BELLEVILLE — High-level tennis returns to Kings Point Sports Club on Friday when play begins in the United States Tennis Association Missouri Valley Section Boys 18 and Under January Super Championship.
Thirty-two of the top 18-and-under singles players in the six-state Missouri Valley District will battle for bragging rights, precious USTA points and the title when play begins at 8 a.m. at Kings Point.
"The 'Supers' is the second highest level behind only the 'Sweet 16's," said Kenny Hayden, Kings Point general manager and tournament director. "Players earn the right to play here based upon how they do in tournaments during the year. A lot of these players who will be competing are seniors in high school who will be playing at the college level next year.
"Typically there a few college coaches who come out to watch and this will be an opportunity for people who like to watch high-level tennis see some of the top 18-and-under players in the Midwest.''
Admission is free and spectators are welcome. Play gets underway with doubles competition in the 16-team draw at 8 a.m. Friday. Singles begins at 1 p.m. Friday with two full rounds of play.
Doubles semifinals are set for 9 a.m. Saturday, with the title match set for 10:30 a.m. Singles play resumes with quarterfinal and semifinals at 2 and 5:15 p.m. Saturday. The singles title match is at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Three local players will be competing. Gibault High School senior Michael Lesko will take on Micah Cash of the Oklahoma Region in his first-round match.
Two Edwardsville High School players are also in the field. Jack Desse will play Bradley Gleason of Oklahoma while Brandon Harris will take on Alexander Karsonis of the Heart of America Region.
Kenneth Boykin of Oklahoma is the top seed in singles while Michael Klousia of the Kansas City (Mo.) Region is the second seed.
The Missouri Valley Section includes players from St. Louis, Kansas City, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma and Nebraska.
"We're the only facility in the St. Louis area hosting a 'Super' level event, so we're excited to be able to have these players compete here this weekend,'' Hayden said. "It's also a chance for the local kids and the players from St. Louis to play in an event like this close to home where they can sleep in their own beds and keep a fairly normal routine.''