WHEELING - Jeremy McClelland has fond memories of his playing days, especially the Junior Tennis Classic at Oglebay.
With good reason.
The Wheeling native won the 14 and 16 age groups and also placed third in the 18s, when he was 15.
Photo by Dave Morrison/The Junior Classic at Oglebay Park kicks off today, with several young tennis players ready to take part. Front, left to right, are Doug MacNealy, Laina Anderson and Ben Cooper. Back row, tournament director Jeremy McClelland and Matt Harvey.
McClelland is back, and in a different capacity. He is now directing the tournament that he twice won.
McClelland is in his first year as the new director of tennis at Oglebay Park.
"It's been really good so far," McClelland said Thursday on the eve of the event, taking a break from coaching some of his young pupils who will participate,
"I've been coaching for four years and it took something like this to get me to leave the job I had (at the Pennsylvania Tennis Academy). I miss it but this is a great opportunity. We have the best facilities around and it is definitely special to be able to come home and do what I love to do."
The Junior Classic is one of the top youth events on the summer calendar.
It kicks off at 2 p.m. today with singles matches and continues through the weekend.
The tournament will include boys' and girls' singles in the 12-, 14-, 16- and 18-year-old divisions. Doubles competition will be played in the 14- and 18-year-old divisions. Registration for doubles will continue until 3 p.m. today.
The district tournament is for players in the Allegheny Mountain District of the Middle States Section of the United States Tennis Association. As a designated Level 7 Tournament, players will earn double ranking points for victories.
Several local players will take part in the annual rite of summer, including Cameron Alexander (B12), Georgio Alexander (B16-18), Laina Anderson (G12), Lydia Andlinger (G14), Wyatt Andrews (B12), Ben Cooper (B16), Alex Douglass (B12), Austin Douglass (B16), Amika Ekanem (G16), Jonathan Haley (B18), Matt Harvey (B14), Douglas MacNealy (B16), Brendan Ryan (B14), Dominic Simich (B12), Isaac Smith (B12-14) and Haley Spurlock (G18).
Some 77 players from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania will compete in the event, according to McClelland.
"I have some very fond memories of playing in this event," McClelland said. "I'm looking forward to seeing it from a different perspective."
The event is free and open to the public.