Boys 16s: Kalamazoo, MI
ADNA had some amazing representation deep into the tournament, with eight of the 16 final players representing the brand, and four of the eight quarterfinalists. The eight players were as follows, Chase Colton, Aron Hiltzik, Henrik Wiersholm, William Griffith, Michael Genender, Alexandru Gozun (who wasn’t able to get his package before the tournament started, but will be competing in the brand for upcoming events), Cameron Klinger, and local player Paul Oosterbaan.
Oosterbaan had more pressure than any other player in the draw. A local player from Kalamazoo, being the #2 seed, comes with a lot of expectations even after dealing with injuries the last three weeks. Playing in front of a large crowd every match may have had a lot of players succumb to the pressure, but Oosterbaan rose above it with an extremely impressive run to the semis with almost every match having at least one close set, and then capped it off with fellow ADNA Select member Aron Hiltzik, by reaching the finals of doubles and earning both of them Silver Balls. Oosterbaan may not have reached his ultimate goal, but he has two more years to do so in the 18s, congrats on his great run.
First year player Henrik Wiersholm made his mark this year at Kalamazoo. Battling nerves in the first round, he narrowly escaped a quick exit winning 6-4 in the third. After that, Wiersholm found his game, and did not drop a set the rest of the tournament. Despite being only 15, and outsized by most of his opponents, Henrik was able to use his all court came and discipline to make his mark at one of the the biggest tournaments of his career. Wiersholm took home double Gold Balls, winning singles and doubles, and will now have a chance to make his mark on the international stage at the Junior US Open.
Boys 18s: Kalamazoo, MI
For a lot of competitors, this is the last junior tournament of their career, saying goodbye to 18 years of ups and downs, and bringing on the new chapter of a college career, and for some, a professional one. With a mix of amateur players and professional players all competing for the US Open main draw WC, and no clear front runner, it was a battle from the start. ADNA had some amazing representation at the event, and although no one took home the gold ball this time, there were a couple of players who stood out and made their mark on their junior career.
In doubles, despite being the 8 seed, ADNA Select member Brendan McClain and his partner TJ Pura won back-to-back super breakers on their way to the Semi-Finals. In a hard fought battle against eventual champions Novikov and Redlicki, McClain was on the other side of a breaker this time losing 4,6 (4) in the finals. He can hold his head up high though, taking home a Bronze Ball at the biggest event of the year!
Last year, Ronnie Schneider, took home the boys 16s Kalamazoo title, and even though the expectations weren’t as high coming into his first year, as always, he silenced any doubters. Ronnie had some long matches, and made a great run to the quarters before bowing out in three sets to eventual champion Dennis Novikov. Schneider is expected to come back even stronger next year, and become a serious threat for the title.
After a disappointing finish to National Clay courts, where Jared Hiltzik had a commanding lead in the second set finals, but was unable to claim the title due to a rain delay which eventually led to the cancellation of the tournament, Jared had every reason to let the hangover of the event run into Kalamazoo. Instead of worrying about past results, Hiltzik made a great run to the semis, before losing to current pro Alexios Halebian, 6-3, 7-6 (5). Hiltzik did take home another ball though, coming third in the event and winning a Bronze Ball. Not a bad way to finish off his junior career!