By Jim Cox
Times Bulletin Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
VAN WERT — The Van Wert County Tennis Association will be sponsoring its fourth annual Midwest Youth Team Tennis program this summer. VWCTA will conduct sessions on seven consecutive Wednesdays beginning June 4 at the Van Wert County Foundation Tennis Complex behind the Van Wert High School/Middle School. Students entering grades K-1 will practice from 6-7 p.m.; grades 2-3 also from 6-7 p.m. (on separate courts), grades 4-5 from 7-8 p.m., and grades 6-8 from 8-9 p.m.
Each participant will receive a team uniform shirt, an age-appropriate tennis racquet and ball, a one year USTA Junior Membership Subscription to Bounce or SMASH magazine, and a goodie bag filled with other age-appropriate items.
The cost is $60 if registered by May 9th; $80 if registered between May 10th and May 23rd. You may register a child at www.MidwestTeamTennis.com. Additional information can be obtained by contacting vanwerttennis@gmail.com.
There will also be four optional play days — June 23, July 10, July 21, and August 7 — to allow participants to apply their skills by playing with kids their own age. Play day details will be announced later.


This year’s director is Kara Thomas, a 2008 Van Wert High School and 2013 Bowling Green State University graduate. Thomas, a self-proclaimed sports fanatic, is an English teacher at Wayne Trace High School. She set the unofficial Van Wert High School record for sports lettered in, having participated in basketball, cross country, track, softball, volleyball, and tennis at one time or another.
“It’s an opportunity that I jumped at because I think the USTA is such a great program for Van Wert,” said Thomas. “When I was growing up we didn’t have anything like this. If we would have, I definitely think I would’ve considered tennis a lot sooner in high school. Tennis is so much fun. That’s the sport you can play forever.”
“I look forward to getting out there with the kids and trying to develop their game,” Thomas added. “Last year when Kaden (Kara’s younger brother) came home from his practices, he would constantly be asking me to go out and hit with him. I think that’s just a great thing for Van Wert in general, just giving kids something to do and something to look forward to. He loves it, and he loves the fact that he gets his own equipment. He thinks that’s the coolest thing.”
VWCTA will also be conducting its third annual Start/Restart tennis program for adults wanting to start playing or start playing again. Details for that program will be announced later, along with a new feature, private or semi-private tennis lessons conducted by Thomas.