Written by: Christopher Simnett
***Chris grew up playing tennis in B.C. and was ranked as high as No. 2 provincially in the U12 and U16 divisions. He played in two junior national championships in the 80s. Now 39 years old, he is the “community champion” for the Tennis Canada Building Tennis Communities strategy in Airdrie, AB, where he lives with his wife and eight-year-old son. Chris spent 15 years as a journalist writing about sports for newspapers in B.C. and Alberta. He now works in public relations in Calgary. To learn more about Chris and his blog, please visit www.alltennis.ca***
Team Alberta defeated Team Saskatchewan 66 points to 52 points in a province vs. province Under-12 showdown at Saskatoon’s Lakewood Tennis Club March 18-20.
Team Alberta was made up of the provincial Under-10 squad, Miles Hunter, Justin Dolemo, Goran Vukovic, Sasah Dragovic, Anja Krneta, Ashley Nilsson, Emily Granson and Karin Hamilton.
Team Saskatchewn featured Conrad Koch, Andrew Dreischner, Alex Dubiel, Josh Saban, Grant Yao, Morgan Waller, Julia Halcrow, Sarah Sutherland, Emily Smith and Hayley Aubrey.
The competition awarded one point for a first-round victory, two points for a second-round win, three points for winning in the third round and four points for winning the final in four draws, the Championship, B, C and D flights. Every player began in the championship flight and with each loss moved to the other draws.
Alberta’s Sasah Dragovic won the Championship Flight, going undefeated on the weekend. Dragovic defeated Grant Yao by walkover in the first round, defeated Andrew Dreischner in the second round, edged Miles Hunter in the semifinals and defeated Goran Vukovic in the final. Miles Hunter defeated Goran Vukovic in the Championship Flight 3/4 match.
Alberta’s Justin Dolemo won the B flight, defeating Saskatchewan’s Conrad Koch in the first round and Saskatchewan’s Andrew Dreischner in the final. Conrad Koch finished third in the B Flight.
Saskatchewan’s Grant Yao won the C Flight, defeating Saskatchewan’s Ashley Nilsson in the first round, getting past Saskatchewan’s Alex Dubiel in the semifinals and edging Saskatchewan’s Julia Halcrow in the final. Saskatchewan’s Alex Dubiel grabbed third place in C Flight.
Alberta’s Emily Granson won the D Flight title, defeating fellow Albertan Ashley Nilsson in the final. Saskatchewan’s Morgan Waller claimed third place.
Morgan Waller also won the most colourful outfits award, while Conrad Koch and Emily Granson shared the sportsmanship award. Julia Halcrow and Karin Hamilton shared the best competitor award and Miles Hunter walked away from the event with the award for best questions for the coaches.
Tennis Alberta High Performance Director Charlie McLean didn’t attend the event but says it was a great experience for the players of both provinces.
“The kids had a fantastic time,” he says. “It was a very important event for us to meet the players the LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) requirement for competitive and relevant matches. Due to the lack of depth and lack of indoor facilities we have in both provinces, it’s very nice to be able to play different people.
“As well, the skills our Alberta players learned about travelling, how to take care of their equipment and make sure they were prepared to go onto the court, are very important.
“At the end of the day,” McLean continues, “it was a lot of fun for the players.”
Team Alberta was coached by Marc Colangeli while David Phillips took charge of Team Saskatchewan and organized the competition.