Sinking their teeth into tennis: La Jollans win USTA Nationals in South Carolina

By Cassandra Wong

On a sunny October day in South Carolina, one team shined above 15 other competitors at the 2013 USTA Junior Team Tennis 14 & Under Advanced National Championships.

In its first trip to the Nationals, Team Top Gun from San Diego (representing USTA Southern California section), earned the 14U Advanced division title, beating USTA New England, 50 games to 37, in the final on Oct. 20.

Two La Jollans were among this elite team.

Nicholas Appel, 14, a sophomore at The Bishop’s School, was one of the 10 players on Team Top Gun. Appel has played team tennis on Team Top Gun (14U and 12U) and Team Trouble (10U) for almost six years. The teams have won the USTA JTT Sectionals Championships 2008-2013 and the Gar Glenney Cup 2011-2013 and this year the Nationals.

“It’s been awesome seeing the team grow and get better every year since I joined and now get to the point where we can come to Nationals and do so well,” Appel said.

Nicole Mossmer, 13, an eighth-grader at All Hallows Academy, joined Team Top Gun this year. “There is a lot of support when you play team tennis,” Mossmer said. “Sometimes you would win matches when you

normally wouldn’t because of all the support and stuff (from the team).”

For more than a decade, the USTA Junior Team Tennis 14U National Championships has brought together the top teams from the 17 USTA sections for a weekend of fun. With 13,000 teams and nearly 100,000 kids playing under the Junior Team Tennis banner in the United States, it’s also a chance for kids from different regions

of the country to see how tennis is taught and played in other places.

“This week featured a fun group of really enthusiastic kids,” said Adrienne Di Menna, USTA Junior Team Tennis national manager. “We crowned two brand- new national champions (advanced and intermediate), yet the biggest win was seeing how the teams interacted with one another and established friendships.”