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Florida kids play in annual Mills-Redgrave Challenge

October 24, 2006 03:41 PM

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Text & photos by Tori Townsend

The annual Mills-Redgrave Challenge between the Florida and Southern USTA sections took place Oct. 13-15 at the beautiful Bardmoor Tennis Club in Largo, Fla.  Three boy and three girl players in each of the 14s, 16s and 18s divisions played three singles and three doubles matches during the weekend event.

The tournament emphasized team play; every individual win counted as one point for his/her team. The Florida team played strong against Southern’s tough players.  The winners were not determined until Sunday – the final day of match play! 

Although the Southern section was victorious with a final match tally of 49-32, the level of play between these friendly rivals was thrilling.

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Thirteen years ago, Bardmoor Tennis Club director of tennis and a Team Florida coach Maria Cercone initiated the Mills Redgrave Challenge with the Southern section's former director of player development Bill Ozaki.

Each year the players alternate travel between sections allowing the kids to meet new friends and experience different styles of play.  Both sections traveled with three coaches who had the opportunity to instruct the players on the court during changeovers.  

“My favorite part of the tournament is being able to interact with the players and coach them," Maria said.  "Getting to know the kids better on and off the court is fun.”

Off the court, the Florida and Southern players enjoyed a pool party, eating pizza and dividing their time between the trampoline and doing tricks on the diving board.

Congratulations to both sections for portraying qualities of teamwork, hard work and fair play on the court in the 2006 Mills-Redgrave Challenge!

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