Bas­ket­ball, vol­ley­ball stars dis­cover ten­nis

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Ci­ti­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

Three weeks ago, Jenna Korolek played ten­nis for the first time.

Jus­tine Guil­let, her op­po­nent Wed­nes­day in the girls’ sin­gles fi­nal at the North Cen­tral zone high school cham­pi­onship at Prince George Ten­nis Club, had just two weeks to get into the swing of things, hav­ing never played the game be­fore that.

As ten­nis neo­phytes, they were ex­perts at dis­guis­ing their lack of ex­pe­ri­ence, and it took a tiebreaker to de­cide who was the bet­ter of the two.

Korolek won the sin­gle-set match 4-3 (8), end­ing it with a base­line re­turn that landed at Guil­let’s feet, forc­ing her to rush a shot that landed out of bounds. That gave Korolek and 8-6 win in the tiebreaker, af­ter see­ing a 4-0 lead evap­o­rate.

For Korolek, a pro­vin­cial bas­ket­ball team point guard in her se­nior year at Kelly Road Se­condary School, join­ing the ten­nis team was just an­other out­let for her ath­leti­cism and hav­ing a high level of fit­ness helped her gain the up­per hand.

“I’d say our matches were pretty evened out, it was al­ways like Game 1 we both evened out, but then I think (her op­po­nents) started get­ting more tired but my en­durance was kind of up and that re­ally helped,” said Korolek.

“I’m used to run­ning a lot. That helps es­pe­cially in sin­gles. It’s a lot of run­ning back, and we had a lot of good hits and rallies. Go­ing to the tiebreaker was awe­some.”

Guil­let, whose fa­ther Jay is long­time coach of suc­cess­ful high school vol­ley­ball teams in the city, was born into a vol­ley­ball fam­ily and she’s taken her game to the high­est level as a pro­vin­cial team right-side hit­ter.

Guil­let’s agility and leap­ing abil­ity came in handy sev­eral times Wed­nes­day when she had a ten­nis rac­quet in her hand. Korolek’s smart shot se­lec­tion in the fi­nal kept her on the move.

“That was a close game, I’m still out of breath,” said Guil­let, who learned both sports from Col­lege Heights ten­nis/vol­ley­ball coach J.P. Martin.

“I think for this game and in gen­eral my vol­ley­ball skills trans­ferred over be­cause I kind of just learned to play ten­nis. I didn’t hear about the sea­son start­ing at Col­lege Heights so we just had a prac­tice last week and I was just do­ing it for fun be­cause my friends were do­ing it. I love it.”

Like Guil­let, Korolek in­tends to stick with ten­nis, now that she’s learned some of the ba­sics play­ing on the Kelly Road team coached by Todd Kuc.

“I will play with my dad and cousins more be­cause they al­ways come out with their friends,” said Korolek.

“I might come out with them now that I ac­tu­ally know how to play the game.”

Korolek and her Kelly Road dou­bles part­ner Naomi Dug­dale lost 4-2 in the fi­nal to Stasha Telford and Tessa Stur­geon of Prince George Se­condary School. Korolek/Dug­dale were seeded No. 1 go­ing into the zone tour­na­ment, based on league play days be­tween the schools in May, while Telford/Stur­geon were seeded sev­enth.

“We played them be­fore (in league play) and they were re­ally good,” said Telford, also a firstyear player.

“Today’s match was good, there was some nice serves and good hits and lots of strong rallies. We re­turned it more and we were very strate­gic on where we were putting the ball.”

The school sea­son started in March and teams met for prac­tice ses­sions at the PGTC on Wed­nes­days, go­ing through the en­tire sea­son with­out a rain­out.

The sky opened up a bit Wed­nes­day morn­ing but only for a brief shower.

The play­ers got out the squeegees and the courts dried quickly to al­low play to re­sume.

Evan Cro­bar of PGSS suc­cess­fully de­fended his boys sin­gles ti­tle from last year’s zone tour­na­ment, de­feat­ing Nick Jansa of Kelly Road 4-1 in Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal. Cro­bar, who was just three years old when start­ing play­ing ten­nis with his dad Robert.

“I just do things like this for fun,” said Cro­bar.

“The fi­nal was pretty tight, ev­ery game went to deuces but the score didn’t show it. Some­times I could serve him out. He was strong with mix­ing up his shots, he placed the ball well and I had to run around.”

Cro­bar later teamed up with Jax­son Danilec in to win the boys dou­ble ti­tle. They swept Matt Shand/Nolan Minck of Col­lege Heights 4-0 in the fi­nal.

Cro­bar played rep hockey un­til a year ago when he was with the midget tier two Cougars.

Now that his mi­nor hockey ca­reer is be­hind him he has more time for other sports like ten­nis and he says he’ll con­sider en­ter­ing the Prince George club’s tour­na­ments later this month and in early Septem­ber.

In the bronze medal matches, Jo­hvan Jan­jua/Lo­gan Vennberg of PGSS de­feated Ry­chel Lam­ber/ Nick Jensa 4-1 in boys dou­bles; Ava Wedel/Sasha Schu­rack topped Emily MacDon­ald/Aysha Mad­sen of Col­lege Heights 4-1 in girls dou­bles; Reese Des­marais of Col­lege Heights blanked Ava Wedel of PGSS 4-0 in girls sin­gles; Alex Ochitwa of PGSS posted a 4-1 win over Ry­chel Lam­ber of Kelly Road.

The one-day tour­na­ment drew 40 play­ers from three schools. PGSS, which en­tered 28 play­ers coached by RJay Berra, took the team ti­tle.

CI­TI­ZEN PHOTO BY BRENT BRAATEN

Jenna Korolek from Kelly Road Se­condary School was com­pet­ing in the girls fi­nal of the high school zone ten­nis tour­na­ment on Wed­nes­day.

CI­TI­ZEN PHOTO BY BRENT BRAATEN

Jus­tine Guil­let from Col­lege Heights Se­condary was com­pet­ing in the girls fi­nal of the high school zone ten­nis tour­na­ment held Wed­nes­day at the Prince George Ten­nis Club.

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