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Pompano player wins tourney

Posted on 26 September 2019 by LeslieM

Pompano Beach’s Julia Vulpio returns a shot against Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen in the finals of the Women’s Open Division in the Delray Cup – Prize Money Open, Age Category and NTRP Championships at ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray Beach. Vulpio won the title with a 6-4, 7-5 win. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

In the beginning, Julia Vulpio wasn’t a big fan of tennis.

“At first, I didn’t like it,” said Vulpio, 18, of Pompano Beach. “I wanted to play with dolls and do normal kid’s stuff.”

She got her start when her father saw a poster of Argentinian tennis pro Guillermo Vilas on the floor for his academy and they went.

“It was closed for the year and my dad said since we are here, let’s play,” said Vulpio, who was age 4 at the time. She continued to play recreationally until age 9 when she had a breakthrough.

“I saw Rafa Nadal play at the French Open, and I said, ‘wow, I really want to play now,’” Vulpio recalled. “I love the competition. I like everything. I like the fighting. It is definitely mental, a lot of it.”

She cited her strengths as a backhand crosscourt, her slice serve and a topspin forehand.

Vulpio recently scored a 6-4, 7-5 win over Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen in the finals of the Women’s Open Division in the Delray Cup – Prize Money Open, Age Category and NTRP Championships at ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray Beach. Not bad considering she hadn’t played in a tournament in a couple of months and had just been training.

“I just decided to go back and play a few tournaments,” said Vulpio, a Quinnipiac University commit. She is currently homeschooling to prepare. She has also been training at ProWorld for almost two years. She was a former No. 1 in France for girls 16s and was ranked No. 900 at WTA at age 17.

“It was a good match to start back,” she said. “Winning the tournament gives you confidence for sure, especially since it is my first tournament in a while.”

The tournament also featured Men’s Open singles, Men’s Open doubles, Women’s 3.5 NTRP singles and Men’s 4.0 and 4.5 singles play. There were 81 players in the event and in addition to players from Florida, there were also competitors from CA, TX, NJ , NY, MI, and PR.

“The tournament had about 80 players – 70 in the Open and 11 in the NTRP,” Tournament Director Lew Wolfe said.

Bucks win third straight game

After opening the season with two straight losses on the road, the Deerfield Beach High School football team have regained their winning ways with a third consecutive shutout following a 42-0 win over Oak Ridge (Orlando) at home on Friday night.

Senior quarterback Michael Pratt tossed three touchdown passes, while senior running back Jaylan Knighton topped the century mark rushing and added two touchdowns for the Bucks, who have defeated Blanche Ely (42-0), Zachary (La.) 52-0 and Oakridge in the team’s home opener.

Pratt, a Tulane University commit who transferred to Deerfield Beach from nearby Boca Raton in early August, will face his former team on Friday when the Bucks take on the Bobcats at home.

Pratt connected with Aydin Henningham, Xavier Restrepo and Jaziun Patterson for TD passes and Knighton, a Florida State commit, totaled 101 yards on the ground and scored twice.

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Locals fare well in Deerfield tourney

Posted on 28 January 2016 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

When it comes to competition, Lighthouse Point’s Simone Babb is right at home on the tennis court. The 18-year-old North Broward Prep High School senior has played tennis for 10 years and has aspirations of someday playing college tennis.

I like the competition and playing in matches and tournaments,” Babb said. “I won a couple of matches in a Level 5 state designated tournament near Orlando and that was really fun because it was near Universal, and I beat some top players in the state.”

Playing for the Eagles, Babb has also had success in the FHSAA District tournaments in her previous three years.

My doubles partner and I got to the district finals and I also reached the district semifinals a couple of times as a singles competitor,” Babb said. “This year, I would love to make it to state.”

Babb fell to Margate’s Samantha Fine, 6-4; 6-3 in the round of 16 in the Girls’ 18 Singles at the recent Deer Creek Holiday Classic Level 6 at the Deer Creek Tennis Resort in Deerfield Beach. A total of 106 players took part in the tournament that featured age divisions from 12s to 18s.

The sport is super important to me because it teaches you how to compete in athletics and it keeps your brain stimulated,” Babb said. “The competition is what makes it fun.”

