Championship Week Preview
San Diego Now Home to USTA Girls 18 and 16 National Championships
by Rhiannon Potkey, 7 August 2010
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Like many women's college coaches, UCLA's Stella Sampras was often forced to split her summer recruiting time between Northern California and Southern California to scout players.
Sampras would head to the Bay Area to watch the Girls' 18s National Championships and then head back down to San Diego to watch the Girls' 16s National Championships.
But the travel just got a whole lot easier.
For the first time in history, both age divisions are being held on the same dates at the same site.
The George E. Barnes Family Jr. Tennis Center in San Diego is playing host to the USTA Girls' 16s & 18s National Championships this year.
The tournament, which runs from August 7-15, now mirrors the historic Boys' 16s & 18s National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.
It provides a one-stop shop for women's college coaches to watch the nation's best junior players.
And in these economically challenging times, the money saved in the recruiting budget can't be overstated.
"It is a great convenience for coaches to be able to see everything at one place," Sampras said. "We can use that week to really work hard to watch the top Americans players who are on our radar to see how they compare, and to scout the younger ones as well."
There will be plenty of talent on display in San Diego.
The Girls' 18s champion will earn wild card into the main draw of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. while the Girls' 16s champion will earn a wild card into the U.S. Open Junior Championships.
Sloane Stephens, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native, has been awarded the top seed in the Girls' 18s while Beatrice Capra of Ellicott City, Md., is seeded No. 2 and Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., is the No. 3 seed.
Nicole Gibbs of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Krista Hardebeck of Santa Ana, Calif., are seeded No. 4 and 5, respectively.
Stephens is ranked No. 280 on the WTA tour and No. 53 in the International Tennis Federation rankings. Last week, she reached the final round of qualifying for the WTA's Mercury Insurance Open in nearby La Costa before losing to Coco Vandeweghe.