Calvert

Coach: Bobby Sparks (second season)

2002 Record: 9-8 (SMAC tournament champs)

Players to Watch: Katie Ash, Sr.; Lindsey Chaney, Sr.; Ashleigh Kenny, Sr.; Paul Ewing, Jr.; Eli Breitburg-Smith, Jr.; Rob Mihalcik, Jr.

Outlook: The Cavaliers came on strong at season's end and won the SMAC tournament title behind Ash and SMAC doubles champs Chaney and Kenny. With only one player from that team having graduated, Calvert should again be powerful. "We can win the regular season, but that doesn't mean we'll walk all over everyone in the tournament," said Sparks.

Calverton

Coach: Danny Coffin (fourth season)

2002 Record: 7-5 in Maryland Independent School Athletic League

Players to Watch: Steve Hubble, Sr.; Sorine Schiopu, Sr.; Kate Clancy, Sr.; Ryan Langdon, Jr., Christine Judge, Soph.

Outlook: Calverton lost Robbie Malvo (who was undefeated in the regular season) to graduation but will rely on the powerful backhand of Hubble from the top slot and Schiopu's improved game at second singles. Calverton also features seventh-grader Alan Chaney, a talented 13-year-old who plays year-round out of Severn Valley Tennis Club.

Chopticon

Coach: Peter Chen (11th season)

2002 Record: n/a

Players to Watch: Brian Guy, Sr.; Emiko Yamamato, Fr.; Timmy Tennyson, Sr.; Jimmy Tennyson, Sr; Elizabeth Knight, Jr.; Sara Brown, Jr.

Outlook: This will be a rebuilding year for the Braves, according to Chen, who's got a simple goal for the season: "They've got to bring a love of the game and dedication." Yamamato is a Japanese exchange student with a solid game; the Tennyson cousins are athletic soccer players who will play doubles together.

Great Mills

Coach: Derek Sabedra (second season)

2002 Record: 5-13

Players to Watch: Brittany Burch, Sr.; Stacy Loftis, Sr.; Brian Gober, Sr.; Alex Ebba, Sr.; Jeff Johnson, Sr.

Outlook: The Hornets will be a much-improved squad, led by all-county singles player Burch and the doubles team of Ebba and Johnson, who also made all-county last year. "We're going to challenge Northern, Patuxent and Calvert," said Sabedra. Gober will play first singles, and talented freshmen Soott Woodburn and Kim Burghardt will add to an already strong squad.

La Plata

Coaches: Sue Craig and Eulo Regala (fifth season)

2002 Record: 9-7

Players to Watch: Jocelyn Gay, Jr.; Steven Capelli, Sr.; Zana Vance, Sr.; Whitney Adams, Sr.; Matt Chisholm, Jr.; Eric Stup, Jr.

Outlook: The Warriors have no returning singles players, but Gay moves from doubles to singles and will play in the top spot. Vance and Adams will play doubles together and bring experience. The boys' team is a bit inexperienced; Capelli has emerged as the early No. 1 player.

Lackey

Coach: Ken Griffith (10th season)

2002 Record: 7-8

Players to Watch: Michael Lai, Jr.; Maelina Sakaio, Jr.; Kelly Lai, Fr.; Jame Toribio, Sr.; Ryan O'Leary, Sr.

Outlook: The Chargers lost seven starters from last year, and Griffith is aiming toward a .500 season with a squad that features many first-year girls. Sakaio will play singles for the first time and is in the No. 1 girls' slot. Griffith said he has high expectations for the doubles team of Toribio and O'Leary.

McDonough

Coach: Deanna Poore (second season)

2002 Record: 9-7

Players to Watch: Sarah McKinney, Jr.; Megan Eicholtz, Jr.; Dale Cornette, Sr.; Jesse Starkey, Jr.; Timm Fulge, Sr.

Outlook: Poore sees her players "trying harder, because they've got to earn their spots, " and that may translate into better play. Cornette has a lot of experience and will play No. 1 for the boys; McKinney moves up from No. 2 singles last year to No. 1. Fulge is an exchange student from Germany with solid skills.

Northern

Coach: Eric Stroh (fourth season)

2002 Record: 14-2 (Region IV champions)

Players to Watch: Albert Fitch, Soph.; Patricia Steinkamp, Jr.; Phil Edwards, Sr.; Johnny Miller, Sr.

Outlook: Defending SMAC singles champion Jonathan Edwards broke his wrist two weeks ago and is out for the season, leaving Fitch to carry the first singles spot. "He can hit every shot in the book," Stroh said of Fitch. Steinkamp has shown great improvement over the past year and will make her singles debut in the No. 1 slot.

Patuxent

Coach: Allen Price (fourth season)

2002 Record: 13-3

Players to Watch: Ashley Howell, Sr.; Emily Holt, Soph.; Amy Griffin, Soph.; Jeff Ocker, Jr.; Danny Parks, Sr.; Justin Benedict, Jr.

Outlook: With defending SMAC champ Howell and 2002 SMAC quarterfinalist Ocker leading the way, the Panthers should fight for first place this season. Holt may play No. 2 singles or form a strong doubles team with Griffin. The boys have great foot speed, while the girls rely on consistency and power.

St. Mary's Ryken

Coach: Brian Abell (third season)

2002 Record: 12-3 (coed). Team now plays in WCAC; girls in fall, boys in spring.

Players to Watch: Joe Carr, Sr.; Gustavo Elias, Jr.; Dan Hosmer, Jr.; Mike Kopanke, Jr.; Patrick O'Brien, Soph.

Outlook: The Knights' move to the WCAC means a higher level of tennis. "It will be a challenging season. There will be a learning curve to adjust," Abell said. Carr was undefeated as a doubles player in SMAC play last season and also will play singles this year. Elias has quick footwork, and the 6-foot-6 Hosmer has an outstanding reach.

Thomas Stone

Coach: Tom Parker (second year)

2002 Record: 0-16

Players to Watch: Leilani Ireland, Sr.; Amber Conway, Soph.; Kristina Payne, Sr.; Chris Meyers, Sr.; Patrick Magdon, Sr.

Outlook: Forty-five students came out for the tennis team this season, and Parker is hoping that spells improvement over last year. Ireland is a consistent hitter who will play No. 1 girls' singles. Conway and Payne are three-sport athletes (soccer, swimming) who will form a nice doubles tandem. Meyers has a power game and will play No. 1 boys.

-- Dave Yanovitz

Paul Ewing helped Calvert win the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tournament title last season.Patuxent senior Ashley Howell is the defending girls' singles champion in the SMAC. The Panthers finished last season 13-3.