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DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships Gets Underway Friday

The field of 40 is set for the 2013 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships. The event will be hosted in Louisville, Kentucky for the seventh year with E.P. Sawyer State Park and Top Gun Academy hosting the championships for the third straight year. The girls will open tournament play on March 15-16 with the boys completing the 2013 event on March 22-23.

Of the 40 teams participating in the this year's event, 15 are defending team state champions. A total of eleven states will be represented at this year's event, with more than a quarter of the participating teams hailing from Tennessee, as the Volunteer State is sending four defending state champions to the event. Nine Kentucky teams will be in the field this year, along with five from Florida. Teams from California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia will also compete for the prestigious DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championship.

For complete coverage of the 2013 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, please visit www.hstennischampionships.com. Follow the tournament on Twitter at @hstennischmps for updates and news from the weekend's events. You can also get tournament information and updates by 'liking' the tournament's Facebook page by searching for DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships.

Below is an in-depth look at some of the top teams participating in the 2013 DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships.



Baylor (Chattanooga, TN): The defending Tennessee Division II Class AA State Champions return five players from last year's team which won the DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships. The Red Raiders are led by four-star junior and defending singles State Champion Samantha Caswell. Caswell, the two-time defending tournament MVP, is 12-1 all-time in the event. Other top players include juniors Harper Caswell and McCall Morgan and 8th grader Drew Hawkins. Baylor has won two straight championships in the event and are looking to become the first team in tournament history to win three championships.


5-Star junior Olivia Thaler leads Gulliver Prep
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest, FL): The defending Florida Class AA State Runner-Up features a roster loaded with talent - including a pair of five-star recruits in junior Olivia Thaler and freshman Julieta Dalmau. Thaler, the defending #1 singles state runner-up outscored her opponents in the state tournament 24-1, before losing to Virginia freshman Maci Epstein in the state championship. The Raiders roster also includes four-star freshman Sara Culbertson. This will be Gulliver Prep's first appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.

Jenks (Jenks, OK): The defending Oklahoma Class 6A state runner-up returns to the tournament looking to improve on their fourth place finish last season. The Trojans are led by sophomore McKinleigh Lair and senior Piper Huey, ranked 1st and 2nd in their class in Oklahoma, who each finished 3rd in the #1 and #2 singles state championships last season. Jenks also returns three-star sophomores Jenny Bond and Alix Williams who finished last season as state runner-up at #2 doubles. This will be Jenk's second appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.


Junior Katie Fitt will try to help Ravenwood contend
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Ravenwood (Brentwood, TN): The Raptors have won three-straight Tennessee Class AAA State Championships but have some big shoes to fill following the graduation of Samford freshman Lauren Caballero. Ravenwood returns three-star junior Iris Hao who paired with Caballero to win back-to-back doubles State Championships. The Raptors will add three-star junior Katie Fitt and return Vivian Hao and Kelly Rains who went undefeated during state tournament play last year. This will be Ravenwood's second appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.

Winter Park (Winter Park, FL): The Wildcats return a plenty of talent from their 2012 team that finished 3rd in Florida's Class 4A. Winter Park is led by Canadian Joulia Likhanskaia who knocked off both of the top seeds to win the #1 singles state championship last season. The Wildcats also return senior three-star recruit Taylor Brown, defending #2 singles state champion. This will be Winter Park's first appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.


Other Notable Players

Emma Alsup (Harpeth Hall), Anna Catharine Feaster (Webb School of Knoxville), Michelle McKamey (Lone Oak), Cassie Mercer (Huntington), Josie Rogers (Dobyns Bennett), Sophie St. Amant (Ocean Springs) and Caroline Walter (Sacred Heart)


First Round Matchups

Baylor (TN) vs. Cookeville (TN)
Harpeth Hall (TN) vs. Dobyns-Bennett (TN)
DuPont Manual (KY) vs. Webb School of Knoxville (TN)
Ravenwood (TN) vs. Notre Dame (KY)
Jenks (OK) vs. Siegel (TN)
Lone Oak (KY) vs. Winter Park (FL)
Sacred Heart (KY) vs. Huntington (WV)
Ocean Spring (MS) vs. Gulliver Prep (FL)



Barron Collier (Naples, FL): The Cougars, defending Florida Class 3A State Champion, has big shoes to fill returning just a pair of players with state tournament experience. Barron Collier will be led by 2012 DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships All-Tournament Team member and four-star senior Jorge Vargas. Sophomore four-star recruit Alan Sweet and junior Paul Johnson bring state tournament experience and look to help Baron Collier defend their runner-up finish in the 2012 tournament. This will be Barron Collier's third appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.


