JUNIOR TEAM CHAMPS
HEADING TO NATIONALS
September 5, 2018
USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Team Tennis Section Championships presented by Unruly Sports wrapped up a few weeks ago putting the end cap on to a fun local season of team tennis among boys and girls ages 6 to 18. Teams of junior tennis players from across the Mid-Atlantic converged at the Section Championship held in Richmond, Va.
Junior Team Tennis (JTT) provides youth from the Mid-Atlantic all the health and social benefits that tennis offers. They play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other coed teams in a level-based environment. Through JTT, youth get the chance to be physically active, build bonds with teammates, make new friends and work on their game and personal skills too. What’s more, in some age and play divisions they can advance to be a national champion.
“The Section Championships mark the end of the local Junior Team Tennis season and give the players an opportunity to compete for a title while bonding with other players on and off the court,” said Elizabeth Fratt, Junior Team Tennis Manager, USTA Mid-Atlantic. ADVERTISEMENT “We wish to celebrate all of the teams who participated and wish our champions the best of luck at the National Championship.”
The 2018 USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (MAS) Championship crowned team champions that will represent the Section at the USTA Junior Team Tennis National Championships in Orlando, Fla., later this year. Each year the nation’s top teams compete for a national champion in two age divisions (14U and 18U) in both the Intermediate and Advanced play divisions.
In the Intermediate 14U division, the team representing the Mid-Atlantic Section is Westwood-Hause/Ambert. This team has been together for two years and had a successful 2017 season making it to Sectionals, where they advanced to the Semifinals but lost by one game. The team didn’t let the defeat get to them, rather it fueled their determination to come back and they’ve done just that.
“They have worked very hard this year and are super excited to be headed to compete in Orlando,” says Liza Hause the team captain/coach along with Romain Ambert. Ambert was the 2018 USTA Mid-Atlantic Net Generation Coach of the Year.
The Linx Warriors from Maryland are first-time champions in the Advanced 14U division and will be making their very first appearance at Nationals. The Linx team is a completely kid-run tennis social community started in 2016 by team member Derek Yan when he was just 11 years old. Derek had conflicting schedules between basketball and tennis, but wanted to keep up with both sports. He decided to look for tennis partners in his own community and create schedules to meet up and play together. He put his idea out among his neighborhood and got more responses than expected in a variety of ages and skill levels.
“While seeking his own tennis buddies, Derek also helped others find theirs and coordinated training sessions for them. The first skills assessment lasted two days with 43 junior players participating,” said Phil Yun, Derek’s dad and Linx Warrior team captain. He adds that today, Linx has grown significantly “offering various programs at multiple tennis centers and connects more than 350 junior tennis players in the greater Washington, D.C., area.” Derek will be on the team heading to Nationals later this year.
In the Intermediate 18U division, the Metro Aces from Northern Va. will represent MAS. This team is a family affair, with veteran JTT captain/coach Grace Han at the helm and two of her own children on the team roster. This team had a tough battle on the tennis court at the Section Championship. They faced the 2017 Section Champion and clinched their win during the mixed doubles round late in the tournament.
The Tuckahoe Raptors will represent USTA MAS in the Advanced 18U division and is part of the Tuckahoe Junior Teams Program now in the seventh year of offering USTA Junior Team Tennis. This team is comprised of several new members with two returning from 2017 when the team was a finalist at the MAS Section Championship that year.
According to Coach Mike Fuqua, the team has played eight matches together and has been victorious in all of them. For this particular team, it will be their first time going to a USTA Junior Team Tennis National Championship, but the Tuckahoe program is no stranger to the bigger stage, having competed with other teams in the last two years.
“For the most part, this team was formed this year and has been playing together all year long with the goal of reaching the National Championships,” Fuqua says. “This is a dream team so to speak. This team is comprised of very talented players from all around the Mid-Atlantic. They are a great bunch of kids and easy to work with.”
All of the teams are excited for the opportunity to represent the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section and compete at Nationals. Teams will hit the courts in November at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
To see photos of all the winners and finalists of the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Junior Team Tennis Section Championship presented by Unruly Sports – including non-advancing divisions – click here.