Edgewood Approaches JTT Nationals
With Winning Attitude
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | November 7, 2018
RAYNHAM, MA- The 18U Advanced Junior Team Tennis team out of Edgewood Pool and Tennis Club in Raynham, MA, is competing at JTT Nationals from November 9-11 in Orlando, FL. Built with a talented mix of tournament, high school and JTT players ranging from ages 12-18, Coach Fil Miguel is confident that this team can bring home some hardwood for New England.
“One thing that I talk to them about is that there is no reason why they can’t win. There’s no reason why they can’t be the better player or team that day, and so we’re going to go in it with the belief that we’re there to win the tournament because there’s no other way to approach it,” said Miguel, who also serves as the Director of Tennis at Edgewood.
At New England Sectionals in August, Edgewood was locked in a three-team race, but finished the tournament unbeaten at 5-0 and pulled away on day two to capture the title and earn the automatic bid to Nationals.ADVERTISEMENT
“I think this is probably the strongest team I’ve ever assembled,” Miguel said. “I’ve enjoyed working with kids at the local level and also developing tennis more at the intermediate level with a few elite players here and there, but this is the first year we’ve made a commitment to this advanced level and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Between the nine players Miguel is bringing to Nationals, two are attending college and many are either playing weekend tournaments, are in the middle of the fall high school sports season or are studying for AP exams. Through it all however, each player has made tennis, and specifically JTT, a priority.
“It’s been a challenge sometimes to get everyone together at the same time, so we offer up times when some are available and then meet another group of kids the next day. They’re dedicated though, and these kids play year-round in so many places, so they’re not unfamiliar with what it takes to be successful in this sport where you have to play all the time to be strong. They are all good tennis players and good students of tennis, and I think that will go a long way,” Miguel said.
Edgewood brings a diversity of age, personality and style to Nationals and features some of the best tennis talent in New England. However, for many players, this will be their first taste of a national tournament atmosphere.
“I’m excited because this is a new experience for most of them. There are only a couple of kids that have been to a national tournament before, so whatever happens, happens. We know there are going to be great teams, and that’s nothing we can control. What we can control though, is making sure we play smart and we play within ourselves and do the best we can,” Miguel said.
The 18U JTT Nationals will take place at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, FL form November 9-11.
Meet the Team from Edgewood:
Trevor Schwarzmann, 17, Dartmouth, MA
Years playing tennis- 13
Years playing JTT- 2
Style of play- I play a lot of different sports, espwecially soccer, so I’m fast on the court. I like to get to every ball and grind it out.
What does your tennis training consist of? Soccer pretty much takes up the fall, but once the winter comes, I focus all on tennis. I try and play as much as I can with my dad and Fil. I play every day in the spring and play on my high school team as well.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I’m not very superstitious, so I don’t really have anything, but I always with me.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? I almost stopped playing tennis when I was 14 to focus on soccer but I’m glad I didn’t.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? We have a very good team and we all know each other. Every kid on this team is very good, and we have all different ages too, which is a good mix.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? Definitely the experience. I’m looking forward to being able to play against kids from all over the country and just having fun.
Alex Finkelstein, 16, Raynham, MA
Years playing tennis- 12
Years playing JTT- 6
Style of play- All court. I like to go to the net a lot and serve and volley sometimes.
What does your tennis training consist of? I train with Fil every other day of the week at Edgewood and come to Lakeville when it rains. Sometimes I’ll go north to train with some good players near the MAC. But in the summer I’m with Fil a lot and these guys.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I have this tiny fan with a battery that I got at a tournament and it’s very refreshing during changeovers, especially during the summertime.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? People only know I play tennis, but I was probably the best soccer player in Raynham when I was seven. I tore my quad and quit though so I don’t play anymore.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? We’ve had really good training sessions with Fil at Edgewood. We do circuit training with medicine balls, play chess to strengthen the mind.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? I think being with people close to home is special. Usually at national tournaments, you’re with people from Connecticut, Rhode Island or other states, and I’ll be playing with people from Edgewood. Not many people know Edgewood at Nationals so to represent the club will be nice.
Ben Simmons, 18, North Attleboro, MA
Years playing tennis- 11
Years playing JTT- 1st year on Fil’s team. I’ve grown up playing tennis and competing against these guys, so now playing with them is pretty cool.
Style of play- I’m a big hitter, big serve, big forehand.
