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Jr. Team Tennis Summer Section Tournament

August 6, 2008 03:49 PM
 


The 27th annual USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) Summer Section Tournament, hosted by the Polk County Tennis Association (PCTA), drew in approximately 700 players from around the state. The Lakeland tournament was held August 1-3 with 88 teams competing to be section champions for the USTA Jr. Team Tennis summer season. Teams competed in levels ranging from beginner to advanced and in different age divisions, from 10s to 18s. Winners and finalists at the intermediate and advanced levels received trophies, and participation awards were given to all players in the beginner divisions. Also at stake in this tournament was an invitation to either Nationals in Mobile, Ala. in October, or a spot in September’s Georgia/Florida Jr Team Tennis Challenge in Jacksonville.

“I thought the event went great,” said Jodi Manning, Tournament Director and Coordinator of USTA Jr. Team Tennis.  “The coaches, parents and kids were very understanding because of the weather delay, which caused matches to be played early in the morning and late into the night to get the tournament completed.” 

The tournament started out under clear skies on Day 1 with all teams competing at one of four locations in the area, including the Beerman Family Tennis Center, Woodlake Park, Kelly Rec Center and George Jenkins High School.  However, rain at noon cancelled matches for the rest of the day.  Spirits were lifted in the afternoon when players and coaches gathered at the Lake Mirror Civic Center for a party, sponsored by the Youth Tennis Foundation, complete with pizza, ice cream sundaes, a DJ, and door prizes provided by USTA Florida and Wilson Sporting Goods. The games ran nonstop and the place was packed until the last song ended at 9 p.m.

The following two days saw sunshine, motivating players to compete at their highest level during matches.  In the end, four teams won the opportunity to compete at Nationals and they are:  Desoto Dominators, Satellite Beach (14 Int.), Red Wildcats, Winter Park (14 Adv.), PC Raiders, Plant City (18 Int.), You Got Schlicked, Lakeland (18 Adv.).  Another 20 teams earned a place in the Georgia/Florida Jr. Team Tennis Challenge. 

“The summer tournament is the only Jr. Team Tennis Section event that leads into a national competition,” Manning said.  “The competition may have been more intense because the championship divisons are advancing to Nationals and other selected teams advance to GA/FL challenge, so there is a little bit more on the line.”

Besides an incredible tournament in Lakeland, 16-year-old Brittany Barrett of Brooksville made history, becoming the first player to compete in a wheelchair at the state competition.  She played on the Hernando Hurricanes 18 Novice team with 13-year-old sister, Chelsea.  Jr. Team Tennis has become a common bond for the family of four, as brothers Chase, 14, and Andrew, 11, also competed in the Lakeland tournament.

For Brittany, tennis knocked down the wall between handicapped and able-bodied.  “Once I knew I could get a ball over the net, I knew that my life was not over and that I could do things, just a little differently than other people,” Brittany said.

Now, Brittany is setting the tone for other players in wheelchairs and letting them know that when there is a will, there is a way.

Manning didn’t even think twice when John and Louise Downey, Brittany’s coaches, indicated that Brittany would be playing at the JTT Summer Section Tournament.

“Brittany is an incredible young lady and I have no doubt we will see her year after year,” she said.

USTA Jr. Team Tennis is a great environment for players who just want to enjoy the game while still having an element of competition. Manning mentions that the team tennis format allows all players the opportunity to compete. By competing in teams, players can develop both teamwork and sportsmanship, which are crucial aspects of USTA Jr. Team Tennis. This year five coaches were recognized for being great examples of good sportsmanship and encouraging the same for their players. Congratulations to the following coaches:

(L-R)
John Sperling
, Ocala (no photo)
Travis Montgomery
, Lakeland
Carol Mahler, Auburndale
Pat Dempsey, Melbourne
Luis Brest, Weston

USTA Florida would like to thank Dave and Susie Beerman, site directors Bobby Woodard, Chuck and Joanne Collier, Paul Walker and Ray Schlick, and the Polk County Tennis Association for all their efforts in making the tournament such a success. Their volunteerism, generosity, and services continue to be outstanding, and we greatly appreciate the PCTA inviting us back year after year.

Congratulations to the following teams who were champions and finalists in their divisions and good luck!

12 Intermediate:
1st: Yellowball Killaz, Lakeland
2nd: Fireballs, Port Orange

12-Int-Chps-Coach-Aubrey-Ca.jpg

12-Int-Fin-Coach-Andy-Glads.jpg

14 Intermediate Competitive:
1st: Team Tomoka, Ormond Beach
2nd: Smurfs, Auburndale

14-Int-Com-Chmp-Coach-Jacqe.jpg

14-Int-Comp-Fin-Coaches-Coa.jpg

14 Intermediate Championship:
1st: Desoto Dominators, Satellite Beach**
2nd: Pembroke Lakes Page-Up, Pembroke Pines

14-Int-Chmp-Coach-Michelle-.jpg

14-Int-Fin-Coach-Jose-Chave.jpg

14 Advanced:
1st: Red Wildcats, Winter Park**
2nd: Midtown Max Factor, Weston

14-Adv-Chmp-Coach-Dave-Dick.jpg

\14-Adv-Fin-Coach-Luis-Brest.jpg

18 Intermediate Competitive:
1st: Jr. Extreme Dream Team, Miami
2nd: YMCA II, Jacksonville

18-Int-Comp-Chmps-Coach-Cyn.jpg

18-Int-Comp-Fin-Coach-Ron-M.jpg

18 Intermediate Championship:
1st: PC Raiders, Plant City**
2nd: Pembroke Lakes Top Guns, Pembroke Pines

18-Int-Chmp-Coach-Shane-Joh.jpg

18-Int-Fin-Coach-Gerri-Brax.jpg

18 Advanced:
1st: You Got Schlicked, Lakeland**
2nd: Tamiami Heat, Miami

18-Adv-Chmp-Coach-Craven.jpg

18-Adv-Fin-Coach-Paul-Johns.jpg

**Qualified for the National Tournament

Congratulations and good luck to the following teams who will be representing the Florida section in the upcoming Georgia/Florida Jr. Team Tennis Challenge:

10s:
North River Shores Happy Feet, Stuart
International Munchkins, Miami

12s:
Yellow Ball Killaz, Lakeland
Fireballs, Port Orange
Sanlando Aces, Altamonte Springs
Schlick Movers, Lakeland
Desoto Sizzlers, Melbourne
Shocked Absorbers, Lakeland

14s:
Midtown Max Factor, Weston
YMCA Acers, Jacksonville
Pembroke Lakes Page Up, Pembroke Pines
Next Generation, Miami
Divide & Conquer, Lakeland
Suntree Slammers, Melbourne

18s:
Tamiami Heat, Miami
Midtown Matrix, Weston
Pembroke Lake Top Guns, Pembroke Pines
Space Coast Challengers, Indian Harbor Beach
Lucky Number Slevin, Lakeland
Team XYNZ, Miami

 

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