USTA Heart of America Section Award Winners
When USTA Missouri Valley celebrates the best of 2021 at their Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Celebration on December 4, four individuals in junior tennis in USTA Heart of America will share the limelight.
The junior sportsmanship award for 18 year olds will be awarded to the male and female district award winners, Matthew Crossland and Bryson Langford, both of Leawood, Kansas.
Matthew is the captain of his Blue Valley North High School Team. It’s clear that he leads by example. At the Kansas State and Regional High School Championships this year, Matthew loaned his opponent one of his extra racquets after his opponent broke a string and didn’t have a backup racquet, instead of taking a win by forfeit or making his opponent compete without a functional racquet. He also supports the tennis community off the court by volunteering at tournaments and acting as a volunteer line judge. His volunteer work at the Stephanie Waterman Foundation has also helped other Kansas City kids have a chance to experience tennis.
Bryson is a powerhouse at Shawnee Mission East, contributing to her team winning two state championships. Bryson also is making an impact off the court. serving as the Regional President of Second Serve, a youth run non- profit organization that redistributes gently used tennis equipment to underserved youth. This summer she collected over 250 items including racquets, bags and shoes and donated them to local nonprofits to give kids the opportunity to learn how to play the game she loves so much.
High Performance junior tennis will also shine at the awards celebration with Cooper Woestendick of Olathe receiving the Junior High Performance Player of the Year award, and his coach, Willy DeVilchez of Overland Park receiving the Outstanding Contributor Youth High-Performance Program award.
- Matthew Crosland
- Bryson Langford
- Cooper Woestendick
- Willy DeVilchez
Cooper is a 15-year-old who currently holds top rankings in three age divisions. In Boys’ 14s he is ranked #1 Nationally, USTA Missouri Valley and USTA Heart of America. In Boys’ 16s, he holds the #5 rank Nationally and is #1 in USTA Missouri Valley and USTA Heart of America. In Boys’ 18s, he holds the #145 rank Nationally, is #5 in USTA Missouri Valley and is #1 in USTA Heart of America. This year he won two gold balls.
His coach sums up what makes Cooper a champion on and off the court.
“His passion for tennis has enabled him to reach the highest levels of junior tennis. He is extremely hard working and he gives his best in everything he does. He has a calm demeanor and humble nature that enable him to exhibit good sportsmanship on the court. His love of the game has enabled him to have the focus needed to excel in the sport.”
Willy is a PTR certified coach based at the Genesis-Overland Park Tennis Club. He leads a strong high-performance program in the Kansas City area. Nine of his players have competed in national hard- court tournaments and five of his players are within the top 100 ranked players in the country. Parents will say that at the heart of his success is the passion for the game and the hard work he puts in to help the players be their best.
The USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Celebration takes place Saturday, December 4, 2021 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Olathe Conference Center. Registration is open, click here for more information.
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