What does your tennis training consist of? I play 3-4 days a week all around at different places. I play basketball as well but just gave it up last year to focus on tennis. I really want to improve my game and play at the next level op I think that was the best decision for me.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I always have a pack of rolled grips. I usually need to re-grip my racquet often.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? I have the nickname, Moose. My mom came up with that nickname when I was little. I’m not sure why, but it kind of stuck. Some of my friends know and call me that too.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? We really get along well. We have great team chemistry. We’re a pretty deep team and have a lot of talent.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? This is my first Nationals experience. I think just traveling and knowing you’re going to play tennis and not just on vacation is pretty cool. It almost feels like you’re a professional
Brooklyn Bindas, 12, Rochester, MA
Years playing tennis- 4 ½
Years playing JTT- 2
Style of play- I’m an all-court player, and my strengths are either my volleys or my backhand.
What does your tennis training consist of? I play usually 5-6 times a week and I like to play tournaments every weekend or every other weekend if possible. I play at a lot of places, including Sportsmen’s, Edgewood and Thoreau.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I always use the same racquet no matter what. It’s a Wilson Blade. I have a regular one and a reverse one and I only use the regular one, I don’t know why. And I always use a cute dampener. Usually it’s little animals or food.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? I have 12,000 followers on Instagram.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? Fil is a really great coach and always makes practices fun and we work really well together.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? My team is really great and I get to play against some great 18 and Under players and I’m only 12, so I’ll get to do this for a lot more years.
Luke Nickerson, 17, Mansfield, MA
Years playing tennis- 4
Years playing JTT- 2
Style of play- I like to be aggressive and like to push the ball often, but people describe me as a grinder though, so I don’t know.
What does your tennis training consist of? I try to play every day and play tournaments every weekend if possible. I usually play at Browne Billone, sometimes with Fil, but anywhere I can really. Lately I’ve been working on fitness. My strokes are already pretty good, so it’s more fitness than anything right now.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I always like to carry my towel around and chew on it. I just like having something to hold on to to do with my hands.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? I’m a Jets fan.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? We all like each other. There’s no real hatred towards anyone. We all just have fun really. We knew we had a great chance of going to Nationals when we formed the team and we’re all on board.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? This is my first Nationals experience. I heard the USTA National campus is pretty cool. And going to Florida is cool. Every time I go to the Orlando area, it’s fun, and I’m a Miami Heat fan too.
Erin Regnier, 16, Wrentham, MA
Style of play- Aggressive, I like to go for my shots.
What does your tennis training consist of? I play some tournaments but play more for fun than competitively. I play a couple times a week at at Browne Billone and at Edgewood in the summers.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I usually play in braids. I have a superstition and just play better when I have braids in.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? I always start wearing Christmas sweaters the day after Halloween. I love Christmas and am always in the Christmas spirit.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? We all get along really well. We have a great dynamic. We all encourage each other and don’t get upset so it’s very teamwork based.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? I’m excited for the new competition, new styles of play and the experience of going down to Florida.
Callie Smith, 15, Bridgewater, MA
Style of play- I’m obsessed with drop shots.
What does your tennis training consist of? I usually train multiple times a week at Lakeville and at Edgewood in the summer. I play volleyball too now so it’s about 3-5 times a week, but in the summer it’s every day. I play tournaments, JTT and help Fil coach the little kids. I also work out at school with my friends.
One possession you need to have on the court with you at all times- I have this little ceramic tiger tail that I won with Tyler (DiPalma), who is on this team. We both won it playing a tennis game at camp when we were young. We broke the tiger in half and I ended up with the tail and he got the rest of it, so I always keep it in my bag with me.
What is something unique about you that people might not know? I have a twin sister who is nothing like me at all. She’s five inches taller, but I’m older.
What is it about this team that makes it so special? We definitely train hard and play hard. Sometimes we practice during the school months, but we don’t see each other a lot unless it’s the summer. But in the summer, we spend way too much time with each other and make up for it. There is lots of fun and silliness and it definitely translates on the court.
What are you most looking forward to about going to Nationals? This is my first time playing at a national tournament. I’m just excited to be part of a large group of tennis people. Tennis is an interesting sport and not a lot of kids play it, so I think it will be fun to be in this big community.
Leanne Kendall, 18, Lakeville, MA- Bryant University (Varsity)
Tyler DiPalma, 18, Franklin, MA- UMass Amherst (Tennis On Campus)
Erin McCusker, 15, Norton, MA- Won't be attending Nationals but competed at Sectionals.
Danujan Thiru, 17, Sharon, MA- Will not be competing at Nationals but played during the season.