Joliet Catholic Academy’s boys and girls tennis programs have had their fair share of success on the hardcourt the last few years, but recently they’ve been putting in extra work on that hardcourt… literally. After years of wear and tear, the players, coaching staff, parents, and alumni have been volunteering their time after practice to fill in cracks with sand and seal the surface with an elastic blue “crackville” adhesive covering.
Juniors Michelle Robert and Olivia Pyzowski said, “We enjoy taking pride in our facility and making it look more presentable for the other conference teams that come to play us. We’ve had a lot of players going to state and (head girls) coach (Terry) Wrona takes the time to work with us and stay after on individual skills, so we need to put the effort in for our courts as well. This is also what we do at JCA, we learn to take ownership”.
JCA boys head coach Scott Allgood has been named the East Suburban Catholic Conference Coach of the Year each of the past two seasons and both boys and girls programs won team sectionals in 2014. Jack Geissler won the boys ESCC Conference Championship in singles, without giving up a game and winning each match. He was also named the Singles Player of the Year in the ESCC, while finishing in the Top 40 at the state tournament.
Success has been no stranger to the girls program as well; in 2014 Nina Bertino finished second in ESCC singles, third in the sectional, and posted a 3-2 record at state, good for a Top 32 finish in the state. The junior tandem of Maddie Bauer and McCoy Hutchinson won the sectional as sophomores, and also finished in the top 32 in the state during the 2014 season. The girls program finished in the top 22 in the state on a whole, with Bertino, Bauer, and Hutchinson among the returnees.
“Bertino, Bauer, and Hutchinson were all-state, and all three were seeded at the state tournament last year. Finishing in the top 22 with only one state classification was a big accomplishment last year and everybody is coming back, which is exciting for the future”, said Wrona.
Allgood added on this summer’s court upgrades, “It’s great to see the kids taking the initiative on their own, combined with gifts in unison from both programs. It’s not just current parents giving their time and services either; we have alumni, and parents of alumni. It goes along with the school and the program on a whole over the years with giving back to the JCA community”.
Four JCA graduates have returned in recent years to serve as Allgood’s assistants: Tyler Eakle, Weston Streitz ’03, Chris Thomas, and Ian Barr. University of St. Francis Hall of Fame tennis player and ’76 JCHS alum Bob Tomasino assists Wrona with the women’s program along with Mark Streitz.
With nearly 40-student athletes in the girls program, and over 20 in the boys program, the tennis program is thriving at JCA under Allgood and Wrona. With so many alumni coming back volunteering to coach and give back, a successful culture has been created with a lasting impact on the student-athletes at JCA.