SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Southern Hospitality, with players from Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas, won their fifth World TeamTennis Junior Nationals Championship today, defeating Midwest Cheeseheads 39-33 at the George E. Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif.
The WTT Junior Nationals, which is hosted by WTT co-founder Billie Jean King, is a national junior invitational event featuring 16 coed teams from throughout the U.S. The teams use the World TeamTennis format during their three days of non-elimination draw competition.
Southern and Midwest opened up the Championship final by splitting the doubles, with Southern winning girls' doubles 6-3, and Midwest taking the boys' doubles set by the same score. Southern took the lead after girls singles and never looked back. Southern's Monica Mitta of Fairhope, Ala., defeated Midwest's Elizabeth Konon of Mequon, Wis., 6-1. Mitta's teammate Katelyn Jackson of Roland, Ark., was too strong for Alyson Coran of Mequon, Wis., taking the second girls' singles set 6-1. After four sets, Southern Hospitality held a 21-11 lead but Midwest battled back in boys' singles, winning both sets by a 6-4 score.
Taking a six game lead into the final two sets, Southern held on to split mixed doubles but was forced into Overtime when Midwest won the designated mixed doubles set. The Midwest duo of Kyle Dunn of Fond Du Lac, Wis., and Madeleine Johnson of Onalaska, Wis., took the first Overtime game but Crews Enochs of Marietta, Ga., and Macy Polk of Powder Springs, Ga., won the next game to give Southern the 2012 title.
"Our girls were so strong today and gave us the lead we needed against a very tough team," said Southern Hospitality coach Susannah Cook. "Our boys played extremely hard and fought for every single game. We really came together as a team and that is what World TeamTennis is all about."
Hawaii Warriors, representing the USTA Hawaii Pacific section won the Maureen Connolly Brinker Team Spirit Award which is voted on by coaches, players and tournament officials for a team’s outstanding sportsmanship and camaraderie. Hawaii Warriors received a $1,000 check along with the award. Team members of Hawaii Warriors are Harrison Ladera of Aiea, Hawaii; Braxton Chong of Honolulu, Hawaii; Kyle Motoshige of Wahiawa, Hawaii; Chloe Gadsden, Yigo of Hawaii; Jade Griffin of Honolulu, Hawaii; and Shelby Baron of Honolulu, Hawaii. Mimi Kennell is coach of the Hawaii Warriors.
Teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship are key areas of focus for the three-day event. During the tournament, players donated and packaged supplies for an Army unit in Afghanistan as part of the USTA Adopt-A-Unit program. Players also wrote personal notes of appreciation to accompany the package. Members of the Armed Forces were on hand to talk to the players about the role that tennis has played in military as well as the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.
The tournament follows the WTT non-elimination draw format with the 16 teams divided into four groups. Each team is comprised of three boys, three girls and a coach. Team matches consist of eight events; with two sets each of boys’ singles, girls’ singles, one set of boys’ and girls’ doubles, and two sets of mixed doubles. The first team to reach six games wins each set. A nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches five all. One point is awarded for each game won. If necessary, Overtime and a Supertiebreaker are played to determine the outright winner of the match.
The tournament follows the WTT non-elimination draw format with the 16 teams divided into four groups. Each team is comprised of three boys, three girls and a coach. Team matches consist of eight events; with two sets each of boys’ singles, girls’ singles, one set of boys’ and girls’ doubles, and two sets of mixed doubles. Team members, ages 14-18, are selected based on their sectional and national rankings.
FINAL RESULTS & TEAM MEMBERS:
CHAMPIONS: Southern Hospitality (USTA Southern)
Cameron Andry, Baton Rouge, La.
Austin Heinz, Daniel Island, S.C.
Crews Enochs, Marietta, Ga.
Monica Mitta, Fairhope, Ala.
Katelyn Jackson, Roland, Ark.
Macy Polk, Powder Springs, Ga.
COACH: Susannah Cook
2nd place: Midwest Cheeseheads (USTA Midwest)
Timothy Corwin, Elm Grove, Wis.
Kyle Dunn, Fond Du Lac, Wis.
Michael Savaglio, Kenosha, Wis.
Madeleine Johnson, Onalaska, Wis.
Alyson Coran, Mequon, Wis.
Elizabeth Konon, Mequon, Wis.
COACH: Rick Vetter