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Orlando, Daytona Beach, Miami Advance to Nationals at USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Sectional

August 9, 2010 04:18 PM
The 18-and-under Advanced champion Smith Barney
Strikers from Orlando
The 18-and-under Advanced runner-up Hot Peppers
from Broward County
The 18-and-under Intermediate champion
Miami Dream Team
The 18-and-under Intermediate runners-up
Pepper Heat of Broward County
The 14-and-under Advanced champions
Topspin from Daytona Beach
The 14-and-under Advanced runners-up North
River Shores Smashers
 Orlando's 14-and-under Intermediate champion
Sanlando Aces
The 14-and-under Intermediate runners-up
Pepper Pepper from Broward County
The 12-and-under Advanced champions G-Power
out of Gainesville
The 12-and-under Advanced runner-up
North River Shore Ralliers
The 12-and-under Intermediate champion
North River Shore Acers
 The 12-and-under Intermediate runner-up
Red Bug Smashers out of Orlando
Orlando advanced two teams to the USTA Jr. Team Tennis Nationals from the USTA Florida Section, and Daytona Beach and Miami one each at the completion Sunday of the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Summer Sectional, Aug. 6-8, 2010, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Approximately 420 players comprising more than 60 teams, along with coaches and parents arrived in Daytona Beach on Thursday night in preparation for the Friday morning kick-off, with round robin play at three sites in Daytona: the Ormond Beach Tennis Center, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and the main site, the Florida Tennis Center.

"The player party at the Daytona 500 Experience was so much fun," said USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator Michele Willis. "Saturday was a long day with rain delays, but the players kept themselves busy by playing QuickStart Tennis on the QuickStart grasscourts set up on the lawn in the middle of the site. Modified scoring and diverting matches to other tennis facilities helped us catch up, as it spritzed rain all day. The last match wrapped up by 11 p.m. on Saturday."

Sunday also saw a four-hour rain delay, and then sauna-like conditions once the sun came out.

Orlando's "Smith Barney Strikers" captured the 18-and-under Advanced title, edging finalists "Hot Peppers" of Broward County, while the Orlando "Sanlando Aces" finished ahead of the finalist "Pepper Pepper" team from Broward County in the 14-and-under Intermediate flight.

"The Miami Dream Team" won the 18-and-under Intermediate flight, finishing ahead of yet another Broward County finalist, the "Pepper Heat" team. "Topspin," the team from Daytona Beach, won the 14-and-under Advanced flight, finishing ahead of finalist North River Shores Smashers.

Alex Pham of the "Brady Bunch" team says playing tennis with friends, as opposed to tournaments where the competition is of an individual nature, is his favorite part of USTA Jr. Team Tennis.

"Just hanging out with the guys," said Pham of his most memorable moments. "Travelling, staying in hotels and stuff. Just fun hanging with your friends, playing tennis. It's just really competitive and it helps you build yourself. I'll keep playing tennis, it's a lifelong sport."

Team names are always a topic of interest at the USTA Jr. Team Tennis Sectional, and this year was no different, featuring titles such as the "Creekside Crushers," "PopKids," and "Deucebag: The Sequel." Pham says his "Brady Bunch" team name came as a compromise.

"Well, originally we were going to be the 'Slicing Pandas' but another team joined with us and they didn't like the name," Pham said. "So our coach named us the Brady Bunch."

In 12-and-under sectional-only play, where the winners do not advance to a national championship, G-Power out of Gainesville finished ahead of the North River Shore Ralliers for the 12-and-under Advanced title, and the North River Shore Acers won the 12-and-under Intermediate title, finishing ahead of finalists the Red Bug Smashers from Orlando.

"I would not have been able to do all of this without the staff that volunteered to run each site, the volunteers from Father Lopez High School tennis team to do the stencil booth, and all of the staff at USTA Florida," Willis added. "Players had a great time despite the weather issues, teams were all introduced to each other prior to going on the court, and many were able to get to the beach for some extra fun."

Sportsmanship and Team Spirit Awards:

12 's Team Spirit -- Redbug Smash, Orlando
Sportsmanship girl -- Katherine Loftis, Redbug RacqKids, Orlando
Sportsmanship boy -- Jack Colossimo, LOL Bashers, Pasco County

14's Team Spirit -- Deland Red Sox, Volusia County
Sportsmanship girl -- Aziza Hodae, Powershots, Gainesville
Sportsmanship boy -- DJ Northecide, Pepper Pepper, Broward County

18s Team Spirit -- Mills Field Neon Ninjas, Jacksonville
Sportsmanship boy -- Alex Marshall, Gregg Mays Team, Polk County
Sportsmanship girl -- Christina Chan, Pong-Winkle Marshall Team, Polk County

The 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships will be held on Oct. 22-24 (14-and-under) and Oct. 29-31 (18-and-under) at The Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz.

To learn more about USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis go to www.usatennisflorida.usta.com/USTA-Jr-Team-Tennis---New/JTT-Champ/.






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