Bittersweet experience at Beaver

West Spotlight: Tennis

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Kimmy Borza said she was "jumping up and down" when she found out she had been invited to enroll in the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy for one month.

With that kind of anticipation, one would think it would be difficult for the experience to live up to expectations.

Borza, a senior at Beaver Area High School, however, reports exactly the opposite was the case for her.

"It was awesome," Borza said Sunday, a day after returning from the academy's campus in Bradenton, Fla. "I had a great time. It was actually more fun than I expected."

Borza was given a scholarship from academy owner IMG Academies from Sept. 20 through last week. The academy has trained dozens of the world's top players.

"I definitely improved a lot and learned so much, but on top of that, it's just such a cool place," Borza said. "I met so many people and made a lot of new friends. It was a great month.

"There's just amazing instruction and lots of insight coaches give you. There were hitches they picked up in my forehand and serve I didn't even know I had. They use different technology and film, they show you your swing from every angle, what you're doing wrong and how they can change it.

"I was on the court for eight hours a day, hitting and interacting with great players -- some of the best players in the world -- and that's how you get better."

Unfortunately for Beaver's high school team, the experience made Borza ineligible for the WPIAL Class AA team tennis playoffs this week.

Before Borza left for Florida, Bobcats coach Riley Baker and Borza both had talked about Borza coming back, remaining eligible and helping to lead Beaver back into the PIAA playoffs. But the WPIAL since ruled her ineligible.

"It was all very misleading," Baker said. "We'd been going back and forth with it the last month or so since she left."

WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said the WPIAL informed Beaver athletic director Dan O'Neil about Borza's ineligibility for postseason matches, citing Article IX (Representation) of the PIAA bylaws, Section 5, Eligibility of Students for Championship Contests.

"The bottom line why she's not available is because of the fact she was playing tennis somewhere else," O'Malley said. "By rule, if she was down there playing soccer, you can get around it, but she was playing the same sport."

Borza herself, while disappointed, was pragmatic about the situation.

"They told me before I left there was a possibility I wouldn't be able to play," she said. "I thought and hoped we'd be able to work it out ... but it never happened.

"I would have loved to have been out there playing and it was ... hard for me to watch."

Beaver went 13-1 in Section 2-AA and was the No. 5 seed for the WPIAL Class AA team tournament that began Monday. The Bobcats won their first match, defeating Southmoreland, 4-1, Monday, but lost to Ellis School, 3-2, in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

The Shute twins, juniors Laura and Rebecca, played first and second singles, respectively, in Borza's stead. Senior Katie Schmid was the Bobcats' regular third singles player, and sophomores Kendra Tetrick and Megan Zagorski played first doubles at the end of the season with sophomore Patty Fronk and freshman Cassidy Griffin at second doubles.

The Shute sisters were runners-up at the section doubles tournament, and Schmid and Tetrick teamed up to take third place. Each duo qualified for the WPIAL Class AA doubles tournament.

Laura Shute took second place in the section for singles and participated in the WPIAL singles tournament.

"We had a good season with some nice accomplishments, even when Kimmy wasn't playing," Baker said.


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