Casey Bartok, Loudoun Valley, Jr.: The Vikings' returning No. 1 player is being pushed by teammate Tessa Carrington, a junior transfer from Notre Dame, and could challenge the Loudoun County duo of Blakeley Griffith and Jessica Nixon. Loudoun Valley has not defeated the Raiders in five years.
Joy Hartung, Broad Run, Sr.: The three-time All-Extra selection is the Spartans' No. 1 player for the fourth year. She has improved her finish in each varsity season. As a freshman, she qualified for the Northwestern District tournament; in 2001, she finished third in the district; and last season, she was Dulles District runner-up and qualified for the Region II tournament for the first time.
Alex Moran, Stone Bridge, Jr.: He could alternate in the top two spots with classmate Kyle Duffy, last year's No. 1, although Moran is the top Bulldog now. Moran was Stone Bridge's No. 2 last year and lost only two matches, both to Potomac Falls's Anthony Rinaldis. If he stays at No. 1, he will have another shot at Rinaldis.
Jessica Nixon, Loudoun County, Sr.: Although only the second-best player on her team behind senior All-Met Blakeley Griffith, she may also be the Dulles District's second-best player. She and Griffith, 22-1 as a doubles team last season, make the Raiders the Dulles District favorites.
Anthony Rinaldis, Potomac Falls, Jr.: Coach John Mihalyo says Rinaldis is very capable of assuming the No. 1 role and heading a talented lineup that includes juniors John Mook and Jimmy Vaeth. "Anthony has just taken it upon himself that this is his spot, and he's ready to show that he deserves it," Mihalyo said. Last season, he was 17-1 in singles and 19-1 in doubles.
How important is team depth?
The Potomac Falls boys proved last season that strong doubles play can make or break a season. Each of the six Panthers earned a point in singles or doubles in their victories in the Virginia AA semifinals and final last year. "We were getting points from everywhere last year," Mihalyo said. "People sometimes forget about doubles, but I kept telling them that everyone's point is worth the same."
Will anyone challenge the Loudoun County girls?
Loudoun Valley has been consistently strong, Stone Bridge returns four of its top five (all upperclassmen) and Potomac Falls is improved, paced by junior Lisa Kaiser.
But Loudoun County appears to be the target of the rest of the Dulles District. "Everybody is gunning for [Loudoun] County," Loudoun Valley Coach Matt Bolen said. "I know pretty much everyone in the county has improved, but County is certainly the team to beat."
Are Fauquier's boys for real?
The Falcons' 7-2 victory over Potomac Falls on March 27 indicates they are. Four of Fauquier's top five players return, including junior Eddie Glidewell, senior Brian Gray, junior Micah Downs and sophomore Bryce Weir. Newcomer Kevin Kelley, an All-Extra basketball player, joins the lineup at No. 3. "I'm thinking the experience is going to pay off for us this year," Coach Jan Ashby said, "and hopefully it will get us back further than" 2001, when Fauquier came within one victory of qualifying for the Virginia AAA tournament.
-- Alan Goldenbach