The different challenges that a player faces is what Babb likes the most about the sport. She said playing in a tournament like the Holiday Classic was good for her confidence and it keeps her match tough. She plays in a tournament every other weekend.

Anybody can beat anybody on a given day, so you can’t think [about] whether or not they have beaten you before,” said Babb, who is ranked 95th in the state in Girls 18s. “It is like every day is a different day.”

Every time you play someone it is always different,” she continued. “The court is going to be different. The weather is going to be different. You are going to be feeling different so it really doesn’t matter. You have to take every match as a new situation. You just keep playing. You know it is for fun and you keep playing and enjoy it because it makes you feel better.”

Deerfield Beach’s Daria Drobotova, 8, also played in the Holiday Classic; however, her goals are obviously slightly different that Babb’s. The third grader at Del Prado Elementary School in Boca Raton has played tennis four years, but mostly against girls three and four years older.

It is hard to play with an older girl, but I still keep trying to beat her,” Drobotova said. “But if I lose to her, it is okay because she is older. If I am playing someone who is older, I sometimes get nervous, but then I feel like it is okay. It doesn’t matter. If I lose, I lose and if I win, I win.”

Drobotova, who entered the tournament as the top seed, fell in the Girls 12 Singles Semifinal to Delray Beach’s Sabira Mohamed, 7-6(3); 6-2 and advanced to the Girls’ 12 Singles Consolation final where she dropped a 6-3; 6-4 decision to Melbourne, Australia’s Lara Tovich.

I have played a lot of matches in the 12 & Unders,” Drobotova said. “I lost to them, but I kept trying and trying and one of them I won.”

Drobotova said it is important when she wins her matches because it shows her that she is playing better.

It shows that I am playing better than the other girls and that I am trying harder,” Drobotova said. “It is really a fun sport. When you try it, and you get it, it is really easy.”

Deerfield Beach’s Adelya Mukhutdinova won her Girls’ 14 Singles Consolation Final as she swept Allison Isaacs (Dana Point, CA) 6-0; 6-1.

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Beach Tennis event attracts 250 competitors

Posted on 04 June 2015 by LeslieM

sports060415By Gary Curreri

Gaspar Cecchi can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

The 12-year-old from Miami Beach has been playing beach tennis for the past two years and he was one of an estimated 250 competitors who took part in the 7th annual Deerfield Beach World Cup Beach Tennis event this past weekend in Deerfield Beach.

It is my type of game, my type of sport,” Cecchi said. “It is a racquet and a ball. There is no bounce. It is outside on the beach and I get a tan. You are diving and I get to be with my friends and family. It is better than just spending time sitting on a couch watching TV and playing video games inside.”

Cecchi views winning as being important.

In tournaments, it is very important for me to win because later on you get better,” Cecchi said. “You play harder opponents and learn from it. When I play A Division or Open Divisions, I get pro points. You get higher (rankings) and maybe you get as high as the pros.”

In this tournament, he played in both the Men’s Open and Junior Division.

I like playing against the men,” Cecchi said. “There are some people who are tough. They play better or they are tall. They can also run more. The hardest to me are the lefties because you don’t know where to shoot the ball. If you are a righty, you know where to put it. If you are a righty against a lefty or a lefty against a righty it is harder because you don’t know where to put it.”

The International Beach Tennis-USA event was cosponsored this year by Frank Congemi and SEXY Beach Tennis as a co-title sponsor, along with Dos Equis Beer. The three sponsors put up the $5,000 winners purse that was handed out to the various divisions.

Adrienne Cerra, president of the International Beach Tennis-USA, said the event doubled in size this year to 250 competitors.

We used a lot of social media and the word is getting around how awesome Deerfield Beach is,” Cerra said. “We were very pleased with the turnout. This is going to be in the Olympics. We just have to continue to grow the sport. There are people playing all over the world. There are thousands and we are going to continue to try and get the support of the sponsors, and the media and TV will help.”

Simply Soccer Camp

Area residents are invited to attend the Simply Soccer camp at Mullins Park in Coral Springs.

Simply Soccer seeks boys and girls, ages 5-14, of all skill levels, for its 27th annual summer camp series that begins this week in Coral Springs.

This summer’s camp dates are: June 8-12, 15-19, 22-26; July 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27- 31; Aug. 3-7, 10-14, 17-21.

