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Wild Times For Wild Cards at National Championships

October 24, 2010 05:45 PM
USTA Texas's "ACE 10s" Intermediate Wild Card Team.
USTA New England's "Four Seasons Racquet Club" Intermediate Wild Card Team.
USTA Florida's Sanlando Acers 14U Intermediate team won the 2010 "Team Spirit" award.
When the 14U Intermediate USTA Texas team "Ace 10s" and 14U Advanced USTA New England "Four Seasons Racquet Club" lost their sectional championships this past summer, the players thought their season was over.
 
That was until they received a wild card into the 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. Both teams knew they had the guts and the team camaraderie to make it, and knew that with practice, they could have the chance to bring home each of their respective titles within their skill level.

"Since both teams received second place on the section level, the USTA notified both the Texas and New England coaches to offer up the opportunity to play at the Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. We knew it would be a great team building experience for the kids to play at this level, and would give the players the chance to showcase their skills on a national platform" says Marikate Murren, National Manager, USTA Jr. Team Tennis.
 
The team "Ace 10s," made up of players Stephen Friedsam, Seguin Guerrero, Jennifer Juarez, Carli Ramos, Chloe Ramos, Sam Seidner and Jeremy Wilson, were all pumped for the occasion.

"The kids are really excited, and just very happy to be here. Our biggest goal was to finish in the top 10— but we faced some pretty competitive matches.  Overall, no matter how well we did, we enjoyed every single minute of it. One of my guys was even nominated for a sportsmanship award. That is what counts," says Edward Criado, head coach and captain of the Ace 10s wild card team of USTA Texas.

The "Four Seasons Racquet Club" team, made up of players Olivia Beatty, Brooke Connelly, David Freeman, Michael Jaffee, Emma Kistler, Thomas Knotz and Madeline Stow, were also equally excited and up for the challenge to take on the competitive teams, even though they were aware that they may not make it to the top four.

"It’s a great experience for the team— and this really stirred us back into excitement. Losing the section event by eight points was a very close margin. At first, dealing with the loss was difficult, but this is putting team’s morale back together. It was a great challenge for us, and we’re just all very ecstatic to be here," says Ritush Venugopal, coach and captain of the Four Seasons Racquet Club team of USTA New England.

On Day 3 of play, the teams reached 12th and 15th place, respectively, within the Intermediate and Advanced levels. Most importantly, the teams were recognized for their enthusiasm and energy.

In addition to finishing in 15th place, the USTA New England Four Season Racquet Club team won the Jr. Team Tennis National Championship Advanced Team Spirit award – which honors the team in each skill level that best exemplifies the true spirit and team excitement of Jr. Team Tennis. The USTA Florida Sanlando Acers team, hailing from Altamonte Springs, Fla., won the 2010 Jr. Team Tennis National Championship Intermediate Team Spirit award.

As one New England Jr. Team Tennis player mentioned, "the experience was worth more than anything, even winning first place. It’s all about teamwork, and how we play together. Jr. Team Tennis not only helps build the confidence and game of each individual, it helps build the confidence of each team, making each of us that much better. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!"

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