Cary, NC – The Cary Tennis Park’s team competed alongside 27 of the best teams nationwide in this past weekend’s USTA Junior Team Tennis 14U National Championships, ending in ninth place in the intermediate category.
The Cary Tennis Park’s team, the CTP Cardinals, competed at the championship at the Cayce Tennis Center in Cayce, South Carolina from Thursday, October 13 to Sunday, October 16, 2016. The championships were for players aged 14 and younger and representing Cary was:
- John Hankinson
- Takumi Kajiwara
- Keegan Merck
- Jakob Nager
- Natalie Coon
- Halle Fernstrum
- Lauren Hsu
The team’s coach and Cary tennis professional Bill Reynolds said the focus going into the championships was keeping them ready.
“We’re trying to keep them excited. We just want to keep them loose because that’s how they’ll play best,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds coached the 18 and under team to the national championships once before and said getting another team there is exciting.
“It makes teaching and coaching a joy and since they’ve been excited to go, we’ve enjoyed training and they are putting a lot into it,” Reynolds said.
The CTP Cardinals qualifying for the championships has also increased the attention put on the Cary Tennis Park and the program there.
“It’s added to the program because their friends and other young tennis players have taken an interest and want to get into the team and the park,” Reynolds said.
The national championship in Cayce is the top competition for the USTA’s junior tennis division and Cary will face players from all over the country. The championship was split into intermediate and advanced categories, with the CTP Cardinals participating in the intermediate. Out of 16 teams in the intermediate category, Cary came in ninth, winning about 49.1 percent of games they competed in.
Reynolds said the custom is for the teams to exchange a gift with their first round opponents and they selected something to represent North Carolina aptly.
“We’ll have a North Carolina magnet but we’re also giving a can of Cheerwine together with the history of the drink,” he said.
And as the Cary team competes, Reynolds said their base of operations will be on full display.
“We’re going to represent the town by showing we are from the CTP and we love it there,” he said. “We’re going to make sure everyone knows we’re from Cary.”
In early September, the Cary Tennis Park hosted the 2016 Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships, featuring professional players from all over the world.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Matt Hankinson.