Championships were the common denominator for The Baltimore Sun's Tennis Players and Coaches of the Year in Baltimore City and County.
In the county, Nick Colvin of McDonogh won his third conference title, and Pikesville's Jamie Margolis won the county and region championship while just missing the state crown. McDonogh coach Laddie Levy guided his team to its fourth straight conference title.
In the city, Dan Motz of Friends won his second straight conference championship, and Shuxian Huang of Poly won her first city championship. Kenny Bice took over at Friends and helped the Quakers to a conference championship.
For Colvin, this year went much like the others in his three-year career at McDonogh. A junior, he posted a 21-3 record and won his third consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title -- his second straight at No. 1 singles.
Colvin greatly improved his serve and forehand and now holds a 57-7 career record for the Eagles.
"I learned to play more aggressively," said Colvin. "I learned that it helps to be the aggressor."
Margolis' aggressive play also caused her opponents many problems. The sophomore breezed to a 20-1 mark, including one match in which she had a perfect set, not losing a single point. Her only loss came to Meghan Cornwall of Annapolis in the state championship match.
Margolis took second in the county (which also serves as the region tournament) last year, losing in the finals to her sister, Kelley. But Jamie paid her sister back this year, taking the title.
She finished third in the state last year and lost only two games this year through the regionals. Margolis did not lost a set until the state finals.
"I played really well in the county tournament," said Jamie Margolis, who also won the state's indoor 16's title this spring. "But when I got to the states, I relaxed too much."
Levy lost two of his top players from last year and harbored some strong preseason doubts about how well McDonogh would do.
But Levy still kept the Eagles together and got the most out of them. Even though last year's team might have had more talent, the 1995 Eagles had a better record (18-1 compared to 16-2).
"We really exceeded my expectations," said Levy, whose team had five individual MIAA A Conference champions for the third straight year. "The reason for that is they came out to play in every match."
And Motz did the same for Friends. Motz, a senior, captured his second straight MIAA B Conference singles title at No. 1 -- and he took second in the conference in doubles. He went 12-2 this season to finish 42-4 over four years.
Bice said Motz's strong all-court game and steady play sparked the team and helped him win the second straight title.
"It was much more gratifying for me this year because we took the team championship," said Motz, who is headed for Davidson College. "It's been really a three-year building process to the [team] title."
Huang used the same formula to win her city title. A steady senior who is headed for the University of Maryland to study engineering, she posted an 8-2 mark while playing mostly at No. 1 for the Engineers.
She played on the varsity for three years, and coach Preston Jackson said she was the consummate team player who would play anywhere (singles or doubles) to help Poly.
Huang said she will try to play tennis for the Terps and hopes her game continues to improve.
"I think I could have done better," said Huang. "But for the most part, I think I did very well."
Bice made some changes when he took over this season at Friends. He emphasized conditioning and basics from the start.
The changes paid off. The Quakers improved to 12-2 and won the MIAA B Conference team title. They won two singles titles at the conference championship.
"We started very early with conditioning, and we were in better shape than most teams," said Bice. "They just worked really hard, and they really wanted to win."