Jan. 19, 2020
Biola University’s tennis program held its 36th Annual Tennis Tournament in November to raise money for its program. A total of 64 players ranging from novice to professional including wheelchair tennis players came out to play in the tournament.
A grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) made the up-down tournament possible and within three days of sign-ups, the wheelchair division was full. The up-down division, in which a wheelchair player is paired with an able-bodied player, was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1, but due to rain, the event was rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15.
Divisions in the tournament included men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, novice, and wheelchair.
Tennis players from the Biola men’s and women’s teams, the La Mirada community and various cities in Southern California, participated in the tournament. In addition, coaches from the local community who have novice players starting out in the sport send their players to this tournament as part of their first competition. The youngest competitor in the novice division was 12-years-old.
“The idea is for [players] to get experience,” said Dee Henry, Biola women’s tennis coach. “The more you play the better you get in this game.”
More experienced players, including two men from the Biola team, played in the up-down tournament. Also competing was professional wheelchair tennis player Atif Moon of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., who was nationally ranked at No. 14 in the USTA and has also played competitively in the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
“Coach Henry has done a lot for wheelchair tennis and to support us,” said Moon.
Moon often comes to Biola’s tennis facility to practice and socialize and has been playing on and off for more than 22 years. He is starting to play more competitively with hopes to play in the 2016 Paralympics.
Anthony Lara, ranked 309 in the ITF, placed first winning by one point in the wheelchair division.
“[The tournament will] help to support Dee and the program, but it’s also good for us for exercise because it’s hard for us to get enough exercise so tennis is a great exercise,” said wheelchair player Mark Jones.
Henry says she was satisfied with the overall turnout and the wheelchair division was the best she has seen.
“The chair players had a great time and it was even better for the people who had never played as a partner for the chair players – an experience they will long remember,” said Henry.
Written by Brieana Jordan, iBiola Reporter. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, media relations specialist, at 562.777.4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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