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5 Butler Country Club junior tennis players compete in Pro-Am

Stepping up in class
The five junior tennis players partiipating in the Butler Country Club Pro-Am on Sunday were, from left, Elizabeth Swift, Maria Marasco, Ava Santora, Evan Palmiero and Max Palmiero. Submitted Photo

PENN TWP — Lizzie Swift referred to the experience as “humbling.” She wound up helping to humble the opoposition.

Swift, a Butler resident and senior at Aquinas Academy, was one of five Butler Country Club junior tennis players participating in the 21st annual BCC Pro-Am held Sunday at the Butler County Club courts.

Swift teamed with Beaver High School tennis coach Nate Heidengren and Udi Akolkar to win the eight-team event with 14 points. Max Palmeiro, a freshman at Mars and the youngest player in the field, teamed with Wildwood Golf Club tennis pro Will Kleeman and Stefan Carlsson to finish second.

Teams played each other in doubles for 15 minutes in a round-robin format. The pros played all day. One of their teammates played with them in the early afternoon session, the other in the late afternoon session.

Points were awarded per victory.

“We had 25 players today and we usually get 16 for this event,” BCC tennis pro Whitney Snyder said. “These five junior players deserved the opportunity to experience this event. They’re very good players and I wanted to see how they’d fare in a higher level of play.”

The other youths playing were Fox Chapel senior Maria Marasco, Knoch senior Ava Santora and Mars junior Evan Palmiero.

Sunday’s tourney marked Swift’s third appearance in the event.

“That doesn’t helop much,” she said of the prior tournaments. “Everything is sped up in this tournament. The ball comes at you faster, the exchanges happen so much quicker.

“When you’re playing with and against talent like this ... it is very humbling.”

Marasco referred to the tournament as “different from any tennis event I’ve played in before.”

Santora said the level of play “is so competitive. I just want to hold my own out here.”

Evan Palmeiro was impressed by the pace of play.

“The games get done so quickly,” he said. “It’s a challenge to keep up.”

Max Palmiero played in the late afternoon division, but arrived in plenty of time to watch the action from the early round.

“These balls are being hit really hard, ” Max said. “I’ve had no experience playing in anything close to something like this. I’m excited to see how I stack up.

“I know I’m going to have fun and I’ll learn a lot at the same time.”

Snyder expressed gratitude to Butler Country Club for allowing him to continually put on the Pro-Am.

“We’ve been doing this since 2003,” Snyder said. “We bring in some great players and our members have a chancertro play with and against them in a competitive, yet fun atmosophere.

“It’s a wonderful event.”

The pros on habd included Garrett Gardner from Ohio, Pittsburgh Golf Club tennis pro Matt Slamecka, Kleeman, former BCC assistant oro Hayden Moyer, Heidengren, BCC assistant pro Braiden Smalley, and BCC assistant pro Dave Bender.

21st annual BCC Pro-Am

Final Standings

1-Nate Heidengren-Lizzie Swift-Udi Akolkar, 14 points

2-Will Kleeman-Stefan Carlsson-Max Palmiero, 12 points

3 (Tie)-Garrett Gardner-Dana Greenblatt, Dave Immomen, 10 points

3 (Tie)-Dave Bender-Maria Marasco-Emily Ivory, 10 points

5 (tie)-Hayden Moyer-Ron Jones-Jody Offstein, 9 points

5 (tie)-Braiden Smalley-Ava Santora-Curt Fleming, 9 points

7-Matt Slamecka-Annie Tigano-Ken Boben, 6 points

8-Evan Palmiero-Ian Hurt-Dennis Smalley-Katherine Stancil, 2 points

Green Division Champs-Garrett Gardner-Dana Greenblatt

White Division Champs-Will Kleeman-Max Palmiero

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