Devon Humphries heard the talk.
"Everyone was saying I wouldn't be back after I tore my ACL," said Humphries, a River Hill senior who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee while playing tennis in October.
After surgery in November, doctors told Humphries to stay away from competitive tennis for five months. But in late December, she was standing on the court, hitting balls back to her personal coach. And when the high school season started in late March, she was back on the court, playing.
"I worked so hard to come back and play my senior year," Humphries said.
And yesterday, on the final day of the Howard County championships at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club, it all paid off for her and the Hawks.
Humphries, who won the county, region and state girls doubles titles last year with Kristin Manglitz, was back in the doubles championship with junior Amanda Dolinka.
As it turned out, their match against Hammond's Ashley Pietryka and Erin Watkins would determine the winner of the Tournament Cup trophy. A win by Hammond would give the Golden Bears the outright title, while a River Hill victory would create a three-way tie.
The match was close -- there were many service breaks -- but Humphries and Dolinka prevailed, 6-4, 7-5.
That left Hammond, which went 1-for-3 in championship-round matches; River Hill, which went 2-for-2 in the finals, and Centennial, which lost its one championship match, all tied with 11 points.
It was the first Tournament Cup championship for both Hammond and River Hill. Hammond had never finished higher than seventh in the previous six years, and River Hill had finished third every season since the 5-year-old school opened.
Centennial had won seven straight Tournament Cup trophies and 11 of 13 when it earned its last title in 1997. The Eagles earned this year's trophy on the strength of seven points in the round of 16.
Glenelg was fourth with 10 points and Wilde Lake, which won the trophy two years ago, was fifth with nine. Mount Hebron, the cup winner in 1988 and last season, finished with eight. Oakland Mills and Howard had five and four points, respectively, and Long Reach and Atholton each had three.
River Hill junior Britt Boras won the boys singles title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Hammond junior Dan Merti.
"He beat me. It had nothing to do with sleep," said Merti, who, like his teammates, didn't get much sleep the night before because of a prom in downtown Baltimore and the after-prom party at a movie theater.
"I think I played well, especially the first set," said Boras, who was undefeated during the regular season.
Glenelg sophomore Marianne Baker, who is ranked No. 1 in the 16-and-under division in the mid-Atlantic, defeated teammate and close friend Julia Facchina, a freshman, 6-0, 6-2, in the girls final. Both girls were undefeated in the regular season.
Tejaswi Basoor and Greg Kennedy of Hammond won the boys doubles title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Centennial's top two singles players, Jim Taylor and Dan Hwang.
"I think we played our best match of the season," said Kennedy, who teamed with Basoor to form the Golden Bears' No. 1 doubles team during the regular season.
In the all-Wilde Lake mixed doubles final, Lauren Bondroff and David Lax, the Wildecats' top two singles players, defeated Jackie Taubman and Jay Kim, 6-2, 6-2.