Freshmen show class, net titles

A mixture of old and new rang true at the Baltimore County tennis championships yesterday as a talented crop of freshmen emerged with first-time honors and defending champion Pikesville High snagged its 35th team title in 37 years.

The 93-degree temperatures didn't faze Franklin's top two 15-year-olds, Beatrice Grasu and Brooke Rogers, en route to their victories in the girls Nos. 1 and 2 divisions, respectively.


The two teen-agers, nicknamed "Killer B's" because of their domination this season, preserved their unblemished records without dropping a game.

"Our toughest match probably was playing each other for the No.1 spot on the team this season," Rogers said after her 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Towson's Meredith Haas. "We've been playing together since we were 10 years old. [Grasu] beat me at the beginning of the year for the [No.1]spot, but it's a team thing, so it's good we both can win."


As expected, No.1 boys seed Chase Dawson raised his match record to 11-0 by downing Pikesville's Dana Dovlin, 6-1, 6-1.

The Dulaney freshman neutralized his 6-foot-5 opponent's blistering weapons with his own serve-and-volley game. The dominant 15-year-old left-hander, who earned sectional and national rankings last year, did not drop more than three games in a match this year.

"I've have a lot more experience," Dawson said. "Playing six hours a day in the summer and at least two hours a day during the school year has really helped me improve. And I'm proud that I'm a serve-and-volleyer because there aren't many left."

Pikesville's No.2 girls doubles team, Suchithra Narayna and Dafna Kesselman, staged the biggest surprise of the event by ousting the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds en route to their first final.

The unseeded freshmen subsequently fell, 6-0, 6-2, to Towson's top-seeded duo, Kat Haas and Alley Firey, but gave their school the unexpected edge to earn the team title with 34 points.

Towson and Franklin took regular-season division honors, but Pikesville showed depth to triumph at the county tournament.

"Pikesville has always done well in this tournament," said Pikesville coach Jerry Dresner, whose players reached five of the nine finals. "Towson's No.1 girl, Veena Rao, could not play the tournament, but we still had great depth here. We won because we got contributions from every flight."

Pikesville senior Jeff Bloom captured his third consecutive doubles title, this time with new partner Ben Morris. The No.1-seeded duo edged Overlea's William Wingard and Steven Noll, 7-5, 6-4, in the most spirited match of the day.