The talent and depth that has made C. Milton Wright one of the area's premier tennis powers was on display yesterday in the Harford County championships.
Winning boys and girls singles, girls doubles and mixed doubles and placing 15 of their 16 entries in the tournament semifinals, the undefeated Mustangs coasted to their fourth straight county championship at Harford Community College.
Junior Roger Torres won his third straight boys singles title, senior Carlie Smith claimed the girls singles crown, and the doubles teams of Jessica Ahn and Anita Sahu and Kaila Raines and Josh Weiner won the girls and mixed doubles, respectively.
The Mustangs, who qualified 15 players for next week's regionals, posted 38 team points, beating Fallston (22), which had the top boys doubles team, seniors Joaquin Ezcurra and Chris Morrison, and Bel Air (12).
"It's real exciting to see us perform the we had hoped to," said Mustangs coach Peter Griffiths, who has 13 county crowns in 19 seasons at C. Milton Wright. "There were a few close calls in the semis that we would have liked to switch the outcome, but overall, it went pretty smoothly."
Especially for Smith, a senior who was the county runner-up to Joppatowne's Liezl Samios-Uy in her freshman and sophomore years and then played second singles behind Ahn last year.
Smith, who will play next year at the University of Pittsburgh, was a part of the Mustangs' county-winning mixed doubles team last year but won the top singles spot this season and claimed her first singles county title yesterday with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over North Harford senior Shelly Gottesfeld.
"I was nervous in the first couple of matches, because I came in second for two years," said Smith, who is undefeated this season. "But I'm excited. This has been a goal of mine for years."
Said Griffiths: "She's been one of the top two singles players in the county all four years but always had one player in front of her. But she worked so hard in the offseason and it is very gratifying to see a player work that hard and achieve her goal."
Smith's teammate Torres had little trouble beating Fallston junior Jeremy Butanis, 6-1, 6-0, in the finals. Torres, an All-Metro selection last season after finishing fourth in the state, has struggled with an arm injury all season, but he showed no ill effects yesterday.
"I played pretty good, better than I did in the morning [semifinals]," said Torres, who remained undefeated in his career against county competition. "Every once in a while, my arm gets really sore, but it didn't bother me that much today."
In winning mixed doubles, Raines and Weiner downed teammates Julianne Abrahamsen and Ryan McKeldin, 6-4, 6-4. Ahn and Sahu took out Fallston's girls doubles' pair of Tao Tran and Jackie Conrad, 6-1, 6-1.
The boys doubles final was the most competitive, Fallston's Cougars' Ezcurra and Morrison beating Bel Air's Chris Appel and Dave Gostomski, 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.