Young Harris hosts ITA Summer Circuit among Appalachian Mountains
Young Harris, Ga., is surrounded by beautiful mountains. The view is even better from the Young Harris College’s Bob & Gayle Nicholas Tennis Complex. The Appalachian Mountains ring the 12 courts on Main St.
The venue was the site of the ITA Tennis-Point Summer Circuit Tournament powered by WTN. This circuit is open to anyone who is a current ITA player member, but it was mainly created to give an opportunity to first-year student-athletes and current collegiate players to compete during the summer.
In this glorious setting last Saturday, an enthusiastic crowd awaited an exciting display of tennis.
Tournament Director and Young Harris men’s and women’s tennis coach Andrew Cobb commented, “I think it’s a great opportunity for players to continue to progress during the summer. It’s a chance for them to build on what they learned during the college season.” He explained the importance of players to keep up competing when school is not in session.
As players began their warm-ups, family members and friends arrived gradually adding an air of enthusiasm.
After the first round, Eric DelValle, a member of the Young Harris men’s team expressed why he joined the circuit. “I play the ITA Summer Circuit just so I can get out there and play against good competition,” DelValle said.
Ted Bagwell, a DI player for The Citadel and eventual doubles champion for this event, mentioned, “I engage in these matches to gain valuable experience and prepare myself for the upcoming college season."
The atmosphere buzzed with excitement with the appearance of Elizabeth Verizova, a seasoned player with both professional and college experience and the top seed of the tournament.
She explained the relevance of having a diverse competition. “I get to play people from different schools maybe not in the same conference as I am. I like that because it forces you to adapt and change the way you play.”
There were also strong junior players who were eager to battle and learn from the more experienced ones. One player that caught everyone’s attention was the rising high school senior Sydney Brantley, who made a remarkable impact by reaching the semifinals of the tournament.
“As a junior player, playing the ITA Summer Circuit, it’s more for the experience, knowing what it’s like to play against those college players on their respective campuses where I will be playing in a year or two,” Brantley commented.
The ITA Summer Circuit Tournament provided a great platform for players to enhance their skills and display their existing talents. This circuit offers a competitive yet supportive environment, where players can challenge themselves and gain valuable insights into their strengths and areas for improvement.
The ITA Summer Circuit events are scheduled in 11 schools in seven USTA Southern states in 2023. The pinnacle of the summer season ends with the ITA Tennis-Point National Summer Championships featuring a 64-player field, including the top-five point finishers in the ITA Summer Circuit. Players are looking to secure a wildcard into the ITA Men’s and Women’s All-American Championships later this year which will be held at the Florida State campus in Tallahassee.