If you are a tennis player, life just doesn’t get any better than four days of competition at the largest tennis facility in the world, the incredible USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida! Sixteen 14U teams from all across the nation and the Caribbean gathered for the opening ceremonies on Thursday afternoon. Each team had won their sectional qualifying tournament to earn the right to play for a National Championship, but on Sunday, when the last point had been won, there was only one team left undefeated: The BCC Tennis Academy representing the Missouri Valley!
Pool play began on Thursday afternoon with BCCTA, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Arizona competing to see who would earn the right to go to the semi-finals. In the first round of play BCCTA defeated Hawaii 45-23. Friday morning the kids were back on the court to play Puerto Rico. It was a great match and BCCTA won 54-30. Next up would be the team from Arizona. Play began on Friday afternoon and it didn’t take long for BCCTA to dominate the competition 58-14. After three rounds of pool play all of the games were tallied and BCCTA had come out on top and earned the right to move on to the National semi-finals! The semi-finals took place on Saturday morning with BCCTA taking on a really strong team from Kansas City. After three hours on the court BCCTA came out on top 53-38!
It is really impossible to describe the excitement that was running through the team when they realized they would be playing in the Finals against Southern California. On Sunday, while the kids were eating breakfast, we had our devotional which focused on Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)
Pastor Mike said, “You had some great wins the first two days, but none of them matter now. Forget the past and focus on what is right in front of you…this match. This morning you will make mistakes, you will lose points, you’ll even lose games and sets, your opponent will make bad calls. Don’t focus on those things…those are in the past. Forget about it and focus on what is right in front of you. This shot, this point, this moment. Press on to bring glory to God by the way you compete and behave while you are on the court this morning. Don’t focus on winning the championship. Focus on glorifying God and things will take care of themselves.”
After warming up, the team huddled up and prayed before their big match about Southern California. If the match would have been on TV it would have been an ESPN Instant Classic. So many great players on both sides of the net. So many great matches to watch during the morning. At the end of competition the BCC Tennis Academy had won 46 games and the kids from Southern Cal had won 37 games. The BCCTA had won the 2022 JTT National Championship!
Congratulations to our coaches, Jessica Reineke, Brad Lund, and Rob Braver who do so much to provide so many opportunities for our players. Also, a huge standing ovation goes out to the kids who worked so hard to bring home the National Championship: Noah Gou, Tokara Henderson, TJ Shanahan, John Paul Dillon, London Marsh, Levi Solomon, Grey Dillon, Braver Reineke, Raleigh Miller, Alma Mendoza, and Andrea Mendoza! You will never forget the experiences you had on your journey to the National Championship!