Results are in for our U12 and U16 Alberta juniors who rocked and rallied at the Indoor Junior Nationals this past weekend. The U12s were in Calgary, and the U16s in Quebec. Next weekend the U14s and U18s are in action in B.C. and Ontario. See previous article on the Alberta teams.
(Feature photo above, the U12 Alberta National Team, 2019, with their Bronze medals. Bottom row, left to right: Enoch Lin, Adam FaragCao, Waverly Potter, Lucas Poirier. Back row, left to right: Coach Adam Bond, Maksim Gluic, Sophie Stanton, Madelynn Ludwig, Sara Kostic. Missing: Ava Degrand.).
Anything above a fourth place finish for Alberta teams is an excellent result, and the girls and boys U12 team finished third overall behind Ontario and Quebec. Between the doubles and singles events, the girls took a first place (doubles), a second place (singles), a fourth place (singles), and another fourth place (doubles). The boys added to the team score with a fifth place finish in singles, and a 3/4 finish in doubles.
Adam Bond, Coach of Alberta’s U12 National Team, had this to say about his team’s performance:
I am so proud of the whole team. They represented Tennis Alberta with pride, determination and passion. And the results speak for themselves, with depth all across the team leading to the clinching of the Bronze medal for the province.
The team of Sara Kostic and Waverly Potter took first place in doubles, winning four matches on their way to the title. Two of the four matches were settled in a 10-point tiebreaker, with the Kostic/Potter duo staying focused to win both nail-biters.
Sara Kostic made it all the way to the final in singles, finishing in second place. She played eleven matches (singles and doubles) in eleven days, winning all except the final against Emma si yu Dong.
Sophie Stanton also had a strong tournament. Seeded 13th, she followed up a loss in her first match with wins over the third, fifth, and ninth seeds, to claim fourth place in singles. Sophie and doubles partner Madelynn Ludwig lost to team mates Kostic/Potter, an all-Alberta semi-final, to take 3/4 place in the doubles event. Madelynn also played in the first flight final. And Waverly won the second flight final.
Ava Degrand, a late addition to the U12 girls’ roster, lost in the first round of the doubles and finished 20th in the singles overall, for a 4th in the 2nd flight.
(Photo above: First Place Doubles Champions, 2019 Indoor Junior Nationals, U12, Sara Kostic and Waverly Potter. Photo Credit: Kyle Clapham/Tennis Canada)
Adam FaragCao led the boys U12 team, playing ten matches over ten days. He lost only one singles and one doubles match, ending in fifth place overall in singles including a win over the tournament’s fifth seed. He also earned a 3/4 placement in doubles with partner Enoch Lin. Team mates Lucas Poirier and Maksim Gluic finished in the top eight in doubles. In singles, Lucas earned a 3-set match win over the tournament’s 13-seed and won the second flight finals.
And perhaps the best award of all, Lucas Poirier earned the Sportsmanship Award for the entire tournament!
(Photo above: Lucas Poirier, winner of the Sportsmanship Award at the U12 Junior Indoor Nationals 2019, and Maksim Gluic, doubles top eight)
Derek van den Berg On The U12 Format and Benefits of Nationals
Derek van den Berg (Tennis Alberta’s Technical Manager, Tournaments and Provincial Programs) described the benefits of the U12 format:
“The format for U12 Nationals is eight round robins which feed into four flights. I think it’s a great format for the younger players who are still developing. It gives them an opportunity to play some of the best players in Canada while in their box (as each box contains a top-eight seed). Then once into the knockout round they play opponents at your level. The players also have an opportunity to play doubles in a single knockout elimination format.
Aside from all of the matches, the players get to enjoy a week making new friends and forming relationships that last forever. Some of these kids will be competing against each other at Nationals for the next 7 years. The U12 also has a team environment, so players cheer for their teammates during their matches.”
U16s Compete At A High Level
The U16 Nationals are a display of high-level, pre-professional tennis. Derek van den Berg described the U16 environment:
“The format for U16 is a little more intense than the U12. Players are only guaranteed two matches, and based on the draw it may be a tough two matches. At this point in a player’s career, the Nationals prepare players for what real tennis is like, where if you lose you’re out. This phase of development, “Learning to Perform”, is more about becoming comfortable in those situations, and learning to be a bit more autonomous at tournaments.
This is the age when the competition gets very strong. There are kids who have high ITF (International Tennis Federation) rankings, and in some situations have even dabbled with Pro Tennis. Many of the kids are training at their Provincial Training Centers and some at the National Training Center. It’s a great opportunity for anyone looking to go NCAA or Pro to really see where they place among the best.” (Derek van den Berg)
Alberta’s top player, Mia Kupres, ended the tournament with a 3-2 win-loss record in singles, her first year in the U16 age category. She lost in the quarterfinals to the tournament’s runner up, Annabelle Xu, in a close three-set duel between recent Tennis Canada team mates. She went on to play in consolations where she lost in semi-finals to second seed, Marina Stakusic.
Mia’s team mates, Hailey Murphy and Alexandra Jewitt, had a solid doubles run ending in the top eight. In singles, Alexandra Jewitt pulled off a 3-set win against ninth-seed Scarlett Nicholson, one of Alexandra’s best performances at the national level.
Joshua Oboniye, our top seeded U16 boy, had a top 8 finish with a 5-2 win-loss record in singles. This included a decisive win over the tournament’s fifth seed, Lachlan Robertson, who was also Joshua’s doubles partner (4-6, 6-2, 6-2). This was Joshua’s best result yet at nationals, and he still has another year remaining in the U16 category.
Team mate Tyler Waddock ended with a 2-2 win-loss record, and Arthur McCarthy and Arshot Bhatti competed well against the strong field.
— Tennis Alberta (@TennisAlberta) March 25, 2019
Congratulations to all of the U12 and U16 Alberta juniors who competed at the national level in 2019!
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