With 10 back, Bel Air looks strong again Harford County tennis preview


The Bel Air tennis team, which shared the county championship with C. Milton Wright, and won the county tournament last year, is in position to be as strong again, returning 10 players from a group that assembled a 15-1 match record.

No. 1 players Jeff Roux and Susie Samuel head the list of returnees. Among the others are seniors Krystal Dove, Kelly Lissimore, Matt Swomley and Charles White.

Six boys, all seniors, and seven girls return from a C. Milton Wright squad that finished 13-1, including a split of a pair of 6-5 decisions with Bel Air.

Saul Passe and Dennis Cassidy are challenging for the No. 1 singles position, and Matt Romonowsky and John Scarborough return following an undefeated junior season. Jon Zalewski and Eric Jett complete the group.

For the girls, there are three key players, but the positions have not been determined for senior Katie Hatton, junior Kristie Johnson and sophomore Alison Beach.

The best boys half of a team is at Fallston, where there are eight seniors to provide strength and depth.

Tom Bystry moves to No. 1 from No. 2 and will be backed by two from among Jim Penski, Nick Fordoni and Craig LeMoine. Freshman Paul Shearer is an impressive newcomer. In doubles, the pairing of David Byrne and Ryan Hammond should be very strong.

Among the girls, May-Lyn Sandar returns as No. 1, although an injury is limiting her to doubles play for now. Others include Kate Chisholm, Darlene Rothwell and Carrie Grable.

Tomas Lindgren, a Swedish exchange student, has earned the No. 1 boys position on an Aberdeen team that has some strong players from last year's 9-9 team. Among them are sophomore Doug Taylor, who retains his No. 2 spot, and the doubles team of juniors Brad Elliott and Mike Baldwin.

The No. 1 girl, senior Siobhan Kelly, is recovering from a broken foot and expected to be unavailable for another week or two. In the meantime, Lanell Ward will take over her spot and will be joined by twins Sharon and Theresa Doyel. When Kelly returns, the twins will return to their position as No. 1 in doubles.

This will be Harford Technical's first varsity tennis team in a number of years and follows a junior varsity team of a year ago. Junior Billy Smith is the lone holdover from that group.

There are six other boys on the squad, but a lack of girls means the team will come up short in every match (11 points and girls are involved in six of them). It will be an introductory year for them, one in which they will set individual goals.

The six are senior Greg Mull, junior Tony Venker (No. 2), sophomores James Mattson and Roger Osborn, and freshmen Adam Stallings and Matt Cheek.

At Havre de Grace, there are 37 candidates, an unusually large number for the program. One is Ryan Nolan, an avid tennis player who chose to play the sport as a senior this spring after having played lacrosse in past seasons.

He already has moved to No. 1, having beaten (in a tiebreaker) junior Jason Flick, the team's top player the past two years and fourth in the county last season. The third singles player is sophomore Mike Clark.

For the girls, the top three are first-time varsity players -- junior Heather Swearingen and freshmen Jennifer Spooner and Jessica Swearingen.

Three seniors and two juniors will handle the top five positions for John Carroll, beginning its second year in the MSA A Conference. The team's goal is to improve on its 7-4 record of last season.

The first five are Mark Heimerl, Marcus Grubb, Mike Hogan, Greg Andon and Brian Cohen. The overall turnout of 13 candidates is smaller than usual, but it includes five freshmen who have some technical skills. One of them is Patrick Welsh, who has had some experience.

At Joppatowne, the boys are seemingly set with senior Jason Britton, sophomore Jason Toliver and senior Joe Gross, plus seniors Jon Gettle and John Noppinger, but the girls are unsettled behind No. 1 Becky Jacobs.

There are about a dozen girls as candidates, and the learning potential could make for a bright future, but this year probably will be a struggle.

Seniors Nicki Bogarty and Jamie Goodwin are the top girls at North Harford, and juniors Joe Cieri, Brian Knepley and Bernie Gerring are the leading boys. The 16-player roster also includes Bill Scott, an improving senior, and Karen Phipps, a talented freshman.

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