Monday, June 23, 2014

Tournament Prepares for Move to Chattanooga and Adds Icy Hot as Sponsor

The DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships will have a new home and a new presenting sponsor next spring. The tournament which began in Louisville, KY in 2007 as the King of the Bluegrass Spring Fling has made some drastic changes over the past eight years. One of the most significant changes in tournament history will come in 2015 as the tournament as the tournament will move to Chattanooga, TN. 


The Scenic City will serve as the host of the prestigious event in 2015 and 2016. Baylor School and Champions Club will serve as the sites for the event providing 50 courts for tournament play. Chattanooga which has served as the home for numerous USTA sectional and national events "Will serve as a fantastic host city for our event," said Tournament Director Brandon Feusner. Feusner added “What Chattanooga brings to the table is a vibrant, mid-sized city with excellent Southern hospitality, high quality tennis facilities, tradition of hosting local, regional and national tournaments and a knowledgeable, hard-working tennis community.”


Tim Morgan, President of the Chattanooga Sports Committee states, “Chattanooga is excited to be working with the 2015 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships. Our family-friendly sports destination will work hard to maximize the experience for all athletes & spectators traveling in to compete in next year’s championships! We look forward to being your host.”

The Champions Club Tennis Complex features 26 outdoor hard courts and was named the USTA National Facility of the Year in 2001. The public facility also features a 6,000 square foot clubhouse with lockers, showers, viewing areas, and pro-shop. Champions Club also provides access to 12 lighted courts for evening match play. Champions Club was recently the host site for the Southern Conference Championships in April 2014. 


"We are excited to host this high profile tournament at Champions Club. The caliber of tennis is second to none, what a treat for the citizens of Chattanooga.“ said Orlando Lourenco, Director of Tennis at Champions Club.



The Alexander & Zan Guerry Tennis Center at Baylor School features 16 outdoor hard courts and 8 indoor hard courts. The complex was initially completed in 1987 but received an update including additional courts in 2012. The facility also includes a 1,500 square foot clubhouse including a lounge and restroom facilities. The facility is home to the Baylor School boys and girls tennis programs, winner of 23 Tennessee Tennis State Titles, and has hosted numerous USTA events.

Chattanooga tennis pro and McCallie School Head Coach Eric Voges said “I am very excited this prestigious tournament has found its way to Chattanooga. Teams from all over the eastern and mid-west part of the nation will be here to play. With the nice tennis facilities and an amazing, vibrant downtown, I believe the players will love coming here to play.”

Along with a new host city in 2015 the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships welcomes Icy Hot as the presenting sponsor. Icy Hot, America’s #1 topical pain reliever, is a product of Chattanooga based Chattem, Inc a subsidiary of sanofi-aventis Group. The Icy Hot brand is a big supporter of tennis and also serves as the title sponsor of the Icy Hot USTA Southern Level 2 Championships.

“Tennis in Chattanooga has a strong heritage and athletics is a natural fit for the Icy Hot brand. We are very excited about the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships coming to Chattanooga in 2015 and are happy to have Icy Hot sponsor this prestigious event.” said Zan Guerry, President of Chattem.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Former Tournament MVP Wins NCAA National Championship

In 2010, defending Ohio Division II Singles State Champion, Joey Fritz and his Cincinnati Country Day team came to compete in the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships Boys B Division. Fritz went 4-0 in tournament play to lead the Indians to a grueling 3-2 win for tournament championship.Fritz's victory in the championship match took less than thirty minutes helping earn the nation's 19th ranked senior Most Valuable Player honors. 

Fritz went on to finish his senior season as an Ohio Division II Singles State Finalist. He was named a First-Team All-State selection by the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association. Fritz also become just the third player in tournament history to be named a NHSTAAF All-American. 


