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JTCC Serves Up a Million-Dollar NCAA Recruiting Class | News

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JTCC Serves Up a Million-Dollar NCAA Recruiting Class

From JTCC:


(COLLEGE PARK, MD) Today, the Junior Tennis Champions Center’s (JTCC) graduating class announced the next steps in their tennis careers with 14 of 17 youth committing to compete on NCAA collegiate teams, one opting for a professional tennis career on the ATP Tour, and two still weighing their options.  


The 2011 graduating class, with eight of the top 75 boys’ recruits in the nation, is a prime example of the high caliber of athletic and academic instruction that JTCC offers youth.  All 14 youth who are continuing to collegiate play are receiving scholarships that exceed more than one million dollars over four years.  With this class, JTCC has trained 82 talented juniors who have moved on to compete at top universities and colleges in the United States. 


“It has been my pleasure to be closely involved with this great group of young players since they were 8 to 12 years old,” said JTCC Senior Director of Tennis Vesa Ponkka.  “I’m proud of their playing ability but more importantly it has been a great journey to see them mature into solid young adults.”


Moving on to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) are Beatrice Capra, 18 of Ellicott City, Maryland and Mitchell Frank, 18, of Annandale, Virginia.  Capra, who trained at JTCC from ages 9 to 16 and won two matches in the US Open singles main draw in 2010, is joining the number seven ranked women’s team at Duke University.  Frank, the country’s number two prospect and a top international junior player, is joining the number one ranked University of Virginia (UVA) team.  After joining JTCC’s program in 2006, Frank has won multiple international tournaments, competed in all four Junior Grand Slam events, ranked number one in the US in his age group, and ranked as high as number five in the world junior rankings.


"We are pleased to announce that Mitchell will be joining our program," said UVA Head Coach Brian Boland. "Mitchell is a person of high character, is an outstanding student and has extremely high goals for his tennis well beyond the college game. He has received great training at the Junior Tennis Champions Center under the guidance of Vesa Ponkka and Frank Salazar. I have recruited a number of players from this outstanding program.”


Playing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) are Andrew Adams, 17 of Bronx, New York, Joe Dorn, 17 of Washington, DC, Anton Kovrigin, 17 of Rockville, Maryland, and Michael Retta, 18, of Annandale, Virginia.  Adams has accepted a position on the University of South Carolina’s team after two years of training full-time at JTCC and becoming the number 27-rated recruit.  Dorn, Kovrigin and Retta are members of the number one recruiting class headed to Vanderbilt University.  Dorn and Kovrigin have won the 16 and under National Clay Court Doubles Championship in 2009. 


“I am so very proud to be a part of such a great program,” said Chuck Kriese, who recently joined JTCC as Senior Director of Competition and Coaching. Kriese, who was Head Coach at Clemson University for 33 years and is currently the coach with the most wins in ACC history shared, “The quality of opportunities offered by these colleges is directly correlated to the great work done by the JTCC’s Champions Program. I would like to recognize Senior Coach Kyle Bailey who deserves tremendous credit for his tireless work with this graduating class to find the ideal academic and competitive fit for each student.”  


Competing in the Big East are John Brosens, 18, of Bedford, New York headed to Georgetown University and Van Damrongsgri.  Damrongsgri, who has been ranked in the USTA Top 50 in the past year, has earned a scholarship to the University of Louisville.


Playing in the Ivy League is Jason Luu, 17, of Fairfax, Virginia who is joining the Cornell University team and reuniting with JTCC alum Venkat Iyer, 19, of Chevy Chase, Maryland who is transferring to join the team.  Donning Harvard University’s Crimson and competing against Luu and Iyer is Henry Steer, 17, of Bernardsville, New Jersey.


Sam Bush, 18, of Washington, DC, is migrating to the Pacific-10 Conference as a University of Oregon Duck and Christina Harrington, 17, of Millersville, Maryland is joining the Blue Hen flock at the University of Delaware in the Colonial Athletic Association. Ned Mandel, 18, of Chevy Chase, Maryland is joining the Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.


Firm believers that excellence in tennis is based upon hard work and determination and not innate skill, JTCC began training two youth in this year’s graduating class, Junior Ore and Denis Kudla,  after they were identified in an annual “Champions Search” free tennis festival at the ripe age of eight years old. 


With numerous national titles and experience from competing in three Junior Grand Slams, Ore, 17, of Gaithersburg, Maryland is packing up his racquet and heading down to compete in the Big 12 with the number ten ranked team at Texas A&M University.  Kudla is also packing his racquets. But, instead of collegiate play, Kudla is headed for the ATP Tour having turned professional in 2009.  Kudla is currently ranked in the ATP 500 after previously ranking third in the world junior rankings and making the US Opens Boys Finals.


Collin Johns, 17 of Laytonville, MD and Ankur Bhargava, 16, of Centreville, VA are still weighing their options before making a decision on their next steps.