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USTA Georgia
116 Marble Mill Road
Marietta, GA 30060
Tax ID 58-1309245

ACE: Long History of JTT Fun and Success

August 14, 2016 09:19 AM
Jon Ingram (center) and Alan Donald (right) lead their ACE team in the 12 Intermediate final. ACE_wilmington_NC_clubhouse

By Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern

Photos: Caroline Downs/USTA North Carolina & Jenny Robb/USTA Alabama

The goal of Junior Team Tennis is to combine camaraderie and competition, fun and achievement. The Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina, has hit the mark in many ways over the years.

Most would agree that the Landfall teams from the club are at the pinnacle of Southern Junior Team Tennis. Teams coached by the club’s Head Tennis Pro Jon Ingram have won a USTA crown (2014 14 and Under Intermediate) and finished as a finalist (18 and Under Intermediate) at nationals. Three other teams wearing the club’s ACE shirts have advanced to the annual USTA nationals and 18 have come to this tournament over the years.

The club's first JTT team was nicknamed the Aces, leading the coaches to identify all teams with the name.

The ACE 12s Intermediate team, coached by Assistant Tennis Pro Alan Donald, had another standout performance, but fell Georgia in Sunday’s final.

In 2016 seven of the club's teams are won their local play, four were state champs and two were finalists.

A visit to the club’s facility will illuminate why there is so much success. One of the rooms looks like it is covered in JTT wallpaper.

“We really love Junior Team Tennis,” Ingram said. “The players and parents are really into it. That has created a demand to organize more and more teams. We had about 70 kids.” This year the club supported 18 JTT teams.

The longevity of ACE’s program comes from a tradition that goes back years as younger players want to match the success of their predecessors. Ingram said, “The kids look to other kids as examples. … I focus on the type of kids who are brought into the program. These kids are our role models” for the younger players.

Asked if participants got any special perks, he laughed and said, “There are no gifts. We don’t bribe them.” But the teammates are identified with the ACE T-shirts.

“We do bonding trips. We’ve taken them to Busch Gardens. We want to create an environment for them to improve as a group.”

That seems to be working as ACE and Landfall continue to produce titles and happy faces.