June 15, 2005 - The top junior tennis players from Arizona and afar were among those who took part in the United States Tennis Association's 2005 Southwest junior closed tournament at select courts throughout the Northwest and Tucson, June 11 through 14.
Competing among the 438 players, ages 10 through 18, from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, were several familiar faces from Ironwood Ridge and Catalina Foothills high schools.
Despite three state titles this season between the two schools, success on the high school level doesn't necessarily translate into prosperity in the USTA field.
After the second day of the four-day tourney, only one of the 10 Northwest and Foothills players remained: BreAnn Cheung of Catalina Foothills.
Cheung, who graduated in May, advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Tanya Cota, of Tucson, 6-0, 6-0, and El Paso's Courteney Littlepage, 6-1, 6-2 at the Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Road. The University of Connecticut-bound Cheung won despite not being on the top of her game.
"The first couple of matches on a Southwest USTA, I always play a little slower," said Cheung after dropping Littlepage in straight sets. "I got some solid hitting in, though."
With the two wins, it appeared Cheung was on a path to meet once again with a familiar foe, Torrie Browning, of Ironwood Ridge, in the semifinal round.
Cheung and Browning faced one another in several key matches during the high school year, including the semifinals of the Class 4A state tourney.
Browning, who won back-to-back state titles in 2004 and 2005 knocked off Cheung both years en route to claiming the state's top honor.
"Even though every time we face each other it's a battle," said Cheung, on the possibility of facing Browning in the semifinals, "it's always good to face her."
Revenge will have to come at a later date for Cheung, however. Browning, who entered the tournament a No. 5 seed, was upset by No. 9 Joy Adewumi of Phoenix, 6-1, 6-3, in the round of 16 on June 12 at the Westward Look Resort.
"I guess it just wasn't my day," Browning lamented after dropping out of the tournament she won last year.
Cheung's tournament run ended a day later, when she eventually bowed out of the tourney to Kristen MacWilliams of Scottsdale on June 13 at the Tucson Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road.
Ironwood Ridge's Allison Jech won her first match against Rochelle Perkins, of Phoenix, 6-1, 6-1, before being bounced from the tournament by Audree R. Jenks, of Albuquerque, 7-5, 6-3.
On the boys' side, Foothills was a dominant force during the high school season. In the USTA tourney, however, no Foothills boy advanced past the quarterfinals.
Tyler Campbell advanced the furthest, eventually losing to Joseph Adewumi of Phoenix, 6-3, 6-1.
Foothills' No. 1, Joseph Goldstein, was stalled in the first round by John Nanosky, of El Paso, while freshman teammate Thomas Wolff dropped his second-round match to Ian Mordaunt, of Salpointe, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Biafra Ahanonu, of Foothills, flustered Jacques Dalbin enough to edge the El Paso native by a score of 6-2, 7-5 in the tourney's opening round.
"He kept it at my feet really well," said Ahanonu of Dalbin. "Not too many people do that."
The win was short lived. Ahanonu exited the tourney in the next round, losing to Andrew Landwerlen of Las Cruces, N.M., 6-3, 6-3.
The next USTA tourney held in Tucson will be July 8, when the Northwest plays host to the 2005 Hilton El Conquistador Junior Summer Classic.