Following his outstanding high school career Fritz signed to play his collegiate tennis at Amherst. “It was really difficult. I struggled a lot with nerves," said Fritz following his freshman year for the Lord Jeffs "It’s different going from individual competition to team competition. I really enjoy the team environment more than the individual one.” His transition to the collegiate level was seamless though as he was a key contributor on the Amherst team that captured the 2011 NCAA Division III National Championship. Fritz's 6-1, 6-2 win over Emory's Nicolas Szureck helped the Lord Jeffs clinch the 5-2 victory for the programs first national title.


During his sophomore season Fritz continued his success winning the USTA/ITA New England Regional Championship singles tournament in the fall. Despite not competing in the NCAA singles or doubles tournaments in the spring Fritz garnered ITA Division III Singles All-American honors. During his sophomore season he was also named an ITA Scholar-Athlete.


Moving to the top of the lineup his junior season Fritz posted a 11-3 record including notching six wins in a row during a key stretch in April. He was named First-Team All-NESCAC and his on-court success helped Fritz garner ITA Division III Singles All-American honors for the second straight season. He was also selected for the CoSIDA Capital One At-Large Academic All-District first team.

Fritz took a 43-17 career record into his senior season. He rolled off an 18-5 regular season record as the top-ranked singles player in the ITA’s Northeast Region. Fritz's accomplishments included a season-best eight-match win streak and an 18-5 doubles record as half of the top-ranked doubles pairing in the region. His success earned his NESCAC Player of the Year honors.

He began his championship run playing the top singles spot for the Lord Jeffs who captured their second NCAA team championship with a 5-3 victory against the Claremont-M-S Stags. Fritz's run for the NCAA Division III Singles Championship began as the No. 2 overall seed. Fritz won the coveted prize with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against top seed Warren Wood of the host Claremont-M-Sc Stags. The singles championships was the first in Amherst history. During his tournament run it was announced that Fritz had been named Intercollegiate Tennis Association Senior Player of the Year. 

"Going into this week, the team championship means everything to us," Fritz said. "This individual championship is great, but it's icing on the cake. In the [singles final] match, that is probably the best I have served all week. I needed it because my legs were really tired."

Fritz's success at Amherst were not just on the court, he was once again named to the CoSIDA Capital One At-Large Academic All-District first team and received a bachelor's degree in Asian languages and civilizations. Fritz plans to work in Beijing, China, for Admissionado, an education consulting firm which advises Chinese students how to get into American universities.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nine Former Players Named ITA All-Americans

Jared Hiltzik from Illinois Athletics
Jared Hiltzik -- University of Illinois
The Fighting Illini sophomore has accomplished a number of accolades in his first two seasons in Champaign, Illinois. The former tournament Most Valuable Players list now includes 2014 ITA Division I Singles All-American. Hilzik completed his sophomore season of play with a a 17-6 dual match record finishing the year at 31-11 overall in singles. He was selected as the eighth overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Division I Singles Championships. He is a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection and was selected as Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013 after finishing dual match play with a 13-4 record at No. 1 singles.


Joey Fritz from Amherst Athletics
Joey Fritz -- Amherst College
The 2010 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships Boys B Division Most Valuable Player clinched his place in Amherst history this year claiming the NCAA Division III Singles Championship. Over the course of his illustrious four-year career, Fritz has racked up a 68-22 overall record. He led his Amherst squad to 30-win seasons in all four years and a NCAA Division III National Championship as a freshman and senior. Fritz was selected as the 2014 NESCAC Player of the Year and is a two-time First-Team All-NESCAC selection in singles and was selected as First-Team All-NESCAC for doubles as well in 2014. Fritz's collegiate accomplishments now also includes back-to-back ITA Division III Singles All-American selections and a doubles All-American selection this season.



Emerson Walsh -- Johns Hopkins
The Johns Hopkins freshman got off to a hot start in his collegiate career winning the winning the ITA Southeast Regional Championship in the fall. The Trinity alum finished his first collegiate season with a 20-9 doubles record with freshman teammate Michael Buxbaum. He earned the third overall seed the NCAA Division III Doubles Championships. Walsh was a First-Team All-Centennial Conference selection for doubles and finished the season as half of the nation's 6th ranked doubles team in the ITA Division III rankings. His accomplishments earned him the honor of ITA Division III Doubles All-American.


