One of the east coast’s largest tennis tournaments last year with 186 players, the Conrad Weiser Hits for Hope Tournament is back.
This year, it’s even bigger.
The Conrad Weiser Tennis Association (CWTA) in Robesonia, Pa. is hosting a six-day, 22-draw tournament this week, benefiting the American Heart Association. The tournament features both recreational and high-level junior and adult players with match play that began Monday, running through Sunday, June 29. Matches are being played each day from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. and include former PIAA state champions, All-Americans, NCAA Division I players and more.
Draws include boys and girls singles and doubles (multiple age categories) all the way through various adult categories and even mother-son mixed doubles. The father/son draw had 32 teams entered.
It all adds up to 14 hours of tennis. Each day.
“We try to make the tournament a little bigger and a little better each year,” said CWTA President Ryan Knarr. “Growing up and playing in tournaments all over Middle States, I saw and learned the little things that made certain tournaments so great. It’s those little things — the little details and nuances of the tournament — that make big things happen.”
All of that tennis equates to plenty of pre-tournament planning and hundreds of hours of work. Knarr credited the CWTA staff for the planning, and mentioned the integral roles of Kim Sassaman (Director of Tournament Operations), Craig Whiteley (coach and tournament desk operator) and referee Ralph Tutlane, who help keep the tournament operational during the week.
The tournament action builds up to Saturday night at 7 p.m., which begins the Annual Night of Champions Ceremony. The Night of Champions will honor numerous USTA players, local teams and outstanding individuals who have contributed greatly to the tennis community.
The feature presentation will be the awarding of the Merv Heller Memorial Scholarship to two junior players. This scholarship is in honor of former USTA President and Berks County Legend Merv Heller. The two $1,000 scholarships are given to two high school seniors who have shown outstanding character, not only on the court, but also in the community and the classroom.
Heller was an attorney for 30 years, a shareholder at the law firm of Leiswitz Heller since 1997, and a one-time Chair of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He played tennis at Reading High School and continued playing at East Stroudsburg University, breaking records during his tenure. This award is in honor of his dedication and what he meant to the community.
The Night of Champions will also honor USTA Jr. Team Tennis Teams from Berks County, two CWTA Adult League Championship Teams, and the CWTA for earning the 2013 Middle States Community Tennis Association of the Year Award.
“It will honor some of hte most tremendous accomplishments of local and regional tennis players in the area,” Knarr said.
Throughout the night, there will be prizes and giveaways, including a new Babolat Aero racquet, apparel, gift cards and free tennis lessons. Tosco’s Italian Restaurant is providing the catering for the event.
Chaired, marquee matches will follow the conclusion of the Saturday-night ceremony.
For more information on the event, visit www.hitsforhope.com