Jeff Sikes, USTA Southwest photo
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Anthem teen selected for 2015 Team USA National Junior Team
ANTHEM – The best junior tennis-playing girls in the United States are getting an opportunity to get even better.
Sixteen-year-old Kylie McKenzie of Anthem is among eight girls in the country recently selected for the 2015 Team USA National Junior Team, a training program designed to give America’s best young players opportunities to train together during the summer and to compete against other top juniors from around the world. The boys’ team will be selected at a later date.
Players were selected for the team based on automatically qualifying or through results in a qualifying playoff, held recently at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
Joining McKenzie on the team are: CicI Bellis, 16, Atherton, Calif.; Carson Branstine, 14, from Orange, Calif.; Kelly Chen, 16, from Cerritos, Calif.; Kayla Day, 15, from Santa Barbara, Calif.; Michaela Gordon, 15, from Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Claire Liu, 14, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and Alexandra Sanford, 16, from Westerville, Ohio. Bellis, Chen, Gordon and Liu were automatic qualifiers for the team, while Branstine, Day, McKenzie, and Sanford qualified through the playoff.
USTA Player Development will provide coaching and travel assistance to select events throughout the summer, including junior Grand Slam tournaments and the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships in San Diego. McKenzie, the reigning USTA Girls’ 16s national champion, reached the girls’ 18s semifinals at the prestigious Easter Bowl in April. Day was the runner-up to McKenzie at the 2014 USTA Girls’ 16s Nationals and won the 2013 Girls’ 14s national title.
McKenzie is currently the No. 2 ranked Girls' 18s junior in the Southwest, No. 19 nationally in Girls' 18s, and is currently ranked No. 159 in the world in the International Tennis Federation's junior rankings.