Only a handful of members of the Westport Tridents will be headed to California this week for the Tri-Level National Championships, but captain Doug Presley says it was a team effort to get them to that point.
Six members of the team and captain Doug Presley will head to Indian Wells, Calif. for the Tri-Level National Championships, which runs from March 15-17. They will be competing in a round robin format with the 16 USTA sections and play their first match on Friday morning against Southern California. The final stages of the playoffs will take place on Saturday and Sunday.
“Most of us haven’t played outdoors all year and it’s safe to say that Southern California is one of the strongest teams there,” said Presley. “It’s an uphill battle right from the start, but we’re ready for the challenge.”
The Tridents, who compete out of Kings Highway Racquet Club in Darien, participated this fall in the Tri-Level USTA leagues. The league consisted of southern Connecticut tennis players with 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 USTA ratings. Matches between teams throughout the season ran through the fall and consisted of three doubles matches, one with only 3.5 players, one with only 4.0 players and one with only 4.5 players. All of the matches were tallied up throughout the season to determine which players made it to the state championships.
After winning the Connecticut championships last December, the Tridents represented the state in the New England playoffs this past January in Ludlow, Mass.
“The reason we got to New England playoffs is because of everyone on our team. We all had to play well enough to get to that point,” said Presley, a 4.0 player on the team who will be attending the national championships as captain “The 4.0 players went undefeated and haven’t lost a regular season match in a year and a half. The 3.5 players won half their matches and then the 4.5 players peaked when we got to playoffs. It’s basically an all-star team.”
During the New England playoffs, the four 4.5 players on the Tridents went undefeated and moved into the tri-level national championships this week in California.
The tri-level national championships are also running concurrently with the BNP Paribas Tennis Open, which features all of the world’s top players including Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova.
“The running joke is that you have to pay $90 to watch us play,” said Presley. “That’s what will get you onto the BNP Paribas grounds for the final weekend, but our matches will be on the outer courts while Federer and everyone else plays in the stadium.”
The Westport Trident team includes a former Division I college player and two former Division III college players, as well as Paul Groves, the current Boys tennis coach at Green Farms Academy in Westport. In addition, three of the players on the team, including Presley, assistant captain Andy Frank and Nils Boenicke, train year-round with the pros at Kings Highway.
“I think the three of us can definitely attribute our success this season to working with the pros there,” said Presley. “We also played all of our home matches out of Kings Highway and having that home court feeling was a huge help.”
Below are the players who will be competing at the National Championships this week.
Doug Presley - Westport (Capt-4.0)
Andy Frank - Norwalk (Asst Capt-4.5)
Peter Ogilvy - Bridgeport (Cornell College - 4.5)
Nils Boenicke - Westport -4.5
Paul Groves - Stratford (Boys Tennis Coach, GFA - 4.5)
Tom Price - Westport (Connecticut College - 4.5)
Todd Klyver - Weston (Lynchburg College - 4.5)