From JCC to the Big Leagues
JCC members Blake and Sebastian Wright, 14, are moving up in the world. The twin brothers were recently rewarded the 2023 United States Tennis Association (USTA) Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes outstanding youth tennis players who exhibit character-driven behaviors beyond just performance on the court.
The Wright brothers are well respected among their tennis peers for their integrity and accomplishments. Blake received this award previously from another USTA L1 tournament and a L4 event, and Sebastian won the award in a USTA L1 tournament as well as in other sports endeavors. It’s safe to say that these young men are on the fast track to playing at the collegiate level.
The Wright family has been involved with the JCC for nearly 15 years, beginning their tennis journeys together with JCC Tennis coach, Jacob Orman, who their mother Elizabeth credits for teaching her boys (including son Torin, 16) all that they know.
“The facilities themselves, they know me, they care about me when I come in.”
JCC Denver’s Tennis program is well rounded and designed to meet players where they’re at, offering programming for beginners – advanced.
Since joining the J, the boys’ tennis careers have taken off—currently, Blake ranks number one in the six state Intermountain Section in the Boys 14s, and 66th in the country, and Sebastian ranks as number three in the six state Intermountain Section in the Boys 14s and 172nd in the country. The boys are considered national tennis players and so get to travel all over the country to fun locations like Florida, California, and most recently, New Orleans—altogether visiting 22 states just for tennis alone.
“Tennis is a very individual sport; it teaches them to be kind to people across the net, treat people with respect, and constantly make very mature and honest decisions,” which carries over into everyday life as well and embodies several JCC values.
Sebastian and Blake currently go to school at Graland, which is the same campus that hosts JCC’s Camp Shai, which the boys have also attended.
Now, Sebastian and Blake will head over to the JCC for a morning lesson with Jacob before school starts, and then return to the J later in the day to squeeze in some play practice and matches, while Elizabeth uses the space for drills and permanent court time, making the whole tennis experience a family affair.
“Stacey who runs the program is welcoming to all. She is constantly encouraging people to be a part of the JCC family and will care about everyone personally.”
“I love that the facilities are so well maintained,” referring to the new lights and fans installed.
The boys are gearing up for a L1 competition in San Antonio, Texas at the end of December, a quarterly national competition that is a feat to even play in.
“It’s the people who make you want to keep coming back to the JCC. They really love the community they’ve created. Everyone knows one another; it’s a small but big family.”
l Festival will be coming soon!