The Hubs are the favorites to win the MVAL Antietam boys championship. On the girls side, the coaches agree that it’s a wide open year, with none of the eight 2012 Herald-Mail All-County First Team honorees returning.
First-year Warriors coach Ned Weirich has sure things at his No. 1 boys and girls spots, and after that it gets hazy.
For the boys, senior Serge Aleshin-Guendel (16-6 at No. 1 in 2012) is the two-time defending Washington County Tournament singles champion. Senior Chase Remsburg is penciled in at No. 2 singles. Senior Sam D’Alauro and sophomore Zack El-Mohandes are tentatively slated for No. 1 doubles, with seniors Steve Kurapaty and Rami Yanes staying at No. 2 doubles, where they played last year. The third doubles team is to be decided, with senior Josh Barnhart and Flip Nobakovic front-runners.
For the girls, senior Hannah Froehlich is back at No. 1 singles, where she went 10-10 in 2012, her first year playing singles. Senior Amanda Kerr also is back at No. 2 singles. Senior Cindy Poling and sophomore Dana Getka will likely play No. 1 doubles — Poling has had success at No. 2 and 3 doubles with different partners the past two seasons. Freshman Hadley May is penciled in at No. 2 doubles, possibly with senior Kendra Laster. Junior Sasha Margob and sophomore Emily Benson are front-runners for No. 3 doubles.
“The season is so sporadic with the weather,” Weirich said. “It’s snowed, it’s windy, it’s hard to tell how you’re going to play. It’s all up in the air. I can’t wait to get matches going.”
Long-time Blazers coach Lisa Shives guided both her boys and girls teams to undefeated records and MVAL Antietam titles in 2012. That will be difficult to repeat — especially for the boys — after both teams lost significant talent to graduation.
For the boys, senior Corey McClure makes the jump to No. 1 singles after going 12-3 at No. 2 singles last year.
“The competition at first singles is terribly tough,” Shives said. “He’s going to have the weight of the team on his shoulders and I asked him if he can handle that, and he said, ‘Yes, ma’am!’ He’s going to have to be at the top of his game.”
Sophomore Logan Speak will be thrown into the fire at No. 2 singles, as Shives strategically put her actual second- and third-best players — seniors Levi Bucher and Nick Brandt — together at No. 1 doubles.
“They’re playing very well together,” Shives said. “They communicate well and they’re aggressive players.”
Juniors Johnny Henesy and Jacob Ernst are penciled in at No. 2 doubles, with senior Evan McDonough and junior Bradly Mills at No. 3 doubles.
Boys Tennis: Ober, Schoeck give Hubs boys a potent punch
Washington County Preps Previews