Coach of Year
Jim Busick, Gilman: Busick was watching his team play McDonogh during the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship match when he was asked for his feelings about the Greyhounds. "They're probably better than we are," said Busick, "but we really played well as a team." The Greyhounds ended McDonogh's six-year hold on the A Conference title with a 4-2 victory in the championship match. Despite losing at Nos. 1 and 2 singles, Gilman rallied and won the other three -- including two matches Busick's players had lost in the A Conference tournament just three days earlier -- plus clinching the crown with a victory in doubles. The Greyhounds finished with a 14-1 record -- McDonogh was the only loss -- and Busick clearly got the most out of his team with some clever moves during the tournament. This was his 19th year coaching the Gilman tennis team and his first championship since 1991. Gilman also had been the last team ever to beat McDonogh in an A Conference match, also in 1991.
Boys Co-Player of Year
Chris Chiu, McDonogh, junior: Chiu clearly had been the area's best singles player until Andy Kolker upset him in the MIAA A Conference tournament's quarterfinals and went on to take the championship at No. 1. Chiu had won the individual titles in each of his first two years and still finished a strong 16-4 this season, once more combining with Zach Myers to give the Eagles one of the best 1-2 punches around. Chiu was 10-1 in the league and continued to grow as a player. He gained size and strength and benefited from that as well as the intense schedule that McDonogh played.
Boys Co-Player of Year
Andy Kolker, Park, junior: Kolker was a bit of a surprise in the tournament. Most expected this to be Chiu's tournament once more, but Kolker played solidly and beat the McDonogh junior in three sets. He took off from there, scoring straight-set victories in both the semifinals and finals -- the championship win coming against Kevin Strouse of Loyola. Kolker was the first Park champion since Steve Krulevitz won back in 1969. Kolker then quickly did something even more notable at the tournament. Despite having just 45 minutes rest, he combined with teammate Jon Caplis to win the doubles crown for Park. Kolker finished with an 11-2 mark.
Girls Player of Year
Leslie Harvey, Randallstown, junior: Everything came together for the talented junior this year. She had won the county and region titles in both her freshman and sophomore years but struggled in the state tournament, beating top-seeded Jennifer Hellier from Broadneck, 6-4, 6-4. There was not a problem this year, as she rolled through that tournament to win her first state championship and finish the season with a perfect 20-0 mark. Last year, she was seeded first in the state but fell in the second round. This year was a different story. She was seeded third but played solid tennis all the way through, not losing a set. Harvey has a complete game, loaded with good ground strokes, power and pinpoint accuracy that helps her win points from all over the court. She again will be one of the best players in the state next year, going for back-to-back state crowns.
Gary Diamond, Pikesville, junior: Diamond once again dominated play in Baltimore County for the long-strong tennis power at Pikesville. Diamond eased through the Panthers' opponents, never losing a set until he lost his lone match of the season in the first round of the state tournament. He finished with a 20-1 record, capturing his second straight county and region titles. Diamond won both of the championships at No. 1 singles. This was the third time that Diamond took a county title, as he was part of a doubles team that won during his freshman year at Pikesville. He then moved to singles, where he has ruled over Baltimore County ever since. His next goal is to be more of a force in the state tournament.
Laura Edmonds, Perry Hall, sophomore: She combined with Lily Ubillus to win the Region 6 doubles title. They played singles during the season -- with Ubillus at No. 1 and Edmonds at No. 2 -- before hooking up for the postseason action. Edmonds was 8-2 at No. 2 (plus 1-1 at No. 1), but coach Ed Dick thought they would made a good pair for the region tournament. They had to work hard in the region, rallying to win the second and third sets in both the semifinal and final matches. Edmonds wasn't even in the lineup last year, only being classified as an alternate, and Dick said she improved vastly since then and jumped right into this year's playing group. "She offered a strong challenge to Lily at No. 1," said Dick. The two will battle for top seed on the Gators' roster next year.
