Eight kids from across the Mahoning Valley will represent the area this weekend doing something they love, but don’t be fooled. Winning will be a big part of that.
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Colin Gramley is only eleven years old, but has a more mature perspective on the game of tennis. “It’s really a sport that keeps you active,” said Colin. “It’s fun at the same time. It’s really not a competition.”
But for Gramley and seven other 14-and-under members of the Avalon Golf and Country Club tennis team, it will be a competition.
“Every time I have set the bar higher for these kids they just go over that bar,” said tennis coach Brian Fry. “I just didn’t think in this case it would happen that quickly.”
It’s the first year the club has competed in the USTA Northeast Ohio Advanced Tennis League in Cleveland. And wouldn’t you know it? They have qualified for the Midwest Championships in Indianapolis.
Isabella Elisco is a freshman at Howland. She said, “We built up to this moment. We put all this effort and time. This whole summer has been practice every day; tournaments.”
This weekend’s tournament will be a little different experience for this group of kids. There are no individual titles on the line. The only way to advance is if the team does so.
“It’s a lot better to have your teammates around and to play with all of them,” said Sharon freshman Devin Gramley. “It can get lonely playing singles.”
Howland freshman Jason Khavari continued, “Here it’s nice because you have the team and your wins support the team. It’s not just yourself.”
Gramley concluded, “Since you’re pretty much friends with your teammates, they say it’s okay. It’s fine. We’ll get the next point.”
And they’ll have fun doing it.