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Laurel Springs Students Dominate at 42nd Annual Easter Bowl Junior Tennis Tournament

Chicago's Evan King and Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., were the big winners as they both captured respective boys and girls' 18s ITF titles with convincing straight-set wins.
    PALM DESERT, CA, May 17, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- EVAN KING AND CHRISTINA McHALE ARE THE BIG WINNERS IN THE ITF 18S

Simply put, the tennis-playing students from Laurel Springs School have enjoyed amazing success on the courts over the past several weeks, including the world's most well-known junior tennis event—the Easter Bowl—Seena Hamilton's classic national junior championships played recently for the 42nd consecutive year.

Chicago's Evan King and Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., were the big winners as they both captured respective boys and girls' 18s ITF titles with convincing straight-set wins.

Laurel Springs School, founded in 1991, is an accredited, college prep private school offering distance learning programs and teacher services for students in grades K-12. Laurel Springs serves students across the United States and in 43 countries. Current enrollment is 3,000 students with more than 2,000 students enrolled in the online high school program. To learn more about Laurel Springs School, go to http://www.laurelsprings.com.

The Michigan-bound King, a member of the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team who trains with the USTA High Performance group in Boca Raton, Fla., beat No. 2 seeded Tennys Sandgren, 6-2, 6-2, for his second Easter Bowl title. He previously won the 14s in 2006.

McHale dominated throughout the week and served noticed that she should be considered a future pro prospect with her 6-0, 6-3 win over top-seeded Lauren Embree or Marco Island, Fla. McHale was playing in her first junior tournament since winning the Australian Open Junior doubles in January. She reeled off nine straight games for a 6-0, 3-0 lead before Embree finally got on the board.

McHale was playing in her fifth Easter Bowl and said it was important to finally take home the title. "I always look forward to this tournament," she said. "This was a little unexpected but definitely one of my biggest wins."

Both King and McHale will be spending a lot of time together this summer. Two of America's most promising juniors were recently selected to play World Team Tennis for the defending champion New York Buzz as part of an all-juniors team.

Laurel Springs' founder Marilyn Mosley and marketing director Amber Walker were on hand checking in with players and watching their matches as Laurel Springs was again a sponsor of the event.

An incredible 78 players entered in the Easter Bowl Nationals are currently enrolled as Laurel Springs students. "That just speaks to how effective the program is," said Hamilton, considered a leading authority on junior tennis. "It seems like all the top kids go to Laurel Springs and with both Marilyn and Amber on-site it has kind of a family feel. The players can't stop raving about Laurel Springs."

A New Yorker like Hamilton, girls' 14s Easter Bowl finalist Julie Elbaba agreed with her. "Ever since I started at Laurel Springs I've been able to work more on my tennis," she said. "I was missing too much school playing these national junior events. With Laurel Springs I'm able to get my studies done online and then have more to concentrate on my tennis."

Elbaba was the top-seeded player in the 14s and lost a tough three-setter in the singles final. She did capture the gold ball for her victory in doubles with partner Alyssa Smith. For her play, Hamilton awarded Elbaba the American Airlines Award, a free airline ticket she can use for her next tournament anywhere American Airlines flies.

Whitney Kay, the No. 2 seed from Alpharetta, Ga., got as far as Elbaba in the girls' 16s, falling in the final to Carolina Price and earning a silver USTA ball. And then like Elbaba, Kay came back to take the doubles teaming with Price to live up to their top-seeding to go home Easter Bowl champions.

Kay knocked out Lynda Xepoleas of Gold River, Calif., in the Round of 16 in singles but Xepoleas came back to take home the bronze ball in the 16s singles with a third-place finish in singles and doubles. Ashley Dai also made her way through the back draw and had a semifinal consolation finish.

Laurel Springs student Monica Puig was a runner-up in the girls' 18s doubles and in the boys' 18s singles, Bob Overbeek fell to Sandgren in the singles semifinals. Junior Ore lost in the boys' 18s doubles semifinals.

There were numerous other top performances at the Easter Bowl. In the boys' 18s Jordan Cox and Clay Thompson both had nice tournaments, as did girls' 18s players Nicole Gibbs, and Beatrice Capra.

Just as important as the performance on the court, Laurel Springs student Jessica Liang was honored by the USTA as the winner of the Sportsmanship award in the girls' 14s. Liang won the consolation singles title and was praised for her on-court demeanor and overall sportsmanship.


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