(May 24, 2019) Eight tennis players represented Stephen Decatur during the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 3A East Region tournament last week. All but the mixed doubles team lost in their first match.
Freshman Noah Fisher and junior Laura Meadows competed in the singles tournament.
Sophomores Aaron Cohen and Micah Bourne, and junior Sarah Haskell and senior Sofia Gordy, battled in doubles competition.
The six Seahawks played last Thursday at Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Columbia.
Seniors and team captains Jonathan Petito and Grace Beres teamed up for mixed doubles.
The Decatur duo took on a pair from James M. Bennett in Salisbury last Friday.
Beres and Petito lost the first set, 4-6.
“We told them to take some chances,” said Jamie Greenwood, coach of the Decatur girls’ team.
The Decatur team won the next set, 6-2.
“They stepped up and took advantage of [Bennett players’] errors,” Greenwood said. “They played smart, but they played aggressive.”
Since each team won a set, the competition went into a tiebreaker. It was a back-and-forth battle, but Beres and Petito prevailed, 13-11.
“They played well,” Greenwood said.
The next day in Columbia, the duo lost their semifinal match, but won the consolation round, 6-2, 6-0. They finished in third place overall.
“They played better the second set [in the semifinals],” said Steve Berquist, coach of the Decatur boys’ team. “They had to get right on the court when they got there. Once they were warmed up they played better.”
Berquist said he was proud of the pair.
“They put up a good fight,” he said.
In previous years, the tennis field was divided into districts for tournaments. This was the first year for a regional championship, which consisted of 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A classifications, which other sports already have.
“I think we’re the last sport to have classifications,” Greenwood said.
The girls’ team finished the season with a 10-4 record.
“I was happy with [the season],” Greenwood said.
The only schools the squad lost to were Bennett and Worcester Prep.
The team will graduate three players – Beres, Gordy and Abby Crisanti.
With a core group anticipated to return, Greenwood thinks the team will be strong next year.
Because of the depth of talent, the girls will challenge each other and make each other better, he said.
Greenwood presented awards to several players during the team’s recent banquet. Receiving recognition were: Beres and Gordy (MVP), Crisanti (Coaches Award), and sophomores Emily Stitely (Rookie of the Year), Sam Cummings (Most Spirited) and Melis Unal (Most Improved, Sportsmanship Award).
The boys’ team also finished 10-4.
“I was pleased with the season,” Berquist said. “We competed well with Bennett and we beat Parkside twice this year, which was our goal.”
The team lost twice to Bennett and Worcester Prep this year.
“We were young in our lineup,” Berquist said.
The team will graduate four players – Petito, Omar Omar, Kyle Shelton and Aaron Campbell.
“We have a lot of kids coming back so I think we’ll be pretty good,” Berquist said.
The squad will lose just one of the four starting singles players.
“A lot of them are planning to play in the offseason,” Berquist said. “If they do that I’m expecting them to come back better. It’s exciting.”
Berquist presented accolades to: Fisher (MVP), Petito and Cohen (Coaches Award), Bourne (Rookie Award), Omar and Campbell (Doubles Award) and freshmen Jonathan Brandhuber and Ethan Hansford (Most Improved).