At the end of the 2012 tennis season, Reservoir's Biyik Akinshemoyin had unfinished business to attend to after being forced to retire from the state finals because of heat cramps.
"No one likes the way it ended, because the match was very interesting (tied 3-3 in the third set) and everyone wanted to see how it ended," Akinshemoyin said last summer. "But for me I just take it as a lesson. You have to stay hydrated and I've been working on that."
At the time, Akinshemoyin still wasn't sure whether he'd be applying that lesson to high school tennis this spring, or strictly to a rigorous USTA tournament schedule, a decision that many top players have to make each spring.
Luckily for Reservoir High School, and Howard County tennis as a whole, Akinshemoyin has decided to make one final run at a state title. If successful, he'll be the first Howard County singles state champ since Wilde Lake's David Nguyen won in 2006.
"He definitely wants to win a state championship," coach Karen Wolfe said. "He was just so disappointed when he had to withdraw, and he wants to redeem himself, even though he doesn't have to."
And this year, Akinshemoyin should once again have some competition for the county title.
While he will be heavily favored against each of his league opponents, Atholton senior Scott Lee and Howard senior Andrew Pagan are both talented enough to give him a good run.
And on the girls side, Atholton sophomore Victoria Kogan — the defending county and regional champion — should once again be the favorite, although Wilde Lake junior Melissa Barall is capable of scoring an upset victory.
Atholton has a young team, with four freshmen or sophomores playing singles or No. 1 doubles, but almost everyone has USTA experience.
Opponents "are really stacking up the doubles this year, so it will be interesting to see how they do against my doubles," said Atholton coach Mike Ashmead.
With the addition of Glenelg transfers Byron and Rita Hung to its line-up, River Hill will look to derail Atholton on its quest for a second straight Howard County Cup tournament trophy. The Hawks won four straight county tournament titles between 2008 and 2011.
Here's a look at each Howard County team heading into the season.
Coach: Michael Ashmead, third season
Boys: 14-3; Girls: 16-1 (county champion). County Cup champion.
Boys singles: Senior Scott Lee and freshman Logan Connelly
Boys doubles: Junior George Mao and freshman Matt Sklar