Bits & Pieces: Columbia Junior Open is a success despite extreme heat

Despite severe heat that reached into the high 90s, the 33rd annual Columbia Junior Open went off without any heat-related problems. There were 105 players who braved the conditions in what proved to be a highly successful tournament played at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club from July 15-18. Awards were presented in the name of the late Peter Finck to two young players who showed the true spirit of sportsmanship that Peter exemplified: Scott Phillips of Midlothian, Virginia and Miriam Moghtader of Arnold, Maryland.

Peter Finck was a two-time Maryland Tournament Director of the Year, was a member of the Mid-Atlantic Section Board of Directors and was also the tournament director for the Maryland State Outdoor Junior Championship, the Columbia Junior Open and the Columbia Flier Tournament. He passed away in 2011 and has been sorely missed by the tennis community and those of us who knew Peter for his unselfishness and his dedication to always doing what was right for his family and friends.

The tournament was once again held under the auspices of the Howard County Tennis Association. Ken Knouse was the tournament director, aided by Harry Chiu, Jim Lawson and Jack Healey.

Starfish Classic

Former Hammond coach Gay Petrlik passed away in May of this year and her loss continues to resonate at Hammond and beyond.

The Starfish Classic lacrosse tournament will be played on Saturday, Aug. 3 at Hammond High School in Gay's honor. Lacrosse coaches Lindsay Kolesar and Chris Reagle came up with the idea for the tournament, which consists of girls and boys alumni games beginning at 9 a.m. The duo hopes to make this an annual event. The term, "Starfish" came from a poem that Gay particularly liked, and players will wear a tee-shirt emblazoned with the poem during the tournament.

"She was a role model for many of us," Kolesar said. "She had so much positive energy. She had a huge impact on my life and career."

TriColumbia Kidz Triathlon

I can say a lot of good things about the sixth annual TriColumbia Kidz Triathlon that was held this past Sunday at the Clemens Crossing Pool in Hickory Ridge, but I will start by saying that the event provides children ages 7-15 with the opportunity to experience fun in the form of a triathlon. Secondly, I like the fact that TriColumbia, the organization that runs all the top triathlons in the area, sends its "A" team to run this event. That means that one of the best tournament directors around, Kari Ebeling, directed this one as well.

I like that Jeff Meeks from Florida was on hand to do the announcing as he does for major triathlons and I also like that Maroon PR was on hand to do the statistical work. I don't know if TriColumbia makes a nickel out of this event but it shows how important this event is, not only for the participants but also for the future of TriColumbia.

I also like the fact that young people are raising funds though their participation for worthwhile charities. I saw Andi's Army out there, as well as Matt's Team to name just a few.

Now I must touch on something that annoys me and it's those parents who scream at their kids as though a five or eight year old was going for Olympic gold. I saw some of that this year but that usually comes with any competitive event.

For the large majority of the parents in attendance, I heard only encouragement not discouragement. And I saw lots of smiles following the event.

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