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Year In Review

2012 Year In Review: USTA Jr. Team Tennis

December 30, 2012 01:00 PM
Justin DePietropaolo has worked tirelessly to introduce the game of tennis to kids of all ages in the Philadelphia area.
USTA Jr. Team Tennis programming now serves more than 100,000 youths nationwide.
The city of Austin, Texas, produced powerhouse teams in 2012, with both the 14 & Under and 18 & Under Advanced division teams claiming titles at the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships.
By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
 
As the game of tennis grows in popularity in the United States, so too does its flagship youth program in America.
 
The USTA’s Jr. Team Tennis family celebrated one of its most successful campaigns to date in 2012, with program participation up for yet another year. And best of all, the influx of 10 and Under Tennis tournaments and graduates points to greater participation from a wider age range in the coming years.
 
A milestone for Jr. Team Tennis was attained in 2012, as the program counted over 100,000 youths participating in play over the course of the year.
 
"From a national perspective, we’re excited that we have reached over 100,000 players with Jr. Team Tennis," said Adrienne Di Menna, USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Manager. "We’ve worked very hard throughout the years to make that figure an attainable goal, and a big ‘thank you’ is owed to all who sponsor and direct our programming at the section and local levels, as well as our national staffers.
 
"We are constantly expanding our vision – play in the 10 and Under division is up over 20 percent from 2011, and we will continue to make Jr. Team Tennis a way to enjoy the game for all kids across the United States."
 
To begin the year in January, the USTA honored Justin DePietropaolo of Chester Springs, Pa., with the 2011 Janet Louer USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Organizer of the Year Award. The award is given to an individual who positively influences children’s lives and substantially makes an impact on his or her community. DePietropaolo has worked tirelessly with USTA Middle States to expand Jr. Team Tennis programs in the state of Pennsylvania by building relationships with high school coaches, clubs, local parks and recreation centers. As a result of his efforts, many of the clubs in his area now offer Jr. Team Tennis programming.
 
"Jr. Team Tennis involvement has seen major growth and progress in the Philadelphia area, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Justin DePietropaolo," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "We applaud his commitment to tennis and his community and proudly recognize him with this honor."
 
 
USTA Eastern, Texas sections win big at JTT National Championships
 
From the 100,000-plus who began the journey from local league play right up through Sectionals, a special group – 512 players in all – earned the right to travel to the 12th annual USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships in Cayce, S.C., in October. The battle in the Palmetto State saw the best of the 14 & Under and 18 & Under Intermediate and Advanced divisions play at the state-of-the-art Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, which boasts 30 courts, seven permanent 36-foot courts and 12 lined 60-foot courts, as well as a two-story 11,000-square-foot clubhouse with fitness and conference rooms.
 
What’s more, the players were treated to an event befitting most high-profile professional athletes: Flying across the country, staying in a nice resort hotel, eating catered meals and playing in front of a packed crowd in the stands. The two-weekend extravaganza proved especially triumphant for the USTA Eastern and Texas sections, as each captured two national titles. Squads from Basking Ridge, N.J., (14U Intermediate) and Hartsdale, N.Y., (18U Intermediate) took home gold medals for Eastern, while the city of Austin, Texas, brought home the 14U Advanced and 18U Advanced titles, both courtesy of the Austin Tennis Academy (ATA). For the ATA 18U team, it was a third national title in a four-year span.
 
Players, coaches and parents alike experienced a grand entrance into the National Championships during the opening ceremonies, marching into the main stadium for a "Parade of Sections" modeled after the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. The parade blended some of the traditional aspects of Nationals with the new, as each of the teams was asked to walk and hold high their homemade team banners, created to highlight team spirit – a longtime staple of the event.
 
Additionally, teams participated in gathering materials and making care packages of essential items and tennis equipment for members of the U.S. Armed Forces as part of the USTA's "Adopt-A-Unit" initiative, a leading component of the USTA Military Outreach program. Adopt-A-Unit is designed to guide tennis organizations and players to ‘adopt’ a military unit of anywhere between 25-100 service members deployed to Afghanistan.
 
The 2013 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships will return to Cayce for an encore, from Oct. 18-20 for the 14 & Under tournament and Oct. 25-27 for the 18 & Under tournament.
 
For the finest Jr. Team Tennis snapshots from 2012, check out our exclusive USTA.com photo galleries
 

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