Advantage Kids held its inaugural Match Play Championship at Prescott Park in Meredith August 21. Nineteen players from Jackson to Bedford competed in singles and doubles play. This USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT) event was the first of its kind for Advantage Kids. Tournament Director and former Bishop Brady varsity tennis coach Kent Hemingway said, “I was impressed with the level of play and sportsmanship on display. All our players were middle school age, but could certainly begin to compete at the high school level. We see these events as a way to build energy, interest and capacity for youth tennis across New Hampshire.”
From left to right, front row: Kathy Peverly, Simon Kuczkowski, Elyse Flynn, Mattie Macomber, Alden Macomber, Tommy Hughes, Brett Johnson, Owen Touhey, Tess Eckhardt, Thomas Pribble, Hunter Roberts, Leeann Levenson, Kent Hemingway, Caroline Elliot - Back Row: Dawn Dragon, Joseph Schelb, Ayden Berebe, Jaedyn Feaster, Grant Workman, Grace Elliot, Noah Hembree, Austin Roberts
Singles Champion Jaedyn Feaster of Gilford, runners-up Joseph Schelb and Simon Kuczkowski all hail from Gilford. The team of Tommy Hughes/Brett Johnson won the doubles competition over the sister team of Grace and Caroline Elliot. Both doubles finalists came through the Moultonboro program.
Advantage Kids provided free tennis and yoga sessions for over 700 kids in the communities of Jackson, N Conway, Madison, Tamworth, Moultonboro, Meredith, Laconia, Tilton, Gilford, Wolfeboro, Manchester, Nashua, Dover and Fryeburg, Maine. Coaches and assistants are all USTA Safe Certified instructors and many are registered USTA tennis professionals.
The Gilford home office is staffed by Co-Executive Directors Dawn Dragon and Brittany Boles. Dawn was “ecstatic to see Advantage Kids from all around the state come together in USTA non-sanctioned competitive play. The path from Free! Beginner tennis to competitive play is the right direction for the organization and its kids. Tennis is a sport that brings quality of life...for a lifetime. We are happy to be able to promote the game of tennis and make it accessible to all. In addition to becoming awesome tennis players, our kids have a pathway of opportunity to become Mindful Mentors, AK USTA certified coaches, or benefit from CASA-our College Advisory Services program. So proud of these kids!”
“AK Match Play went so well during this first season! I am deeply impressed by our coaches, staff, and helpers at the USTA for pulling this off. It looks like we had a major win here, and will now do what we always do - scale this program so we can offer it to kids throughout the entire state!” agreed Co-Executive Director Brittany Boles.
Advantage Kids has received funding from the USTA Foundation, USTA New England, USTA NH as well as local individuals and businesses. We thank Scott Everett, John J Donovan Jr Trust, Joseph Materese, Irwin Marine, Belknap Landscape, Tamworth Outing Club, Tamworth Foundation, Jackson Tennis Club, and Freedom Elementary School for their support. The organization has grown substantially statewide in three years from its start as the Lake Region Tennis Association based in Laconia.