It’s six against one, as Alex Ralston teaches overhead shots during a youth tennis camp held at Nelson Field last week. WIC net coaches Joe Serbentas and Denise and John Spelgatti lead the camp.
IRON RIVER—Ever wonder why West Iron’s high school tennis teams have been such a power in the Upper Peninsula year after year?
A visit to Nelson Field last week revealed one reason why: No less than 43 youngsters were there for West Iron’s seventh annual youth tennis camp.
Each day last week, Monday through Friday, the youngsters learned about the sport from West Iron boys Coach Joe Serbentas, girls Coach Denise Spelgatti and her husband, John Spelgatti, who works with both high school teams.
They are aided by several players from this year’s Wykon teams, who led the youngsters in their drills. This year, they were Ryan Rogers, Alex Ralston, Olivia Han, Megan Miatech and Brittanie Berry.
Everybody is a beginner sometime, but most of these campers were already well past that stage. “Many of them have come to our camps before,” said Denise Spelgatti, who also does the organizational work. “They have some skills.
“This group especially—many of them have been here before, and they play either on high school teams or play a lot during the summer.”
There are two sessions: The first is for kids from 7 to 10, followed by kids 11 to 17.
The camp especially works well, Spelgatti said, for some of the younger players, who attend vacation bible school at Grace Covenant Church, walk over to the Stambaugh Elementary cafeteria for lunch and then to Nelson Field for tennis class starting at 12:30. “It works out great.”
It’s a one-week camp, and last Friday was the final session. But if history is any indication, many will be back next year, improving their skills and maybe eventually joining the long list of West Iron tennis champions.