June 17th, 2015

Tennis Briefs(2): Pan American Team Named; Gainesville M.S. League Wraps

General News Schools

4 Floridians on U.S. Pan American Tennis Team

2015_Pan_American_Games_logo_svgFour Florida players out of the three men and three women named to represent the United States this week will travel to Toronto for the 2015 Pan American Games on July 10-26, 2015.

Boca Raton’s Lauren Davis, Miramar’s Sachia Vickery, and Miami’s Jean-Yves Aubone and Gonzales Austin are Florida representatives, joined by Louisa Chirico (Harrison, N.Y.) and Dennis Novikov (San Jose, Calif.).

The players will compete in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. USTA National Coaches Brad Stine and Kathy Rinaldi will coach the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.

The Pan Am Games are held every four years in the year immediately prior to the Olympic Games, and tennis has been contested at the Pan Am Games since the event’s inception in 1951.

Americans who have won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games include Althea Gibson (1959, singles), Arthur Ashe (1967, mixed doubles), Patrick McEnroe (1987, men’s doubles), Pam Shriver (1991, singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles), Paul Goldstein (1999, singles), and current WTA player Irina Falconi (2011, singles).

Gainesville Middle School Tennis League Completes 5th Season

Special to USTA Florida

Gainesville-MS-league-2015-webThis spring the Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association (GACTA) sponsored the fifth season of its no-cut GACTA Middle School Tennis league, providing 100 local middle school students, from beginner to advanced players, an opportunity to play tennis in a team format for their middle school.

The season ran during the months of April and May following the high school tennis season. Volunteer parent-captains recruited middle school students from seven middle schools under the guidance of Anne Koterba, president of GACTA and coordinator of the middle school tennis program. Public and private middle schools participating in the program were Jordan Glen, Oak Hall School, Westwood, Kanapaha, Lincoln, Fort Clarke, and Howard Bishop.

As in the previous seasons, a two-day Middle School League Team Championship, with a similar format to the FHSAA District Tennis Championship format, with an emphasis on doubles, was held at the Jonesville Tennis Center. Jordan Glen School “four-peated” as tournament champion, and the Oak Hall School “four-peated” as tournament finalist.

“Jordan Glen has a well-rounded curriculum with rigorous academics, and a strong focus on the arts and athletics,” said Dave Porter, director of tennis at Jonesville Tennis Center and a Jordan Glen parent. “Students grow up playing multiple sports, developing their overall athleticism and confidence. The family-like atmosphere also fosters bonds among the kids on and off the court, which strengthens their teamwork.”

Koterba says the middle school tennis program is sustainable because the costs are covered by a modest participation fee, with local private and public tennis facilities generously providing teaching pros for practices and courts for matches, and parents also providing a great deal of volunteer help.

“The participation fee also generates enough revenue to provide scholarships for students from low-income families, as well as supporting GACTA’s Aces in Motion tennis outreach program for at-risk youth,” she says. “Currently low-income students constitute around 10 percent of the league’s players.”

The no-cut feature of the program allows even true beginners to experience match play as GACTA volunteers go on court to help them with scoring and rules.

“We really want the kids to have fun playing for their school, no matter what their level of experience,” says Addison Staples, executive director of GACTA.

Koterba adds, “That’s what this program is really about. We just want kids of all backgrounds to realize how enjoyable the game of tennis can be, so they will want to go out and play. Although tennis can be an individual sport, we like to emphasize that it can be a great team sport as well, whether playing for your school’s team or playing as a doubles team.”

Courts for the league were provided by Jonesville Tennis Center, Westside Tennis, Oak Hall School, and the Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club. Along with the 300 Club, all facilities “adopted” teams for practices.

For more information on GACTA’s programs, go to www.gainesvilletennis.org, or go to Gainesville Tennis or Aces in Motion on Facebook.

GACTA Middle School League Tournament Final Results

Flight 1: Colby Stewart/Leo Asch (JG) d. Ethan Cockey/Eric Chen (LIN) 6-3
Flight 2: Christian Mazpule/Nolan Louis (JG) d. Stephanie Miller/Alden Laborde(OH) 6-2
Flight 3: Dagney Kaye/Jadon Kennard (JG) d. Mac LaBorde/Kate Pickens (OH) 6-3
Flight 4: James Donnelly/Isaac Kaye (JG) d. Anna Liu/Mallory Tutton (LIN) 6-1
Flight 5: Liz Arnold/Sidney Washburn (JG) d. Adel Acs/Katie Kerensky(OH)         6-3
Flight 6: Lincoln Weaver/Graham Shoemaker (JG) d. Sydney Miller/Sophie Miller (OH) 6-0
Flight 7: Graham Louis/Lotus Campbell (JG) d. Graham Bernstein/Avery Bernstein (OH) 6-3
Flight 8: Jaden Rosillo/Morgan Tooke (JG) d. Davis Beck/Tahsin Nabi 6-0