Willow Williams launches a forehand at “The Ojai” as part of the QuickStart Challenge last week. The event attracted 30 youth tennis players from local Ojai elementary schools. (photo by Holly Roberts)
The 114th Ojai Tennis Tournament was the perfect setting for the sixth annual Ojai Quickstart Tennis Challenge. The draw of 30 enthusiastic third-, fourth- and fifth-grade elementary school students participated in the 10-and-under match play.
Participants in last week’s event represented several local schools, including San Antonio Elementary School, Ojai Valley School, Montessori School and Topa Topa Elementary School.
Challenge participants played 10-point doubles matches. Winners advanced to the main draw, while runners-up moved into the consolation draw with single elimination thereafter. Every Challenge player left with a tennis bag, wrist band and a T-shirt, compliments of Gina Havelka and the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA). The Ojai Valley Tennis Club provided trophies and two new Wilson tennis racquets for the winners of the main draw.
• Main draw winners: Roman and Belladora Moga (San Antonio)
• Main draw finalists: Kadin Mouderres and Jayden Winbury (Montessori School)
• Consolation draw winners: Ryan Farrell and Hayden Houseman (Ojai Valley School)
• Consolation draw finalists: Kevin McDonald and Matthew Bertin (Topa Topa School)
Funded through a grant received from the 2009 United States Tennis Association’s “Best Tennis Town” award, the Ojai Recreation Department now offers a free QuickStart Tennis program at schools across the Ojai Valley during the academic year. With additional financial support from the Ojai Valley Tennis Club — and help from volunteer coaches — the QuickStart program continues to encourage a love of the game by creating early success using age- and size-appropriate racquets, low-density balls, smaller courts and lower nets.
“I want to thank the wonderful team of volunteers who helped organize this challenge including Kathleen Rogers, Jakob Vos and Leslie Gache and all the other volunteers who donate their time year round,” said Philippe Gache, Ojai’s QuickStart coordinator.
© Ojai Valley News, 2014