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A Surprise Talent Show at Jr. Team Tennis Nationals

October 22, 2011 05:43 PM
The Eden Prairie Aces of USTA Northern, pictured above, are loaded with multi-sport athletes.
By Katie Timinsky, special to USTA.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. - At the 2011 Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, tennis is naturally at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 
For the many players who make up the tournament however, tennis is just one of the many skills they possess: From school plays to scuba diving, these talented kids can do a little something of everything.
Austin Wong of the 14U Advanced Eden Prairie Aces, representing the Northern Section, has skills both on land and in the water. "My first scuba diving experience was when I was 12 years old on our family vacation in Hawaii," Austin said. "I thought it would be cool to be able to breathe under water." Austin, who will soon receive his advanced scuba diving certification, has completed dives in California, Missouri and Hawaii. His ideal destination however happens to be a little further from home. "I would love to dive in Managaha, Guam. I saw it on the internet and thought it would be awesome."
Adrianna Jeffress, representing the Advanced Middle States section, may be able to run like the wind in her matches - yet off the court, she’s a songbird who is always eager to deliver a performance. "I sing all the time," she said. "It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I just love to sing." After bringing the crowd to its feet at the tournament desk with a spot-on rendition of the National Anthem on Day 2, Jeffress admits that she’s used to being in the spotlight. "I’ve sung at a bunch of my school’s basketball games and was in my school’s concert choir." 
When asked whether she prefers to sing or play tennis Adrianna had a tough time making a decision: "I love to do them both and always have so much fun, so I guess I’d have to say it’s equal."
Naturally, there are a few multi-sport stars at a top-flight athletic event such as this. Midwest Advanced player Caroline Combs takes pride in being a year-round athlete. "Caroline plays basketball, volleyball and does cross-country," commented team mother Jenny Reifeis. "On top of all the sports she does, she was also the lead in her school play." 
The Eden Prairie Aces, who represent the Advanced Northern Section, have a very well-rounded team. "Taylor and Paige McLeod are dancers and often compete in dance competitions," stated Lynette McLeod, the girl’s mother. "Hannah Hankinson and Katie Engelking are golfers and Jonah Salita and Kavir Kumar compete competitively in ping-pong," she said. 
While all of the kid’s at this year’s Championships excel at tennis, it seems we might also have a few future celebrities on our hands. 


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