Before I get to the bad news, the Easter Bowl acceptances are out for all three age divisions. In the 18s, the girls field is exceptionally good this year, even before the wild cards are named, and that's without USTA spring champion Danielle Collins, who is playing high school tennis in Florida. The last two Orange Bowl 16s champions, Breaunna Addison and Chanelle Van Nguyen are entered, as are 2009 US Open Junior quarterfinalists Beatrice Capra and Lauren Davis. 2009 Orange Bowl quarterfinalists Madison Keys and Robin Anderson are in the field, although Keys has not played since the Australian Open juniors this year. Ester Goldfeld, a quarterfinalist in Australia, as well as Courtney Dolehide, Kaitlyn Christian, Ellen Tsay, Grace Min, Lauren Herring, Jessica Pegula, Krista Hardebeck and Sachia Vickery are scheduled to compete; there are so many outstanding players, it's impossible to cite them all.
The boys field is less impressive. None of the boys from the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park--Denis Kudla, Mitchell Frank and Junior Ore--are entered, leaving 2009 Easter Bowl semifinalist Raymond Sarmiento (27) and Dennis Novikov (42) as the highest-ranked ITF junior players in the draw. No. 37 Andrea Collarini, who is now representing the U.S. after spending most of his junior career under the Argentine flag, is not entered, nor is Jack Sock. Dane Webb, who is in the semis at the current Grade 1 in the Philippines, and Spring Champion Bjorn Fratangelo, Marcos Giron, Alexios Halebian and 2009 16s winner Shane Vinsant are among the contenders for the boys title.
For the list of competitors, which does not yet include the wild cards, see the Tennis Link site.
In the younger age divisions, Kyle McPhillips, who played the 18s division in last year's Easter Bowl, is entered in the 16s this year, as is 2009 14s champion Brooke Austin, Eddie Herr 14s champion Spencer Liang and Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion Yuki Chiang. The boys 16s will feature last year's 14s finalists Mackenzie McDonald and Nikko Madregallejo, as well as Reo Asami, Thai Kwiatkowski, Justin Butsch, Roy Lederman and Gage Brymer.
In the girls 14s, Gabrielle Andrews will be a favorite, with Kenadi Hance, Julia O'Loughlin and Maria Shishkina likely to contend. In the boys 14s, Joe DiGiulio, Luca Corinteli, Christian Garay, Stefan Kozlov and Mac Roy are some of the top names.
For the complete list, see the TennisLink site, and for more information about the tournament, visit easterbowl.com.
Now for the bad news. Cal Poly has announced that it is eliminating both its men's and women's tennis programs. With the recent budget crisis in the California university system, I expect this won't be the last such announcement from a state school.
And Wayne Odesnik has pleaded guilty to possession of Human Growth Hormone, which was discovered by Australian custom officials in January. This doesn't have a lot to do with college or junior tennis, but I think it's important to mention that even with extensive testing on the professional level, there is no reason to think that tennis players are somehow immune to the lure of performance enhancing drugs. And with very little testing in the juniors and college, it's likely that PEDs are used by some amateurs too. For more on the Odesnik case and on PEDs in tennis, see Greg Couch's article at FanHouse.
Friday, March 26, 2010