Palumbo wins gold at SWOSSAA tennis tournament



By Ron Giofu


A General Amherst High School student has captured gold at the recent SWOSSAA tennis tournament.

Matteo Palumbo captured the gold medal after winning all three of his matches at the regional tennis tournament in Chatham. He won his matches 8-2, 8-4 and then 8-4 again in the finals.

Palumbo said he worked hard over the summer and that has paid off for him now as he is now representing his school.

“It was a little challenging but I was able to play pretty well,” said Palumbo, of the recent SWOSSAA tournament as it was played in sometimes windy conditions.

There is a gap between now and OFSAA, as the provincial tournament doesn’t occur until June.

“I’ve got a couple of months outside to play before OFSAA,,” he said, adding he will also play indoors with his coach Nancy Loeffler-Caro.

Matteo Palumbo won gold at the recent SWOSSAA tennis tournament in Chatham. (Submitted photo)

Palumbo said he started playing tennis when he was young at a court across from his house. He estimates he was about eight-years-old when he first started playing.

“I’d just go out and hit against a wall and play against my dad,” the Grade 11 student stated. “I didn’t play a lot competitively until I got to high school.”

Palumbo said he likes the fact that “it’s all on you” in tennis.

“I like the workout,” he added. “You are always moving. You’ve got a lot of court to cover.”

Quickness is the name of the game for Palumbo.

“I’m not the most powerful guy around but I can place the ball and play strategically,” said Palumbo.

Palumbo believes he will be seeing some of the same players he has seen in previous competitions when he goes to OFSAA, he knows it will be a tough test regardless of who he plays.

“It’s going to be a lot of good tennis and there will be some really good tennis players,” he said.

In addition to thanking Loeffler-Caro, Palumbo also expressed his thanks to the tennis team’s teacher representative Stephanie Melcher.

Amherstburg Open Tennis Championships held for first time

The first annual Amherstburg Open Tennis Championships were held recently. The results are as follows:
Men’s Open Singles
Champion: Jun Fan
Finalist: Richard Liu
Consolation Champion:
John Vitsas

Men’s 40+ Singles

Women’s 40+ Singles Champion/ Women’s Open Singles Champion/Women’s Doubles Champ Irene Macaki. (Special to the RTT)

Finalist: Derek Tompkins


Women’s Open
Champion: Irene Macaki
Finalist: Linoi Filippov
Consolation Champion:
Rene Song

Women’s 40+
Champion: Irene Macaki
Finalist: Rene Song

Men’s Open Doubles
Champion: Keith Cartier/ Ninaf Diryawish
Finalist: John Vitsas/Tim Ngai
Consolation Champion:
Richard Liu/Jun Fan


OTA West Region Jr. Tennis Tour stops in Amherstburg



By Ron Giofu


Some of the region’s finest tennis players were in Amherstburg recently as part of the OTA West Region Tennis Tour.

About 15 players participated in the May 26 tournament, about half of what they had last year. Convenor Nancy Loeffler-Caro said weather was partially to blame as the forecast wasn’t favourable that day. That said, she was pleased with how things went.

“The kids were happy. It’s kind of nice to have nice courts in Amherstburg where I can run tournaments,” said Loeffler-Caro. “It went off really well.”

The tournament saw refurbished courts in Anderdon and Malden used. In all, it is one of eight tournaments on the schedule with others being in Chatham, Sarnia, London, Rockwood, Stratford, Southampton and Kitchener. There are over 300 youths on the OTA tour this year, she added, noting it used to be called the Little Caesars Tennis Tour.

Players from the local AMA Tennis Club in Amherstburg won four of the five events, she added.

Declan McGrath competes in the recent OTA West Region Jr. Tennis Tour event that was held in Amherstburg. (Submitted photo)

Mixed U10 Champion

Felix Fan (AMA Club)


Girls U14

Maggie Betker (London)


Boys U14

Ryan Cipkar (AMA Club)


Girls U18

Ashley Injic (AMA Club)


Boys U18

Matteo Palumbo (AMA Club)


It will be the first of two tournaments being held in Amherstburg this year as the Amherstburg Open Tournament is July 13-15. Events in that tournament include Open Women’s Singles, Open Men’s Singles, Over 40 Women’s Singles, Over 40 Men’s Singles, Open Women’s Doubles and Open Men’s Doubles. The entry fee for that is $25 per event.

