OCHS Teams of the Century

Jen Frank Raider Girls Tennis Player of the Century!

Gazette Staff Writer

Girls tennis had plenty of success at Ocean City High School during the final quarter of the 20th century.

OCHS teams won five South Jersey championships and played in a total of 13 South Jersey finals. At one stretch, they won five Cape-Atlantic League National Conference championships in six seasons.

With success like that, there were obviously a number of good players through the years. But two of them stand out.

Danielle Franus, who moved to Ocean City from North Carolina before her junior year, was a two-time All-South Jersey selection. She helped OC win a its only American Conference championship and was co-Player of the Year in South Jersey.

Jen Frank was a three-time All-South Jersey selection, South Jersey Player of the Year and was named to the all-state team. She is the only player to win 30 matches in one season and her 101 career singles wins is the schoolís best. In her four years as a singles player, Ocean City reached the South Jersey final three times, winning once.

It is very close, but Frank, who was also limited by a stress fracture in her foot as a senior, gets the edge as our Girls Tennis Player of the Century.
The other three singles players that join these two on the All-Century Team, are also very solid. Anne McGinnis, the first OCHS girls tennis star in the mid-70s, was 40-8 over three seasons. Kristen Franus, Danielleís younger sister, won 43 matches at No. 1 singles for two teams in the early 90s that both reached South Jersey finals. And Audrey Kemenosh stepped up as No. 1 singles player on the schoolís first South Jersey champion in 1983.

The All-Century first doubles team is the highly-honored 1990 team of Amanda Charles and Sue Choi. They were the only OCHS doubles team ever named to the all-state team, earning third team recognition. They were also All-South Jersey and All-CAL. The other doubles team on our All-Century club played the very next year when senior Becky Griswold teamed with freshman Nikki Bowman, who would move up to No. 1 singles three years later on a South Jersey championship team.

Ocean City had two very successful coaches over 26 years (Dixie Howell also had a good year filling in during 1980) in Phil Birnbaum and Wendy Nickles. In fact, each contributed a bit to the otherís success. Birnbaum gave lessons to some of Nicklesí players and she later returned as an assistant to Birnbaum. But the edge goes to Birnbaum, who won four South Jersey titles and took nine teams to South Jersey finals.

The Team of the Century was the 1987 American Conference champions that finished 19-3. They were ranked No. 4 in South Jersey and lost, 3-2, in the South Jersey final to Cherry Hill West, the eventual state champion. This team was led by senior Danielle Franus, with freshman Jen Frank at No. 2 singles and junior Kelly Hasbrouck at No. 3. The first doubles team generally comprised juniors Tory Frank and Karin Vallese. The second team was sophomores Shannon Garrity and Kelly Lofts.

The All-Century Raider Girls Tennis Team
No. 1 Jen Frank (1990)
No. 2 Danielle Franus (1987)
No. 3 Anne McGinnis (1978)
No. 4 Kristen Franus (1992)
No. 5 Audrey Kemenosh (1984)
1st Doubles....Amanda Charles-Sue Choi (1990)
2nd Doubles...Nikki Bowman-Becky Griswold (1991)
Coach Phil Birnbaum (1986-2000)

The 1987 team - Best of the Century
No. 1 Danielle Franus
No. 2 Jen Frank
No. 3 Kelly Hasbrouck
1st Doubles....Tory Frank-Karin Vallese
2nd Doubles...Shannon Garrity-Kelly Lofts
Coach Phil Birnbaum

Championship Teams

South Jersey titles: 2000, 1994, 1993, 1989, 1983
CAL-American title: 1987
CAL-National titles: 1982, 1981, 1979, 1978, 1977

All-Time Coaches Records

Phil Birnbaum (14 years).....221-101 [.686]
Wendy Nickles (10)............125-44 [.740]
Dixie Howell (1)......................6-4 [.600]