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Universal Tennis Junior National Pathway Road to Nationals (Part 1)

Universal Tennis has launched a junior tournament pathway consisting of Regional Events that will qualify players for entry into a National Event coinciding with the annual ITA College Coaches Convention in December. The purpose of these events is to expose as many junior players as possible to the benefits of playing College Tennis while giving them the chance to play on college campuses across the US. At the same time, players are earning their way to a National Event that will provide a chance to be seen by a multitude of College Coaches from all divisions and levels of programs. It’s the perfect synergy of Junior and College Tennis.

Unlike traditional junior tournaments which are divided into 12-and-under, 14-and-under, 16-and-under, and 18-and-under age groups, Universal Tennis decided to group players based more on their college recruiting classes. So, players can sign up for the 13-and-under, 15-and-under, or 17-and-under divisions.  All players are required to play within their age group based on their age at the event start.

NOTE: 18-year-olds who are still in high school may request a wildcard entry spot as long as they are not officially committed to a college team roster. To request entry, players must email [email protected].

For Regional Events, all players are required to play in the assigned region that they reside in based on their Universal Tennis player profile. To register for one of the upcoming Regional Events, players need to create a Universal Tennis Account then make sure to activate their Player Profile. Once the profile is set up, they are able to register for the appropriate Regional Event at https://www.universaltennis.com/national-pathway.

These Regional Events are unique in several ways. First, most of the events are being held on college campuses which gives the players an opportunity to visit the campus, meet the Tennis Coaches, and possibly even meet some of the current team members – all bonuses when it comes time to focus on recruiting. Second, the draw format is a Round Robin leading into a Semifinal Draw so players are guaranteed at least 3 matches. Third, every match for the 15U and 17U divisions is being livestreamed and recorded. Players have free access to their match videos which they can then share with their Junior Coach for evaluation and learning opportunities. Players can also share the match videos as part of their College Recruiting efforts with College Coaches. It’s a very valuable add-on to these events that we don’t see at other Junior tournaments. Finally, the winner of each Regional Tournament will qualify for and be invited to participate in the Universal Tennis National Pathway Championship event at Darling Tennis Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 5-7, 2021 (17U & 15U divisions only). They will also receive free entry (valued at $300) and acceptance to a College Showcase two days prior to the National Championships also being held at Darling Tennis Facility.

For players who don’t qualify through a Regional Event, At-Large Registration to the Championships and Showcase is open to players who meet the age and citizenship/residency requirements specified on the event website. I will be on site for the National Championships and Showcase, leading a panel discussion for Parents and Players with the College Coaches on College Recruiting. It is a great opportunity for players who want to play College Tennis to interact with the coaches and learn from them.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Matt Andre of Universal Tennis and Brian Wilson who will be running the National Championships about this new series of events:

I had the opportunity to be on site for the SoCal Boys Regional this past weekend and to chat with some of the players and parents about why they chose to play this event. You can watch those interviews on our Instagram. Suffice it to say that players and parents alike understand the value of the round robin format to maximize match play opportunity as well as the value of having access to video of their matches. Most of the players I met plan to play College Tennis and hope to make it to the Showcase and National Championships in December. These Regionals seem to fill a huge gap left by the 2021 USTA Junior Competition structure which many of you have complained about over the past several months. The way players are broken into multiple draws within each age division ensures competitive matches regardless of a player’s UTR. If you live in an area where there are too few USTA L5 or L6 tournaments, I encourage you to consider signing your player up for your Universal Tennis Regional Event (click here then scroll down to see remaining dates/locations). I will be back at Pomona-Pitzer College this coming weekend for the SoCal Girls Regional and look forward to seeing you there.

Here are the results from the first few weeks of Regionals (with the player’s UTR in parentheses) :

South Central Region

Baylor University Boys (Sept 3-5)

13U Champion: Aaditt Rishi (6)

13U Finalist: Dylan Wilhelm (7)

15U Champion: Valor Dare (9)

15U Finalist: Rowan Matorin (9)

17U Champion: Lathan Skrobarcek (10)

17U Finalist: Finnegan Tankersley (10)

Oklahoma State University Girls (Sept 18-20)

13U Champion: Madeleine Bridges (5)

13 U Finalist: Eloise Nasr (4)

15U Champion: Mya Bowe (7)

15U Finalist: Stella De Vera (6)

17U Champion: Lorena Cedeno (7)

17U Finalist: Jenna Bohnert (7)

Southern Region

Georgia Gwinnett College Boys (Oct 22-24)

15U Champion: Nicolas Wild (8)

15U Finalist: Flavius Henderson Ii (7)

17U Champion: Michael Thomas (8)

17U Finalist: Lleyton Beasley (8)

Northeast Region

Manchester Athletic Club Girls (Oct 16-18)

13U Champion: Fiona Merchant (4)

13 U Finalist: Ananya Rao (4)

15U Champion: Ayanna Varma (6)

15U Finalist: Juliette Ceas (6)

17U Champion: Leticia Kitio (7)

17U Finalist: Shu Grosso (6)

Cornell University Boys (Oct 22-24)

13U Champion: Chase Gerloff (8)

13 U Finalist: Michael Lorenzetti (7)

15U Champion: Mateusz Gradzki (9)

15U Finalist: Brian Yi (9)

17U Champion: Petro Kuzmenok (11)

17U Finalist: James Lorenzetti (9)

Mid-Atlantic and NC Region

UNC Charlotte Boys (Oct 15-17)

13U Champion: Romir Bhalla (6)

13 U Finalist: Jack Kirby (5)

15U Champion: Eric Lindemann (7)

15U Finalist: Samir Jones (7)

17U Champion: Charles Wood (10)

17U Finalist: Cody Benton (10)

UNC Charlotte Girls (Oct 22-24)

13U Champion: Devin Gilroy (6)

13 U Finalist: Elizabeth Zhang (5)

15U Champion: Lisa Kranec (8)

15U Finalist: Mia Matriccino (7)

17U Champion: Alexandra Borcich (8)

17U Finalist: Allison Harris (7)

NorCal and Pacific NW Region

University of the Pacific Boys (Oct 23-25)

13U Champion: Collin De Oliveira (5)

13 U Finalist: Oakley Koegler (5)

15U Champion: Nav Dayal (10)

15U Finalist: Ty Parrish (9)

17U Champion: Alex Dinkov (9)

17U Finalist: Siddarth Chava (9)

SoCal and Arizona Region

Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Boys (Oct 22-24)

13U Champion: Hans Sempre (6)

13 U Finalist: Edmund Lu (5)

15U Champion: Alex Galstyan (9)

15U Finalist: Sibby Rodi (9)

17U Champion: Zino Mirtorabi (10)

17U Finalist: Lance Urlaub (10)

 

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