Athletes for Rwanda hosts first tennis tournament


Sarah Scudder

Members of Athletes for Rwanda gather at the tennis courts to raise money for a cause.

Robert Sweeney and Emily Matteson

On Saturday, March 13, one of CHS’s newest clubs, Athletes for Rwanda hosted their first big event, a tennis tournament in which high school students competed for fun and even a prize at the high school tennis courts.

The club was formed this year, under the leadership of four junior girls, Maddy Oas, Kaytlin Barr, Lauren Tkint and Riley Porter. Oas’ grandpa set up an orphanage in Rwanda, with the club trying to promote sports there.

The group has already raised awareness for Rwanda by placing boxes in classes where students can donate old sporting equipment. To further the club’s popularity and goals, a tennis tournament seemed ideal.

“Since our club is athletic, we wanted to do a sports tournament,” Oas said. “Emerson Waumans had a tennis tournament last year for fun, and it turned out successfully. We’d thought it’d turn out well for a fundraiser.”

For just $15 per team, students from freshmen to seniors came out to play or even simply watch. With 80 kids participating (40 teams of two), the event resulted in competitive and fun spirits left and right.

Kids from all sports: hockey to football, lacrosse to baseball came and competed for the crown. One by one, teams were gradually eliminated. Those eliminated in the group stage received a spot in the consolation bracket, playing for some pride.

After 36 teams had been eliminated, the semifinals matched seniors Jared Cohn and Scott De Taboada against sophomores Max Nordin and Griffin Chacon, while junior Marc Reina and senior Nick Romero squared off against senior Jeremy Begun and junior Taylor Bloomquist.

Cohn and De Taboada would advance, facing off against Bloomquist and Begun in the final. After a hard fought match, the senior-junior duo came away with the victory.

Begun credits the win to not only his performance, but the preparation for the tournament as well.

“We were confident going in and received great strategy from our coach (junior) Jacob Karlsson,” Begun said.

Bloomquist and Begun also won a $100 Nike Gift Card, which the club received as a donation for the tournament. Begun had nothing but positive thoughts after the conclusion of the event.

“I’d like to thank the Athletes for Rwanda club for putting on such a great event,” Begun said. “I got to win and have fun, and my money went to a great cause.”

The club was ecstatic about the revenue they made. They plan to keep all the money they raise until the end of the year, and then send all the combined money in one check to Rwanda. With the entry fee and the food they sold, the event raised over $700, exceeding the club’s expectations.

“It was really successful, we made $300 more than we expected, and we only expected about 20 teams,” Oas said.

Athletes for Rwanda plans to hold another tennis tournament next year. They also hope to hold another sports tournament next year as well.

Junior Bridget McGowan, co-publicity of the club, summed up the event ideally.

“It was an awesome experience because you got hang out with friends and play tennis for a good cause,” McGowan said. “It was a super unique way to fundraise and I had a lot of fun doing it!”