2018 AWARD WINNERS
July 19, 2018
It is an exciting time to be involved in tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. Through our sport we are changing lives and improving communities. We are introducing the sport of a lifetime to all ages and abilities and putting more people on a path to living happy, healthy lives.
And we aren't doing it alone.
There are so many champions for tennis right in the local communities of our Mid-Atlantic region, living the mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis everyday right alongside USTA Mid-Atlantic.
We know all of this is true because as the nominations rolled in for the 2018 USTA Mid-Atlantic Awards, we were blown away by the enthusiasm kids are bringing to the sport, the creativity coaches are using to make their programs better and the dedication from organizations to engage new players.
When we opened nominations for the 2018 USTA Mid-Atlantic Awards, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task narrowing down the field of qualified candidates – and that turned out to be an understatement. After much deliberation, though, we’re ready to unveil the 2018 USTA Mid-Atlantic Award Winners!
Diversity and Inclusion Champion: Jerry Cifuentes is the founder of Tennis Evolution 4 Life, an organization that is passionate about connecting children and adults to tennis. He has been instrumental in outreach to Hispanic communities in Mid-Atlantic and providing tennis to underserved populations.
Emerging Leader Award: Gavin Reagle, a high schooler in Severna Park, Md., founded “Racquets for Recreation”. This project collects racquets from the community, refurbishes them and re-distributes to new players in need at local high schools and those participating in Tennis Alliance of Anne Arundel programming.
Net Generation Coach/Pro of the Year: Romain Ambert has consistently created multiple Junior Team Tennis teams that compete throughout the year out of the Westwood Club in Richmond, Va. He takes the time to truly get to know each player to foster an inclusive environment and love for the game. He is widely known for his integrity, positive influence on youth and skills as a teaching pro.
Most Valuable Member: Riley King has helped Fairfax, Va. youth to catch the tennis bug as Director of Junior Tennis at Fairfax Racquet Club. Riley has been instrumental in helping youth form friendships through Junior Team Tennis and showing them the importance of sportsmanship both on and off the court.
Volunteer Impact: Dee Ann Shaffer supports the growth of tennis in Centreville, Va. through the encouragement and support she shows to her teammates as a Captain of multiple teams within the USTA League program. She is not only a Captain to her teammates, she is also their cheerleader, encouraging them to be the best player on and off the court they can be.
Junior Team Tennis Captain of the Year: Bill Torres is a Local League Coordinator and Captain in Churchville, Md. He has grown tennis participation in his local community each year by expanding ages and levels incorporated, including Rookie leagues in 2018, so that every child has a chance to participate.
Innovative Sport Programming: Howard County Parks & Recreation is continuously creating inclusive, innovative programming including adding Girls Rule the Court, Boys Rule the Court and TGA programming in the last year. Servicing all ages and levels of tennis player in Howard County, Md. through their total 73 annual program offerings allows them to truly connect with the community through the sport.
Outstanding Tennis Facility: Middleburg Tennis Club is in the midst of adding more tennis courts to service their robust tennis program, as well as a full schedule of adult programming and clinics. This small, private club in Middleburg, Va. features indoor and outdoor hard courts, as well as outdoor clay courts.
Outstanding School Partner: Simpson Elementary, in Bridgeport, WV, has been a provider of TGA programming since the inception of the program in 2015. With a whopping 67 children currently participating in the TGA program this year, it’s easy to see why Simpson Elementary continuously fills up their TGA sessions. Lending itself to creatively using space, Simpson Elementary runs all of their programming in the cafeteria as there are no courts nearby. The school also leads the way in the Mid-Atlantic Section with seven children earning their black wristband, which is the highest level a TGA student can achieve.
Congratulations to all these incredible winners. The 2018 award winners were recognized at USTA Family Day at the Washington Kastles on July 21.