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State College tennis tournament serves up fun, experience for juniors

Aaron Kwock shakes hands with Clay Butterworth after their match during the Centre Region Community Tennis Association annual junior tournament at the State College Community Tennis Courts on Saturday, June 20, 2015.
Aaron Kwock shakes hands with Clay Butterworth after their match during the Centre Region Community Tennis Association annual junior tournament at the State College Community Tennis Courts on Saturday, June 20, 2015. CDT photo

A tennis ball makes a quite distinct, perhaps indescribable, noise coming off the racquet, but “thwock” is a pretty fair try at a depiction in print.

The sound was audible for much of the day Saturday at the State College Community Tennis Courts along West Prospect Avenue at an annual juniors tournament organized by the Centre Region Community Tennis Association.

“It’s an entry-level tournament,” said Carol Oliver, programs director with the local association and a tournament organizer. “It’s a great way for local kids to get used to playing in tournaments.”

The United States Tennis Association-sanctioned event, now in its third year, is held every Father’s Day weekend and divides young players into four age groups: 12 and younger, 14 and younger, 16 and younger and 18 and younger. Only boys competed in this year’s event because not enough girls entered, but the past two years also featured girls brackets.

Winners receive a plaque and also ranking points. Experience, and a place to gain it without driving a distance, is the real reward, Oliver said. Before the tournament was started, the closest sanctioned junior event was in Hershey.

Some of the 22 players traveled to compete Saturday. In-state players came from Altoona, Hollidaysburg and as far away as Erie and Lancaster; three others came from out of state.

The majority, like Garrett Schoonmaker, were Centre County natives, hailing from State College, Bellefonte and Port Matilda.

Schoonmaker, a sophomore at State High and member of the tennis team there, was cheered on by his parents, Chris and Gwen.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity for all the kids to play,” Chris Schoonmaker said.

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