Turnout for Point tennis summer camp doubles

Published 9:31 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2019

VALLEY — Point University head tennis coach Chad Simpson is back at the Valley SportsPlex to begin this summer’s community camps and training sessions.

“It’s been an excellent camp,” Simpson said. “We have a lot of little kids running around, getting experience playing a great sport.”

This is the second year that Simpson has officially held the camp, and this year’s attendance has doubled from 11 to 22 participants. The campers were spread across three courts by age group.

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“We’re pulling a good bunch from Opelika, Springwood School and a couple of youngsters who are just beginning,” Simpson said. “I’m very happy with the camp, for the family and for all of these kids to come out.”

Over the years, Simpson has watched the development of some of the local high schoolers that he’s worked with like former Springwood state-champion Ananth Reddy and LaGrange College freshman Devin McGlon.

“Devin’s done a great job to get to the college level,” Simpson said. “She’s helping out as a coach as well by helping with the little kids so now she’s able to give back to the next generation and inspire a youngster that’s going to go play college tennis.”

Simpson is coming off of leading the Skyhawks’ men’s tennis program to its best season in recent memory. 

Point finished the season in the NAIA quarterfinals as the No. 5-ranked team in the coaches poll.

“We were blessed this year to have some phenomenal tennis players come and be apart of our team,” Simpson said. “We’re so happy to represent Point in our pursuit of excellence and put Point on the map for national tennis. Hopefully, that will keep snowballing and keep attracting quality character and great people to come to be a part of our program. That’s really what we want, great people to represent our Christian school.”

Three Skyhawks made the All-American teams with Christian Garay, Federico Barbon and Joe Klokow. Garay was also named the Conference Player of the Year as well as the Conference Freshman of the Year. Garay is a Phenix City native who, although a five-star prospect coming out of high school, didn’t meet the academic requirements to play collegiately. Last year, Simpson reached out to him and gave Garay a second chance.

“He was arguably one of the best players in the NAIA,” Simpson said of Garay. “We’re pleased for him to be here and his journey to come back to college tennis at age 22 to be a freshman. So many people were wondering where Christian Garay went, and for him to pop up here at Point and represent us, we’re just so pleased for him to be a Skyhawk.”

Over the summer, Simpson plans to still host instructional sessions and events for the community.

“As a coach here, we want to impact these people and teach them tennis, yes, but more importantly teach them character qualities and how to be the right type of people,” he said. “We’ve been focusing on integrity, compassion, diligence, gratitude and other character qualities that hopefully we can impact their lives. That is what’s most important.”