YTF Hosts Three Collegiate Tournaments
Dec 18, 2023
The Youth Tennis Foundation (YTF) sponsored three tournaments for collegiate players during the month of September. The first was the Men’s Bedford Cup event, which was held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando from September 22-24. Andy Gladstone, of UCF, was the tournament director. This event began in 2011 and has been held continuously at various campuses around the state, except for the COVID year. All D-I teams are invited and most attend every year.
The second event was the Women’s Bedford Cup, which was held at the campus of USF from September 29-October 1. Christina Moros, the USF women’s coach, was the tournament director. This event began in 2012 and has been held continuously at various campuses, except for the COVID year. Again, all D-I teams are invited and nearly all attended this year.
The Bedford Cup events are funded by the Bedford Foundation. The concept, initiated by the YTF, has proven to be so well-liked that similar events have sprung up across the country ever since. Ron Fick, who played tennis at the University of Florida from 1963-1967, is to be given much credit for making this happen. Since most of the schools are in different conferences, they rarely play each other and this event provides them with an opportunity to do so. Only Florida schools can participate.
The third event was a tournament created by and funded by the YTF. It involves players from D-II, NAIA and JUCO teams from across the state. Here, too, the concept allows for schools from different conferences to play each other. It, too, has been extremely popular and has been in existence since 2017. It is held at the Dave Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland, and Andrew Dickens, coach of the Southeastern men’s and women’s teams, is the tournament director. He is ably assisted by his wife, Kelsey.
Alexander Orikowski, from UF, won the men’s Bedford Cup title, defeating his teammate, Jan Magnus Johnson, in the finals. Johnson won the Sportsmanship Award, which is named in honor of Doug Barr, a tennis player who died far too young. He was the son of Don Barr, the long-time coach at USF.
UCF, Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast, UNF and FAMU participated in the tournament. Miami, FSU, Bethune-Cookman and USF were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts this year, but they have all hosted and/or played in most of the events in years past.
At the women’s event, every D-I school participated, except Miami and Bethune-Cookman. Oyubuini Quadre of FIU defeated Annabelle Davis of UNF in the final. Noel Saidenova and Anique Kattenburg of UCF defeated Amy Kaplan and Isabel Oliveira of UNF in the doubles finals.
In Lakeland, over 90 players competed in the tournament, down from 120 last year, and teams from the University of Tampa, Flagler College, St. Leo’s, Warner, Florida National and Southeastern participated. Julie Ball of the University of Tampa defeated her teammate, Kristina Miletic, in the women’s final. In doubles, Tampa’s team of Nicole Ciernak and Kristina Miletic defeated Laura Linescu and Antonia Pfeiffer of Flagler in the final.
On the men’s side, Brunoe Pessoa of Southeastern won the men’s title, defeating Victor Johannson of St. Leo. Nicolas Bacella and Ghali Mensour won the doubles over SEU’s team of Bruno Pessoa and Piero Fernandez.
There were three levels of play at each event, and every player had the opportunity to play several matches as there were consolation events in both singles and doubles at all three tournaments.
At a time when too many colleges have, unfortunately, dropped their tennis programs, the YTF decided that support for the collegiate game was warranted, which is why the tournaments were created. The coaches and the players very much appreciate the financial support provided to them and they look forward to playing against teams they don’t normally play.
So, tennis fans, get out and support your local teams! Remember, two years ago Ben Shelton was playing for the Gators and winning the NCAA championship in 2021 before turning pro. Look at him now. You just might see the next emerging star of the tennis world!
Photos (from top to bottom): Players who competed at Lakeland. Finalist Jan Magnus Johnson and winner Alexander Orikoowski. Women players who competed in Bedford Cup at USF. UF coach Adam Steinbeeg, assistant coach Matt Cloer, Sportsmanshiip Award winner Jan Magnus Johnson, and Pierce Kelley of YTF.
Source/Photos: YTF. Top Photo: Saeed Basseri via Pexel. This article also appears in the November/December 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news.