Quince Orchard girls tennis coach Gaby von Nordheim is stepping down to take over as athletic specialist in the Montgomery County Public Schools administration office, Athletic Director Mike Lanahan confirmed yesterday.

Lanahan said von Nordheim, who has coached girls and boys tennis since the Gaithersburg school opened 11 years ago, "will be coaching until a replacement [as tennis coach] is found."

The specialist position with MCPS oversees athletics in the county and represents the county at state meetings. The job opened up over the summer when Duke Beattie left to replace retiring Liz Bouve-Johnson as MCPS athletic coordinator.

Von Nordheim, who also serves as Montgomery County's tennis coordinator for boys and girls, refused comment, saying only, "I'm still on the faculty at Quince Orchard High School at this particular time, and I'm still the tennis coach."

Top Bruin

Four years ago, as a 19-year-old sophomore at George Mason University, Jeff Jones was an unlikely candidate to take over Lake Braddock's girls tennis program. But since assuming the helm of the Bruins, he has made them a powerhouse.

Since taking over in 1996, Jones, 22, has compiled a 39-7 record, including an 8-0 mark so far this season. The Bruins have overwhelmed every AAA Patriot District team--the closest score was 7-2--and appear headed to their second consecutive district title.

"People I'd taken lessons from had been offered the [Bruins coaching job] and they gave my name to Lake Braddock," said Jones, a physical education student in his final semester at GMU. "Eventually, they gave me a call. I'm sure I was their last choice."

Jones played high school tennis at Lake Braddock, then collegiately his freshman year at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. After transferring to George Mason, he took two years off from college tennis.

"With coaching a team, playing on a team and trying to keep my grades up, it was tough," Jones said.

If he neglected anything last season, it wasn't coaching. The girls team went 12-1, falling only to W.T. Woodson in the Northern Region quarterfinals. The boys team, which he has also coached since 1998, was 10-3.

This season, the girls look even stronger. The Bruins' starting singles lineup of seniors Katie Zemitis, Shannon Evenstad, Jackie Wells and Emily Richwine, sophomore Kelly Melichar and freshman Meg Zemitis stand a combined 40-9. His three doubles combinations of Katie Zemitis and Evenstad, Wells and Richwine and Melichar and Meg Zemitis are 24-0.

"He's really good because he's younger, so he knows how to relate with us and understands our problems," No. 1 singles player Katie Zemitis said. "He participates in our events to the full extent. Instead of just coming and talking about tennis all the time, he'll talk about music and jump on the trampoline--like one of the gang."

Family Court

When Magruder (1-0) travels Tuesday to Whitman (3-0) for a Montgomery County Division I match, family bragging rights will be at stake for Magruder Coach Len Whiteside and his spouse, Whitman Coach Olga Whiteside.

"He's walking around the house pretty cocky," Olga Whiteside said.

Len Whiteside countered, "She just better be ready."