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We Are Family: Brothers, Sisters Unite at JTT Nationals

October 29, 2011 07:55 PM
The Behrle boys, Ryan (left) and Dilan, show their Texan pride with their energetic play and elaborate handshakes.
By Trina Singian, special to USTA.com

For many teams at the 2011 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships in Surprise, tennis is a family affair. Many teams consist of parents as coaches, brothers and sisters playing doubles, and twins competing together in pursuit of the national title.

The New York Buzz is a family tradition for the Schmitz family from Albany, N.Y., past and present. USTA Eastern Advanced Coach Thomas Schmitz has his daughter, Claire, and son, Robert, playing mixed doubles together. Their older brother, Ryan, played on the team when they won the 18 and Under Intermediate division at the 2008 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championship.

For the Schmitz clan, tennis is shared among the generations, which Claire explains, "Our whole family plays tennis – our grandparents, parents, siblings. Tennis brings us together."

Playing with a brother or sister can give an extra edge for a team. "It’s fun, because we know each other so well, it’s easy to play together. We know each other’s strengths. We can tell what we are going to do next, because we play together so much," says Claire Schmitz.

Brothers Ryan and Dilan Behrle’s bond is very apparent when watching them on the courts. They are teammates on the Texas’ Tennis Freak Rockers with their own secret handshakes that can rival the Bryan brother’s chest bumps in skill. 

"Having a brother on a team definitely lightens up the mood," says Ryan. "Playing tennis is a family thing for us." The brothers’ humor and closeness add a feeling of camaraderie and spirit for their team.

This weekend featured many teams with siblings playing together and cheering each other on. The following are all the teams with siblings:

18 & Under - Advanced Division

•    Eastern – Claire and Robert Schmitz
•    Florida – Eliza and Raines Green
•    Mid-Atlantic – Carrington and Kynadi Mauney, Mashal and Matine Temory
•    Middle States – Nina and Michael De Luna
•    Northern – Lacy and Noah Sprinkel
•    Texas – Andrew and Meredith Parks

18 & Under - Intermediate Division
•    Caribbean – Ashley and Jaime Flores; Jann, Yanira and Yaromi Gordils
•    Eastern – Averie and Savannah Bowen
•    Middle States – Carly and Megan Audet, Maria and Zachary Sadusky
•    Missouri Valley – Blake and Brooke Barnard
•    New England – Kevin and Victoria Ho
•    Pacific Northwest – Alexander and Maximilian Hey
•    Southwest – Jeremy and Lindsay Harlas
•    Texas – Dilan and Ryan Behrle


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