CHELTENHAM, PA -Over the course of the past four years, the Friends of Cheltenham Community Tennis (FoCCT) has had its juniors’ tennis tournament grow more and more each year, becoming one of the most successful local tennis events in recent times.
And this year saw a better turnout than ever.
With the proceeds supporting Cheltenham High School’s tennis program and community player development, a continued steady increase was seen in the fourth annual tournament, which was held on the high school’s tennis courts.
Started four years ago by a group of Cheltenham parents as a means of supporting the high school’s boys’ and girls’ tennis programs, the organizers have since formally established themselves and have been working to promote tennis in the community with their spring and summer tournaments, this one included.
The FoCCT is a member of the United States Tennis Association, and the tournament draws participants from across the Middle States Region.
Alex Justiniani, the head pro at Sea Colony Tennis in Bethany Beach, DE, traveled to Cheltenham with six from the resort to participate in last Friday and Saturday’s event.
“The tournament play is a great learning experience for all levels of tennis,” Justiniani said. “This tournament was extremely well run and the participants had a great time playing and the learned a great deal. There were more USTA officials at the tournament than we had experience in the past and the boys learned about the rules of tennis as well as the fundamentals of tournament play.”
The final draw for this tournament saw 44 juniors participate in four age divisions, including boys 12s, boys 14s, boys 16 and boys 18s. Players traveled from New York to Virginia to participate in the Cheltenham tournament. And it was a Philadelphia local who ended up winning one of the divisions.
Thomas Vernier of Merion Station won the boys 18s division, defeating Doylestown’s Grant Boyle 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (10-3). Lorenzo Ramos (Valley Cottage, NY) won the boys 16s division, James Fleming (Wilmington, DE) won the boys 14s and Quinn Snyder (Delran, NJ) won the boys 12s.
“The success of the tournament continues to grow, both in reputation and size,” said Craig Reinheimer, who helps to run the event. “While the tournament is listed as a district-level event with the USTA, meaning the focus of the tournament is within the Philadelphia area, I think the overall success is attributed to the wide range of payers that continue to participate. This diversity, both in skill and geographic, afford players the ability to play competitors they normally would not play at this level of competition.”
Reinheimer said that they plan to continue to work to grow the boys’ sanctioned tournament, specifically for the summer tournament, while also planning to enhance the tournament by adding a girls’ doubles event as the tournament weekend coincides with the weekend between preseason and tennis season for the girls.
“We will work to continue to grow both the spring and summer tournaments,” Reinheimer said. “They are the backbone of our fundraising, but we also have plans to expand the services that we offer in the community to encourage more people in the Cheltenham area to play tennis.”
This year’s tournament drew a number of repeat tournament participants, and future tournaments should fully expect to do the same, while bringing in more and more new tennis players from all over the east coast.
The FoCCT’s tournament has developed a reputation for being a great event for junior players who are now ready for tournament play, and its reputation should only continue to improve over the next four years as much if not more than it already has over the past four.
The next Friends of Cheltenham Community Tennis Junior Tournament will be held in spring 2013. For more information about the Friends of Cheltenham Community Tennis, please visit their website at www.tennis.focpe.org. For more information please contact Craig Reinheimer as or Lori Liss Siegal at .
Reprinted from the Times Chronicle/Glenside News/The Globe. written by Mike Prince.