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Junior Nationals Covered by a Junior Reporter
Mary Emma Guldi
March 4, 2014
On Saturday, February 22, 2014, nearly 200 young paddle players came to Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli, Pennsylvania, for the annual APTA Viking Junior National Tournament. The tournament had been delayed for two weeks because of power outages caused by a severe ice storm in the Philadelphia region. Although I was originally scheduled to play in the tournament, the change of date affected my partnership so I decided to take advantage of APTA’s new program and cover the tournament as a reporter.
First of all, everyone connected with the tournament was so nice to me. They were all very helpful in giving me access for photographs and answering my questions. I learned from Madeleine Wilson of New Canaan, CT, and Megan Murphy of Greenwich, CT, that Junior Nationals is a great tournament for young players because the players get to meet new people. I also learned from Emma Hill of Bryn Mawr, PA, it is fun to play with kids of the same age and Maddie Sopko of Wayne, PA, liked to play with people from all over. Kieran Foster of White Plains, NY, told me that he enjoyed Junior Nationals because there is a higher level of competition from other kids who are really talented.
Some players developed friendships from Junior Nationals that may last for their whole lives. For example, two of the teams in the Boys 18 & Under draw have been coming to Junior Nationals and seeing each other for about 10 years. This year they met up again in the semifinals. They all played great. It was fun for their parents, too, who have gotten friendly watching their boys play together.
In the end, the Philadelphia area had nice weather for the tournament. It was a beautiful day with paddle being played at 10 area clubs. Some really great adult paddle players volunteered their time to be the hut commanders. That job is really important because they keep track of scores and matches and make sure the tournament runs smoothly from the 10 separate venues. Paul Ridder, the President of TastyKake, supported the tournament by providing delicious treats for everyone.
Even though I did not play at Junior Nationals this year, I still had a great experience as a reporter. Everyone should try to attend the event next year. I am sure it will be great, also.