Looks like outside of Alzuro, there is no longer an interest in the Junior Tri. They should probably just eliminate it all together given last year’s Sectionals was the best of 3 matches played against 2 teams (Dallas and SETX). Why bother, and looks like that will be the case this year since Dallas has no teams.
So the pursuit of real Tri -Level
First, to clarify why there is such a pursuit of putting together a team that can advance. As other tournaments, the winner of City goes on to play Sectionals. As far as the USTA and ratings are concerned, that is it. It is a misconceived perception that Tri Level goes to a USTA Sanctioned National event. IT DOES NOT. That is why you will never find anything in tennislink beyond Sectionals for Tri Level.
There is a National event, but it is sponsored and run by the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, completely independent and outside of the USTA, called the Tri-Level Invitational Championships. Well, I say independent. Acutally, the players are chosen by taking the Sectional winners from the USTA Tri-Level Tournament, and our local Section helps support the team and their registration. But it is not sanctioned, and it does not count towards ratings.
Tom Fey, IWTG’s Tennis Director, runs the tournament and does a fabulous job. He sponsors the event during the final weekend of the BNP Paribas Open, and provides players with tickets to the Quarters, Semis, and Finals of the BNP Paribas matches. Nice little perk. The winner is then acknowledged center court in-between matches if network scheduling allows (which is not always the case). This is IWTG’s way of marketing directly to the top recreational tennis players around the country, and saying thanks for being a part of the game. Now you see why teams are vying to win this thing?
Now that that is clear, who will be going and representing Dallas?
In prior years, Dallas typically would have their 2 strongest teams go, as Fort Worth Tri-Level was used as an outlet to have another Dallas team make. This year, Dallas has all of their guns playing locally. Dallas typically gets a Wild-Card so that means the two top teams will go. Or does it?
From the looks of it, I have to give nod to Pickett and Le for having the 2 strongest rosters. However, what happens if they land in the same flight?
From my understanding and past discussions with the DTA, it is a blind draw when it comes to tournaments like this. You could possibly have a flight that has Le, Pickett, Sisk and McHugh all in one flight. I would say those are the top 4 teams, and it would be an injustice to the tournament to have them all flighted together. However, it could happen.
What it does do is open the door for teams playing out of Fort Worth. Looks like Pickett was going to initially go that route (registering for a team) but elected to play Dallas. Le has also done so in the past, but has decided to go head-to-head in the Dallas tournament. Fort Worth’s tournament isn’t until December, so plenty of time to get a roster together if you want to make a trip to Houston for Sectionals.
That leads me to my next question, will it matter who wins Dallas given the strength of Freeman’s 4.0s and 4.5s ? Personally, I still like Dallas’s chance because I think our city has stronger 3.5s, and like it or not, that is typically the determining line. 4.5 and 4.0 is so competitive and close, anything can happen and usually wins come down to 3rd set breakers. With 3.5 secured, it makes a tri-level win much easier.
Those our my thoughts. What are yours?