29th year for Junior Tournament

Published in the August 26, 2019 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Thirteen players competed in many impressive and enthusiastic tennis matches this past weekend at the beautiful Dobbins Courts. Blue skies and bright sunshine provided the backdrop for this 29th annual event, with champions crowned in three age brackets. There were many fresh faces on the courts, impressing the crowd with polished play and exciting points.

Girls U12

This year’s Girl’s draw featured four tournament rookies and lots of exciting, quality tennis. In the top semifinal, the composed Vania Luwaga faced off against the hard-hitting Khushi Nagalla. Luwaga prevailed with a 6-1, 6-3 win. The match featured excellent play by both players, but Luwaga’s game was steadier and she was able to take advantage of some miscues by Nagalla for the win. In the second semifinal, Mia Lock was in control for most of the match in a 6-2, 6-1 win over Sophie Karlskind.

Luwaga met up with Lock in finals. The first set was an extended back and forth battle with Luwaga coming out on top 7-5. Luwaga secured her first tournament championship when Lock had to retire midway through the second set.

Nagalla and Karlskind competed for the consolation crown. The players were tireless with this match easily the longest of the tournament. Nagalla, playing with a bandaged leg from an earlier scrape, eked out a 15-13 pro-set win. Most games went to deuce at least once, and many went to deuce multiple times.

Boys U12

The Boys U12 division was smaller than past years with three rookie players vying for the Championship. Arya Nagalla and Joseph Brady played the first semifinal match. Both players showed excellent court coverage and defensive tennis. Nagalla took a tight first set at 6-3 and was able to control play in the second set to earn a 6-3, 6-0 victory and face Jack Van Dorpe in the finals.

Nagalla continued where he left off in the semi’s and got off to a quick start in the finals with some strong play. Van Dorpe recovered to make Nagalla work hard in the second set. In the end, Nagalla was not to be denied and won his first tournament championship in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.

Boys High School

Three tournament veterans competed this year in the HS Boys bracket. In the semifinal match, Drew Barrett returned from a year off to meet Justin Carino. Carino has been involved in some long matches in the past few years and put up a good battle but was unable to solve Barrett. Barrett relied on excellent court coverage and some well-placed winners to take a 6-0, 6-3 win and earn a finals match against Lucas Smith, who had a bye as the top seed.

Barrett started strong with an early hold of serve but Smith, who is co-captain and plays second-singles for the WMHS team, proved too strong. Barrett’s strong forehand and variety of slice shots weren’t enough for the firepower and experienced play of the left-handed Smith. Smith took his second straight HS Boys championship in straight sets 6-1, 6-1.

This victory wraps up Smith’s fine career in the tournament. In his five appearances dating back to 2014, Smith has been a finalist three times and now a Champion twice.

Sportsmanship Award

Each year, the Geoffrey Walter Tournament is proud to have a field filled with excellent competitors and many examples of sportsmanship. The tournament committee was proud to award Lucas Smith the Sportsmanship trophy this year. This is his fifth year in the tournament and he has continually impressed the tournament committee with his great attitude, composure and fair play.

Net Notes 

A special thanks goes out to The Savings Bank, the primary sponsor of the Geoffrey Walter Jr. Tennis Tournament.

The committee wishes to thank the T-Stop for their tremendous work on the tournament t-shirts and Janet and Joe DeGuglielmo for their popular contribution of slush and snacks, a welcome refreshment for the players over the weekend. The success of the weekend was made possible by all of these donations.

Special thanks were extended once again to the Callahan Clan who graciously supplied the now-traditional ‘Breakfast at Dobbins’ French Toast as well as delicious banana mini-muffins to the rave reviews of the Sunday morning crowd.

There was again a terrific turnout of many members of the Wakefield tennis community supporting this tournament including local tennis legend Pat Zagaria.

In this year’s Sunday morning “Callahan Division,” Abby Lane bested Sophia Callahan (score not available).

Tournament Director Bill Conley was welcomed back this year from his sabbatical to assist and guide the players with any scoring questions.

Sincere thanks are extended to the many families who have supported the event since it began and those who have been part of the last 17 years, creating a terrific weekend of tennis honoring Geoffrey Walter’s memory.

There was an unexpected break in the action when a handsome golden retriever in the crowd broke loose and got “kinda free, kinda wow “ and took a tour of Courts 1 and 4. Charley was quickly retrieved and play was restarted.

This year’s rookie players were a talented group and the tournament looks forward to their return next year.