Claudia Farace, Dulaney, freshman: This is a player who quickly made a mark in her freshman year. Dulaney coach Pat Heil predicted before the season that Farace would be something special, and she was right as Farace compiled a 17-2 record. She lost to Leslie Harvey in the Baltimore County championship at No. 1 singles. After that, Farace took third in the region. Heil loves the mix of power, quickness and a strong baseline game that Farace brings to the court in each match. No one in the county, except for Harvey, came close to her as she went 10-0 in the regular season with little worry. She will be one of the county, region and state's best players in the next three years at Dulaney. The only question is how much will she win.
Elizabeth Harvey, Randallstown, sophomore: more: Despite being in sister Leslie's shadow somewhat, everyone still knows how good a player she is now. She captured the county title at No. 2 singles this year under its new format for the county tournament. At the region meet, Harvey had the misfortune of running into her sister and losing in straight sets in the championship match. Her game is much like her sister's with the consistency of strokes and small number of mistakes. She is still working on the patience needed to be a big winner but that's coming with each match, and Harvey will challenge her sister even more next year, which could give Randallstown two of the best players in the state in any class.
David Katz, McDonogh, senior: Katz had an strong season for a McDonogh team that had a number of holes to fill. He went 13-1 in the MIAA A Conference and finished the year 18-3 overall in addition to winning his first singles title. He moved up to the No. 3 singles spot this year and played consistent tennis from beginning to end. Katz defeated Randy Resnick, 6-4, 6-2, in the A Conference title match. "David was more confident this year. It was his fourth year as a starter, and he also was elected captain. He knew as a fourth-year senior that he had to step up into that No. 3 position, and he did," said McDonogh coach Laddie Levy.
Jackie Morris, Pikesville, senior: She spent her second year at No. 1 singles for Pikesville, having to work her way through a difficult slate of opponents and still managing to post a 9-2 record overall for the season. In addition, she teamed up with Dave Ben-Aderet to play mixed doubles in the region tournament and found more success there. The pair won the region tournament for Pikesville and then captured a match in the states before falling in the second round. She's a powerful baseline player who can hit the ball hard. In addition, Morris has spent a lot of time varying her game to make herself a better player. Morris also gets a lot of mileage out of her strong first serve.
Zach Myers, McDonogh, junior: He won his second straight MIAA A Conference championship with a straight set victory at No. 2 singles over Amir Zamani of Gilman. Myers, who also made the finals as a freshman at Loyola, continues to get better every year for the Eagles. He finished with an 20-2 record, 14-2 in the A Conference. After winning the individual title, Myers came back three days later with a big victory in the conference title match with Gilman. The junior continues to find more power as he grows in size, and he also will be one of the area's best players once more next season.
Randy Resnick, Gilman, senior: Resnick won an MIAA A Conference title last year but lost in the No. 3 finals this season to David Katz of McDonogh. Katz scored a 6-4, 6-2 victory, but Resnick came back three days later to win over Katz in the team championship match in a victory that helped turn the momentum to Gilman and gave the Greyhounds a chance to win in doubles. Resnick then came back about one hour later to win the doubles match with Amir Zamani over Katz and Myers, 6-2, 6-0, a victory that locked up the team championship for Gilman. Resnick was nearly flawless in that match, making big-time shots all over the court.
Lily Ubillus, Perry Hall, junior: Ubillus had been undefeated last year as a sophomore and had another strong season this year. She was No. 2 last year and moved up to No. 1 this season, posting a record of 7-3 at that spot. Her losses came to Claudia Farace of Dulaney (twice) and Jackie Morris of Pikesville. Ubillus is a consistent baseline player who limits her mistakes, and her style complements Edmonds, who loves to come to the net and control play there. "She's a very coachable player who analyzes her areas in need of improvement and sets about, through constant practice, to improve her skills," said coach Ed Dick. She had to improve to step up to No. 1 in addition to fighting off an unexpected challenge from Edmonds for that spot, but Ubillus stayed in control all season and added a sterling performance in postseason doubles. The two made the state tournament but lost in the first round.
The Baltimore Sun 1998 All-City/County tennis team was selected by the staff after consulting with area coaches.
Pub Date: 6/05/98