Palmer Campbell -- Middlebury
The Montgomery Bell Academy alum had an outstanding sophomore season for Middlebury. Playing the No. 2 doubles slot for the Panthers Campbell and teammate Brantner Jones tallied a successful 24-9 record. The duo won the USTA/ITA Small College National Tennis Doubles Championship last fall and ended the season ranked 21st nationally, the highest of any No. 2 team in the country. The team's overall record included a 4-1 record during Middlebury’s five NCAA Tournament matches. Campbell was selected as First-Team All-NESCAC for doubles and was named an ITA Division III Doubles All-American.


Ben Shklyar -- UW-Whitewater
Shklyar, who finished the season having played with three different doubles partners, claimed his first ITA Division III Doubles All-American selection. The UW-Whitewater junior finished his season with a 23-10 overall doubles record including a 10-6 record at No. 1 doubles for the Warhawks. In the fall, Shklyar paired with teammate Byron Balkin to win the ITA Midwest Regional Doubles title. 

Joulia Likhanskaia -- Bowdoin
The Bowdoin freshman set a number of records her freshman season including tying the school record for wins by a freshman with a 19-3 record during the spring. The Winter Park alum finished the year ranked 19th nationally in the ITA Division III rankings. Likhanskaia was named First-Team All-NESCAC for singles and selected as NESCAC Rookie of the Year. She enjoyed win streaks of six and nine matches in singles play during the spring season. Likhanskaia and teammate Emma Lewis also finished the year ranked 18th nationally in doubles. Her accomplishments earned her the honor of ITA Division III Singles All-American.

Bronte Goodhue -- Sewanee
Girls Preparatory School alum Bronte Goodhue is the only former girls participant to be selected as an ITA Division III All-American in both singles and doubles. The Sewanee junior captured All-American accolades for the second straight year. Goodhue finished the season ranked 15th in the nation in singles and 10th in the country in doubles in the ITA Division III rankings. Undefeated in both singles and doubles during the Tigers championship winning run through the conference tournament, Goodhue was named Southern Athletic Association Player of the Year and received First-Team All-Conference honors.

Madeline Benn -- Skidmore
Skidmore freshman Madeline Benn was dominant in her freshman year of play for the Thoroughbreds. The Gulliver Prep alum was a five-time Liberty League Rookie of the Week selection and received First-Team All-Liberty League honors in both singles and doubles. Benn and Liberty League Player of the Year Ford Lee advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Doubles Championships. Benn's honors make her just the ninth women in school history to receive All-American honors. The duo of Benn/Ford finished the season ranked 14th in the nation in the ITA Division III rankings. The final ranking cemented Benn's selection as Liberty League Rookie of the Year and ITA Division III Doubles All-American.

Jessica Bourque -- Stevens
The 2011 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships Girls B Division Most Valuable Player has garnered plenty of honors in her first three seasons at Stevens. Her freshman year she was named Empire 8 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Her sophomore season she was honored as First-Team All-Empire 8 for both singles and doubles with 20 singles wins and 15 doubles wins. Bourque led the Ducks this past fall with 14 singles wins en-route to being named Empire 8 Player of the Year and First-Team All-Empire 8 for the second and third time respectively. Additionally, Bourque represented Stevens for the third-straight year at the ITA Northeast Regional Championships, playing for the first time in doubles with senior Lisa Tessitore. The junior currently stands top-five in school history for career wins. Borque and Tessitore were selected as ITA Division III Doubles All-Americans.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chattanooga Marriott Named Official Hotel


The Chattanooga Marriott Downtown has been named the Official Tournament Hotel for the 2015 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships presented by Icy Hot. The 340+ room property is situated in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga. The amenities at this 3.5-star property include coffee/tea makers and hair dryers, wireless high-speed Internet access (surcharge applies),and 32-inch LCD televisions equipped with premium satellite channels. All accommodations provide ergonomic chairs and phones with voice mail. Bathrooms offer shower/tub combinations and complimentary toiletries. Additional amenities include an iron and ironing board and clock radios. In addition, amenities available on request include refrigerators, a turndown service, and hypo-allergenic bedding and daily housekeeping service. All rooms have beautiful city or mountain views. 