There are three sessions ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a Tiny Tot program from 9 a.m. to noon. Players will be taught a variety of soccer skills from dribbling to shooting.

It is the longest running soccer camp offered by the city. Campers must bring a soccer ball, swimsuit, shin guards, water bottle and lunch. For information on the Coral Springs camp, call 954-345-2200.

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Beach tennis event ‘a success’

Posted on 23 May 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Adrienne Cerra spent the entire weekend walking around the 5th annual IFBTUSA Beach Tennis World Cup event with a smile on her face.

Cerra, the International Federation of Beach Tennis- USA president, said more than 180 players from South Florida and around the world attended the event, sponsored by Frank Congemi this past weekend at Deerfield Beach.

“It was a great success,” Cerra said. “Deerfield was once again a great host with its seaside charm and great local restaurants and bars. The players love returning every year for this great event. The beach was filled for the event as thousands watched the action, and the weather was perfect!”

Cerra said players from all over the USA, as well as Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Aruba, Peru, Columbia and Germany, represented their countries. The categories included Men’s and Women’s Open Doubles, Men’s and Women’s Open Singles, Women’s and Men’s “A” (advanced) Singles, Women’s and Men’s “A” Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Singles matches were held on Friday, Doubles on Saturday and Mixed Doubles on Sunday.

“It has almost doubled every year, and we raised the prize money to $5,000 this year thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, Frank Congemi. “Approximately $3,000 of it goes to the men’s open winner. Last year, the prize money was $1,500. This tournament is fantastic and it is one of the best tournaments in the world.”

Grade 1 World Ranking Points and prize money were awarded to the Men’s and Women’s Open Division and Mixed Doubles Winners, while prizes were awarded to A Divisions and juniors.

“We came up to see this,” said Ric Green, who has been the president and CEO of the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce for the past five years. “We would like to see them expand and maybe have a complimentary tournament in Pompano. With what she has going, I think there is real potential on the local level. This is an international tournament for her so this is special. Maybe we can hold a couple of local events in Pompano. It is very impressive.”

“It is always great to play for the home crowd,” said Jan Macko, who was one of 180 players who took part in the event. “It is a great weekend activity for anybody.” www.mybeachtennis.net for results!

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Edwards wins prestigious camp award

Posted on 30 August 2012 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Delaney Edwards enjoyed a stellar high school tennis season last year at Cardinal Gibbons and continued that torrid pace at the IMG Academy in Bradenton this past summer.

Edwards, 15, who will be a sophomore with the Broward Virtual School this year, trains locally at the Rineberg Tennis Training (RTT) Academy based in Deerfield Beach. She began playing tennis at age 4 and has had the same coach, Dave Rineberg, since she was 6.

“I have a full-time coach (Dave Rineberg) at home so IMG is just a good change once in a while,” Edwards said. “I like the competition they offer with all the international kids, and I also enjoy using their gym and the fitness program.”

Edwards was recently named the Gatorade “G Standout Award”/IMG Academy Athlete of the Week for tennis. This is a prestigious award handed out during IMG’s summer camp season to an athlete who displays heart, hustle and soul, exhibiting a true desire to reach their true athletic potential.

All IMG Bollettieri Tennis camps feature a core tennis academy program that is progressive and builds on each day and week by incorporating the “Bollettieri Method” aimed at individual improvement.

“I was happy when I got the award because it showed that my hard work there was noticed,” said Edwards, who returned last year after taking a year off because she was burned out. “It also represented a start for a comeback.”

Edwards said her best memory from her high school season was when she decided to join the Chiefs during mid season.

“It was a turning point for me because I wanted to get back to playing matches,” said Edwards, who teamed with Kristin Wiley to finish second in the state high school tourney in doubles last year. “It was also great to come back to school after states with a silver medal.”

Edwards’ immediate goals are to regain a top national ranking in the Girls 18s and earn some good results in upcoming tournaments. She doesn’t plan to return to high school tennis this season.

“I am hoping to play a few ITF tournaments, as well as two pro circuit events in September,” said Edwards, who also works with Dave Remple at RTT. “I haven’t really thought about my future goals since I just recommitted to tennis so, for now, I take it day by day … my coach always says ‘never look back, enjoy the moment, and always move forward.’”

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