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JAMF Drop Shots Win JTT Championship with Teamwork, Determination

October 30, 2012 01:09 PM
Back Row From L to R: Marco Gobbato, Jason Strudwick, Daniel King, John Paul Bremar, Nick Meluso, Mindy Huto; Front Row From L to R: Kosuke Tremonte, Averie Bowen, Diana King, Carlo Francisco, Page Keating.
18U Intermediate Sportsmanship Award winner: Averie Bowen – Eastern (Pelham, NY)
Like a perfect volley sliced just over the net, the JAMF Drop Shots of USTA Eastern edged out a team from USTA Midwest on Sunday (45-44), capturing the National Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) Championship in the 18U Intermediate division in a close final in Cayce, SC.
"It just happened to work out that we didn’t even know we won until after they tallied it up," said Drop Shot player JP Bremar. "But we didn’t want to give up, so we kept on fighting."
Most of the Drop Shots were used to battling on the national stage. Last year, the team, which is led by Head Coach Tom Hutcherson, Assistant Coach Shawn Bowen, and Team Manager Loretta Van Raalte, finished in 7th place at the National Championships.
Hutcherson said it was the team’s experience, preparation, and teamwork that brought the team the title this year.
"They are very supportive of one another and have bought into the concept of doing whatever it takes for the team to be successful," Hutcherson said. "That may mean playing less than they would like or playing in a spot not of their choosing. But when they're not on the court, they are big cheerleaders for their teammates."
Learning as a Team
The core of the team has been competing together since their pre-teen years in the JTT 12 and Under division. The team is sponsored by the Jerry Alleyne Memorial Foundation of Greenburgh, NY, a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 that supports the growth and development of young people through tennis and mentoring. As part of the JAMF tennis program, the JTT players hone their tennis skills through weekly classes at New Rochelle Racquet Club.
The players also receive mentoring from the coaches, who have tried to impart values that will help them succeed both on and off the court.
"I hope that what they've learned is that in order to be successful in JTT and in life you must be committed, you must become a team player, you must be disciplined, and you have to put in the effort," said Hutcherson.
By their latest results, it seems they already have. Shawn Bowen said the team exceeded his expectations, coming together and fighting through some close matches.
And his daughter, Averie Bowen, ended up winning one of the sportsmanship awards, which was voted on by coaches from across the country.
"It is really not easy staying under control in tennis, especially when your whole team is counting on you to win the tiebreaking match," Averie said. "I give credit to my coaches and parents who have always taught me to conduct myself well."
Click here to learn more about Jr. Team Tennis.