The Royal Lahaina Tennis Club’s Junior Team is seeking funds to help the team compete in the National Championships, which are being held Oct. 16-19 in South Carolina. The Club recently won the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Junior Team Tennis Spring Section Championship for its 14 years of age and under 3.0 Division. This is the second consecutive year the Club qualified to compete in the National Championships.
“Going to the Nationals is all the kids are talking about,” said coach Lee Killett. “From their experience last year, they know they can improve on their fine showing. They have a great deal of pride and have gained in maturity and strength, which will serve them well.”
Coach Killett, who played competitively at the University of Hawaii, and coach Jean Okada, who played professional tennis and ranked in the top 200 in the world, started the club three years ago. It began as the Royal Lahaina Junior Tennis Program at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch. They later joined up with Maui Junior Team Tennis League at the behest of Manny Fernando, father of two of the Royal Lahaina group.
“We have an extremely close-knit, highly committed group of young players and their parents and the Royal Lahaina are very supportive,” Killett said. “The facilities at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch are second to none and, even though the majority of our kids come from the other side of the island, we all enjoy being with one another.”
The statewide Hawaii Pacific Sectionals held in Hawaii, saw the Royal Lahaina Tennis Club go up against teams from throughout the region. The Royal Lahaina Tennis Club team is made up of Zack and Nikki Fernando, Kyle Killett, Kai Casco, Ailana Suehiro, Jessica Griffiths, Kiana Bell and Kaelyn Kato.
There are 2,500 teams nationally participating in the USTA Junior Team Tennis League. Each region hosts a sectional championship to determine if their team going to the Nationals. Royal Lahaina finished thirteenth nationally in 2013 and is hoping for a big win this year.
The Royal Lahaina Tennis Club is currently paying for its participation in the national tournament through personal funds and a travel stipend from USTA. Donations are being accepted to help offset expenses. Contributions can be made to: Giving Back Through Tennis, 110 E. Huapala St., Lahaina, HI 96761. Their Federal Tax ID number is 46-3256479.
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Photo courtesy Royal Lahaina Tennis Club