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Tri Cities Elite Excel at Junior Team Tennis Nationals

Below is a remarkable tribute to the Tri Cities Elite team that placed 8th in the 18U Advanced Division at the JTT National Championships on November 14-17 in San Antonio, Texas. Thank you to Coach David Poole, players, and parents for making this experience possible! To learn more about Junior Team Tennis in your area, contact state league coordinator, Tyler Strong (tylerstrong@ustatn.com). 

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Tri-Cities Elite enjoyed Junior Team Tennis success finishing 8th in the nation in the 18U Advanced Division this year. Along the way, the team of David Bieger, Griffin Nickels, Seth Thomas, Willa Rogers, Aly Getty, & Anna Campbell won the TN State & Southern Section Team titles to advance to Nationals held in San Antonio this past November. The team also got a huge contribution from Knoxville’s Alex Austin at the Sectional Championships in Rome, GA going 4-1 in competition subbing in for an injured Griffin Nickels. The level of competition at both State & Sectionals was strong and at Nationals that was no exception. TC Elite played Hawaii, Texas, Missouri Valley, Mid Atlantic, & the Caribbean Teams over a four day stretch. It was an awesome opportunity to say the least for these “6”. The team also enjoyed spending time in downtown San Antonio during down time. Like so many competitive junior players, no one on the team had participated in Junior Team Tennis prior to this year. As a group, they have enjoyed much success in USTA tournament play as well as High School Tennis. The team saw first-hand what an EXCEPTIONAL opportunity JTT has to offer with players often saying… “Why haven’t we done this before?”

As a full time professional of eighteen years, I have had the privilege to direct, coach, travel with & send junior players to all of the various competitive opportunities offered at all levels. I can say without a doubt that the JTT State, Sectional, & National events are the standard for both organization and player enjoyment. In 2015 & 2016, I had a similar experience with a Northeast Tennessee 18U Advanced Team that also advanced all the way to Nationals finishing 4th both years. Seven of those eight players currently play college tennis and those same “8” have stated numerous times to me that their JTT experiences were some of the absolute best experiences of their entire junior careers. The format of singles, doubles, & mixed doubles combined with a “games won” scoring format to determine winners the matches lends itself to a total team effort with players coming together and supporting one another. This is especially true for players who have been in the USTA Tournament scene for years. Junior Team Tennis is a refreshing, competitive opportunity to play for more than just themselves. There is a sense of pride that they share in playing with peers representing their areas/programs and if fortunate enough, to advance being able to represent both thier States & Sections. State, Sectional, & National ranking points are awarded for both singles & doubles at the coinciding levels, but that is far from what it is all about. In an industry where player retention is on red alert, there is not a better way for players to have an enjoyable experience with friends while getting competitive matches along the way. I look forward to future opportunities to coach Junior Team Tennis.

 

Tennis Director,

David Poole

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