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Youngsters Raise the Bar in Platform Tennis

A total of 228 youngsters from as far as Chicago and as close as Fairfield County filled the courts of area clubs for the 46th annual American Platform Tennis Association Junior National Championships on Saturday. The quality of play from the 10-year-old division to the 18-year-olds indicated that the future is bright for this growing outdoor winter sport .

"The level of play gets better and better every year," tournament director Steve Caccam said. "It's so great that the APTA awarded us this tournament because I think it's a recognition of the renaissance of platform tennis in this area. All these kids have huge grins on their faces after the matches, even if they lose, which I think shows how fun the sport is."

Even the weather cooperated, with players competing in ideal, crisp conditions. Early round games were played at racquet clubs in Darien, Greenwich, Stamford and Wilton, while the finals took place at Waveny Park in New Canaan.

Caccam raced from court to court as he laid down the rules of each final. Players relied on good sportsmanship to police themselves with no umpires in sight.

"A lot of the kids actually prefer it that way, and I do, too," Caccam said. "Etiquette, good sportsmanship, fair play — it's such a part of the game. I leave them to call their own lines and foot faults. Even the boys and girls 10-year-olds know what they're doing. It's part of life."

Connor Daley and Alex Slobin of Fairfield defeated Austin Holmes and Reed Shultz of New Canaan to take gold in the boys 14-U category. Hannah Kratky of Greenwich and Meaghan Foster of White Plains, N.Y., were the champions of the girls 14-U group. Emily Dardis of Stamford and Alexandra Shay of Wilton were crowned champions of the girls 12-U category. Teddy Manges of New Canaan was the champion of the boys 10-U category with teammate Ben Delaney of Philadelphia.

Drew Monroe of New Canaan and Cole Rummelsburg of Fairfield were finalists in the boys 12-U category. Claire Dardis of Stamford and Mimi Shay of Wilton reached the finals of the girls 10-U category. Phoebe Wilks and Ariana Ross of New Canaan were the runners-up in the girls 18-U category.

Check the APTA website for full results and more information on platform tennis.

Did you attend the platform tennis junior nationals this weekend? Leave a comment below on how you think the kids did and what you think of the sport! Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest MSC sports coverage.

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