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Heinz contributes to WTT Junior National Championship

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Southern Hospitality, with players from Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas, won their fifth World Team Tennis Junior Nationals Championship today, defeating Midwest Cheeseheads 39-33 at the George E. Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif.
 
The WTT Junior Nationals, which is hosted by WTT co-founder Billie Jean King, is a national junior invitational event featuring 16 coed teams from throughout the U.S. The teams use the World TeamTennis format during their three days of non-elimination draw competition.
 
Austin Heinz, the lone representative from South Carolina, first became familiar with the WTT format after watching the World Team Tennis finals at the Family Circle Cup Tennis Center.  
 
"I was a little skeptical at first because of the format, but that was replaced with pure excitement," Heinz says.  "Tennis can definitely be played with cheering and coaching and still keep it professional!  The excitement was contagious."
 
Southern and Midwest opened up the Championship final by splitting the doubles, with Southern winning girls' doubles 6-3, and Midwest taking the boys' doubles set by the same score. Southern took the lead after girls singles and never looked back. Southern's Monica Mitta of Fairhope, Ala., defeated Midwest's Elizabeth Konon of Mequon, Wis., 6-1. Mitta's teammate Katelyn Jackson of Roland, Ark., was too strong for Alyson Coran of Mequon, Wis., taking the second girls' singles set 6-1. After four sets, Southern Hospitality held a 21-11 lead but Midwest battled back in boys' singles, winning both sets by a 6-4 score.
 
Taking a six game lead into the final two sets, Southern held on to split mixed doubles but was forced into Overtime when Midwest won the designated mixed doubles set. The Midwest duo of Kyle Dunn of Fond Du Lac, Wis., and Madeleine Johnson of Onalaska, Wis., took the first Overtime game but Crews Enochs of Marietta, Ga., and Macy Polk of Powder Springs, Ga., won the next game to give Southern the 2012 title.
 
"The highlight of WTT Junior Nationals was competing at such a high level, and having a coach to travel with us to a beautiful city like San Diego," Heinz says.  "The entire WTT experience was wonderful and Coach Susannah Cook was the best."   
 
Teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship are key areas of focus for the three-day event. During the tournament, players donated and packaged supplies for an Army unit in Afghanistan as part of the USTA Adopt-A-Unit program. Players also wrote personal notes of appreciation to accompany the package. Members of the Armed Forces were on hand to talk to the players about the role that tennis has played in military as well as the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.
 
Austin Heinz says, "I would have loved to have been there when they opened their care packages.   Giving back to the community is important.  I learned that the WTT Junior Nationals, or actually any tournament would be a great vehicle for players and the USTA to support a variety of good causes in our communities and world." 
 
The tournament follows the WTT non-elimination draw format with the 16 teams divided into four groups. Each team is comprised of three boys, three girls and a coach. Team matches consist of eight events; with two sets each of boys’ singles, girls’ singles, one set of boys’ and girls’ doubles, and two sets of mixed doubles. The first team to reach six games wins each set. A nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches five all. One point is awarded for each game won. If necessary, Overtime and a Supertiebreaker are played to determine the outright winner of the match.
 
The tournament follows the WTT non-elimination draw format with the 16 teams divided into four groups. Each team is comprised of three boys, three girls and a coach. Team matches consist of eight events; with two sets each of boys’ singles, girls’ singles, one set of boys’ and girls’ doubles, and two sets of mixed doubles. Team members, ages 14-18, are selected based on their sectional and national rankings.
 
WTT JUNIOR NATIONALS - Final Results:
CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Southern Hospitality (USTA Southern) def. Midwest Cheeseheads (USTA Midwest) 39-33
3rd place: Texas Team Ryan (USTA Texas) def. Southwest Sweetness (USTA Southwest) 41-30
5th place: Intermountain Irrationality (USTA Intermountain) def. Miami Dream Team (USTA Florida) 44-39
7th place: Central Coast Crushers (CA Central Coast Jr. Development Program) def. Smashing Rebels (USTA Pacific Northwest) 43-30
9th place: New England Strikers (USTA New England) def. Smooth Strokes (Smooth Strokes Academy) 40-29
11th place: Bakersfield Ballers (Kern County Community Tennis Association) def. Sparetime Junior Caps (Spare Time Junior Academy/USTA Nor Cal) 39-24
13th place: Eastern Way (USTA Eastern) def. Yo...Wassup? (USTA Middle States) 39-35
15th place: Northern Lights (USTA Northern) def. Hawaii Warriors (USTA Hawaii) 43-25
 
FINAL RESULTS & TEAM MEMBERS:
CHAMPIONS: Southern Hospitality (USTA Southern)
Cameron Andry, Baton Rouge, La.
Austin Heinz, Daniel Island, S.C.
Crews Enochs, Marietta, Ga.
Monica Mitta, Fairhope, Ala.
Katelyn Jackson, Roland, Ark.
Macy Polk, Powder Springs, Ga.
COACH: Susannah Cook
 
 
10th place: Smooth Strokes (Smooth Strokes Academy)
Jordan Harrell, Lithonia, Ga.
Morris Everitt Reese, Macon, Ga.
Sam Kennedy, Atlanta, Ga.
Brandi Nelson, Jonesboro, Ga.
Kimberly Bowen, Stockbridge, Ga.
Jasi Witherspoon, Macon, Ga.
COACH: Alyce Meadors
 

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