2012 New England Jr. Sectional Championships
For the junior players in New England who competed in this year’s Sectional Championships from June 23-28, the battle was not just against each other. It was against Mother Nature as well.
"The weather was wacky. One day was a complete washout. The changing conditions were tough on the players but luckily we did have enough back-up sites," said nine year Tournament Director, Denise Griffin.
Another difference for the 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams were the multiple locations that housed the tournament. In the past, the tournament has been held at Yale University. This year, the tournament was split between Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, just under a half an hour away.
Despite the precarious weather and change of scenery, the tournament went very well according to Griffin, "The tournament was great, it’s so much fun to be a part of every year."
The Section Championships are played in a double elimination fashion. Those players who lost in the first round of play were put into a consolation (or back) draw to play for fifth through eight places in each division.
The doubles portion of the tournament was played in the first two days of competition and concluded on June 24. The competition was fierce among the young players in the ten game pro-sets. The doubles winners were as follows; Boys 12’s, Ryan Fu and Conner Fu; Girls 12’s, Amaya Lopez-Clay and Jacqueline Nannery; Boys 14’s, Richard Ciamarra and Peter Conklin; Girls 14’s, Lindsey Evans and Kateri Martin; Boys 16’s, Noah Farrell and Scott Rubinstein; Girls 16’s, Mercedes Hammond and Lexi Milunovich; Boys 18’s, Christopher Ellis and Rohan Shastri; Girls 18’s, Dayna Lord and Melissa Lord.
Singles matches began on Sunday for the round of 32. June 25 was a washout for both locations and the tournament was relocated to indoor courts at four different sites. The singles players who won their first round went on to compete in the round of 16 before moving onto the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Again, the weather on Tuesday forced the tournament indoors for the afternoon.
"Under the circumstances—having two outdoor and four indoor sites because of the rain—the players and tournament leaders Denise and Wayne Harroll did a fantastic job," said USTA New England Player Development Manager, David Zeutas-Broer.
Rain aside, the quarterfinals narrowed the playing field down to the best eight juniors in each division and resulted in two major upsets. In the boys 16’s, seventh-seeded Matt Kuhar defeated the second seed, Bradly Orban. Kuhar advanced all the way to the finals but lost to number one seed, Bartholomew Panarese. In another upset performance, the number six seed, Patrick Wyeth beat number one seeded, Matthew Lord to advance to the semi-finals in the boy’s 14’s. In the girls 18’s division, the fifth seed, Kimmy Guerin, defeated the number one seed, Dayna Lord, to move on to the next round.
The competition continued to the semi-finals on the last day of playing at the split locations. Most notably from the second to last round was the upset in the boys 14’s division. The unseeded Eliot Rozovsky defeated the number two seed, Peter Conklin, to advance to the finals.
Due to the weather set-backs, some of the semi-final and consolation matches that were scheduled to play earlier in the week were played on Thursday instead. Mother Nature finally let up and the weather cleared into a gorgeous, sunny day at the UMASS Amherst.
The best junior players in New England went head to head for the title of 2012 Champion in their respective divisions. The stands around the courts were full as family, friends and fans cheered the players on. A majority of finals matches were long-fought battles that could have gone either way.
The girls 12’s match ended in an emotional upset when the six seed, Julia Thompson, defeated the number one seed, Amaya Lopez-Clay. The next level of girls 14’s was one of the closest of the tournament. Number one seed, Lexi Milunovich and long-time opponent, Maria Mateas, who was the number three seed, challenged each other through three sets. Milunovich took the first set (6-1), Mateas took the second set (6-3) and the third was finally won by Milunovich with a set score of six games to four.
In the boys divisions, there were two upset wins. In the boys 14’s, Eliot Rozovsky, who entered the tournament unseeded, was beat by the number six seed Patrick Wyeth in straight sets with games scores of 6-1, 6-1. The boys 18’s divison featured the number two seed, Drew Van Orderlain and Catalin Mateas who entered the tournament as an unseeded wild card. Mateas is also only 15 years old but can play at the higher level because of his proven skills. The match provided the fastest pace play of the whole competition. Mateas took the first set with a score of six games to three. Mateas was up on Van Orderlain three games to none in the second set when Van Orderlain retired from the match with an injured hamstring.
The rest of the singles winners were as follows; Girls 18’s, Jillian Rooney; Boys 16’s, Bartholomew Panarese; Girls 16’s, Melissa Lord and boys 12’s, Ryan Fu.
All of the winners in both singles in doubles now have the chance to advance to National Championship play in July and August. For a full list of results from the tournament, click here