State tennis: Boonsboro serves up a pair of championships
Boonsboro sophomore Hunter Liao wasted no time winning his second straight Maryland Class 1A boys singles state championship Saturday morning at Baker Park in Frederick.
He had another place to go and another tennis tournament to try to win — the USTA Mid-Atlantic Outdoor Level 3 Closed Hard Court Singles event, which started Saturday afternoon in Fredericksburg, Va.
Liao made quick work of Liberty's Honour Zan 6-1, 6-0 in the boys singles final, playing serve-and-volley tennis more often than usual and taking every opportunity to rush the net. He defeated Zan in the title match for the second straight year.
"I was trying to shorten the points, and it was a pretty effective tactic against his second serve and backhand return," Liao said. "I thought I could win a lot of points at the net."
Boonsboro became the first Washington County school to win two state tennis championships in the same year when its girls doubles team of senior Cami Row and sophomore Larissa Blair defeated Fallston's Kaylee Mills and Lara Tran 6-3, 6-2 in the 1A final. The Warriors placed second in the 1A team standings with 24 points, three behind champion Liberty.
"It's huge," said Warriors coach Brian Myers. "Since 2019 (the first year the state divided the tennis tournament into four classifications), we've won two boys singles titles, a boys doubles title and now a girls doubles title."
Liao, who is 14-0 in singles this season and 37-0 in his high school career, became the first county tennis player ever to win two state titles.
"It means a lot just to represent the school and the county," said Liao, the No. 2-ranked sophomore in Maryland (according to tennisrecruiting.net) who has big goals for his future. "I'm going to start playing some internationals and I definitely want to play college somewhere. I'll start talking to coaches soon. I want to go somewhere that will improve my level."
Row and Blair (16-2), who survived a tough semifinal against St. Michaels' Mackenzie Fox and Abbie Kemp 6-7 (6), 6-3, 10-4 on Thursday, took the lessons learned and applied them in the final against Mills and Tran, who also were capable of finishing points at the net.
"(St. Michaels) had a girl who was really good at the net and we struggled against her in the first set," Blair said. "We learned how to play around her, up the alley or lobbing her."
"We played a lot of lobs Thursday and that got us ready for today," Row said. "We had really powerful serves today and that got us a lot of points."
Row, a four-sport standout at Boonsboro (including cross country, volleyball and track and field) who will run cross country for Shepherd University starting this fall, claimed her first state title on her final day of prep competition.
"This means a lot. It's the best possible way I could have ended my career," Row said. "I never took tennis seriously before, but when Larissa and I started playing together, I knew we could go far and that's when I started taking it seriously."
"We started the season really well and had a long undefeated streak," Blair said. "We knew we could make it to states. We had good chemistry and worked well together."
Williamsport junior Lauren Toms (24-1) finished in third place in 1A girls singles. She received a forfeit victory in the consolation round when her opponent chose not to play.
South Hagerstown's girls doubles team of senior Amanda Frushour and junior Riley Troxell (20-2), the Washington County and 3A West Region I champions and the seventh seed in the Class 3A state tournament, fell 6-1, 6-1 to second-seeded Michelle Fradlin and Joanna Blackman of Centennial in the quarterfinals.
The Centennial duo lost just four games across four sets in the quarterfinals and semifinals to roll into Saturday's championship match.
A trio of Boonsboro athletes will compete for Maryland Class 1A state tennis championships on Saturday at Baker Park in Frederick.
Sophomore Hunter Liao, still undefeated in his high school career, will play for his second straight boys singles title. Senior Cami Row and sophomore Larissa Blair will play for the girls doubles crown.
Liao, the top seed in the boys singles bracket, is 13-0 in singles matches this season and 36-0 in his career. He defeated Western Tech's Michael Reid 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and Washington's Scott Noble 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals.
Liao is rated a four-star recruit and is the No. 2-ranked sophomore boy in Maryland, according to tennisrecruiting.net. He will face Liberty's Honour Zan in Saturday's final at 9 a.m. Liao defeated Zan 6-0, 6-1 in last year's final.
Row and Blair (15-2), seeded fifth in the girls doubles bracket, defeated fourth-seeded Erin Mairs and Aime Browning of McDonough 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and edged eighth-seeded Mackenzie Fox and Abbie Kemp of St. Michaels 6-7 (6), 6-3, 10-4 in the semifinals.
In the championship match, Row and Blair will face third-seeded Kaylee Mills and Lara Tran of Fallston. Mills and Tran also needed to win a third-set tiebreaker in their semifinal.
Williamsport junior Lauren Toms (23-1), the second seed in girls singles after reaching the state final a year ago, won her quarterfinal 4-6, 6-4, 10-1 over seventh-seeded Marisa Lauffer of South Carroll. But Toms suffered her first loss of the season in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-0, against Pikesville's Julia Jeffrey.
Jeffrey is rated a four-star recruit and is the No. 2-ranked senior girl in Maryland, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Maryland state tennis championships