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BRIEF: Lee continues tennis championships

The Central California Tennis Championships will be held throughout the state of California for up to 120 teams, March 2-3. Math teacher David Lee began the tournament in 1984 and has participated every year.

The competition will last from 8 a.m.-6 p.m on both days. The highest flight finals will be held at Buchanan High School at approximately 1 p.m.

This year, courts will be used from a range of areas, which include the cities of Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Madera and Fowler. 1,750 individual players will participate in seven different divisions, which each contain 16 teams, with the exception of one division comprised of eight teams.

According to Lee, the tournament provides a chance for various kids to enjoy the sport, while gaining new experience against different opponents.

“It brings kids together from different parts of the state that normally wouldn’t get to play against each other to one place,” Lee said. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to play someone who is not familiar to them. It’s a way of promoting the game in community.”

Some of the top athletes from around the state will be traveling to Fresno for the tournament, from cities ranging from Menlo and Monta Vista to Santa Barbara and Saratoga.

Each team is required to have a minimum of eight players in the lower divisions and a minimum of 10 in the higher divisions.

When the tournament began in the mid-eighties, only eight teams were involved, but the size has steadily grown over the years. Now, many of the competitors are ranked highly in the state.

This year, Lee has taken a smaller role in the competition as tennis coaches Bill Bradley and Jon Slater have started to run the program. Lee appreciates the opportunity the event gives to athletes of all skill levels.

“The best thing I like about the tournament is that it’s set up so that players of all levels of ability can play,” Lee said. “We have a top flight for club players and a division for high school players and a division just for beginners. It’s set up so that everybody has a chance to be successful.”

For more news, read the Feb. 26 article, Hollywood honors ‘The Artist’ at Oscars.

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