Forget the fancy hotel lobby and the crowded pool. One group competing in USTA Zonals last summer chose the road less traveled.
It led them to alpaca. More than 100 of them.
The Middle States 12s Zonals squad, competing in Mercersburg, Pa., decided to ditch the traditional hotel route and instead stayed at The Home at Hollenshead.
“It was a happy accident,” said Susan Costalas, whose daughter, Nina, is a frequent player. “It was helped by the fact that the nearest hotels were 30 minutes from the site. We spent a couple of nights walking the fields with the alpaca and holding angora rabbits.”
While each of the kids and parents had their own favorite moments, Costalas said she was particularly fond of an alpaca named Fry Fry French Fry.
“He actually gave hugs,” she said with a laugh.
“It was a wonderful and unique experience,” she added. “However, farm life starts early, and it was routine to hear a tractor roll by the bedroom window at 6 a.m.”
Zonals are a team-based event, and part of the USTA competition pathway that includes USTA sections competing against one another in events throughout the country. For more information about junior tennis, click here. Or, email our junior competition department.