Top teens shine at the Racquet Club | ParkRecord.com

Top teens shine at the Racquet Club

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

Alexandra Leatu returns the ball during the 14s National Opens.

Thought being 14 was all about makeup and calling boys?

Think again.

This past week at the Park City Racquet Club (PCRC), the western section of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Girls’ 14s National Opens showed just how tough some 14-year-old tennis players can be. Young females from Utah, Colorado, Arizona, California and around the country converged on the tennis courts to compete in a tournament which determined one of four national winners that will go on to compete in the USTA Super Nationals.

Alexandra Leatu, a junior player out of Southern California, claimed the national title on Wednesday morning after defeating Ellen Tsay in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. In doubles action the duo of Gabrielle Desimone and Noel Scott beat Arthi Padmanabhan and Tsay, 8-4.

In order to qualify for the tournament, the girls must to be ranked from results from sectional tournaments. A handful of Utah girls, qualified including Tessa Wray, Kylie Peek and Annika Carlsen from Park City. Peek, who is only 12, played up a level to expose herself to better competition. Wray is a member of the Park City High School girls tennis team, one of the top prep programs in the state.

"It bodes well for Park City tennis in general," said tournament director Lauren Kemp, who ran the event in place of PCRC head pro Warren Pretorius who was attending a convention.

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The Park City contingent was eliminated in the first round. MaryAnne MacFarland of Ogden was able to earn the eighth seed in the quarterfinals. According to Kemp, the best competition generally hails from the Southern California region, but just qualifying for the tournament shows the strength of Park City’s tennis programs and Utah tennis in general.

According to Kemp hosting the tournament is an honor for the PCRC. Pretorius bids for the top-levels tournaments each year and receiving the nod means increased publicity and tourism for the Club and Park City. The 14s tournament has been held in Park City for the last few years, and Kemp says that the positive feedback about the site and the city remains positive.

"People love Park City. They thought it was really nice," Kemp said. "Our facility is great, because people don’t have to travel to different sites to compete. We have enough courts to hold the event in one place.

A fair number of Parkites attended the tournament. Kemp says that the teaching pros at the Club encourage their students to attend the matches to get a taste of the higher-level junior competition, but the conflict of school often limits the number of youth in attendance. The bulk of spectators were women who attend PCRC clinics and use the courts.

For complete tournament results, log onto tournaments.usta.com.