Loeffler-Caro also helps oversee the Essex County Tennis Association with not only the Amherstburg team involved, but teams in LaSalle and Lakeshore as well. There are 12-and-under and 19-and-under teams with local practise being Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m. for the 12-and-under and 6-7 p.m. Wednesdays for the 19-and-under. Both are at the Malden courts.

For information on the upcoming tournament or the league itself, visit the town’s website at and search under parks and recreation.

People can also e-mail Loeffler-Caro directly at

Sparling and Jones make quarters at OFSAA



Special to the RTT


The General Amherst girls’ doubles team of Gillian Sparling and Reese Jones had a strong run at OFSAA tennis.

They battled through a very tough draw, playing the eventual champions in the first round. Sparling and Jones surprised their opponents and fought tooth-and-nail until the end, barely coming up on the short end of an 8-6 outcome. That was it for Day 1 as they would flip to the back draw and have an extremely busy second day.

The Bulldog girls were very efficient in their following matches, winning by scores of 8-0, 8-1, 8-0 and 8-4. After these four must-win matches, the girls had to play another in the early evening of a long day.

Gillian Sparling (left) and Reese Jones made the quarterfinals at OFSAA (Submitted photo)

Gillian Sparling (left) and Reese Jones made the quarterfinals at OFSAA (Submitted photo)

The competition was stiffer now as only the top teams remained. Gillian and Reese took on a strong duo from Waterloo. All four players held serve to start before their return games picked up steam and some breaks ensued. Waterloo jumped ahead 6-4 and 30-0 before Amherst dug in, refusing to go away quietly.

The girls caught fire and vaulted their opponents into a 7-6 lead. They had a couple of match points in the next game but missed closing the deal by millimeters. Waterloo went on to win the tie-break but considering the General Amherst duo had played their fifth match of the day, the fight they showed this match and all tournament, as well as at SWOSSAA, was admirable.

General Amherst ladies doubles tennis team advances to OFSAA


Special to the RTT

The General Amherst ladies doubles team of Gillian Sparling and Reese Jones competed in the SWOSSAA tennis tournament and came away with a second place performance, qualifying them for OFSAA competition later this month.

The road to this berth was not smooth but the team’s resolve and determination shone through in the end.

Back in the fall, the girls came in third when competing at WECSSAA. They had one flat match which took them out of contention but they knew deep down that they had the ability and the moxie to do more. They were primed to make a strong SWOSSAA run in the fall but on the eve of the competition the tournament was postponed due to some questionable entries in other divisions. So their preparations had to be put on hold all winter until the SWOSSAA tournament could actually be played in the spring.

Gillian Sparling (left) and Reese Jones will represent General Amherst at the upcoming OFSAA tennis tournament. (Submitted photo)

Gillian Sparling (left) and Reese Jones will represent General Amherst at the upcoming OFSAA tennis tournament. (Submitted photo)

Gillian and Reese were hitting strong, deep, consistent balls and their volleying and serving skills were equally impressive. They quickly subdued their first opponents from Chatham McGregor 8-2. Their next competition came in the form of the WECSSA champions from Riverside. It was a hotly contested affair with tempers flaring occasionally as Riverside fell behind Amherst and tried to employ some head-games to neutralize the force of the General Amherst attack. Such a strategy would not hinder the momentum of Sparling and Jones as they dug in their heels, cruising to a 8-4 victory.

The next match was for the SWOSSAA championship. That was the good news. The bad news was that they were up against the two-time defending OFSAA champs from Sarnia St. Patrick. The girls were flat this match and lost much of their mojo in falling 8-1 to the champs. Gillian and Reese therefore had to play the winners of the consolation bracket for second place and the OFSSA berth. They practiced hard between their matches to regain good habits, get into the groove of unleashing their power and most of all get into a positive mindset necessary to compete at this level. Their opponents for this deciding match would be the Riverside team they disposed of earlier. The Rebels had plenty of talent though and would surely be determined to exact vengeance on our Bulldog team.

Gillian and Reese found their magic again and refused to let Riverside in the door. The antagonistic tone motivated the girls as did the chance to compete in Markham against the rest of the province. Sparling and Jones defeated the WECSSA champs even more convincingly than earlier with an 8-2 drubbing. The Bulldogs won all of the tense points leaving no doubt that they were the deserving representatives of the region. The duo make an excellent team and with their scrappy mentality and skills will be a force to be reckoned with. Congratulations and good luck girls.