Samantha Parlato, Sports Marketing Intern | August 2, 2018
SAN DIEGO, CA- After winning a qualifying tournament in June, the New England Yellow Jackets, a Nashua 18U Advanced Junior Team Tennis (JTT) team, represented New England at the Billie Jean King World TeamTennis (WTT) Junior Nationals in San Diego from July 23-26.
The team based out of Nashua Swim and Tennis Club (now Longfellow New Hampshire) in Nashua, NH, was one of the top 16 teams in the nation that received an invitation to compete in the WTT Jr. Nationals. The Yellow Jackets were coached by Jurgen Georgs and comprised of his two sons, Kai and Jens, along with Claire Reynolds, Emily Hill, Linda Kong and Jason Boucher.
“The players knew that keeping a positive attitude was important not only for themselves but for each other. It was great to see players running over and giving advice and encouragement to their teammates, something you can only do with the WTT format,” said Coach Georgs.
The Yellow Jackets placed 13th overall and received the Maureen Connolly Brinker Team Spirit Award. This award is voted on by players and officials at the tournament and is presented to one team that exemplifies a love for the game, competitive spirit, commitment to fair play and respect and high regard for others. Along with the award, the team received a $1,000 check from the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation.
“We cheered each other on all the time, but that was only part of it. We honestly had fun with the other teams whether we were winning or not,” said Coach Georgs. “When an opponent made a great shot, we acknowledged it, and every player displayed a good sportsmanlike conduct on and off the court.”
The Yellow Jackets had a difficult road ahead of them, beginning with their first match against the Orange Country Breakers from Laguna Beach, CA. The two teams battled, as four of the eight sets were decided by tiebreakers. New England ultimately fell short, losing 42-34.
After three round robin matches were completed, the teams were split up into four-team brackets for their final matches. The Yellow Jackets faced off against Hawaii to determine the top spot in their bracket and played to another tiebreaker. The fate of the match rested on doubles partners Claire Reynolds and Jens Georgs, who had to hold off Hawaii to maintain their two-game lead of 39-37. Hawaii won the first set and had the chance to tie to push the match into a supertiebreaker, but Reynolds and Georgs took the second set, defeating Hawaii 40-38 and winning their bracket.
“I felt honored to be able to represent New England at such a big event. It gave my team a sense of team pride and unity, and also pressured us to play our absolute best in order to showcase New England tennis,” Reynolds said.
In addition to the competition, players participated in seminars and a clinic hosted by Billie Jean King, tournament host and WTT co-founder. For more information, see the tournament website here.