Top Juniors Say Goodbye to USTA New England Before They Begin their Collegiate Careers
Samantha Parlato & Olivia Massey, Sports Marketing Interns | July 18, 2018
WESTBOROUGH, MA — New England junior tennis provides aspiring players of all abilities the opportunity to learn about the sport, advance their skills and make friends and memories that will last a lifetime. Through Junior Tournaments, players from ages 5-18 are able to experience all different tennis environments and constantly challenge themselves.
Within junior tournaments, USTA New England offers a variety of events, ranging from beginner or non-sanctioned to Level 1 advanced national tournaments. Many players grow up competing and advancing through the junior ranks, and some will even continue to compete at the college or pro level. Reaching the collegiate level is a great accomplishment and we are proud to highlight the New England juniors who will be playing NCAA tennis in the fall.
Below, juniors in the 18s division reflect on their time spent playing in USTA New England before they continue their collegiate careers in the fall.ADVERTISEMENT
They are listed by their USTA New England standings as of January 2018.
Boys’ No. 1- Will Peters, Princeton University
Tennis has been a huge part of Will’s childhood, as he has been playing in USTA New England tournaments since he was 10 years old.
His highlights include being a three-time 18s Winter Sectionals Champion, winning 16s National Selection tournament in Glen Cove, NY and receiving a Sportsmanship Award at the 18s National Selection tournament.
Will expresses gratitude towards his tennis friends who have pushed him to be a better player and person on and off the court. He loved competing with them and being able to cheer on people who were not only his teammates but true friends.
Will looks forward to playing at Princeton University this fall and will continue the same training that has made him so successful thus far.
“I choose Princeton because of the coaches, team, and school. I also loved the energy I felt when walking around the campus. I don't think I will change anything in my training this summer. I want to continue to do what I have done over the last few years and work to improve each day.”
Boys No. 2- Ryan Fu, University of Michigan
Ryan has many fond memories of his time playing New England tournaments, and competing Zonals has always been one of his highlights.
“My favorite event every year was the Zonals because we got to go as a team. The best memory I have was at 14s Zonals when we won the event beating the other New England team in the finals. It was awesome to have both New England teams do so well.“
Ryan has won a number of New England championships and reached the finals of the 18s Sectionals in 2017. He also received the 14 and Under New England Sportsmanship Award.
“New England tennis is all about family, friends and the great experiences we have shared together. I've been on the court with my brother since I was 8 and we learned that hard work and dedication are necessary to achieve any of your goals in life.”
In the fall, Ryan will be playing tennis at the University of Michigan.
“Michigan had what I was looking for with a strong academic and tennis program, but most importantly I enjoyed the team and the coaches at Michigan. Coach Steinberg is a big believer in team unity and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”¬¬¬¬¬¬¬
Boys No. 6- Harris Foulkes, Amherst College
Harris has grown tremendously as a player and person thanks to challenging competition and high levels of play offered by USTA New England tournaments.
“USTA New England constantly caused me to reflect on why I was dedicating so much time to such a difficult sport. However, I somehow always returned to the conclusion that I would not want to be doing anything else. The personality traits of character, commitment, and resiliency that playing tennis at a tournament level requires will serve me far beyond my tennis career.”
In 2018, Harris was named to USTA’s Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes one boy and girl from every USTA Section for their leadership, sportsmanship and character, both on and off the court.
Harris is a four-time New England Sectionals doubles champion, has received three sportsmanship awards, and was also the Boys’ 14s Hard Court Champion and Sectional Finalist.
Harris’ favorite memory with USTANE was playing at the National Team Championships in Illinois.
“I was on a team with guys I had been friends with since the age of 10 and for many it was one of the last tournaments of their junior career. It was an incredible experience as everyone instantly bought into the team aspect and we all competed for each other.”
Harris will continue his tennis career at Amherst in the fall.
“I chose Amherst College because it offers the opportunity to pursue my tennis at a high level and be a part of a team that has the goal each and every year to compete for a national championship. More importantly, the college allows me to study in an unbelievably high achieving academic setting where I am surrounded by highly motivated people.”
Boys’ No. 9- Andres Ballesteros, United States Naval Academy
Boys’ No. 10- Will Chen, College of Holy Cross
Will’s childhood was shaped by his participation in USTA New England tournaments.
“Throughout middle school and high school, I'd always be going away on weekends to play tournaments. All the tournaments have helped me improve to become the player I am today. I think one of the most important things I've learned from my experiences is discipline.”
Will was a Winter Sectional doubles finalist in both the 18s and 16s divisions. He also won two 16s L4 doubles tournaments in 2016.
He has enjoyed traveling to all different national tournaments with fellow New England players on the Zonal and Intersectional teams.
“Those two tournaments were a lot of fun and gave me a chance to bond with other New England kids by competing alongside each other rather than against each other.”
In the fall, Will will be playing tennis at the College of Holy Cross.
“I really liked the academic aspect at Holy Cross, combined with the athletic opportunity, it just made the school a great fit for me. I've also known the current coach since I was about 10 years old so I already have a connection that goes way back. When I went to visit, I felt like I had an instant connection with the guys on the team and I could see myself spending the next four years with them.”
