Fourth Annual Spring Break Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament

May 1, 2024

To celebrate the Spring Break week, the St. Johnsbury Academy varsity tennis teams partnered to play with the community at their Fourth Annual Spring Break Mixed Doubles Tournament on Thursday, April 25th. Coaches John Sayarath and Tom Powers hope the tournament will continue to become an annual event – a way to mix up practices during spring break week. The student-athletes on the varsity teams commit to staying on campus during the break to participate in week-long and weekend practices and matches. The tournament is a way to add some fun to the schedule and to get the community involved. The tournament was held indoors at the Academy’s field house and was a successful event and a lot of fun for the two teams and the community.


“It is nice to bring the two teams together and have a mix with different players teaming up. It brings a lot of good energy to the teams.” John Sayarath, the boy’s coach, said. He and Dan Bosco, his successor, devised the idea for the tournament three years ago when John Sayarath was the girl’s coach. John spent the week organizing the draw and arranging small prizes to be awarded to the three finalists and two sportsmanship awards.


The students and community members were organized into mixed doubles teams and competed in a round-robin format across three courts. The tournament had 28 players, 12 boys, 10 girls, and 6 community members. Each player partnered with another player from each team. The winners advanced, and the defeated team retreated down the ladder. Teams battled each other in a 6 games pro-set format. The first three matches started at 9 am, and the last three ended at 1:30 pm. The top three teams with the most wins received glasses trophies with tennis balls inside, and two others received the sportsmanship award. The award recipients will be announced in Fuller Hall during Chapel in front of the student body when the semester resumes following break.


“Everyone was having fun and a great time teaming up with different players and competing in a relaxed setting,” Sayarath said, “The weather didn’t hold out for the outdoor courts, but it was a perfect morning to be inside in the middle of spring break.”


“I had so much fun today!” Tiago Chang, a student from Brazil, said. “It was good to play doubles with the boys.” Sofia Limoges, who partnered with Andres Barrios Sobrino

to capture the win, added. Andres said, “It was fun to play and deal with different skill levels.” Victoria Gutierrez from Mexico commented, “I learned and enjoyed playing with Arne (Arne Johnson). We played such a competitive match, and he taught me a lot about staying calm under pressure.” Arne is one of the top tennis players in the community.


Coaches Sayarath and Tom Powers are optimistic about the season ahead for the teams. “This is a great group of students,” Sayarath said of the boys’ team, “The most talented and versatile team I have coached.” This is Sayarath’s 18th season coaching at the Academy. Several Academy boys have won the individual state championships, including Mate Koszo (2021, 2019), Takahiro Matsumoto, and Owen Pakseubsin (2019 doubles state champs). The boys team won the 2022 state championship. They reached the semifinal last season. “If all goes well, this year we will be a contender for another title as a team,” Coach Sayarath added.


This is Coach Tom Power’s first season, but he is inspired by the enthusiasm and spirit of the girls’ team. “I have been impressed by how the girls have displayed so early in the season. We played two good, tough matches against South Burlington and CVU. This group has a lot of grit and enthusiasm and will only improve as the season progresses.” Like the boy’s team, the girls have several individual state champions and finalists, including Kimiko Gordon (2006) and Ayame Yazama (2013 state champion, 2014, 2015 finalist), and teams (Boys and Girls) that have won the Mountain League title (2010) and have made it to the final four in the state tournament (2009, 2010).


Thursday’s 4th Annual Spring Break Mixed Doubles with Community Tournament concluded with the local men’s tennis group taking the courts for the first time this season. The Academy players look forward to the rest of the week of practices to tune up for matches with Essex on Monday (boys at home, girls away). The First Place in the Fourth Annual Mixed Doubles Spring Break Tournament went to Andres Barrios Sobrino and Sofia Limoges, Second Place went to Nick Wright and Jose Espinosa Herrera, and Third Place went to Tiago Chang and Jeronimo Mosquera. The Sportsmanship Awards went to Plabo Gutierrez Gonzalez and Sophia Perez, and the Most Outstanding Player Award went to Dolma Sherpa.

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