Alton High School senior Janelle Wilson won the Women’s Open Singles title at the 32nd annual Bud Simpson Open last weekend at Lewis and Clark Community College’s Andy Simpson Tennis Center.
GODFREY – Janelle Wilson is poised for a successful tennis season at Alton High this fall.
The senior-to-be got the ball rolling in the right direction the past weekend at the 32nd annual Bud Simpson Open. She won another title in Women’s Open Singles competition. Wilson also snared the 2013 championship at Lewis and Clark Community College’s Andy Simpson Tennis Center.
“I’m excited about this season,” Wilson said of her first one as a Redbird. “I’m going to try to win the sectional and do well at state. Winning a sectional title would be important to me.”
Wilson played her first two seasons at Marquette Catholic. She finished fourth in the sectional as a freshman and runner-up her sophomore year. Both times she qualified for state and Wilson won three matches in Chicagoland her second season.
She transferred for Marquette to AHS last season but didn’t participate in IHSA competition. Instead, she honed her skills in USTA action, notably the Missouri Valley region.
“Playing in the USTA is what I do all the time, so it wasn’t a big deal,” Wilson said of the competition.
And that’s what she’s doing this summer, mostly touring the Missouri Valley circuit. She has upcoming matches scheduled at Purdue, Middle Tennessee State and Omaha, Neb. Last month, Wilson finished first in the Alton/Godfrey Closed Tournament.
“I’m not sure yet about where I’m going to play college tennis,” Wilson said, also pondering her subject major. “I’d like to go away to school somewhere.”
When September rolls around, Wilson will go regularly against Southwestern Conference players, something she didn’t experience at Marquette.
“It’ll be a little bit different competition,” she said.
Yet she expects a smooth transition to Alton High. “I already know a lot of the people there,” she said.
Elsewhere, Chicagoland’s Julian Childers defeated St. Louisan Warren Race, 6-2, 6-2 for the Men’s Open singles championship. Childers, a junior for the University of Illinois tennis team, joined Tim Kopinksi as the Simpson Open doubles champs last year.
“We had four University of Illinois players here and they were all seeded in the top four spots,” tournament director James Humphrey said. “The Illinois coach (Brad Dancer) told me he wouldn’t be surprised if any of his players won it.”
Childers thus earned a berth into the main draw of the LCCC Futures Tournament, set to start on the Simpson courts.
“I played here last year, so I know the courts,” Childers said. “They can be a little tricky, so you have to be prepared for anything.”
He figures to be a key player for the Illini, 24-9 the past season and ranked No. 11 in the nation. The Illini finished second in the Big Ten regular-season standings and were runners-ups in the conference tournament.
“Our team goals are to win the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournament,” Childers said.
Race, an assistant coach at Missouri-St. Louis, lauded Childers’ play in the finals.
“He’s more consistent than me,” said Race, instrumental in recruiting Marquette’s Caroline Claywell and Alton High’s Allan Bower. Claywell will be a junior at UMSL this year; Bower is an incoming freshman.
He added, “But it’s nice to get second here. I was second in a tournament at Decatur and first in the Dwight Davis championship.”
The local doubles team of Steve Moehn and Michal Doyle took second in men’s competition. Toshiki Matsuya and Brad Holt defeated them in the finals, 6-7, 7-2, 7-5.
Moehn, a Marquette graduate, was a part of tournament championship doubles teams in 2011 and 2012. Doyle was on a 2010 winner.
Paul Stuart (men’s 35-and-older singles), plus Adam King and Morgan McGinnis (Mixed Doubles), also won Open titles.
Tournament proceeds benefit the Bud and Robert Simpson Memorial fund in support of youth tennis.