There will be a race for the Anne Arundel County dual-match championship this spring, thanks to Dana and Danielle Kaegel's decision not to play for Severna Park.
"If I had the Kaegels," said Severna Park coach Bob Naworal, "I couldn't be touched in the county. Without them, I have to move players around, and that makes us more vulnerable in certain positions."
Naworal said the Kaegel twins decided to take their senior spring season off after both were accepted to attend the Naval Academy.
"They've been playing some kind of sport every season since they were freshmen and wanted some time for themselves," said Naworal.
The Kaegels have played volleyball, basketball and tennis for the Falcons and concluded their volleyball careers last fall by earning first-team All-County honors.
Even without the Kaegels, most of the coaches in the county have targeted well-balanced Severna Park as a heavy favorite to replace Arundel and Broadneck at the top of the dual-match standings.
Broadneck took the county dual championship in 1996, but Arundel captured the county tournament and regional tourney title.
Arundel has several new faces, including a new coach, Bud Rorison, who replaces Gerry Quickel, who stepped down after being chosen last season's county Coach of the Year.
Senior Lindsay Carlson becomes the Wildcats' No. 1 girls singles player, and junior David Flage is the No. 1 boys player. Andy Maxwell, another junior, has won the No. 2 boys spot.
The top girls doubles team will be juniors Jessica Snowden and Tenley Gallow.
Playing No. 1 boys doubles will be Aaron Gough and Jordan Hoyt.
Rorison comes to Arundel from Meade, where he was tennis coach for seven years and his teams won only 12 dual matches in all that time.
"I'm like a kid in a candy store," said Rorison of his new coaching job. "I had some of the best kids at Meade, but they had no tennis background and seldom played outside of school. At Arundel, I have several kids who play season-round and are ranked highly in junior tennis."
Many county experts believe Arundel could drop to third behind Severna Park and Broadneck this season.
"We're not looking at a powerhouse team like in the past," said Rorison. "But I believe we have a shot at winning the county."
Broadneck, which went 12-0 in county dual-match play last season, is loaded on the girls side with super sophomore Jennifer Hellier returning from a 11-1 season. Her only loss was to Annapolis' three-time state champion, Meghan Cornwall.
Playing girls singles behind Hellier will be Molly Coy at No. 2, Camilla Rasmussen at No. 3 and Danielle DeLancey at No. 4.
DeLancey and Coy are set as No. 1 girls doubles, and Julie White and Megan Flavin have won the No. 2 girls doubles position.
The Bruins' top boys singles players will be Brad Taylor at No. 1, T.J. Moreland No. 2 and Sam Weston No. 3. Behind those three will be Eric Peterson, Eric Gardner, Pat Taylor and Scott Peterson.
"We have a chance to repeat in the county because of our strong girls players," said Broadneck coach Phoebe Kelly. "And we have a lot of players who can contend for regional and state championships."
Severna Park Falcons
As in the past,Severna Park has strong talent throughout the boys and girls lineups but few name players.
Freshman Andrew Porter is battling senior David Leddy and sophomore Dan Greenblatt for the No. 1 boys singles spot. The competition is so close that Naworal said he may wind up letting all three take turns at No. 1.
Other top Falcons boys are Ashlea Higgs and Mike Sachs.
The top Severna Park girls are No. 1 Nancy Turnblacer, No. 2 Keri Peterson and No. 3 Mia Scott, with Lisa Mulholland set to play doubles.
South River Seahawks
South River will feature, for the fourth straight season, the talents of All-County performers Matt Hanna and Howie Edelstein, who have been to the states every year in doubles and mixed doubles, last year advancing to the doubles state finals before losing. Both also have been strong 1-2 singles players for the Seahawks and will concentrate on singles this season.
Playing singles behind Hanna and Edelstein for coach Ron Price will be James Scire, Kevin Knapp and Josh Dunivant.
Knapp and Dunivant will be the No. 1 boys team, with Tommy King and Chris Phillips set at No. 2. Liz Browning moves up to No. 1 girls singles for South River from No. 2. Katie Wilhelm is set at No. 2, and Mandy Haspert is No. 3.
Equaling last season's 9-5 dual-match record will be nearly impossible, said coach Richard King.
"We're a run-of-the-mill team," said King. "No one can replace Meghan [Cornwall] and it's hard to replace a No. 1 boy like Ian Massenburg." Cornwall, who graduated, closed out her brilliant career with 89 straight wins for a 110-2 career record and three straight state titles.
That leaves Eileen Haung and Tori Touzin as the top two girls singles entries, and sophomores Jacob Barnes, Bryce BTC Butterworth and Keith Bradshaw as the top three boys singles players.
Pub Date: 4/01/97