Junior Team Tennis
by Alex Wesley, Director of Marketing | August 19, 2019
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS - USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT) puts a special focus on sportsmanship and fun competition for kids 18 years old and younger around the country. In New England, teams competed all year to make it to the Sectional Championship from their local areas. On August 14 and 15, teams from all over New England traveled to Western Massachusetts to compete for the title of ‘Champion’ and the chance to advance to Nationals.
“We had 17 teams compete at Sectionals this year which is a nod to the success of the program in New England. The players were all excited to be there and they had a lot of family support in the stands - it was fun to see,” said Tournament Director and USTA New England Senior Manager of Youth Play, Jon Kostek.
Smith College hosted the 14 and Under Intermediate division and 12 and Under Invitational while Amherst College hosted the 18 and Under Intermediate and Advanced divisions. ADVERTISEMENT After two days of competition, four teams earned their place at Nationals:
18 and Under Advanced Champions: Yellow Jackets from New Hampshire
18 and Under Advanced Finalists (earning a wild card to Nationals): Edgewood from Edgewood Swim and Tennis in Raynham, MA
18 and Under Intermediate Champions: Longfellow Croc Fever from Nashua, NH
14 and Under Intermediate: Madrackets from Madison Racquet and Swim Club in Madison, CT
18 and Under Advanced Champions: Yellow Jackets
Coach Jurgen Georgs of the Yellow Jackets said, “I’m pretty happy because we’ve been doing this for four years and we finally did it. It’s nice because I have two sons on the team. It’s my oldest son’s last year so it’s great we get to go to Nationals.”
The team went 4-0, beating all the other teams in the flight. Georgs son, Jens, also went undefeated in tournament play, “It was great competition out there. We had a lot of fun. My favorite part was playing mixed doubles with my partner Claire.” Jens also won the 18U Advanced Boys Sportsmanship Award.
Claire Reynolds of the Yellow Jackets also went undefeated in the tournament playing doubles with partner Linda Kong and mixed doubles with Georgs. Her teams were dominant - never giving up a set.
The team finished with 145 total games, ahead of Edgewood with 135, Madrackets with 135, Lee CTA (Lee, MA) with 72 and Essex (The Edge Sports and Fitness, Essex, VT) with 45.
18 and Under Advanced Finalists: Edgewood
New England was given a wildcard spot to 18 and Under Advanced Nationals and Edgewood won that ticket by beating out Madrackets by just one game 27-26. For the second year in a row, Edgewood is headed to Nationals.
“It feels bittersweet because we know the other team fought really hard too. Any game could have made the difference,” said Coach Fil Miguel.
The team managed to pull out second place without one of their best players, Alex Finkelstein. He competed at the Boys’ 16 National Championship in Kalamazoo, Michigan just the week prior - making it to the semi-finals in singles and the 3rd round in doubles.
“They’re a great group of kids. They have a lot of spirit and heart. We didn’t have one of our strongest players but the kids were great about understanding his bigger goals. They went out there and fought hard and earned the chance to play at Nationals,” said Coach Miguel.
Three teammates went undefeated in their matches: Brooklyn Bindas, Luke Nickerson and Mallika Chari.
18 and Under Intermediate Champions: Longfellow Croc Fever
Longfellow Croc Fever won their division winning 183 games - 29 games ahead of the second place team, Westfit from the New England Tennis Center in Westford, MA. This will be the team’s first Nationals trip.
“The win is a great for them. They have put in a lot of work and I’m excited for this trip to Nationals. I think the competition was really great this year. We had a blast the whole tournament,” said Coach Nick Wagner.
Three teammates went undefeated in match play during the tournament: Amy Ryherd, Grace Carpenter and Sigmund Winiecki.
“It was a blast. This was my first time playing at sectionals with these guys. It’s been really great. There was a lot of support from my teammates,” said Winiecki.
14 and Under Intermediate Champions: Madrackets
For the sixth time in as many years, Madrackets are going to Nationals in November. The team swept their flight 5-0.
“I feel great. These kids proved themselves. They worked so hard to come back from defeat. I’m so proud of them,” said Coach Rick Fay.
The team won two close matches by four games each against Hampshire Hill and Norwalk Elite but came away with wins both times.
The team won 172 total games, beating out Hampshire Hills from Milford, NH with 169, Norwalk Elite from Norwalk, CT with 150, Intensity from Norwalk, CT with 148, North Hampton from North Hampton, NH with 88 and Sippican from Marion, MA with 66.
12 and Under Invitational
USTA New England hosted a 12 and Under Invitational at JTT Sectionals at Smith College. Teams from all over New England were invited to compete. Four different teams played against each other on each of the two days. While they do not advance to a national tournament, the winning teams were awarded with medals during a ceremony on site.
On day one of the invitational, four teams competed: Westfit from the New England Tennis Center in Westford, MA; Longfellow from Nashua, NH; Madrackets from Madison, CT and Rocky Hill Tennis and Fitness from Rocky Hill, CT.
Westfit came away with the win with 64 games. Second place went to Longfellow with 54 games. In third, Madrackets finished with 51 games and Rocky Hill finished with 16 games. Westfit went home with medals for winning.
On day two, four other teams competed for the medals: Ellington Thunderstix from Ellington, CT; Guilford Racquet and Swim Club from Guilford, CT; The Longfellow Whips from Natick, MA and The Longfellow Ney Ney’s also from Natick, MA.
Guilford came out on top with 55 games won. The Longfellow Whips finished second with 52, The Longfellow Ney Ney's finished third with 49 and Ellington finished in fourth with 33 games.
USTA New England honored two sportsmanship winners in each flight. The winners were honored with a glass plaque at a ceremony at the end of the tournament.
18U Advanced Boys: Jens Georgs - Yellow Jackets
18U Advanced Girls: Erin McCusker - Edgewood
18U Intermediate Boys: Ben Grace - Westfit
18U Intermediate Girls: Audry Magnusen - Norwalk Grassroots
14U Intermediate Boys: Matthew Gatto - Intensity
14U Intermediate Girls: Bryn Feeney - Sippican
USTA New England also provided the KYSEK Chill Zone at both colleges. The zone provided a shaded area for players to relax under and was set up with free healthy snacks and ice cold water throughout the tournament. KYSEK Ice Chests sponsored the Chill Zone.
For complete results: click here
To view more photos, click here