The hotel has partnered with the event to provide teams with a discounted rate of $109.00 plus taxes per night. The hotel is also offering a discounted breakfast buffet included in the room rate for $129.00 plus taxes per night. The property received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014. With convenient access to the complimentary electric shuttle route you have quick and easy access to all the downtown Chattanooga attractions and restaurants. The hotel also offers quick access to both tournament sites with a commute of 8 minutes to Baylor School and 15 minutes to Champions Club.

As the official hotel the Chattanooga Marriott will house all participating teams for the 2015 tournament. For more information on the Official Hotel and to make your reservations click here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top 10 Reasons You Should Accept an Invitation to the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships


10.) Expose your weaknesses. You can play a sloppy and unfocused match against lesser competition and your players will think they're playing good. You can play some of your best tennis at the DecoTurf Championships and still get your weaknesses exposed, while there is still time to fix them before your state tournament.

9.) Expose yourself. Not only does the DecoTurf Championships get your players exposure to college coaches and other top national competitors, like at a qualifier or nationals, but competing in the event looks really good in the local newspapers, which makes you look good as a coach. Think of all those young, impressionable, up-and-coming players in your area who are looking for a place to play high school tennis and see the local and national exposure your players and program are getting.

8.) Establish a benchmark. Set the standard for where you want your program to be both now and in the future; Put your program on the national scene, even if that means traveling across the country to play the nation's top programs. Every coach has a vision of where he/she wants their team, and some even have a plan for getting there. I applaud the coaches who take their teams across the country, for they have a benchmark of where their team presently stands against competition from other states.

7.) Multiply the state tournament experience. It is one thing to put on your school's colors and take on the best your state has to offer, it is quite a different thing to represent your city, your state, even your region by competing against the best the nation has to offer. This year at the DecoTurf Championships, there were 13 defending state champions.

6.) Take your game to the next level. Something special happens when two great teams play each other that allows team to take their game to a higher level. And once you reach that new plateau, you seldom go back. You learn things about yourself and find a mental toughness and attitude that you take back with you as a source of strength for future matches, not just at your state tournament, but in collegiate tennis as well.

5.) Earn bragging rights. It is a chance to meet and make friends with players you may be playing with or against in college. And even if you don't go on to play in collegiate tennis, you can be sitting in your dorm room with your roommates proclaim, "That player that was just named an All-American? I took him/her, to three-sets at the DecoTurf Championships!" 

4.) What happens at the DecoTurf Championships doesn't have to stay there. Everything worth learning in High School doesn't just happen within the walls of your school, or the boundaries of your state. Not only is traveling to Chattanooga as a high school student-athlete without a parent there to wipe their nose a growing experience, it provides an opportunity for your players to learn valuable lessons. Getting your players up for an 8AM match against an opponent that questions every call or sitting together as a team hundreds of miles from home during a rain delay all help teach lessons that these players will use throughout life, not just on the tennis court.

3.) Become a champion. Every athlete in every sport wants to test their skills against the best possible competition, but how often do you actually get to play in an event that many consider the national championship? At the DecoTurf Championships not only does your team have a chance to win a National Championship, but you get to play new competition that you normally wouldn't have on your schedule. 

