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Orange County, Jacksonville, Miami Capture Titles at 2011 USTA Florida 8-U, 10-U, 12-U Summer League Tennis Chps.

July 25, 2011 05:03 PM
8-and-under competitors shake hands after a doubles match
Parent/coaches talk to 8-and-under players after a match
The 60-foot court temporary red lines for 10-and-under age play
8-and-under teams and coaches
10-and-under teams and coaches
The 12 Novice division champions from Miami
The 12 Intermediate division champions from Jacksonville
Orange County captured two titles, and Jacksonville and Miami one each during the 2011 Jr. Team Tennis Summer Sectional 8-Under, 10-Under & 12-Under Championships, held July 22-24 on the claycourts at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

Orange County (part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area) announced itself as the capital of 10 and Under Tennis in Florida when it swept the two 10-and-under divisions, with its "United 8s" team winning the 8-and-under division title, and its "United 10s" squad capturing the 10-and-under title.

This was the first year that the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Summer Sectional Championships featured an 8-and-under division, played with the new USTA 10 and Under Tennis equipment, featuring shorter nets, smaller racquets, softer balls and 36-foot court dimensions (compared to a 78-foot adult court) so that small children are not forced to adjust to heavy adult racquets and high-bouncing balls.

USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator Michelle Willis called the 8-and-under division a "Dad-fest," with fathers on almost every court assisting with scoring, explaining rules, urging children to drink plenty of water in the 90-degree temperatures, showing children general etiquette and how to shake hands after the match, and applauding their kids' good shots as well as their children's opponents.

"The 8-and-under children used the 'red ball,' and red temporary lines were placed on the claycourts to easily display the 36-foot court boundaries," Willis said. "At this level, it is necessary for each court to have at least two 'coaches' assisting with play, as the kids are just learning the rules of the game. Many parents stepped in to assist and were having as much fun as the players."

The 8-and-under, 10-and-under and 12-and-under age divisions competed in novice and intermediate flights. All teams and divisions in Jr. Team Tennis are co-ed, with play featuring boys' and girls' singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Children in the 10-and-under division competed on 60-foot courts, with temporary orange lines nailed into the claycourts. The 12 Novice division used the "green ball," a softer ball the same size as but one level below a regular ball, while the 12 Intermediate division used the regulation yellow ball on the full court.

"The green ball really gives the 12 Novice-level player a better chance to hit the ball in the proper strike zone," Willis said. "The rallies lasted so long, even with their novice level, I was tempted to switch to the yellow ball! The 12 Intermediate-level matches were extremely competitive, these kids are serious about tennis -- based on the size of their tennis racquet bags! 

The United 8s were captained by Stephanie Huber, with team members Alexa Scalzo, Arkese Jerell Lewis, Damon Huber, Eriana Teague, Ethan Le, Ian David Delgado, Jeffrey Dumas, Nate Darch, and Scarlett Huber. The United 10s were captained by Elias Rivera, with team members Adam El Amrani, Annalise Garrett Vetter, Arianna Janeill Lewis, Aysha Simmonds, Carys Huber, Erica Simmonds, Jacob Johnson, Michael Collin Darch, Mizani Ponder, and Ryan William Lake.

The 12 Novice division was won by the Coral Reef Breakers of Miami, captained by Kara Borromeo, with team members Catalina Amira Garcia, Kayla Hogan, Nyjah McKinley Head, Reilly Cabrera, William Reyes, and Zephyr Weddell Brokaw.

The 12 Intermediate division title was won by the Florida Yacht Club "Zone Team" from Jacksonville, captained by Lisa Ballantyne, with team members Andrew Culver, Elise Marie Ballantyne, Kaleb Rowland, Lilly Finlayson Whitner, Louis John Ballantyne, and Madison Elisabeth Brito.

All participants also enjoyed a player party on Saturday evening at Daytona Lagoon water park, and were back Sunday morning for the completion of the competition.

Sportsmanship awards went to:
8-and-under division -- Asher Ravede of Daytona Beach's team "WildCard," and Ysabella Quelsly Bagayas of Miami's team "Coral Reef Lil' Bits"
10-and-under division -- Cameron Ghalayini of Altamonte Springs' "Sanlando Blue Bombers," and Lorna Milani of Gainesville's "Jonesville Jaguars"
12-and-under division -- Molly Pospisil of Clearwater's "McMullen Maniacs," and Kevin Enos of Stuart's "Treasure Coasters"

Division winners:
8-and-under division champion -- United 8s (Orange County)
10-and-under division champion -- United 10s (Orange County)
12-and-under Novice division champion -- Coral Reef Breakers (Miami)
12-and-under Intermediate division champion -- Florida Yacht Club "Zone Team" (Jacksonville)

The USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Section Championships are held at the end of each local league season, when all the regions throughout the state are invited to come together in one location to compete against each other in their age and skill level for the title of Florida Section Champion.
For more information visit www.ustaflorida.com/jttchamp.






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