OJAI – The 112th running of THE OJAI Tennis Tournament was the perfect setting for the 2nd Annual Ojai QuickStart Tennis Challenge. Even the misty rain and sopped up courts did not deter the 45 enthusiastic local 3rd – 5th grade elementary school students who participated in the exciting ‘10 and Under’ match play.
Inspired through grant funds received from the 2009 USTA Best Tennis Town award, the Ojai Recreation Department offers a free QuickStart Tennis program within the school setting across the Ojai Valley during the academic year. With financial support from the Ojai Valley Tennis Club and tireless volunteer coaches under the tutelage of Coordinator, Philippe Gache, the Ojai QS program continues to introduce and encourage a love of the game by creating early success using the ‘10 and Under’ format—age/size appropriate racquets, low density balls, smaller courts and lower nets.
The program’s success was clear by the sheer number of players who registered for the 2012 challenge which doubled those of last year. Despite the multiple rain delays throughout the valley for THE OJAI Junior, PAC 12 and Open tournament matches, the QuickStart Challenge proceeded Thursday afternoon after coaches mopped up the courts.
Max Golbere, who partnered with Tyler Davis of San Antonio School and won the Main Draw this year, also won the 2011 Challenge with partner Trevor Bradley. "I had so much fun in last year’s tournament that I was excited that I got to be in it again this year. Now I know tennis is a good sport for me." Said Golbere.
Challenge participants played 10 point doubles matches. Winners proceeded into the Main Draw, while runners up players moved into the Consolation Draw with single elimination thereafter. Every Challenge player left with a T-shirt and hat compliments of Gina Havelka and the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and OVTC provided trophies AND four sparkling new Wilson tennis racquets for the winners and finalists of each draw.
- Main Draw Winners: Max Golbere/Tyler Davis, San Antonio School
- Main Draw Finalists: Claudia Adelman/Elliott Bettles, San Antonio School
- Consolation Draw Winners: Joseph Ballou / Marshall Hamilton, Ojai Valley School
- Consolation Draw Finalists: Sean Mc Connell (Sunset School)/Kelsey O'Bryan (Mira Monte School)
Ojai QuickStart Tennis is possible only through the endless and unconditional generosity of its volunteer coaches and mentors. “I want to thank the wonderful team of volunteers who helped organize this challenge including Kathleen Rogers, Jacob Vos, Helen Allen, Lynne Doherty, Jim Jackson and Leslie Gache and all the other volunteers who donate their time year round.” Said Coordinator Gache.
Jakob Vos, a long time QS coach said, “It is extremely rewarding to be involved as a volunteer with the youth tennis programs, especially the QuickStart program where you can often see remarkable progress in just a few lessons. It is great fun and very satisfying to see some 45 plus kids bursting with enthusiasm and so ready to hit that winning shot. It is also most rewarding to see the young players shaking hands after a good match saying "That was fun! Let's do it again."
For more information about the Ojai QuickStart Tennis Program, contact Gache at email@example.com
or (805) 649-1720.