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CAZ Juniors Excel at Winter Nationals

USTA Winter National Championships
Tucson & Phoenix - various sites
Dec. 27, 2010 - Jan. 1, 2011

Ge_SebyGoldBall_389USTA Southwest Central AZ juniors put on a good show during the holiday break, bringing in the new year with an assortment of stellar finishes at the Winter National Championships, held Dec. 27-Jan. 1, 2011 in both Tucson and Phoenix.

At the 12s and 14s event in Tucson, Augustus Ge (third from left) and Robert Seby (far right) had the Section's best result, winning the Boys' 14s doubles event.


The second-seeded Seby (Oro Valley, Ariz.) and Ge (Phoenix), smashed all comers, rolling through five matches without the loss of a set. In the final, the Arizona pair disposed of top-seeded Aron Hiltzik and Martin Joyce, both of Illinois, by a 6-4, 6-0 count. Seby also reached the quarterfinals of the Boys' 14 singles division, while Ge reached the Round of 16.

Lest they be outdone by their male counterparts, Delaney Nothaft (Tempe, Ariz.) also posted terrific results in Tucson.  In the 12s, Nothaft and partner Samantha Martinelli (Denver, Colo.) won five rounds before falling 7-5, 7-6 in a tight final to top-seeded Sofia Kenin (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Zoe Spence (Chicago, Ill.). Kenin also won the Girls' 12s singles event.  


Other solid showings in Tucson at the 14s included Phoenix's Madison Clarke (singles quarterfinals) and Scottsdale's Alexandra Letzt (R16 singles, QF doubles) and Nathan and James Ponwith (R 16 doubles).  


Tournament sites for the 12s and 14s included Reffkin Tennis Center, Rincon High School, Tucson Racquet Club, Catalina Foothills High School, and University of Robson's Tennis Center.

In Phoenix at the 16s and 18s event, Stephanie Vlad's finished fourth in Girls' 18s singles. That was the best result from the older Southwest female contingent. Vlad (Scottsdale) won five straight matches as an unseeded player, toppling four seeds along the way, before falling to second-seed Kyle McPhillips in the semifinals.


Billy Pecor (Scottsdale) also picked up a bronze ball in doubles, pairing with Wyatt McCoy (Shoreview, Minn.). Pecor is currently a freshman at Notre Dame, but hasn't yet turned 19 and was eligible for the tournament.

Alex Lawson (Tempe, Ariz.) also reached the Round of 16 in singles, winning three matches in straight sets before falling 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to fourth-seeded Alexander Van Cott (Unadilla, N.Y.). Nolan Bauer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also reached the Round of 16 in singles before falling to Ryan Smith (Weston, Fla.) 7-5, 6-4.

Tournament sites for the 16s and 18s events included Scottsdale Ranch Park, Phoenix Tennis Center, Kiwanis Recreation Center, Chandler Tennis Center, and Gene Autry Tennis Center.

A special thanks also goes out to USTA Winter National Championships tournament directors Meghan Houk (Tucson) and Sally Grabham (Phoenix) as well as to all the facilities who helped accommodated the more than 1000 total players that took part in the Winter Nats, one of the four largest, level 1 junior tournaments in the United States.  

PatriciaGrigoras_10UCamp_BallinHand_SmallA special USTA 10-and-Under Development Camp was held in conjunction with the USTA Winter Nationals on Thursday, Dec. 30 at Scottsdale Ranch Park. The purpose of the camp, put on by USTA Southwest with a little help from USTA Player Development,  was to get parents of top young players familiarized with the 2011 changes for the 10-and-under age divisions, as well as to identify young talent.

A handful of local coaches and more than 25 young players from across the Phoenix metropolitan area braved temperatures in the low 30's (with even a VERY brief snowfall) for the clinic. Thanks to the coaches for helping us out with the event! Check out photos from the 10-and-Under Development Camp on our
Facebook page.