Thursday, November 6, 2003
The idea of playing in a tennis tournament with a field of 200 players might seem a bit intimidating for a middle school student.
But when it comes to tennis, Ramsey Bernard is rarely shaken.
He started playing tennis when he was 6 years old. And now, at 14, he is more than comfortable playing in big tournaments. That was clear at last weekend's highly competitive Great Pumpkin USTA Intermountain Sectional Championships in Las Vegas.
"He is one of our top-ranked players," Junior Academy coach John Aragon said. "That was an important tournament in the Intermountain Region, so to get that far is impressive."
Bernard stayed alive for six matches in the double-elimination format in the 14-and-under division. He lost an early match but kept his hopes alive by advancing through several rounds in consolation.
"It's tough in a double elimination," Bernard said. "Once you lose, you have to play everybody but the finalists."
Bernard didn't place but did manage to knock off one of his biggest rivals, Andy Benson of Denver.
"He's ranked very high in the state, and I think he's ranked nationally," Aragon said.
Aragon said Bernard has beaten Benson before but not in the past two years, which made the win at the Big Pumpkin more meaningful for the young player.
Other Steamboat players who traveled to Las Vegas for the tournament included Jonathan Solomon, who won two of four matches he played in the 18-and-under division. Jordan Bernard also played in the 12-and-under division.
"It's great to see our top players going to this tournament," Aragon said. "This is the type of tournament that can really help your ranking."
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