Summer JTT Brings Players Safely Back to the Courts
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the format of Junior Team Tennis looked a little different this year, but the strong competition and smiling teammates looked the same.
The JTT program gave 112 kids a chance to compete through matches held at Riverside Tennis Center in Wichita, Kansas. Players came from all around the area, including McPherson, Winfield, Maize, Andover and Augusta.
Janet Glaser, Kansas JTT Coordinator, began working on restructuring JTT in March when COVID-19 restrictions were in full effect. As the situation progressed and changed, she changed her plans right along with it.
“It got to where we would get everything set up and then have to change it the next day, and the next day… and it just became a little crazy,” Glaser said. “We worked with Riverside very closely because they were already working with the CDC, the state of Kansas, the city and the county… so we had to follow everyone’s guidelines.”
Despite the challenges of the ever-changing guidelines, Glaser and the team at Riverside Tennis Center were dedicated to providing play opportunities for the kids.
“For a while it was overwhelming, but we set our sights on the start date,” Glaser said. “There was never a thought about not doing it. We all know, from years past that this is important, and maybe now more than ever.”
Glaser says the players adapted to the guidelines with ease, making sure to be careful about sharing balls, staying six feet apart, bringing their own water bottles from home and sanitizing their hands often.
Competition was played through matches timed at 30 minutes each. The players reported the number of games they had won during that time and the scores were compiled into a team total.
“For the format, I just kind of came up with it,” Glaser said. “It was like ‘Okay, given this, and knowing the kids really want to play, how can we make it work?’ That was our whole goal: get the kids a way to play.”
At the end of the season, the teams in each age group were split and seeded based on their total games won. These divisions then played a championship tournament and the winners received gift cards to Freddy’s Frozen Custard, provided by USTA Missouri Valley. Collegiate took first place in both the 18 & Under Division I championship and the 14 & Under championship, while Trinity came out on top of the 18 & Under Division II championship- all within a few games of each other.
“It was so close, as far as competition is concerned, so they were all happy about that,” Glaser said. “But I told them the thing I was most proud of them for was keeping their commitment, both to playing and to following the rules.”