Edwardsville head tennis coach Dave Lipe has come up with an idea to help promote the sport he loves for his home county.
The Madison County Junior Tennis Spring Championship 2017 is scheduled for April 7-9 at the EHS Tennis Center at Edwardsville High School and possibly Liberty Middle School, depending on the amount of entries. All of the entries in the tourney must live in Madison County.
“What we felt was there was a need in Madison County to have some events that were for local kids,” Lipe said. “Events that were convenient and affordable for local kids to promote our game. It’s a concise format, Friday night and a Saturday, hopefully not all weekend. It will only go to Sunday if we get rain.”
The event will include singles and doubles for 10s, 12s and 14s for boys and singles and doubles for 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s for girls. The plan is to have another tournament in the fall that also will include brackets for high school age boys.
This is a non-elimination tournament; everyone will get to play approximately the same number of matches. The 10s divisions will use a 60-foot court and an orange ball. All others will use the 90-foot court and 12s will use the green ball.
The deadline to enter the tournament is 5 p.m. April 3. To learn more about it visit advnews.link/2n7gsQl.
The cost is $25 for singles and $15 for doubles. For the price all entries receive a tournament T-shirt and free tickets to the Edwardsville Futures 25K this summer, along with other prizes.
“Yes, $40 is more expensive than going to the movies, but to play singles and doubles, have new balls and trophies, it’s very affordable,” Lipe said.
“It’s approximately half the price of the district level St. Louis tournaments and it’s going to promote tennis in our county, which I think is a very important thing,” he said. “It will give us a chance to utilize our incredible facilities here (Edwardsville High) and hopefully it raises a little bit of money for our tennis program, but the main thing is to promote the game and give the kids a chance to play.”
Lipe, a Granite City High grad and coach at Edwardsville since 1994, has plenty of ties throughout the county. He also worked as a tennis coach at Summers Port in Godfrey early in his coaching career.
He believes and hopes this tournament can be a great vehicle to grow tennis in all the Madison County communities.
Since the prep boys are currently cast in their high school seasons, they won’t be available to participate in the spring tourney, but Lipe said he hopes varsity and JV girls, who are in their high school offseasons, will all sign up to play.
“I hope to get varsity and junior varsity players from Alton, Collinsville, Highland, Bethalto, Edwardsville, Troy, Roxana, East Alton-Wood River — all the schools in the county. I hope the best players sign up and I hope the JV players sign up,” Lipe said. “It will be a chance for everybody to play in the tournament. The format on Friday is a round robin-type thing and a playoff on Saturday morning.
“Time-wise, it’s a concise format. It gives kids a chance to play without taking up 72 hours of their lives. For all those reasons, we’re trying to make a player-friendly, family-friendly event where everybody wins.”