Last year's Maryland state tennis tournament proved to be a short one for Troy Demers. The Annapolis sophomore drew the No.1 player in the first round and was out of the tournament after one match. He promised himself it wouldn't happen again.
Yesterday, Demers topped off his promise in a big way, defeating Winston Churchill's Ben Hatten, 6-4, 6-2, to win the boys singles state championship.
The match, which began at Essex Community College, was stopped by rain with Demers leading 3-2 in the second set. It was continued indoors at the Greenspring Racket Club, where Demers broke Hatten's serve and won four consecutive games to take the match.
Two other matches were also finished indoors at the Greenspring club.
"I think I had an advantage when we got [to Greenspring] because I'd played here before," said Demers, who was 24-0 for the season, including his wins in the state tournament.
"I got up two breaks in the first set, but he got one back and I held the second one to win the set. Ben's a really good player, and I knew he'd be tough."
The victory was the first title for Annapolis in boys tennis. Megan Cornwall won the only other title for the Panthers in 1995, in girls singles.
The win was especially sweet for Demers, who had to play a 3 1/2 -hour, three-set match against High Point's Simon Mboch in the quarterfinals.
"I had a lot of problems with cramping up both yesterday and this morning," Demers said. "I drank [athletic drinks] and I was all right. I didn't know what to expect, but it all worked out."
In girls singles, Franklin's "Killer Bees," Beatrice Grasu and Brooke Rogers, had an impressive run. The freshmen both lost to the same player, Eleanor Roosevelt's Lesley Price. Rogers was beaten in the semifinals, 6-1, 6-1, while Grasu lost in the championship match, 7-6 (11-9), 6-0.
Grasu made a strong showing, winning the first four games of the first set. After that, Price settled down, and used her patience and power game to pull away.
Grasu had five set points in the tiebreaker, but could not put away Price. After that, it was all downhill for Grasu, who was not happy with her effort.
"I didn't play my best, and she took advantage of that," she said. "This is my first time here, and it lets me know what I need to work on for next year."
Rogers lost her consolation match to Wicomico's Jessie Rybacki, the defending state champion, 7-5, 6-1. Rogers trailed 5-0 in the first set of that match.
River Hill's girls doubles team of Kristin Manglitz and Devon Humphries rallied to win a tight match against Spingbrook's Monica Colinares and Candice Jones, 7-5, 6-4, and capture the tournament championship. Their title was the first ever in tennis for River Hill.
"We were both singles players, and we had to talk our coach into letting us play doubles," said Manglitz, a senior.
"We're great friends, and we love to play together. I'm just sorry I won't be back to help defend our title next year."
In mixed doubles, Belair's top-seeded Danielle Hess and Timothy Rohrbaugh defeated Mount Hebron's Audrey Damrinski and Brandon Nam, 6-1, 6-3, for the championship.