Ponaganset Middle School’s tennis tourney nets success

Ponaganset Middle School’s tennis tourney nets success

Above left, Ponaganset Middle School players Aiden Shaw, left, and Josh Steere teamed up to place third out of 17 teams at the inaugural RIPCOA-supported Middle School Tennis Tournament on June 3 at Ponaganset High. Above right, Ponaganset Middle School’s Layton Luca, left, and Ethan Clegg were the 5th-place team.

GLOCESTER – Ponaganset Middle School saw four players place among the top five doubles teams at the inaugural nine-school RIPCOA-supported Middle School Tennis Tournament on Sunday, June 3, at Ponaganset High’s tennis facility.

Josh Steere and Aiden Shaw teamed up to take third place out of 17 teams in the double-elimination tournament, and Ethan Clegg and Layton Luca joined forces to place fifth. Winning the state championship was the Gordon School’s Kavi Mongia Gasper and Gabe Kravitz, who defeated Curtis Corner Middle School’s Ryan Glen and Ethan Lin in the finals.

According to the tournament director, Ponaganset High tennis coach Jamie LaRose, the tournament was used to help “assess the need for adding middle school tennis to the list of sports that RIPCOA governs in Rhode Island. RIPCOA’s support of middle school tennis is essential in convincing school committees to approve the addition of co-ed tennis teams and paid coaches across the state.”

For the past two years, seven public schools and six private schools have been participating in a pilot middle school tennis program, reported LaRose. Ponaganset Middle School has fielded a club team for the past six years, which has been organized and coached by volunteer parents and community members, and “it is one of our biggest middle school teams, with 50 co-ed participants this spring,” she added.

“I remain very excited to see new schools join and grow with us,” continued LaRose. “It is our hope that RIPCOA will support a legitimate tennis league next year. I helped organized the tournament this year in the hopes of providing more opportunities for kids in the state to play and learn the lifetime sport of tennis. (The tournament) was a success, and at the very least, we hope to make the tournament an annual event.”