Boys’ No. 11- Andrew Forchetti, Bryant University
Andrew has always pushed himself to be the best he can be at tennis and is never afraid to face a challenging opponent.
“I have many great memories from USTA. The best memory was making it to the semis of an L5 18s when I was 16 because I proved to everyone, most importantly myself, that I could compete at a high level.”
In addition, Andrew won the State Class L Tennis Championship, placed 2nd at the Connecticut State Tennis Open and was a three-time All-State player.
Andrew will be continuing his tennis career at Bryant University this fall.
“I decided to play for Bryant because the coach believed in me and saw my potential and love for the game. I know I need to work very hard to earn a starting position, and that is my goal.”
Boys’ No. 13- Evan Felcher, University of Oregon
Boys’ No. 15- Kevin Chao, Sacred Heart University
Kevin has been extremely accomplished during his time playing in USTA New England, including winning the L4 16s Super Six singles and the L4 18s Super Six doubles.
“USTA New England is an important component to raising the competitive aspects of my game through sectional and national competition.”
Kevin also played on the 14s and 16s New England Zonals Team, and the 14s New England Intersectional Team.
“My best memory from USTA New England was when my 14s Intersectional coach gave me the opportunity to play up to No. 1 singles in the last round of team competition. After losing all my previous team singles matches, I was honored to make the best of the opportunity and was so happy to win that last match unexpectedly.”
Kevin is looking forward to attending Sacred Heart University in the fall and joining their tennis program.
“The SHU team has a new coach that is not only interested in developing me into an impact tennis player, but also a high achieving student. This combination of support stood out for me as ideal for my college success.”
Boys’ No. 18- Tyler Zhang, Babson College
Boys’ No. 19- Max Schuermann, Colby College
Max has been deservingly recognized for his successful USTA New England and high school careers, but tennis didn’t always come easy to him.
“My best memory from USTA New England is the feeling I had when I played my very first tournament. I only won one match but I came away from the tournament with so much optimism about where tennis would take me. I knew after finishing the event that I loved competing.”
Max is a top ranked high school and junior player in New England. He won the Boston Globe’s Massachusetts High School Player of the Year honor in 2017, thanks to an MIAA North Sectional Championship and a sportsmanship award.
“Training for tournaments gave me a sense of pride and happiness because I knew was working towards my goal of playing tennis for my dream college.”
Max has reached his goal and will be joining the Colby College tennis team in the fall.
“Playing for the Mules was my goal because I aspired to join a team with a coach and players that were passionate about working hard to attain their goals. It was easy to tell from my overnight visit that the tennis team is focused on being the best they can possibly be on and off court.”
Boys’ No. 24- Preston Gordon, Franklin Pierce University
Boys’ No. 26- Noah Criss, Swarthmore College
Boys’ No. 30- Samuel Pham, Endicott College
Girls’ No. 2- Grace Joyce, Princeton University
Girls’ No. 3- Julia Newman, Brown University
Throughout her junior career, Julia has created many lasting friendships and memories, both on and off the court.
One of Julia’s favorite memories came after a tournament in 2014, when she and her friends bonded and played games together in a relaxed environment.
“Those moments are particularly memorable to me because, despite being at a tournament where we are all playing each other, it reflects just how close we are and what tight friendships we have being able to just hangout afterwards and have a good time. It also shows how all of the different age groups get along and I remember being so excited as a younger player being able to play card games with the older kids who were so much better than me and who I looked up to so much.”
Julia has been competing in USTA New England tournaments since she was eight and has seen great success and growth.
In 2015, she won 16s Sectionals and placed 4th in doubles at National Clay Courts. Julia also received the 14s New England Sportsmanship Award.
In 2018, Julia was named to the prestigious USTA Junior Leadership Team.
“USTANE taught me the meaning of working together, and having a community of people I can always count on, whether we're on the same team traveling to Zonals, Intersectionals or USTA National Team Championships, or playing against one another at Nationals.”
Julia will be playing at Brown University in the fall.
“Not only did the high level of tennis draw me to the school, but the coaches and the other girls on the team did to. They were a huge factor in my decision and I was able to see myself playing there with them and truly becoming part of the team.”
Girls’ No. 5- Sarah Campbell, Cornell University
Sarah takes pride in her roots with USTA New England and the friendship she has made through tennis.
“Not only is tennis a lifelong sport, I have made lifelong friends. I learned a lot about myself through competitive tennis, including hard work, perseverance, sportsmanship, grace, determination, and resilience. I have worked with some extraordinary coaches here in New England, and they've taught me a lot about tennis and about myself as a player and a person.”
Her favorite memory with USTA New England was the 12s Zonals. Sarah was just beginning her career at the time, but remembers it as one of her first real bonding experiences through tennis.
“I learned that tennis can be a team effort. I loved cheering on my teammates and bonding with my fellow USTA New Englanders. I am still friends with many of those teammates; 12s Zonals created bonds for me that have lasted throughout my USTA junior years.”
Sarah will be going on to play at Cornell University in the fall.
