Gleason, Prinyarux named to USTA Junior Leadership Team
William Gleason and Alisa Prinyarux have been named to the second USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes the finest U.S. junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.
Gleason and Prinyarux are among 32 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for excellence in tennis and in the community.
“These players truly are role models who exhibit character well beyond their years, both on the tennis court and in the community,” said Bill Mountford, the USTA’s Director of Junior Tournaments. “We’re happy to have a way to give them some of the recognition they truly deserve with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”
Gleason, a resident of Lincoln, Neb., has been ranked No. 6 in the 18-and-under division of the USTA junior rankings in the Missouri Valley Section and was the 2016 Nebraska Prep Sports Player of the Year. He won state high school No. 1 singles titles in 2015 and 2016 at Lincoln Southwest and was the Lincoln Junior Tennis Association Player of the Year in 2015. He’s also a member of the USTA Missouri Valley Junior Culture and Sportsmanship Council.
Prinyarux, 14, from Overland Park, Kan., has been ranked the No. 1 junior girl in the USTA Missouri Valley Section in both the 12- and 14-and-under age groups and has ranked among the Top 100 14-and-under players nationally. She’s won a number of national and sectional singles and doubles titles, in addition to the 2016 Kansas State Class 6A doubles title at Blue Valley Northwest High School.
Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.
In their own words...
William Gleason: Tennis is my life. I don’t know where I’d be without it. My grandpa taught me the game when I was 6, and he played every day until he passed in 2012. I’ve learned tennis is eternal and will never be boring as long as you care.
Alisa Prinyarux: To be honest, it wasn’t love at first sight. It has always been a love-hate relationship between tennis and me. Even though it has been a mental and physical rollercoaster, I always find a love for the sport. There were times on the tennis court where I was about to give up, but I thought there are so many things I have to figure out and learn that I can’t stop. Tennis has taught me more than just hitting a forehand. It has taught me how to be a good player on court and how to be a good person off court.
I first started playing tennis when I was five years old. At the time, I just played tennis for a way to get exercise and for fun. I never thought tennis would bring me to such a competitive atmosphere mentally and physically. I have joined USTA now for almost nine years, and I couldn’t be more grateful to meet such amazing people, players and officials and for the sacrifices my parents made in order for me to get the best opportunities for my tennis.
Leadership is one thing I have learned about tennis. You aren’t just leading other teammates; you are also leading yourself. I learned that tennis is a game of decision-making and controlling the things you are capable of. You can decide if you want to play well or not. You can decide where you want to hit the ball. You can control yourself and how you act, but most of all, you can decide if you want to have good sportsmanship.
Having good sportsmanship means everything to me in tennis. I am one not known for cheating because that is something that I was raised not to do. I have a guilty feeling even if I unintentionally called a ball out because I respect the person I am playing, and I care a lot about people. When players cheat, it tells me a lot about them as a person, which is probably why tennis is such a mental sport, as well.