Fresh from winning a USTA state championship this month, the Chapel Hill Country Club’s 10 & Under Intermediate tennis team will be heading to South Carolina in mid-August to take part in the South Sectional Championships.
The CHCC players, with an assist from a Hollow Rock player, won the North Carolina Junior Team Tennis championship after finishing 3-1-1 in the USTA tournament July 15-18 in Fayetteville.
The championship was decided on the basis of total games won in the the round-robin tournament. The Chapel Hill-Durham team finished with a record of 124-85 to beat out runner-up Cary (121-114) by three games. Wilmington (114-94) ended up in third place.
The core of the team – Jonathan Baddour, Cody Benton, Carter Myers and Oliver Narbut – competed at the 8-under level last year, when they went 4-0 in match play at the state championships for their first title.
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This year’s team included Thomson Falk, Maddie Moore, Helen Newcomb and Caroline Sun joining Baddour, Benton, Myers and Narbut. Coached by CHCC professionals Lindsay Benton, Derek Boone, Jarrod Randle and Jaime Montalvo, the team finished the regular season with a 6-1 record and 174-115 in total games won.
Samantha Slowik from Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club joined the group in Fayetteville to fill out the Chapel Hill-Durham team.
“I attribute a lot of the team’s success to the Quickstart program,” CHCC tennis pro Lindsay Benton said, crediting the USTA’s program that introduces a scaled down version of tennis to young players.
“Quickstart is to tennis what T-ball is to baseball,” he said. “It allows you to develop skills at a much younger age.”
After Day 2 in Fayetteville, Chapel Hill-Durham, was holding a slim, five-game lead on Wilmington and a six-game lead on Cary.
The tournament title came down to a final mixed doubles match featuring Benton and Moore against Wilmington’s top two juniors – Augie Ballentine and Peyton Philemon. With a sizeable crowd watching the action, Benton and Moore prevailed for a 4-2, 4-1 victory. That clinched the team match by a 27-22 score in total games and provided the winning margin over Cary for the team championship.
Moore finished the tournament undefeated at 6-0 in matches and 48-6 in total games. Benton finished with a record of 5-1 (27-26) and Narbut at 4-1 (36-22).
The USTA Junior Team Tennis Sectional Championships will be contested Aug. 15-17 at the Lexington County Tennis Complex and Ball Park Road Sports Complex, both in Lexington, S.C.
More than 60 teams from throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee play USTA tennis each year, the organization states. Chapel Hill Country Club put six teams into play this season, with 70 juniors from ages 6 to 14 – the most of any club in the area, Montalvo noted.