2.) Silence the critics. If you've compiled your 50 match winning streak and state records in let's say Kentucky, what does that really mean to someone in Florida? If you've got that special, once-in-a-blue moon team that only happens when the planets are aligned, why hide them under a bushel basket? To turn down an invitation to the DecoTurf Championships is to squander an opportunity to showcase just how good your program really is.

1.) Get the experience. The DecoTurf Championships is about much more than just a tennis tournament. The event give you an opportunity to build team unity. You get to experience a great event in an outstanding city. It gives your players a chance to bond and grow as they experience the highs and lows of competing against the nation's best. Whether it is the players party before the event or the plane ride home after the event the you get an experience both you and your players will remember!

Monday, June 9, 2014

MICDS Repeats as Missouri Class A State Champion

The MICDS Rams, who lost three of their first four matches of the season, finishing 8th at the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships finished the season on quite a different note. The Rams clinched their second straight Missouri Class A State Championships. MICDS who went undefeated following the DecoTurf Championships outscored their state tournament opponents 25-0. "I think that opening tournament humbled us," MICDS coach Patrick Huewe said. "When that was over, we plotted out our year with different goals."

MICDS' depth was a key as Rex Serituk, Rohit Chouhan and Constantine Veronikis lost just 13 games in their six matches in the semifinals and finals at No. 4-6 singles. The trio anchored the bottom of the lineup that clinched the state title in just 5 matches following wins by Joe McAllister and the Rams lone senior Geoff Raclin. The Ram's No. 1 singles player, Tyler Raclin, had his match cancelled once the team title was clinched. The Ram's outscored their championship opponent Pembroke Hill 60-13.

"We had strong players at the top of the lineup as Tyler (Raclin) and Joe (McAllister) split time at No. 1," Huewe said. "But we were fortunate to have a team which was so deep. We had six guys who would have been in the top three on almost any other team in the state."

The Rams also fared well in the individual championships with sophomore Tyler Raclin falling 7-5, 6-0 in the singles state championship and the doubles duo of Rex Serituk and Geoff Raclin falling 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the doubles state championship.

Rockhurst Unbeaten for Second Straight Missouri Class AA State Championship

Rockhurst, the 6th place finisher at the 2014 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, recently claimed their second straight Missouri Class AA State Championship. The Eagles lost a total of just 10 games in the five match run for the state title. The championship was the state record 17th state team title for Rockhurst. 

“A lot of other people put high expectations on this team. We knew that everyone would be gunning for us. But they kept their focus all season and we played great tennis here. We played some of our best tennis on the biggest day of the year,” Rockhurst coach Zach Frisch said. The Hawklets got wins from Jack Evans, Joe O'Connor, Patrick Michaelis and Jacob Moore before St. Louis signee John Nogalski Jr clinched the state title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Nogalski said “It was great to be the final and clinching match. I did not stall but it was so cool that everyone came over to me court and celebrated.” Creighton signee Alex Koca, Rockhurst's No. 1 singles player, had his match suspended once the team match was clinched.

“I knew that the expectations were high since we had everyone returning from the championship team this year. They came after us but we responded well. We were on the courts two and a half hours every day in preparation for this season. We worked hard and this was the reward. It was great to close out our high school career with another championship.” senior Alex Koca said.

Rockhurst wasn't content with just a team title though as the Hawklets went on to claim both the singles and doubles state title as well. Senior Alex Koca, who had to withdraw from the 2013 singles championships to have his appendix removed, battled his way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over previously unbeaten Micah Klousia of Glendale. Rockhurst had a pair of teams battle for the doubles state championship as juniors Joe O’Connor and Jack Evans saved a pair of championship points in a third-set tie-breaker and defeated teammates and defending champions John Nogalski and Jacob Moore 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-6).

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/high-school/other-missouri-prep-sports/article443686/Rockhurst%E2%80%99s-Alex-Koca-wins-Class-2-tennis-championship.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/high-school/other-missouri-prep-sports/article434844/Rockhurst-tennis-team-dominates-Class-2-seizes-state-title.html#storylink=cpy