Kitsap County Tennis League hosts its annual singles tournament over the weekend at CKHS
SILVERDALE — The competitive spirit displayed at the Kitsap County Tennis League singles tournament Sunday couldn’t mask the sportsmanship on the courts at Central Kitsap High School Sunday.
The weekend showcase is one of two tournaments the league hosts during its June-August season. A doubles tournament for each division will be at the end of July.
Bob Johnston, KCTL tournament coordinator, said the goal of the league is to allow players a chance to improve their skills and play but also enjoy new friendships.
The league, which has been in existence for more than 40 years, consists of players from around the county and beyond. The six teams are made up of a combination of players in A (3.5-4.0 rating by the United States Tennis Association), B, C, and D skill levels. The league plays a weekly schedule at courts in Central Kitsap, the Kitsap Fairgrounds, North Kitsap, and South Kitsap.
Johnston said captains evaluate players at a pre-season jamboree in order to place them in the right division. The evaluation is followed by a draw to even out the teams.
Jennifer Boyce of Port Orchard has been playing in the league for about 10 years. She started playing with her dad and learned the game as she went. Now, her brothers play along with her mother.
“The idea is to not have all the good players on one team,” he said, adding that wouldn’t be fun for anyone.
“I’d been wanting to play but I have four kids so I had to make sure they were able to take care of themselves before I started venturing out,” Boyce said. “I love it.”
Boyce said the league does a good job of mixing the players and everyone is well rounded.
“This year already I’ve played a C, D, an A, B, C, and I’m a C,” she said. “It depends on who shows up, so you could be playing up or down and then your level. Playing against different people who have different techniques, it always make it interesting. It’s not just playing with the same people, they mix it up.”
Boyce faced Abelyn Encarnacion, of Bremerton, in the C Division semifinals, picking up a hard-fought win, and then took on Tun Min in the finals, winning the singles title. Boyce said a big reason why she joined the tennis league was because as a stay-at-home mom it gives her a chance to be with adults.
“Just getting out there was nice, adult conversation,” she said.
Encarnacion, who began playing tennis as a junior in high school after switching from dance, said the level of competition is always strong.
“There’s a lot of different players and levels,” she said.
Like Boyce, Cassandra Sherman of Gig Harbor wanted a chance to get out and play tennis with other adults and make friendships.
“I’ve been wanting to play for a couple years,” Sherman said. “I love it. Everyone’s really nice and friendly and it’s a lot of fun. There’s people of all different levels and you can find someone that’s on your level to play with.”
Bruce Houchin, a recent East Bremerton resident, said he was looking for people to play with after movie from the Midwest.
“This is a good deal,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. We played doubles matches every week and this is just like a once in a summer thing.”
Houchin faced Tun Min in the C Division semifinals. Min, who recently moved to Kitsap from the East Coast thanks to the Navy, said his friends suggested he take up tennis to break up his avid hiking and running on the weekends. Min has bene playing tennis for about five years and has enjoyed the league immensely.
“I love it I thought they did a great job,” he said. “I wish they had more like this in other states.”