BOYS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
An exchange senior student from Belgium, Ralet helped raise the level of tennis at Old Mill, resulting in the Patriots soaring to the top in Anne Arundel County.
Ralet won the county and Region V championships in boys No. 1 singles, leading the Patriots, who were fourth in 2003, to the dual championships.
Going into the state tournament, Ralet was 16-0, but lost in the first round.
Possessing a potent forehand, strong and well-placed ground strokes and an impressive court presence, the 6-foot-3 Ralet defeated preseason favorite Matt Bulkley of Severna Park in the county championships, 6-3, 6-1, and in the district tournament, 6-3, 6-0.
"Derek is really solid in the fundamentals and makes everything look so easy," said Old Mill coach Krissy Dryden. "There is no question that he had a lot to do with us winning."
Ralet, who has lot of power at the net and can change it up when needed, is returning to Belgium after graduation. He hopes to return later to the United States to attend college.
GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The repeat girls Player of the Year, Daciek, who is bound for Washington College, made four appearances in the state tournament in her career.
Looking to go a long way in this year's state tournament at the University of Maryland after repeating as county and Region V champion in girls singles, Daciek won in the first round but lost in the second round to the top seed. Daciek, who has superb ground strokes and quickness, lost to Glenelg's Julia Facchina, 6-3, 6-0.
Daciek won a state doubles title as a sophomore after finishing third in mixed doubles as a freshman. She lost in the girls singles first round as a junior after going 13-0 in the regular season.
To repeat as the county and Region V girls singles champion this spring, Daciek had to defeat Old Mill sophomore Christine Aggabao twice. Daciek, who lost only four county games, claimed the county title by 6-1, 6-2 over Aggabao, and in their region rematch, Daciek prevailed, 6-2, 6-0.
The disappointment for Daciek was that Old Mill won both team titles over the Falcons.
"Allison should do very well at Washington College," said Severna Park coach April Pinder. "She has a very good work ethic and I think she will get even better."
COACH OF THE YEAR
In just her second season as coach of the Patriots, Dryden guided her team to county and regional championships after fourth-place finishes last season.
Old Mill won the county Crown by 37-30 over runner-up Severna Park. Severna Park had won two regular-season matches over the Patriots.
In the Region V event, Old Mill beat Severna Park, 33-28.
"We had a lot of returning players who were a really good group," said Dryden, a New Jersey native who played tennis at Moorestown High and Salisbury University and is a physical education teacher at Old Mill.
"They blended together. And, of course, having Derek [Ralet] come in as an exchange student really helped. I'm really looking forward to next year."
The future appears bright for this sophomore, who has had to deal with Severna Park's reigning champion in the girls No. 1 singles, Allison Daciek, over her first two years. Aggabao, who has quick hands and serves and volleys exceptionally well, played the two-time Player of the Year tough before bowing, 6-1, 6-2, in the county finals and 6-2, 6-0 in the regional. Aggabao was 20-5 overall.
After winning the Region V title in boys singles and the first round in the state tournament last year as a sophomore, Bulkley had high expectations going into this season. However, Old Mill's Derek Ralet came over from Belgium and proved to be Bulkley's nemesis. Bulkley's only losses came to Ralet in the county and Region V finals.
Chris Caldwell and Durke Phillips
Seniors Caldwell and Phillips pulled a double by winning the county and Region V boys doubles titles for first-place Old Mill. In the county tournament, the duo lost the first set, 6-1, to Arundel juniors Peter Sooy and Clint Kohler, but bounced back to win the next two, 6-4, 6-3. In the region final, Caldwell and Phillips defeated Severna Park juniors Nic Athans and Connor Chalmers, 7-5, 6-4.
Over four years, Dupaya lost only once at No. 2 singles in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference. He won the No. 2 title this year over John Carroll's Adam Ranford, 6-1, 6-4, to contribute to the team's league championship. In addition, Dupaya, who will attend Mount St. Mary's, and Steve Peltzman added the tournament doubles title.
"Robert would have been No. 1 at a lot of schools because he has a lot of talent, but Steve was our No. 1," said Spalding coach Jason Kesselman. "No question, those two were the main reasons, along with the other seniors, in our winning it this year."
Sarah Ellenberger and Alyson Shields
Juniors Ellenberger and Shields won both the county and Region V girls doubles titles over Southern's tough duo of sophomore Sally Stickles and freshman Nicole Aylor. Ellenbeger and Shields, who play smart and exploit the weaknesses of their foes, according to Bruins coach Mylie Durham, won the county title, 6-0, 6-4. The Bruins duo lost only one match all season and avoided an upset in the region before putting away the much-improved Stickles-Aylor team, 6-4, 6-3.
Kristen King and Scott Mitchell
After winning county and Region V mixed doubles titles, this talented sophomore combination won its first match in the state tournament before bowing in the next round. King and Mitchell swept Broadneck's senior pair of Dave Rossiello and Maria Depont in the county and Region V tournaments. Teamed together for the first time this season, the Patriots pair won the county tournament, 6-1, 6-2, and the regional, 6-2, 6-2.
The Cavaliers' No. 1 boys singles player over the past four years, Peltzman had only three career losses and capped his run this season by leading his team to the MIAA B Conference title. Peltzman, who will attend the University of Maryland, led the Cavaliers to a 12-0 record and the tournament title after winning the regular-season crown in 2003.
The Cavaliers defeated Beth Tfiloh in the semifinals and John Carroll in the final, as Peltzman won, 6-0, 6-1, over Billy Hughes. He also teamed up with Robert Dupaya to win the No. 1 doubles in a pro set by 8-2 over John Carroll's Hughes and Adam Cranford.