Boys Player of the Year
Troy Demers, junior, Annapolis: Demers dominated the county boys scene this year, dropping only one set in the regular season (to Severna Park's Evan Schwartz) on the way to a 24-0 record and the Maryland State Boys Public School championship. Ranked 32nd in the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association's latest rankings, Demers defeated Churchill's Ban Hatten to win the state title after a disappointing tournament last year. He also won the county and district titles this season. "He was just unstoppable this year," said Severna Park coach April Quigley. "No one could take him down."
Girls Player of the Year
Susan Johnson, sophomore, Severna Park: The leader of the county champion Falcons, Johnson came into her own this season. The sophomore did not lose a match en route to her first county title and regional title, going 21-0. She advanced to the state tournament, losing to Franklin's Beatrice Grasu in the quarterfinals. She was the anchor of Severna Park's dominant girls team, often preferring to practice with the boys to sharpen her skills. "Susan's tennis is very aggressive. She forces opponents to go on the defensive immediately," said Quigley, her coach. "She also is a great help as far as giving advice to others, especially our JV players."
Coach of the Year
April Quigley, Severna Park: In her first year at Severna Park, Quigley arrived to find that defending county boys champion Andrew Porter would not play this season. That didn't stop the Falcons, though, who behind Quigley won the county and regional championships. A Broadneck alum (Class of 1990) and graduate of Salisbury State, Quigley was coach at Marist College before going to Severna Park. Her presence and demeanor had a calming influence on a team that had its share of turmoil. "She loves what she does and really cares about us both as players and as people," said Severna Park's Susan Johnson, the girls Player of the Year. "She's played tennis, so she's a big help as far as telling me what to expect at the next level."
Chris Beegle, junior, Arundel: After winning the county mixed doubles last year, Beegle paired with fellow junior Brad Hurst to win the county and district boys doubles title this season, defeating North County's Jake Helms and Danny Palumbo in the county and regional finals. Beegle competed most of the year as a singles player, compiling a 10-1 singles record (with the only loss to Demers) along the way. His consistency and leadership helped Arundel to a second-place finish in the county tournament.
Andrew Gaudreau, sophomore, St. Mary's: Everything came together this season for Gaudreau, who won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's B Conference title for the second straight year, compiling a 12-0 record along the way. "He's the real deal, and he potentially has it all," said Archbishop Curley coach Mark Potter. "Once he matures a little, he will be able to challenge anyone in any league in the area. He could hold his own in the [MIAA] A Conference right now."
Scott Nguyen, senior, Glen Burnie: If it weren't for Demers, Nguyen would have been the best public school player in the county this year. A naturally talented athlete, Nguyen was a major factor in Glen Burnie's going from also-ran county status to legitimate contender. "He carries a big stick," said Glen Burnie head coach Bill Bope. "He uses his power game and court smarts to get him through. He's been on the team for four years, and he'll be a hard player for us to replace next year."
Tim White, junior, Key School: Playing in the Maryland Independent Schools Athletic League, he used a game with finesse and power to compile an 11-0 and won both the MISAL regular-season and postseason tournaments. Ranked eighth in the Mid-Atlantic by the U.S. Tennis Association, White lost only two games and never lost a set all year. "He knows every shot in the book," said Key coach Don Robinson-Boonstra. "His forehand and backhand are incredible, and he can execute them from anywhere on the court."
Mari Butera, senior, North County: Butera had a fine year this season, compiling a 15-4 record while finishing third behind Johnson for the county championship and second behind her for the district crown. A tenacious player, Butera won a match this season by fighting off five match points. She lost her county semifinal match to Severna Park's Robin Koethcke before rallying to defeat her in the district semifinal. "She is a gifted athlete," said Greg Helms, her coach. "She moves like a cat on the court. There's no wasted motion."
Jamie DeGraffenreid, freshman, Severna Park: DeGraffenreid followed in the footsteps of her sister, who graduated from Severna Park last year, and won the county and district girls doubles titles with partner and fellow freshman Lindsay Suller. Ranked 58th in the Mid-Atlantic for girls 14 and under by the USTA, DeGraffenreid used her quickness and communication skills to outwit her opponents. "She is dedicated to her goals. She always does more than her opponents," said Quigley, her coach. "She's a smart player, and that helps her and Lindsay make changes during the match."
Kristen Kibler, sophomore, Broadneck: After playing mixed doubles last year, Kibler moved over to play girls doubles this year with partner Shane Rigling, and the pair finished second to only DeGraffenreid and Suller in the county and district tournaments. A natural leader, Kibler distinguished herself with her mental toughness. "Kristin has a powerful game and took on a lot of leadership on their team this year," said Arundel's Chris Beegle. "She's only a sophomore, and she'll be even better next year."
Kellie Werner, senior, Glen Burnie: Werner, an excellent student, compiled a 9-2 record in singles, one of the best in the county, before switching to mixed doubles late in the year. There, she and her partner won the District 5 title over Bonnie and John Busch, the county champions. A coach from another county school paid her a compliment, saying: "Normally in mixed doubles, you try to keep the ball away from the boy, and hit it to the girl. When we played Glen Burnie, I told my team to hit it to the boy."