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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Midwest Wins USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships; USA 14U Teams to Play for World Junior Tennis Semifinals Wednesday; Novo Nordisk Donnelly Scholarships Awarded

The USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships concluded today at the University of Illinois, with the Midwest section defeating the team from the Northern California section 5-2.  Unseeded in the 16-team tournament, the Midwest defeated four seeded teams in succession to claim the title: Mid-Atlantic(5-8) in the first round, Texas(4) in the quarterfinals, Southern Cal(1) in the semifinals and Northern California(5-8) in the final.  Below are the results from today's final. For complete results from the four-day tournament, see the TennisLink site.

The Midwest section has an opportunity to sweep the National Team 18s titles this year, with the girls meeting their counterparts from the Southern section in the final Wednesday in Claremont, California. Midwest defeated Southern Cal 4-3 and Southern beat Florida 6-1 in today's semifinals. Results can be found at the TennisLink site.

At the ITF's 14-and-under World Junior Tennis team championships in the Czech Republic, the United States teams both picked up wins today to go into Wednesday's final round robin matches with 2-0 records. The boys, seeded No. 6, defeated No. 2 seeds France 2-1, with Zane Khan and Stefan Leustian getting the deciding doubles victory 11-9 in the match tiebreaker. According to this ITF junior website article, the US pair saved a match point at 8-9 in the tiebreaker. The boys will play unseeded Uruguay next. With both teams 2-0, the winner of that match will win the group and advance to the semifinals.

The USA girls, seeded No. 2, blanked Latvia 3-0 today and will play No. 7 seed Korea on Wednesday. If the USA wins, they will advance to the semifinals. Korea lost to Slovakia today, so three teams could be 2-1 in the group if Korea beats the USA and Slovakia defeats Latvia, with a calculation based on percentage of sets or even games won determining who advances to the semifinals.

For all the results from today's round robin matches, see the tournament website.

I received the press release below today about this year's recipients of the Novo Nordisk Donnelly award scholarships for players with diabetes.

Diane Donnelly and Tracey Donnelly grew up in Kalamazoo, so the award established in their names in 1998 has a special meaning for me and others from this community, who have worked with their parents Bud and Carol, longtime volunteers at the Kalamazoo Nationals, for many years. Bud is in fact the person who called me about volunteering for the Nationals back in 2000, which started me on my path to ZooTennis.

Minnesota and Colorado teens named recipients of 2016 Novo Nordisk Donnelly Award Scholarships
Scholarships support young tennis players with Diabetes; eight regional recipients also named

NEW YORK, N.Y. (August 2, 2016) – Casey Zhong of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Izabella Edin of Staples, Minn., have been named the 2016 Novo Nordisk Donnelly Award national winners.  The two national winners received one-time $7,500 scholarships towards education, tennis development, and/or medical care. They were presented their awards by Mylan World TeamTennis co-founder Billie Jean King on Sunday, July 31 at the New York Empire tennis match.

The Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards annually distribute $39,000 in scholarships, including two one-time $7,500 national scholarships and eight one-time $3,000 regional scholarships.  The scholarships are awarded to male and female athletes ages 14-21 and in good academic standing, who have diabetes and play tennis competitively in tournaments or on their school team.
Eight other students received the regional Novo Nordisk Donnelly Award, which offers a one-time scholarship of $3,000.  These recipients are Maddie Barton of Saint George, Utah; Natalie Brown of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Margaret Dolan of Winthrop, Mass.; Heather Luedke of Whitefish, Mont.; Lukas Olson of Ephrata, Pa.; Ashly Pingsterhaus of Anna, Texas; Kacey Stephens of Soddy Daisy, Tenn.; and Gregory Welsh of Ambler, Pa.

Edin, who attends Saving Grace Christian Academy through home schooling, started playing tennis at 11 years old and decided to play high school tennis at Staples-Motley-Verndale in the fall of 2014 and was soon playing No. 1 singles. During the past season, she was named Section 8A Singles Champion and took 3rd place in the Minnesota State High School Championships.  During her first year on varsity in 2014, Edin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  Since her diagnosis, Edin has excelled both on and off the court.  She was named to the 2016 USTA Leadership team while also being inducted into the National Society of High School Scholars.  Izabella was named the winner of the 2015 USTA Northern Jerry Noyce Junior Sportsmanship Award and was selected to participate in the 2016 BJK WTT Junior Nationals in San Diego for the USTA Northern team.

Zhong is headed into her senior year at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo. For the past three years, Zhong has led her team as the No. 1 girls singles player. At 10 years old, Zhong was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and began playing tennis. Since taking up the sport, Zhong was twice named to the All State team and MVP of her high school team. Casey was a National Zonal team member in the 12, 14 and 16 and under divisions and was a recipient of the sportsmanship award from the Colorado Tennis Association.  She has been on the Academic Honor Roll for the past three years and is part of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. In her free time, she volunteers at Brookdale Nursing Home and the USPTA Wheelchair Tennis Clinic.

These awards are named after two former World TeamTennis executives and tennis champions, Diane Donnelly Stone and Tracey Donnelly Maltby, who are sisters.  Stone was an All-American and NCAA doubles champion at Northwestern University, and Maltby earned All-Big Ten honors at the University of Iowa.  Both women have lived successfully with diabetes since childhood. The scholarship program was established by King, through WTT Charities, in 1998 to encourage children with diabetes to lead an active life and compete in tennis.

Novo Nordisk has been the title sponsor of the award since 2002. The company is headquartered in Denmark and specializes in global healthcare with a concentration and leadership in Diabetes.