The Northern Inland Academy of Sport sent its “Inland Technology” tennis squad to the 91st North Coast Championships in Grafton.
The event draws some of the best talent in Australia and the NIAS athletes performed well on the big stage with 15 of the 16 members attending the tournament.
NIAS head coach Jarrod Campbell said one of the most impressive aspects from the weekend was the comradery on show.
It’s great to see our younger players going up against open age athletes. It teaches them a lot about expectation and the levels they have to play at- Jarrod Campbell
“When the kids weren’t playing they were watching their squad mates and cheering from the sidelines. There was great support from all the players and a great feeling around the camp,” he said.
Isabelle Moore from Gunnedah finished runner up in the B grade women’s singles event playing against open age opponents. She backed up that performance by partnering Taya Powell from Tamworth to secure the under 12s doubles title.
Powell also finished third in the under 12 girls singles.
Anna Bishop from Gunnedah won the under 12 girls competition and then teamed up with Lacey Bourke from Narrabri to finish third in the under 12 doubles. Lauren Appleby from Moree and Lucy Gainsford from Gunnedah tried their luck in the open women’s B grade event. Appleby finished third in the singles while Gainsford took out third in the doubles.
Campbell said that experience against the older athletes was invaluable.
“It’s great to see our younger players going up against open age athletes. It teaches them a lot about expectation and the levels they have to play at, but all athletes performed exceptionally well against much older and more experienced players,” he said.
In the boys, Connor Guest from Tamworth finished runner-up in the under 12 singles. Inverell’s Ben Butler teamed up with Aaron Osmond from Gunnedah in the Special Men’s Doubles event. It’s the competition between A grade and B grade and our boys took out the title against open age opponents, a great achievement.
Meanwhile, Vitorio Sardinha played in the B grade men’s singles and took out fourth place, and he secured the win in the under 14 boys doubles event.
“The athletes are learning how to control their emotions, I was really impressed by, in the tight matches or if they were falling behind, the fight that the kids displayed,” Campbell said.
The only NIAS athlete missing from the North Coast Championships was Cooper Wilkinson from Gunnedah. He was at the Wollongong Queens Birthday Gold junior tournament.
Cooper started his campaign with a 6-0, 6-0 win in the under 14 boys tournament before he was knocked out by the second seed Paul Truong in the quarter finals. Cooper also faced Paul in the doubles semi-finals. The Gunnedah boy was teamed up with Logan Staight from Logan but once again was unable to defeat Paul, going down 6-2, 6-2 to the eventual doubles champions.
How old were you when you first got into golf? 6 years old
Why did you take up the sport? My dad was into golf, he gave me a small club to hit around the yard at home. I got a full set of clubs and starting playing comps when I was 11.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? My consistency of ball striking is pretty good but my course management could be better.
What do you do to strengthen the mental side of your game? I feel like I can control my emotions pretty well but I lose concentration on a few shots which costs me.
What do you hope to achieve through your golf? Doing a pro traineeship or going to college is my goal. Keep playing well and enjoying the game
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