Richmond Winter Wildcard 18U JTT Invitational
By Matt Barnhart, USTA/Mid-Atlantic
The 2nd Annual Richmond Winter Wildcard 18 and Under Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) Invitational saw 58 of the area’s top players compete on eight teams for a chance to earn a spot at the USTA/MAS Virginia District JTT Championships. The Wildcard Invitational was played at Midlothian Tennis Club and hosted by the Richmond Tennis Association.
January 17-19, four Advanced level teams and four Intermediate level teams played a round robin tournament to determine the winner – with each player and team playing a match on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to meet the JTT requirements for advancement.
The Advanced teams were ACAC-Garnett, James River HS-Hoefer, Richmond Nomads, and Tuckahoe Raptors. After the first two nights of action, the stage was set for Sunday night when the Nomads faced off against the Raptors for the championship. The Nomads won boys singles, girls singles, boys doubles, and girls doubles – with the Raptors picking up the mixed doubles win 6-4. The Nomads won the team match 28-13, and finished the tournament with 88 total games, with the Raptors finishing second with 67, ACAC third with 55, and James River fourth with 44.
Of the 29 players comprising the rosters of the four Advanced teams, eight finished 2013 ranked in the Top 50 of the junior USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section Tournament Standings: Danny Polk (18th in Boys’ 18), Justin Cerny (27th in Boys’ 18), Danika Kahatapitiya (33rd in Girls’ 16), Morgan Fuqua (37th in Girls’ 16), Joseph Brown (39th in Boys’ 16), Arshaya Sood (41st in Girls’ 18), Matthew Cousins (45th in Boys’ 16), and Keerthana Shankar (50th in Girls’ 16). Another handful of players who participated finished ranked in the Top 100.
The Intermediate teams were MRTC-Banks, MTC-Dames, Westwood-Wandling, and Woodlake-Ritter. This was one of the closest round robins ever, with five of the six team matches being decided by two games or less.
On Friday, MRTC defeated Westwood 22-21. On Saturday, Woodlake beat MRTC 24-23, followed by Westwood slipping by MTC 23-22. The matches were just as close on Sunday, with MRTC beating MTC, 21-19, and Woodlake defeating Westwood 24-22. The difference in the tournament ended up being Woodlake’s 27-16 win on Friday over MTC – giving Woodlake 75 total games. MRTC and Westwood tied for second with 66 games, and MTC finished fourth with 57.
The Richmond Nomads and Woodlake-Ritter will represent the Richmond area at the 2014 USTA/MAS Virginia District JTT Championships, July 25-27 at the Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club.
On February 14-16, more of Richmond’s top juniors will participate in the Richmond Winter Wildcard 14 and Under JTT Invitational at Midlothian Tennis Club.