WOTC to Host OVAC High School Tennis Kick-Off

Event to take place Saturday at Wheeling Park Indoor Facility

Photo by Cody Tomer The OVAC High School Tennis Kick-off is slated for Saturday. To promote the event, players and coaches gathered at the Wheeling Park Bubble for a picture. Front, from left, John Marshall’s Sabrena Palmer, Wheeling Central’s Carmen Alexander and Debbie Pickens, president of the Wheeling Oglebay Tennis Club. Back row: West Liberty coach Sam McCullough, Hilltoppers Akira Kawabata, Mauk Smit, Anton Schulz, Nash Morris, Joris Gravoulet and West Liberty assistant coach George Frazier. Not shown is West Liberty tennis player Camilo Moncayo.

WHEELING — The Wheeling Oglebay Tennis Club will present the fifth annual OVAC high school kick-off on Saturday at the Wheeling Park Indoor Tennis Facility.

All prospective OVAC players are invited to attend the three-hour event, which will run from 1-4 p.m. Participants are asked to sign up with the WOTC by emailing the organization at wheelingoglebaytennisclub@gmail.com. Please provide name of the player, school name, grade level, email, and phone number.

Players should arrive by 12:30 p.m. to complete paperwork and receive instructions for the various activities. Athletic attire and tennis shoes should be worn. Water will be provided.

“The OVAC kick-off is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, see old friends, and learn new techniques for the new year,” David Agcaolli, a senior at Wheeling Central who plans to attend this event for the fourth time, said. “It’s a great way to start the tennis season, and I look forward to it every year.”

On-court drills and tennis fitness activities will be presented from 1-3 p.m. From 3-4 p.m., the participants will play competitive games/matches.

Members of the West Liberty University men’s tennis team, under the supervision of Coaches Sam McCullough and George Frazier, will run drills focusing on forehands, backhands, volleys, overheads, and serves. McCullough said that the community has been very supportive of the WLU tennis program, and the team enjoys giving back in this small way.

George Frazier, exercise physiologist and assistant WLU men’s coach, will guide participants through activation exercises and warm-up drills.

This event will provide players the opportunity to improve their skills before team tryouts. Although coaches are not permitted to work with their players prior to the official spring season, they are invited to observe the training and drills that will be shared at this one day program.

“One of the primary goals of the WOTC is to support community tennis,” Debbie Pickens, president of the Wheeling Oglebay Tennis Club, said. “So five years ago our board planned and organized the first tennis kick-off for OVAC student-athletes. Each year the event has grown. With assistance from staff and students of West Liberty University, we have been able to enhance the various activities at this event.”

In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23.

Approximately 70 players from 12 OVAC schools attended last year’s kick-off.

In addition to this event for OVAC athletes, the WOTC will be hosting an elementary play day, Millie Mulhern Youth Tennis, and summer camps at Oglebay this year. For information on any of the programs sponsored by the WOTC, email the club at wheelingoglebaytennisclub@gmail.com.

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