HomeBensalem TimesLocal tennis players compete in Team Challenge, annual Classic

Local tennis players compete in Team Challenge, annual Classic

Southampton’s Michelle Lerman and Warrington’s Tori Allen were champions in the latter, now in its 19th year

Star of the court: Southampton’s Michelle Lerman (left) was a champion in the recent Bucks County Tennis Association Jr. Classic. She’s pictured next to fellow player Avery Morris. Source: Laura Canfield

Area athletes got their serve on when the nonprofit Bucks County Tennis Association recently hosted two competitions at the courts of Council Rock High School North in Newtown.

A Team Challenge was hosted on July 23 for the BCTA’s public park players, who participated in seasons one and two of its Learn, Practice & Play outdoor programs.

Then, on July 24 and 25, the 19th annual BCTA Jr. Classic took place and included local champions from Southampton and Warrington. This is a United States Tennis Association-sanctioned tournament for county and tri-state players in the 14-, 16- and 18-and-under age divisions.

The classic drew 76 experienced tournament players from throughout the tri-state area. Among champions were Bucks County’s own Michelle Lerman, of Southampton, and Tori Allen, of Warrington. Lerman competed in the Girls’ 16s L6 division, while Allen competed in the Girls’ 18s L6 division.

“This was an especially fun group,” said BCTA program director Laura Canfield of the latter division. “This year was particularly unique as the Classic’s Girls’ 18 champion Tori Allen was an athlete participating in 36-foot court Red Ball [Team] Challenge a decade ago.”

Proud moment: Warrington’s Tori Allen (right) was a champion in the recent Bucks County Tennis Association Jr. Classic. She’s pictured next to fellow player Shaila Iyer. Source: Laura Canfield

Canfield served as the Classic tournament director and organized the Team Challenge. Bob Long was the tournament referee.

The Team Challenge was newly formed by the USTA as an introduction to competition that focuses on team play and character development. Team Challenge participants were identified by their respective BCTA coaches to compete in one of three divisions: Red Ball, recommended for ages 7-10 on a 36-foot court; Green Ball, recommended for ages 11-13; or Yellow Ball, recommended for ages 14 and older.

For each division, two teams were formed and tasked with creating a unique name. Each team vied for medals and sportsmanship awards, all while enjoying teamwork and skill development in a fun, social environment. Team champions and runners-up were determined by total team scores that were accumulated during round-robin matches. A bonus round of team singles finished the evening of competition with roaring cheers for “the last player standing.”

On hand to guide the players and matches were BCTA coaches and volunteers, along with a number of parents, who helped with scorekeeping in the Red and Green Ball divisions.

Yellow Ball teams were Vincent Malizia, Cynthia Florek, Ritivk Sindia, Esin Gokgoz and Xavier Robayo for Lower Bucks; and Brandon Staehled, Justin Kwityn, Tyler Brown, Carolina Golden and Sarah Kearney for Upper/Central Bucks. The gold medal went to Upper/Central Bucks (36) and silver went to Lower Bucks (33).

Red Ball teams were the Tennis Tigers and Monkeys, comprised of John Rody, Asher Mendelssohn, Elliott Mendelssohn, Steven Gong, Justin Huang, Victoria Powell, Madeline Powell, Trevor Malizia, Violet Friemann and Bernadette Merksam; and the Tennis Stars, comprised of Kiera Donnelly, Quinn Donnelly, Taylor Wisniewski, Olivia Cabrera, Isabella Cabrera, Logan Hudson, Vivian Campagna, Charlotte Campagna, Owen Czaplicki and Emily Zang. The gold medal went to the Tennis Stars (419) and silver went to the Tennis Tigers and Monkeys (388).

Group effort: The Rallies took home the gold medal in the Green Ball division of the Bucks County Tennis Association’s recent Team Challenge, held at Council Rock High School North in Newtown. Source: Laura Canfield

Green Ball teams were the Rallies, comprised of Luca Wilson, Keira Check, Aven Burrows, Theodor Lentze, Kitsa Sarianos, Lochlin Schmidt, Kiernan Schmidt (Kiki), Thomas Campbell and Riley Horner; and the Snakes, comprised of Benjamin Gates, Quinn Jones, Lleyton Jones, Adam Alaoui, Katherine Bitting, Isaac Robayo, Ryan He, John David Plechner and Daphne Stuart. The gold medal went to the Rallies (256) and the silver medal went to the Snakes (237).

The BCTA expressed gratitude toward the Council Rock School District for making its facility available; the late Frances Rupert and Ellen Hackett for their legacy in sponsoring the Boys’ 16s L6 Memorial Championship Trophy; USTA Middle States for providing the sportsmanship prizes for the Friday event; and Visit Bucks County for the tournament welcome gifts.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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