FOUR NEW HAVEN STUDENTS QUALIFY FOR HIGH SCHOOL STATE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
(5/28/2008) Students-Athletes Are Participants In New Haven Parks & Recreation Tennis Program
NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 28, 2008 – Today at City Hall, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., along with Pilot Pen Tennis celebrated the achievements of four New Haven high school tennis players: Jacob Rowland (Wilbur Cross HS), Mischa Leher (Wilbur Cross HS), Giovanni Emestica (Career HS) and Stephan Cunningham (Career HS). In addition, Gus Boatman (North Branford) from the local area was also recognized. All five of these students are participants in the New Haven Parks & Recreation tennis lessons program who qualified for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) state tennis tournament to be held on May 29, 2008.
The New Haven Parks & Recreation tennis programs have seen incredible success by adding more participants and lessons each year. This program started six years ago as a collaboration between the New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation and Trees, Pilot Pen Tennis and USTA New England to introduce New Haven school kids to the game of tennis through affordable lessons. The partnership has boosted participation in the program from 14 students in 2004 to more than 1,400 currently, with lessons being offered at Edgewood Park, East Shore Park and Wilbur Cross High School.
“I am very proud of these young men, and know they will represent New Haven well in the state finals,” said DeStefano. “This group of individuals is a shining example of how, when organizations like Pilot Pen Tennis work with the City, amazing things can be accomplished. Our partnership is a model that other cities and groups can successfully follow.”
Pilot Pen Tennis – State Finalists
In addition to participating in the Parks & Recreation lessons, these five individuals are also part of the exceptionally talented 18 and under New Haven Junior Team Tennis team, which was formed last year with seven other New Haven area high school players. The team has already had incredible success winning the Connecticut State title and placing third in the New England Sectional tournament in 2007. Thanks to a new $10,000 grant from the Tennis Foundation of Connecticut, tennis programs were offered for the first time ever to New Haven residents during the winter, paving the way for the 18 and under as well as the 14 and under teams to finish third in the Indoor State competition.
“Pilot Pen Tennis is thrilled with the success that these students are having on the court as a result of their hard work and the instruction of New Haven Parks & Rec tennis program,” said Anne Worcester, Pilot Pen Tennis tournament director. “The Pilot Pen strives to leverage the excitement of professional tennis to inspire kids to play tennis. We are proud to offer New Haven youth access to the sport of tennis, which is all about fun, fitness and friendship.”
The future of the program continues to be bright as funding has been secured through grants from the Tennis Foundation of Connecticut, USTA New England and Pilot Pen Tennis, which has allowed the program to offer lessons year-round. Also, earlier this school-year 80 physical education instructors throughout the New Haven School system were introduced to the USTA Schools program and have taught tennis in their spring gym classes.
For more information about Pilot Pen Tennis and the New Haven Parks & Recreation Department, log on to www.pilotpentennis.com or www.cityofnewhaven.com/parks.
About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick ®
Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick, an Olympus US Open Series event on the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, will be held August 15-23, 2008 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale and feature a number of international tennis stars including World No. 13 Agnes Szavay, Americans Mardy Fish, Donald Young and John Isner, and 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli. The Pilot Pen is the first ever combined men’s and women’s summer tournament leading into the US Open. The 2007 Pilot Pen, whose champions are Sveltana Kuznetsova and James Blake, drew nearly 100,000 spectators and was televised nationally for 18 hours on ESPN2 and CBS Sports.
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