College Racquet Club at Concordia College New York held court at the US Open thanks to three of the club’s students: 11-year-old 7th grader from Edgemont Ethan Wu, 11-year-old New Rochelle 7th grader Nale Namunyola, and Grace Sheehan, an 11-year-old 6th grader from Eastchester.
Nale, Grace and Ethan play Junior Team Tennis (JTT), a program of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) at CRC. After their teams progressed to the sectional matches in Albany this season, the USTA reached out to CRC for names of young tennis players who exemplified good sportsmanship and team spirit, and would feel comfortable in front of a big crowd.
Naomi Simunyola, who runs the JTT program at CRC, and her husband Brian Simunyola, who coaches CRC’s JTT teams, were quick to nominate Grace, Ethan and Nale. The three joined other youth in the USTA’s Net Generation program at the US Open, participating in coin tosses and holding trophies.
Ethan Wu witnessed the much-discussed women’s trophy presentation firsthand, holding the platter awarded to Serena Williams. Ethan’s mother Kailing Wu says Ethan and his brother Aidan both love tennis. “After trying other tennis centers, we have found a home and tennis family at College Racquet Club. The coaches are all phenomenal, and both boys love the atmosphere.”
Grace Sheehan said, “It was surreal to meet people I had only ever seen on TV.” Grace’s mom Laura Sheehan said: “I can't say enough about what a positive experience it has been to have my girls learn to play tennis at CRC. Watching Grace come up from the beginner program to seeing her JTT team make it to Sectionals three years in a row has been so rewarding, and she has formed lasting friendships with her teammates. I think the fact that there are both boys and girls on the team is key because they learn skills from one another."
Coach Brian Simunyola is a big proponent of the team approach: “Tennis can be a lonely sport, but through team play, our students get the opposite experience. The players watch all the matches and cheer each other on. Boys and girls play together, becoming equals on the court and building understanding, community spirit and character along the way. Many of our hardworking, dedicated students will go on to play in college, where team training is in high demand.”
Congratulations to Nale, Grace and Ethan, and all our JTT teams!
For more information on Concordia’s College Racquet Club, call 914-961-3955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.