Bel Air, which shared last year's title with C. Milton Wright, and backed by an influx of talented freshmen, is favored to win the Harford County tennis championship this spring.
The toughest challenge will likely be posed by Havre de Grace, which has plenty of singles experience, but, like most of the other teams, admits to being young and in a "rebuilding" stage overall.
At Bel Air, with an 8-3 conquest of Wright already in the bank, the key holdovers are juniors Amy Wang, the defending girls' singles champion, and David Finlayson, boys singles runner-up a year ago, plus seniors Jaya Ramesh, Rob Pohlner and Ryan Nett, and juniors Carolyn Samuel and Brad Nowicki.
Among the freshmen are Margo Wallace, Danielle Hess, and Ryan Finlayson.
Anne Bartram, an assistant in past seasons, has assumed the head coaching duties, getting the position when three-year coach Bill Torres was not retained.
Havre de Grace, one of the county's top teams in recent years, returns the championship boys' doubles entry of Andy Mitchell-Lev Shellenberger, although they may see service in singles, along with Sean Carroll.
Coach Kathy Graybeal's squad has experience in girls singles with Christine Pelletier, Cheryl Yankolonis and Marie Harding.
Two other teams expected to be among the first four are C. Milton Wright and Fallston.
Wright coach Peter Griffiths calls this a rebuilding year after going 15-1 last year, although he has four seniors among his first five players, including the No. 1 singles pair of Julie Kunselman and Josh Moore.
A small core of veterans brightens the Fallston picture, as coaches Barry Angel and Tracy Sarnacki look to improve on a middle-of-the-pack finish of a year ago. The holdovers include seniors Lauren Burden and Lauren Smith; and Vidhya Prabhakaran, Andy Chisholm and Jason Vollmer.
Elsewhere, Aberdeen coach Charles Braungard is rebuilding, starting with the only senior (Joon Yoo) among the top four singles spots (two boys, two girls). At Edgewood, the expected leaders are senior Rob Fisher and junior Josh Zoltek, and coach Ed Naus is very excited about the potential after going 0-17 a year ago. New players and some experienced ones are providing reason for the enthusiasm.
At Harford Tech, coach Russ Guhr has a boys squad relatively unchanged from last year and will be stronger top to bottom than the girls side. The top boys are sophomore Robby Guanzon and seniors Alex Slack and Jeremy Conn, and the girls' leaders are senior Chantal Champ and junior Nicole Fabrizio.
Joppatowne coach Lance Thompson has Shiraz Somji as the lone senior among the top six, but there is enough experience to see .500 as a realistic goal. Sophomore singles player Scott Rakowski and four senior doubles players head the cast at North Harford, where coach Jim Bogarty will have a less-experienced group of girls. The leader is senior Michelle Rider.
Coach Dick Paaby's John Carroll squad won three matches in the MIAA A Conference last year, and is shooting for .500 this time. The chief players include seniors Skip Mountain and Omar Azar, junior Anshu Rastogi, and sophomore Michael Wohl.
Pub Date: 4/03/97