Just over two years ago, I covered the first fall competition that mixed USTA juniors with college players. My article about the 2010 Land Rover Napa Valley Classic described the challenges the NCAA rules create in organizing such a tournament, but two similar competitions are on the calendar for next weekend, in Portland, Ore. and Orlando, Fla.
I did not attend the Napa tournament this year because I agreed to cover the first women's event in Portland next week. The tournament, which will be played indoors at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, is happening due to the efforts of the USTA and UCLA men's assistant Grant Chen, who began working on it over a year ago. Adidas is the presenting sponsor of the event, which will be set up in the same manner as the Napa tournament, with eight round robin groups, each containing one USTA junior and three college players. Once the round robin winners are determined, there will be a tiebreaker shootout with a Pro Circuit wild card on the line.
Because I am covering the event beginning next Friday, I have more information on it regarding the participants and structure, etc., but there is another men's event going on simultaneously at the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The tennis complex there features ten clay courts, and there will also be eight USTA juniors competing, but from the USTA release, it doesn't sound as if the format, which features 11 schools, will be the same as Napa/Portland. There will be players from California, Central Florida, Columbia, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Penn State, Tulsa and Southern California. The juniors competing there are Deighton Baughman, Gage Brymer, George Goldhoff, Roy Lederman, Chase Perez-Blanco, Martin Redlicki, Ronnie Schneider and Ryan Smith.
The USTA juniors for the Portland event are Gabby Andrews, Brooke Austin, Jennifer Brady, Caroline Doyle, Jessica Ho, Dasha Ivanova, Claire Liu and Kimberly Yee.
The college players scheduled to compete (there are usually last-minute changes in this roster) are:
Chanelle Van Nguyen
Elianne Douglas Miron
Elianne Douglas Miron
Twelve of the 24 have ITA preseason rankings, so I'm looking forward to seeing some highly competitive matches.