“When I first met Coach Stevens, I felt his enthusiasm and noticed that we had similar values. When I met the team, the players shared their love of Cornell. When I walked around the campus, I felt a sense of Cornell pride. The Cornell environment seems happy with great academics and an awesome tennis team.”
Girls’ No. 6- Julia Pezzuco, Western Carolina University
Julia cherishes the lasting friendships she has made from competing in USTA New England.
One of her favorite memories was traveling to California for the USTA National Team Championship in 2017.
“That summer we all got to prove our independence and friendship by playing on a team together with just one college coach to watch us and no parents. I enjoyed this moment the most because it made me think about how far we have all come since our 12 and Under tournaments.”
Julia has had many great accomplishments throughout her tennis career, including winning the 2017 Winter Sectionals. She earned a Silver Ball in singles and Bronze Ball in doubles at the Women’s Open Grass Court Championships, and was a L2 finalist in 18s doubles.
One of her proudest moments was earning an athletic scholarship to Western Carolina University, where she will be playing tennis this fall.
“I loved the team, the coach, and the area when I visited. The weather is amazing and it will be such a different and amazing opportunity to play tennis outdoor year round.”
Girls’ No. 7- Sydney Weinberg, Penn State University
At a young age, Sydney made many friends through UTSA New England tournaments, and has shared countless experiences competing and
growing up with them.
“My best memory from USTA New England would have to be all of the friends that I have made over the past few years. Not only did I compete against these girls, but I was surrounded by them every weekend since I was 10. They have become some of my best friends and I do not know what
I would do without them.”
Sydney was a member of the 2017 USTA New England Team Championship Team, she won Sportsmanship Awards in 2014 and 2015, and was also named USTA New England 16 and Under Sportsman of the Year in 2015.
“USTA New England has played a major part in my junior career. Since I was 10 playing my first tournament until now, I really feel like USTA New England has pushed me to become not only a better player, but a better person.”
Sydney will be playing tennis at Penn State University in the fall.
“As soon as I stepped onto campus, I could feel that PSU was its own little world. I loved the atmosphere and could really picture myself there. The team was very welcoming and I feel as though Coach Cagle and Coach Fenwick can take my game to the next level.”
Girls’ No. 9- Alexis Almy, Wesleyan University
Girls’ No. 10- Maggie Dorr, Tufts University
USTA New England has allowed Maggie to grow into the person and player she is today. Throughout her time playing she has gained confidence, built character and made lifelong friends.
“My best USTA tennis memory was playing on 14s and 16s Zonals teams. The team atmosphere was the best, and I loved playing for New England against other sections as well as having the ability to play both singles and doubles.”
Maggie has many junior awards, championships and accomplishments to be proud of. She has demonstrated grace and integrity throughout her time as a New England junior. Maggie received 18 and Under Sportsmanship Awards at both the New England Awards Ceremony as well as Junior Sectionals.
Maggie is thrilled to be playing at Tufts University for the next four years.
“I chose Tufts because of the coach, Kate Bayard, and also because of the team atmosphere. The team is coached and run ‘like a family’ and I wanted to be part of the hard working group.”
Girls’ No. 15- Jacqueline Nannery, George Mason University
Jacqueline feels that USTA New England has not only improved her tennis skills but also taught her how to be a better person.
“It ultimately has taught me to deal with tough/adverse situations, discipline, never giving up, and working hard to be rewarded.”
Jacqueline enjoyed the opportunities that came from playing on the 14s and 16s Zonals and Intersectionals teams. She loved getting the chance to bond and play alongside her usual opponents.
In addition to Zonals and Intersectionals, some of her proudest accomplishments include winning the 14s New England Hard Courts, being a back draw finalist in the 18s New England Sectionals, and reaching the finals of an L5 in the 16s.
Jacqueline will be playing at George Mason University in the fall.
“George Mason University was intriguing for its convenient location right outside of D.C., academic opportunities, and a welcoming coach and tennis team. College tennis is a lot more fitness based with longer days, more traveling, and competitive matches so, I am planning to focus more on the fitness aspect for preparation.”
Girls’ No. 19- Natalie Ivanov, Elon University
Girls’ No. 21- Devon Wolfe, Bowdoin College
Girls’ No. 24- Haley Gurski, Providence College
Girls’ No. 25- Dakota Busch, University of Tampa
Dakota has dedicated herself to playing in USTA New England tournaments for the past 10 years, and it has opened her eyes to the world outside of
her hometown of Westerly, RI.
“Coming from such a small town, if I had never played USTA I would never have experienced how good everyone is at tennis. It made me realize that there is always going to be someone better than you, someone to push you to work harder and motivate you and for that I am thankful.”
Dakota won the Rhode Island Girls’ Tennis State Singles Championships in 2017 and played on the New England Zonals Team in 2016.
“Being able to represent New England on a national level was such an honor and for once to be able to play on a team with everyone you have been playing against your whole life was so different. I made new friends and got to travel to a new place, it was by far the best experience I have had with USTA.”
Dakota will be leaving New England and continuing her tennis career at University of Tampa in the fall.
“I have been playing in New England all of my life and wanted a change, and to play outside all year round and against new people. It also is a great school for my major and even if I was not playing tennis there, I would still have attended.”