In her first tennis tournament since surgery to remove bone spurs in both feet, Franklin's Beatrice Grasu yesterday also helped remove Pikesville's fearsome hold on sole possession of the Baltimore County tennis championship.
Grasu and teammate Brooke Rogers, sophomores who last year finished second and fourth in the state, respectively, each cruised to easy wins in singles competition to lead the Indians to a share of the team crown with the perennial champion Panthers at CCBC-Catonsville.
The two northwest county neighbors finished with 35 points each to outdistance Towson (27) and Catonsville (24). While the title was Pikesville's 36 in 38 years, it was Franklin's first in the sport.
"I knew we'd be close to Pikesville, but I didn't know whether we'd have enough," said Franklin coach Warren White, whose team has gone unbeaten in the county's 4A-3A division each of the past three years, but never had finished higher than second at the tournament. "As long as I've coached, Pikesville has been the team in Baltimore County."
For Pikesville, it took some final-day heroics to preserve the tie.
"When we looked at the brackets for this tournament, we knew we had our work cut out for us," said Pikesville coach Jerry Dresner. "It turned out in the end we needed to win all four flights we were in the finals of, and we won all four."
Pikesville recorded wins with Jeff Kraft (boys No. 2 singles) and the teams of Stephen Cooper and Matt Jacobson (boys No. 1 doubles), Brian Pollack and Andrew Kaye (boys No. 2 doubles) and the mixed doubles team of Nicole Waranch and Ben Morris, who in what turned out to be one of the day's most critical matches held off Franklin's Megan Blick and Dewang Shavdia, 7-5, 6-4.
The Panthers were the tournament's only team to score at least one point in each of the nine flights.
Rogers, who won girls No. 1 singles, and Grasu, who won girls No. 2 singles, were part of an Indians attack that also featured the boys No. 1 doubles team Matt Bondroff and Dan Markus and girls No. 2 doubles team Shannon Toher and Erin Rosenthal, all of whom advanced to the finals.
Grasu, who had not competed in a tournament since November, said she was forced to overcome some mental obstacles.
"The whole match atmosphere was new to me in a sense." said Grasu, last year's No. 1 singles winner. "It was a challenge."