When the current Loudoun Junior Tennis Association 18-and-under team started playing together more than five years ago, success was measured in points and games. Now the members can call themselves champions after winning the United States Tennis Association Northeast Region 18-and-Under title Oct. 8-10 in Bethany Beach, Del.
The team of four boys and four girls, most of whom attend high school at Loudoun County or Loudoun Valley, won all six of its matches. That team, along with the 14-and-under team, had won the USTA Virginia sectional to qualify for the regional meet.
"When we started, we hardly won any points or games in tournaments, let alone a set or a match," Coach Elaine Marshall said. "But they didn't give up; they just kept working hard. . . . They were very excited about winning."
The team practices and competes in the summer at area high schools, and during the winter the team meets at Loudoun Sport and Health.
The four girls include three from Loudoun County High -- junior Amy Sarver, sophomore Laura Halley and senior Madison McGuire -- and Kiersten Pappas, a 13-year-old who attends Harmony Intermediate School in Purcellville. Matt Vaughn and Ryan Gessay of Loudoun Valley joined Paul and Tim Marshall of Loudoun County to make up the boys' team.
Both Loudoun County and Loudoun Valley traditionally have had two of the better teams in the area. Sarver, Halley and McGuire were all key players for a Raiders team that advanced to the state championship last year, and McGuire played for the Raiders' state championship team two seasons ago.
In the regional meet, girls' singles and doubles, boys' singles and doubles and mixed doubles matches were held.
"They say that tennis is not really a team sport, but these kids were really great team players," Marshall said. "They didn't complain about wanting to play singles or doubles; they just went out and played."
Several of the area's cross-country teams traveled to the elite Georgetown Prep Invitational last weekend in Rockville.
The Potomac Falls boys finished fourth in the team competition of the seeded race, which had 224 runners. The Panthers had 267 points; Gaithersburg won with 146.
Stone Bridge's Danny Kinnally was the top area boys' finisher, taking 15th in 16 minutes 49 seconds. Walter Johnson All-Met Andrew Jesien won in 15:54.
In the Division II girls' race, Stone Bridge used a 10th-place finish by Kelly Dunn to take second place as a team. The Bulldogs had 145 points, behind Severna Park's 75. Loudoun County took fifth.
Broad Run was 18th, but the Spartans were sparked by junior Stephanie Garcia, who took second place individually with a time of 19:41. Atholton sophomore Alison Smith won in 19:12, and Towson's Lauren Capone was third behind Garcia in 19:43.
Loudoun County took seventh in the Division II varsity boys' race with 238 points. Gonzaga won with 112.