On the 1st weekend in March 15, juniors descended on Washington DC for the 2012 National Championships.
Surprisingly, the Under 12’s had the most entries. Harry Simonds, Blanche Devine, and Arthur Browne started their Court Tennis tournament careers in fine fashion and despite not making it to the finals had all clearly improved their handicaps by at least 5 points over the course of the weekend. In the U12 girl’s final the 2010 champion, Kornelia Mostrous dominated the service end for long enough to secure a 10/5 win over Blanche Devine.
Despite some excellent retrieving, powerhouse Chase Motz eventually succumbed to the firepower of weapons-hot Erik Barker in a boys Under 12 final that looked much closer than the 6/2 6/3 score showed.
In the Under 15 division, Henry Smith marched efficiently through the round robin stage before taking the first set of the finale against heavy favorite Gamble Freydberg. The experienced Gamble rallied early in the second, finding his range, and setting countless chases of two yards or better while going on to win 3/6 6/0 6/1.
Paul "The Power" Monaghan looked superb beating tenacious Tristan Motz 6/2 6/0 to take the Under 18 title. Tristan plans to spend the summer of 2012 interning at Prince’s Court. Watch out next year Paul!
The format for the Under 21’s was essentially "winner stays on" with the top performer of each round robin stage moving on to the next group till we were left with two finalists. All 15 juniors competed.
In the early stages, Chase Motz and Joseph Swiacki both dropped only three games each to win their groups and advance. Swimming with the big fish proved much tougher. Perhaps the upset of the weekend occurred in the third round robin when 4 foot 6 Erik Barker beat 6 foot 4 Laurenson Ward by 8 games to 5. Unfortunately the Goliath of this match-up had more than one sling to deal with in the form of a severely damaged wrist that ultimately forced him to withdraw from the tournament before he could play his next match. Nevertheless, Erik had expertly covered the court like a carpet while politely correcting the marker (ex-world champion Chris Ronaldson) every time he miscalled the score or a chase.
The last group of Paul Monaghan, Gamble Freydberg, and Henry Smith went right to the wire. Group winners were decided by Matches won/Game difference/Head to Head and finally by Grille Shoot-out at which Paul Monaghan excelled. So it came down to Paul and Gamble in the 2012 Under 21 final. Punching well above his weight at only 15 years of age, Gamble put up a valiant effort but Paul "the power" hulked out and stomped to a 6/0 6/1 victory.
The level of sportsmanship on display for those three days would have put the finest croquet and cricket clubs in the world to shame. Thank you to all the parents who made the journey to DC, to Ryan Carey for his legendary tournament organizing, to Erik Barker for making sure we all understood the rules properly and most of all to the United States Court Tennis Preservation Foundation for funding a fantastic weekend.
U12 Girls Final – Kornelia Mostrous def. Blanche Devine 10/5
U12 Boys Final – Erik Barker def. Chase Motz 6/2 6/3
U18 Final – Paul Monaghan def. Tristan Motz 6/2 6/0
U15 Final – Gamble Freydberg def. Henry Smith 3/6 6/0 6/1
U21 Final – Paul Monaghan def. Gamble Freydberg 6/0 6/1