Despite unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds, seven of a possible 10 Howard County entries in the state tennis tournament were still alive after Friday's opening and quarterfinal rounds.
All five Howard County champions — Reservoir's Biyik Akinshemoyin (boys singles), Atholton's Irene Lu (girls singles), Centennial's Kevin Hsieh and Chase Weinberg (boys doubles), Centennial's Megan Mishra and Simone Jensen (girls doubles) and Atholton's Jenna Sweet and Scott Lee (mixed doubles) — are still on track to contend for a state title.
Sweet and Lee played only one match on Friday at the University of Maryland due to a conflict with the Atholton High School graduation. They'll play a quarterfinal match on Saturday morning against Walt Whitman's David Bloch and Nicole Welch. The winner of that match will face Winters Mills' Bryan Gieselman and Amanda Fewster.
Atholton has two players still alive in the girls singles bracket: freshman Irene Lu and sophomore Victoria Kogan.
Kogan was the county and regional champion last year as a freshman, but Lu defeated Kogan in this year's county finals. Kogan avenged that loss in the regional finals, and the two could have a rematch in the state finals.
Reservoir senior Biyik Akinshemoyin, a three-time Howard County champ, is on target to make it back to the state finals, where he could have a rematch with Wootton defending state champ Mateo Cevallos. Last year, Akinshemoyin had to default due to cramping after splitting the first two sets.
The only three local entries to fall so far in the tournament were Howard's Andrew Pagan, who lost to Cevallos in the opening round, 6-4, 6-4; Atholton's regional champion boys doubles team of George Mao and Matt Sklar, who lost to Walter Johnson's Baran Barris and Willam Schmidt in the quarterfinals; and Howard's mixed doubles team of Emma Hoesman and Max Balter, who lost in the quarterfinals to the top-seeded Churchill team of Michael and Catie Gauch.
Semifinal pairings (Saturday morning at 10 a.m.)
Mateo Cevallos (Wootton) vs. Eric Hurwitz (Towson)
Alex Cauneac (Severna Park) vs. Biyik Akinshemoyin (Reservoir)
Irene Lu (Atholton) vs. Kristi Wong (Kent Island)
Victoria Kogan (Atholton) vs. Cierra Plummer (Surratsville)
Gabriel Fan/Titas Bera (Wootton) vs. Kevin Hsieh/Chase Weinberg (Centennial)
Baran Barris/Willam Schmidt (Walter Johnson) vs. Nathan Homon/Tyler Homon (Tuscarora)
Kiran Pant/Serene Mathew (Mt. Hebron) vs. Katie Claggett/Nova Jacobson (Easton)
Megan Mishra/Simone Jensen (Centennial) vs. Haley Keats/Syria Movva (Churchill)
Michael Gauch/Catie Gauch (Churchill) vs. Connor van Scyoc/Anna Holehouse (Fallston)
Bryan Gieselman/Amanda Fewster (Winters Mill) vs. the winner of David Bloch/Nicole Welch (Walt Whitman) and Scott Lee/Jenna Sweet (Atholton)