The Team Manitoba lineup is set for the upcoming Indoor Rogers Junior Nationals. Competing at the U16 nationals in Montreal (March 25-30) will be Shawn Sophasath and Maya Arksey. At the U12 nationals in Calgary (March 26-April 1), Manitoba will be represented by Reece Carter, Ryan Carter and Christopher Derksen. Reece Carter will also compete at the U14 nationals in Vancouver (April 3-9) along with Marcello Audino.
The singles draws at the U12 and U14 nationals use a compass format: players play a round-robin in eight pools with the top two finishers from each pool advancing to the Championship Flight, while the third-place finishers go into Flight #2, the fourth-place finishers go into Flight #3, and so on. Each flight includes a third-place playoff and a consolation event.
“The best part of that format is the number of matches the players get to play and that they end the tournament playing against appropriate level opponents,” said Tennis Manitoba’s Director of Tennis Development/Head Coach Jared Connell, who will coach the Prairie players at the U12 nationals and will also coach the Prairie players at the U14 nationals with Regina’s Denise Fernandez.
In 2015, Reece Carter and Marcello Audino advanced to the Championship Flight (top 16) at both the indoor and outdoor U12 nationals. Audino was eliminated 6-2, 6-4 by Alberta’s Ghouse Faisal at the U12 indoor nationals, while Carter fell to Quebec’s Juliette Begin 6-1, 6-4. At the U12 outdoor nationals Carter beat Marina Stakusic of Ontario 6-4, 6-4 before losing in the quarterfinals to Begin 6-4, 6-4, while Audino was beaten 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 by Thomas Santaguida of Quebec.
Top historical results from Manitoba players at the junior nationals include performances from Rick Borland, Sean Lacap and Doug Devriendt. In 1960 Borland won a Canadian junior singles tennis championship in Ottawa at the age of 15. Lacap reached the singles final at the U14 nationals in 2003, and in 2005 he won the U16 Canadian doubles title (partnering with Philip Anderson of Nova Scotia) and lost the U18 national doubles final that same year. Devriendt advanced to the singles final at the U18 outdoor nationals in 1997 in Montreal before losing to Ontario’s Rob Steckley.