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Ben Koch Represents Southern at USTA Intersectionals - Tuesday, July 3, 2018


USTA 16s tennis features player with Shreveport connection

Jimmy Watson Shreveport Times USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennis fans in the Shreveport-Bossier City area will have an athlete and a team to root for this weekend when the USTA Intersectional 16s Team Championship visits Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club for a 24th consecutive year.

Welsh Hotard, who will compete with the Southern team, is the grandson of former Shreveport eye surgeon Dr. Donald Texada. The good doctor is now retired and living with the Hotard family in New Orleans, but maintains a home in Shreveport that the family uses, including former Shreveporter Charmain Texada Hotard, Welsh’s mother.

"I come up here and stay in the house some because I hit here and train in Dallas,” Hotard said on the eve of the annual event. "I really like it here.”

Another Louisiana product competing for Southern is Ben Koch from Lafayette. The two home-schooled teenagers combined to win the doubles title in April at the prestigious Adidas Easter Bowl in Indian Wells, California.

"I think our team’s chances of winning this are pretty good because we have a lot of talent on this team,” Koch said. "I like to come to Shreveport and I’m pretty used to it.”

The USTA Intersectionals brings the top 16-year-old tennis players from across the country to one site to compete in a team con-

See USTA, Page 2B

Lafayette's Ben Koch will compete for the Southern team in this weekend's USTA Intersectional 16s at Pierremont Oaks. COURTESY PHOTO


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cept. The eight-member teams will compete in boys and girls singles, boys and girls doubles and mixed doubles each day beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday and continuing through Wednesday. Round robin play the first three days will determine who will vie in Tuesday’s semifinals and Wednesday’s finals.

This will be the first time the event has included a player from Louisiana since tournament director Grady Wilson’s son, Cotter, competed in 2015.

"We are super excited to host this event for the 24th year and are already thinking about our 25th anniversary next year,” Wilson said. "The two players we have from Louisiana this year are very strong players, so on paper, this looks to be one of the strongest fields we’ve ever had.”

Other members of the Southern team are Keshav Chopra, who won singles at the Easter Bowl, Victoria Mulville, Anna Ross, Carson Tanguilig, Jenna Thompson and JJ Tracy. There are 134 athletes competing with 17 teams in the Intersectional event. Both singles and doubles matches are played, but the only individual awards are a boys' and girls' sportsmanship award.

Mid Atlantic captured the title last year by topping Southern 6-3 on the final day. The Southern team was composed entirely of players from the Atlanta area. Midwest won the 2016 title.

Hotard said competing and winning boys 16s doubles at the Easter Bowl should give his team confidence. He and Koch scored a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Chopra and his doubles partner, Coy Simon.

"It showed us that we should be able to make the shots we need to make when it’s time to make them,” Hotard said. "I really like this team concept. It’s a lot like college tennis. Most of tennis is all on yourself, but this allows us to pull for everyone on our team.”

Twitter: @JimmyWatson6


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