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National second place finish for Florida’s 16s

August 8, 2006 02:34 PM

Back (l-r): Joey Burkhardt, Jeffrey Morris, Coach Buck, Brennan Boyajian, Joel Samaha
Front (l-r): Alexandra Cercone, Lindsay Dvorak, Lauren Embree, Monica Chow

In July, a team of eight young and talented 16s under the direction of Coach Page Buck took on the competition at the USTA Boys and Girls’ 16s Intersectional Team Championships in Shreveport, LA.  They came home to Florida with a second place finish!

Coach Buck was encouraged by the team work and performance of his young team.

"It's great for these kids to play as a team," said Buck. "All during the year they are trying to beat each other, here they are cheering each other on."

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The Florida team included:

• Brennan Boyajian of Weston
• Joey Burkhardt of St. Augustine
• Joel Samaha of Tampa
• Jeffrey Morris of SW Ranches
• Lauren Embree of Marco Island
• Monica Chow of Miami
• Alexandra Cercone of Seminole
• Lindsay Dvorak of St. Petersburg

Buck said housing was provided for the players and host families during the tournament.  This boosted morale and provided a wonderful experience for the players.  They met people and created lasting relationships within a couple of days.

Mrs. Thibadeaux, who coordinated housing for the FL boys, prepared Page and the teammates a photo album of the weeks’ events.

“The kids loved them and it really was a sweet thing to do,” Buck said.  “She had more than 300 photos!

“The camaraderie is genuine and unique, not the norm for such talented and competitive kids,” he said.

Buck said both families that hosted the Florida kids had children, and all the younger kids cried when the Florida players had to leave.

“It was very neat,” he said.  “Great event, and the team did really well together.”

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