Junior Chase Perez-Blanco is one of two blue chips on the roster for Gulliver Prep
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest, FL): The defending Florida Class AA State Runner-Up features a roster ladened with experience. The Raiders return four players that played in the singles state finals last season. They are led by the top-ranked recruit in the southeast, blue-chip Chase Perez-Blanco who finished last season as state runner-up at #1 singles and state champion at #1 doubles. The Raiders roster also includes blue-chip recuit Baker Newman, ranked 20th in the nation, who won a state championship at #2 singles and paired with Perez-Blanco for the #1 doubles state championship. Senior Brian Granoff also brings valuable experiene for Gulliver Prep which is making it's first appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.

Hinsdale Central (Hinsdale, IL): The defending Illinois State Champions have perhaps as much talent as any team in the nation. The Red Devils return five players that placed in the top 5 last season in Illinois including Illinois' top ranked sophomore and blue-chip recruit Martin Joyce, 5-star sophomore Michael Lorenzini, junior Chase Hamilton, and seniors Alex Hagermoser and Peter Heneghan. Hinsdale Central also adds five-star sophomore Eddie Grabill, and four-star freshman Michael Czlonka. This will be Hinsdale Central's second appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.


Alabama recruit Sean Donohue will try to help Saint Xavier win the title
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Saint Xavier (Louisville, KY): Saint Xavier won their fourth straight Kentucky State Championship last season, outscoring their opponents 12-0 in state tournament play. The talented Tigers return a number of key players including Alabama signee and defending Singles State Champion Sean Donohue, the top ranked senior in Kentucky. They also return four-star sophmore Brandon Lancaster and seniors Zachary Kuo and Parker Thieneman, all doubles state semi-finalists. Saint Xavier, who won the 2010 tournament championship, is making their fourth appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.

Memphis University School (Memphis, TN): The defending Tennessee Division II Class AA State Runner-Up returns a pair of past Singles State Champions in Penn commit Marshall Sharp and Tennessee's top-ranked junior Walker Sims. The Owls also feature plenty of talented youth in four-star sophomores Michael Apple and Spencer Richey. This will be Memphis University School's second appearance at the DecoTurf High School Tennis team Championships.


Other Notable Players

Jack Gray (Baylor), Hobie Hotard (Jesuit), Austin Hussey (Covington Catholic), Toby Ma (Deerfield), Andy Martinez (Woodward Academy), Jordan Portner (Mount Saint Joseph) and Arthur Viallaneix (Winter Park)


First Round Matchups

A Division
Barron Collier (FL) vs. Baylor (TN)
Deerfield (IL) vs. Davis (CA)
Saint Xavier (KY) vs. Henry Clay (KY)
Trinity (KY) vs. Memphis University School (TN)
Gulliver Prep (FL) vs. Jesuit (LA)
Montgomery Bell Academy (TN) vs. Ocean Springs (MS)
Mount Saint Joseph (MD) vs. Winter Park (FL)
McCallie (TN) vs. Hinsdale Central (IL)


B Division
Charleston Catholic (WV) vs. Cookeville (TN)
Jenks (OK) vs. Latin School of Chicago (IL)
Woodward Academy (GA) vs. DuPont Manual (KY)
South Oldham (KY) vs. Covington Catholic (KY)


The DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships is a national high school invitational held annually in Louisville, KY. The tournament in its 7th year has hosted more than 250 high school teams and more than 2,500 student-athletes. The tournament has hosted 38 team State Champions, 34 individual State Champions,14 National High School All Americans and 68 NCAA Division I signees. For more information on the tournament visit www.hstennischampionships.com.


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