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Tourney Nets Rave Reviews From All

Apparently, the National High School Tennis All-American Team Invitational is here to stay. From the host facility’s director on down to the coaches, players and their parents, it was hard to find anyone who wasn’t raving about the first-year event.

“I loved it,” said Palos Verdes Peninsula Coach Tom Cox, whose team defeated Menlo Atherton, 7-1, in the finals. “It was really a class act. We went to [a national tournament] in Kansas City last year and this one was far superior to that.”

Corona del Mar Coach Tim Mang, the tournament’s director, said he was overwhelmed by all the positive feedback.

“Every coach I talked to said it was the greatest thing they’d ever witnessed,” Mang said. “But they were all saying, ‘Why has it taken so long to get this going?’ ”

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Ken Stuart, who donated his Palisades Tennis Club for the better part of three days, said he would be happy to host the tournament next year.

“I’m a real stickler for the privacy of our members and I usually don’t like to hand over our courts,” Stuart said, “But when it comes to kids, that’s totally different. That’s where the growth of the sport is.”

Beverly Hills Coach Mike Margolin, whose team finished fifth, said he hopes the tournament will help stop the flow of top players from leaving high school tennis to concentrate on their junior tennis careers.

“If you can keep the best kids on the teams, you’ll see quality matches like we’ve had in this tournament a lot more,” Margolin said.

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Cox was surprised how much unity his team built over the three-day event.

“The guys were fired up when we won it and they were a team,” he said. “Usually, after something like this, they’ll want to go home with their parents. But these kids wanted to go back on the bus together to keep that spirit going.”

SCUDDER CUP

Palos Verdes Peninsula and runner-up Atherton had their names engraved in the Scudder Cup, a sterling silver punch bowl.

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The cup was named after Jack and Valerie Scudder, who Mang said have been supporting high school tennis behind the scenes for some time. Jack Scudder is the son of Laura Scudder, the potato chip maker.

First- through fifth-place teams received key chains with badges of the tournament emblem and each member of the Peninsula team was awarded a championship plaque.

ALL-TOURNAMENT

The all-tournament team was headed by Peninsula’s No. 1 singles player Jeff Kazarian. He was joined on the team by Corona del Mar’s Cameron Ball, Atherton’s James Pade, Chad Harris of Cherry Creek, Colo., Ryan Haymond of Bakersfield Centennial and Dustin West of E.C. Glass of Lynchburg, Va.

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If you have an item or idea for the prep tennis report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at dave.mckibben@latimes.com


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