Twice a year, the Bucks County Tennis Association, Inc. hosts a Team Tennis Challenge for its public park program participants throughout the county who have been recommended by their coaches.
For many of the attendees, this event is their first time experiencing entry-level tennis competition and a great way for them to test their skills against peers, as well as meet new friends. The fall event, held at the tennis courts of Council Rock North in Newtown, drew over 75 competitors, who, along with their ability and energy, brought plenty of support from family and friends.
Match play was divided into three age/skill divisions: Little Aces, Juniors and Teens/Adult. The athletes in all divisions were divided into regional teams, with the teams comprised primarily of athletes who practiced at BCTA locations in those regions. Teams selected their own names in the youth divisions, and all teams played multiple rounds, competing with various teammates against various opponents.
In all age divisions, every individual point accumulated toward the respective team’s total score. A bonus round involving a group tennis game gave each team a chance to jump ahead and added plenty of motivation and enthusiasm to the competition.
Little Aces Division
- Central Team Black Bats (Gold Medal): Beckett Schmidt, Constantin Bakun, Edward Bruk, Eli Escoto, Madison Washburn, Oliver Pacelli
- Southern/Northern Red Cherries (Silver Medal): Yasmin Alhassani, Hailey Lane, Monroe Kaer, Ruby Hughes, Siddhant Ananthuni, Wyatt Ciesiels
The Little Aces division competed on 36-foot courts with red balls and produced some great rallies among the players. The Black Bats held the lead after the completion of the round robin doubles play, but the Red Cherries won the 30-point Tennis Sandwich Team Relay bonus round with a photo finish. Still, they fell short of snatching the gold medal, with the Black Bats taking Gold with 262 points and the Red Cherries Silver with 255.
- Central Bucks King Kongs (Gold Medal): Asher Schmidt, Brad Schmidt, Coralie Manning, Eric Escoto, Ethan Escoto, Ethan Miller, Joseph Manning, Logan Sunderland, Lucas Sunderland, Maura Mullin, Michael DiSandro, Olivia Waters Ali, Sabrina Talke, Saharsh Boddu, Shane Riso, Shreyas Boddu, Sunny Pacelli
- Southern/Northern Bucks Red Apples (Silver Medal): Brett Pierce, Brian Mikolajczyk, Caliya Scritchfield, Chip Caro, Harbin Palmer, Jason McFadden, Lucas Wambold, Maggie Lin, Massimo Bonachea, Mia Wright, Nancy Lin, Nico Robinson, Parker Alves, Thomas Cronin, Trevor Malizia, Violet Friemann, William Goldman
The Juniors played on 78-foot courts with green balls. The King Kongs held the lead going into the 30-point round of Team Singles, but the Red Apples stubbornly held on to win the bonus round. Even so, the team fell slightly short of grabbing the Gold as the King Kongs prevailed with a 377-372 victory.
- Southern Bucks Red Team (Gold Medal): Adam Alaoui, Bianca Baylosis, Daria Zhukova, Jailan Elsarha, Keira Calista, Lleyton Jones, Madeleine Andrusiewicz, Nunzio DeMarchis, Princi Shah, Ron Assulin, Ryan Baylosis, Shiv Patel, Sophie Murray, Vincent Malizia
- Northern Bucks Black Team (Silver Medal): Aayush Patel, Anastasia Korshun, Brady Shanahan, Brielle Krotzer, Christine Downey, Colin Krotzer, Grace Byrne, Ethan Flannery, Kevin Rockel, Laurence Kelley, Liam OKeefe, Lilly Downey, Lochlin Schmidt, Natalia Lindner
Midway through the Teens/Adults division, which competed on 78-foot courts with yellow balls, the Southern Bucks Black Team led 37-24. While the Northern Bucks Red Team rallied in later rounds, the Southern team stepped up to the challenge and confirmed its victory by narrowly winning the Team Singles bonus round to hold onto a 329-278 Gold victory.
“The energy level and enthusiasm was high all day,” said BCTA program director Laura Canfield. “And all were great sports.”
The participants were thrilled with their medals and sportsmanship awards provided by USTA Middle States. More importantly, they enjoyed friendly competition and meeting fellow tennis players.
The BCTA coaches were Craig Batten, Tim Donney, Jim Dalo and Brianna Wilkenson. USTA Middle States representative Hannah Masenheimer assisted with the Team Challenge. Parents volunteered to help with scoring the matches.