McPherson JTT Team Takes Home Gold Star Award
2020 is the 100th anniversary of the USTA Missouri Valley, and to celebrate, the section is recognizing 100 outstanding members of our local tennis communities. In August, we are recognizing a unique nomination: McPherson’s 18 & Under Junior Team Tennis team.
The McPherson team consisted of nine players and were led by Ricardo Sanchez, the assistant tennis coach at McPherson High School. The players were all part of the Mac Advantage Tennis Club, where they participated in group practices to prepare for their JTT matches. They have been recognized for their exceptional display of dedication and kindness during competition.
“They have been a prime example of what teams should be,” said Jaren Glaser, USTA Kansas Tennis Service Representative. “Teams like this make leagues fun and approachable for all while still being competitive.”
Although JTT looked a little different this year, local JTT coordinator Janet Glaser was able to develop a match format that allowed the kids to play while still following all COVID-19 requirements and guidelines. The McPherson team ultimately tied in a three-way tie during the final championship.
Despite their accomplished scores, Sanchez says he’s most proud of how his players conducted themselves throughout the season.
“Good sportsmanship is something any coach loves to see. Not only will our players support each other on and off the court, as we'll often hear words of encouragement across courts, they are also quick to talk to their opponents before, during, and after the match,” Sanchez said. “I think it's wonderful how our players are gracious both when they win and in defeat.”
Sanchez says he is thankful to see that JTT was able to provide a small sense of normalcy to the players during the pandemic but admits that COVID still caused some disappointments.
“We are about an hour's drive from Wichita and the players would have loved to carpool together and grow their team bond,” Sanchez said. “As coaches, Tyler Brown and I decided it would be best for the players to drive themselves, have parents drive them, or as a last resort carpool with limited players. We felt that these precautions would help ensure the JTT season would continue for everyone.”
Sanchez says he hopes his players had fun, but also took away some valuable lessons.
“I hope they are reminded to not to take things for granted,” Sanchez said. “The format of JTT is a great example of this. Every game counts towards the team score. As a player, you might be up 5-1 but you know that you still have to give it your all to win the next game to help your team.”
Sanchez has been coaching tennis for seven years and has been working with the high school team for the past two years. We are proud to recognize Sanchez and the McPherson team with a Gold Star award. You can check the official list of section winners here.