When I heard that zonals was going to be played on school tennis courts, I thought it was going to be played on a school like I teach at. The Westtown School is nothing like the school courts I sometimes teach on. The campus is 600 acres and even includes it’s own lake. The Westtown School is a “Friends School” – founded by the Quakers and currently run by a Board of Trustees. You do not have to be a Quaker to come here and only 20% of the students are Quakers. Westtown students come from all over the world including Columbia, Korea, China and all parts of the United States. Tom Haviland (http://tomhaviland.com/) runs the tennis programs and is Head Coach for the boys. In addition to running BG12 and National Under Zone team Championships here, Tournament Director Monica Androsko 2 National 18’s tournaments and 2 Middle States Sectional Tournaments here. Countless hours of preparation go into running these events and hopefully, when it is done, all of the players, parents and coaches appreciate all the work that was done.
The first day is pretty much devoted to what I would call housekeeping. First there is sign in for players and coaches with lots and lots of questions. That is after you finally figure out which school entrance to use and find a parking spot – the lot closest to the courts is filled up fairly quickly. Next up, the coaches meeting. This is where the coaches get an overview of what is going to happen when and hash out a few final details together. After that, the Tournament Director has a meeting for the players and parents. Then, each section gets together to go over rules and introduce the coaches to their teams. Once the players know who is on their team – officially – they set out for practice and pictures. the 12 teams participating are split up into 2 flights – A and B. The sections teams are split evenly – so Eastern, with 4 teams has 2 teams in each flight. Teams from the same section do not play each other unless they both win their flight and they are played in the 1st/2nd place matchup at the end. Wednesday morning, the games begin.
A word about the teams. From the day the standings come out that will be used to determine order of strength for the teams, and who is on which team, many players start figuring out who is going to be on their team. It would be great if that was all there is to it, but unlike ar regular tennis tournament, when a player drops out you don’t get a bye, you have to replace them with a weaker player. That means remaking the teams. In the Eastern Section this year, 4 players dropped out at different points during the day, on the day before the tournament started. That means remaking teams and scorecards. It’s a lot of work, but the tournament staff keeps it all running smoothly.
I will be following the matches here in the next few days.
My team – the Eastern Freedoms – is made up of Lea Ma (10), Daniel Pellerito (4), Andrea Cerdan (9), Satish Kumar (11), Lauren Munari (19), Oren Vasser (21), Nathalie Rodilosso (24), Michael Sun (18), Brigitte Wu (29), Joshua Berman (36), Maya O’Brien (31) and Henry Hochfelder (76). The number in parenthesis is their USTA/Eastern ranking – rankings shown are from the June Standings List. Many of the eastern players at zonals are ranked in the top 200 nationally. Many of the players on the Eastern teams are ranked in the top 200 nationally. I will get into that on future postings as well as listing the players on the other Eastern teams. To follow USTA Eastern players at all Zone Team Championships online go to: